During the 1970s - 1980s, there was a brand new technological revolution happening, referred to as the “Information Age.” The Information Age was the uprise of computers, digital tools, and other innovations centered around computer science & coding. This age completely changed the way the world works, the way work is done, and how information was stored & handled. All companies scrambled to integrate this new method of digitizing work and reducing the effort needed to store information by implementing computers into their everyday work. Some of the leaders in this industry were NCR, IBM, & LSi. In order to provide these companies with the hardware, storage, and tech support they needed, computer consultant businesses started sprouting to aid these companies. In the year 1976, my father opened our own computer consultant business called “Harwood International.” It immediately gained success by supplying technical support to local businesses, selling computer components and peripherals, and, most importantly, as newer models of computers were constantly coming out, handling the issue with disposing of older computers properly. It was in 1982 that the company would forever be changed by the release of an extremely popular computer and a partnership with its creators.
My father was a natural-born businessman and was absolutely fascinated with the creation of computers, electronic cash registers, and anything that had to do with new and advancing technology. It really was a family owned and operated business. I worked at the office with my parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and siblings. By 1981, we mainly dealt with local and small business that demanded the computers, servers, and cash registers that we supplied. We were generally successful in the sense that we had many connections with companies as their personal tech support and coders. We already had soft deals with computer companies like LSi that provided us with supplies and parts, but because these companies were very small compared to other competitors, we strived to have more. Thus, my father was obsessed with trying to partner with NCR and IBM to get access to the newest cutting edge technology they could sell and install. He constantly was attending technological conventions all over the country where he would meet with reps from different computer companies in attempt to strike a deal and meet new connections.
In 1982, word was going around that NCR was testing a new form of computers that were much smaller and better for office settings. NCR was creating lots of buzz with this and my father was infatuated with the possibility of having NCR licensed computers available to his clients. His best opportunity was to go to a convention in Seattle, Washington, where he would have his best chance to strike a deal with NCR representatives. My father left for the convention with the energy of a child going to the candy store and was convinced that this was his moment to contract that major deal and start more large scale business operations. He was ecstatic to show off his work to NCR and promised me he would come back as a VAR (value-added reseller) of NCR. To my surprise when my father returned he was a lot less excited than when he left; he looked like a sad puppy. He informed us that he wasn’t exactly sure how it went and that they said they would contact him if they were interested. One day, two days, three days pass and there was not a single phone call, letter, or email and in this business. There was no waiting around so my father simply collected himself, counted the losses, and continued working. Two months later the release day for NCR’s new computer is announced and my father was still craving that computer to be on his shelfs. But he played his cards right and stayed patient. 1982, June 3rd, an envelope was slipped into our mailbox, with a big stamp that read “NCR”. My whole family has never celebrated so much, cried so much, or been so happy. It had actually happened. NCR has decided to partner with us and wanted to supply us with their brand new computer, the TOWER 16/32. We all knew this was exciting, but we had no idea how big of an impact this would have on our lives and the company.
NCR was in high demand when they made the decision to ship internationally and needed other partners to assist in selling, installing, and providing support across the world. These deals allowed us to travel to 30+ countries around the world. Over time, we’ve made more deals with companies such as IBM, SGI, and Hewlett-Packard (HP), supplying computer softwares, storage management, and processing systems. Harwood intl. had gone from a small local computer consultant to a major international computer service provider for the better part of the 1980s-2000s all due to the information age. This new concept of having everything digitally stored and processed made such a huge impact on the world and from then on nothing was the same. Like never before with the creation of the internet the whole world was connected digitally and information was spread and consumed in all corners of the planet
This new age of computers, information, and technology not only changed my life it changed the way the entire planet functioned. Societies around the globe are becoming stronger, developed and more intelligent because most technologies are interlinked with the internet. The common man's job switched from the factory to the cubicle. The information age inspired intelligent individuals across the world to further our understanding of computers and make that knowledge public, accessible, and usable in everyday life. Millions and millions of jobs are now based on working with computers. The whole economy would crash if computers suddenly ceased to exist. The actual impact that the information had on the world is immense and the computer can be considered one of the most important inventions of all time. The Information age has taken us to the moon, gave us the internet, and has brought the world closer together.
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