This Day In Information: Boston Computer Society Established

Today in 1977, 13-year-old Jonathan Rotenberg established the Boston Computer Society (BCS), an organization for personal computer users which will eventually grow into the largest such organization in the world. Four people attended the first meeting of this group, which, at its peak, reached thirty thousand members from all 50 states and over forty other counties. Apple, IBM, Lotus Software, and other computer companies made major product announcements at BCS meetings. With the rise in sophistication of PC users and the advent of the World Wide Web, the organization’s membership have shrunk considerably and BCS closed down in 1996.

From the New York Times in 1987:

Jonathan Rotenberg, president of the Boston Computer Society, tells a story about the day he met Steven Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer. They were riding in a cab in Boston when Mr. Jobs abruptly warned that the computer society would not survive another few years. Mr. Rotenberg asked why. ”Jobs said,” Mr. Rotenberg recalled, ” ‘We’re making computers as easy to use as clothes dryers. And have you ever heard of a Maytag users group?’ ”

”Well, that was 1981,” Mr. Rotenberg adds. ”Steve Jobs was soon out of a job, but the B.C.S. is doing just fine.”

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