In honour of Spreadsheet Day and the 35th Anniversary of Visicalc, Steven Levy republishes a piece from 1984, where he described how the spreadsheet was changing the business world. The piece foreshadows the rise of modern Silicon Valley: “Entrepreneurs and their venture-capitalist backers are emerging as new culture heroes, settlers of another American frontier.”
The article also shows us how costly spreadsheet errors have been practically part of the business since the spreadsheet’s inception.
In August 1984, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Texas-based oil and gas company had fired several executives after the firm lost millions of dollars in an acquisition deal because of “errors traced to a faulty financial analysis spread sheet model.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Medium: A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge