Celebrating 26 years here in Scotts Valley - a programmer's journey

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On Monday, June 17, 1985 (twenty-six years ago today), I started working for Philippe Kahn at Borland International in Scotts Valley California.  Twenty six years working on programming languages and for programmers.  The fun of being a part of the software development tools world continues today. While I'm reminded that this is a job, it is also so much fun to be able to be a part of moving the programming world forward, one day at a time.

My journey started in Eureka California on June 13, 1951, moved to San Luis Obispo, continued in Los Angeles, and continues at Embarcadero Technologies in Scotts Valley.  Embarcadero's global development team is pushing every envelope and state of the art in our integrated development environments, compilers, libraries, components, frameworks, database access, platform support, programmer tooling, rapid visual developmnent, and tool chain integration.

Here are few of the junctures and people who've helped me on this journey.

June 13, 1951 - born to Angelo and Dorothy Intersimone - Eureka California.

1955 to 1969 - Saint Bernard Elementary and High School. My favorite classes and interests included Math, Science, Space, Chess, and Tennis.  Dave Freitas was my classmate, tennis buddy, and also my best man.

1969 to 1973 - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Computer Science Department. I actually started as a freshman in Aeronautical Engineering (I wanted to be involved in the space program).  My first program was a FORTRAN prime number generator punched on 80-column cards and turned in to be run on the school's IBM 360/40. Apollo 11 landed on the moon in the summer of 1969 and I read that the aerospace industry was laying off engineers (note - the space shuttle program did not start until the early 1970s). I wanted to be able to get a job when I graduated so I felt I needed to switch my major. After talking with Dr. Curtis Gerald (then the CS department chair who told me that with Computer Science I would always have a job), I switched my major to Computer Science and have had nothing fun ever since.  Dr. Emile Attala became my mentor and friend after I missed the Assembly Language class final (too many all-nighters in a row). Emile let me take a shower and take the final.  I also became Emile's first homework reader and sometime babysitter for his twin sons John and Eric.  I also want to thank Dan Stubbs (my senior project advisor), Reino Hannula (the mysteries and power of IBM 360 Job Control Language), Neil Webre (awesome data structures professor), John Hsu (digging into operating systems), and current Computer Science and Software Engineering Department Chair Ignatios Vakalis.

1973 to 1979 - TRW Data Systems in El Segundo California thanks to Scott Hillman who recruited me from Cal Poly.  I spent most of those years writing real time system software for Data General Nova minicomputers (I learned Nova assembler at Cal Poly helping Emile Attala with his computer assisted instruction research).

April 1975 - I met my future wife, Martha Jones, on a blind date at TRW night at Disneyland.  While she actually liked someone else who worked with me at TRW, we continued dating and are still in love and enjoying our lives together.

1979 to1981 - DeMarco-Schatz in Torrance California, building small business, medical, and hospital systems using Alpha Micro processor and the BASIC programming language.  The company was founded by fellow ex-TRW employees Frank DeMarco and Daryll Schatz.

June 13,1981 - Martha and I were married in a weekend long wedding and celebration at Camp Harmon (Easter Seals Camp just north of Boulder Creek California).  Our wedding day was also my 30th birthday (so I'll forget our anniversary or how many years we've been married).  Our song is "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You" by James Taylor.

1981 to 1985 - Softsel Computer Products (software and hardware accessories distributor) in Los Angeles California.  Recruited by Scott Hillman to join his team where we evaluated and supported the computer store dealers who purchased products from Sofsel including Lotus 1-2-3, Apple II software and games, IBM PC software, and Macintosh software.  Bob Leff and David Wagman were the founders of the company.  David Blumstein ran the sales department.  On my first day at Softsel I met Spencer Leyton in the lobby.  We both started on the same day to work for Scott.  In November 1983 at the COMDEX (Computer Dealer Expo) convention in Las Vegas I first met Philippe Kahn who gave me 5 1/4" PCDOS and 8" CPM floppy disk copies of Turbo Pascal 1.0.

November 1984 - our first daughter, Gina, was born in Santa Monica.  Both Martha and I had decided that we did not want our children to go to school in LA, so a five year countdown started to figure out a way to get back Northern California where Martha and I had spent our formative years.

May 1985 - Spencer Leyton had joined Borland in the spring and convinced Philippe Kahn to give me an job interview.  The job interview took place on Philippe's sail boat (I think I remember it being a Santa Cruz Express 27) out in Monterey Bay followed by dinner at the Crow's Nest restaurant.

June 17, 1985 - I started at Borland International at 4585 Scotts Valley Drive.  Back then Borland was shipping Turbo Pascal version 3, the defacto Pascal standard compiler priced at $49.95.

1985 to today - Now we are part of Embarcadero Technologies, and we continue to focus on developer tools and continuing our quest to make native code programming for multiple platforms, databases, and devices as simple and powerful as possible.  Wayne Williams (Embarcadero CEO and a Turbo Pascal version 1 user for his dad's business when he was a teenager) and Michael Swindell (Senior VP of Products and Marketing) are an absolute joy to work with as we explore the outer limits of software tools and development.  It is an honor, a pleasure, and a responsibility to be able to work with our Embarcadero teams located around the world, They are the ones that make my job, as Chief Evangelist, possible.

September 1987 - our fraternal twin daughters, Molly and Emily, are born in Santa Cruz.  Three daughters and Martha to keep me under control.  I am in seventh heaven!  I will keep singing the Beach Boys' song, California Girls, for the rest of my life.

Along the way I have been able to learn from and work with so many spectacular software engineers and visit with thousands and thousands of customers, partners, students, educators, authors, and industry luminaries.

There isn't enough time to list everyone that have helped my on this journey.  Besides those mentioned in this blog post, I especially want to thank a few friends and fellow industry veterans:  Charlie Calvert (my twin brother, we must have been separated at birth), Christine Ellis, Anders Ohlsson, Andreano Lanusse, Anders Hejlsberg , Bjarne Stroupstrup, Grady Booch, Kent Beck, Allen Cooper, JD Hildebrand (the best writer and editor of computer programming articles and magazines), Bruce Eckel, Zack Urlocker, Gary Whizin, Brad Silverberg, Paul Gross, Gene Wang, Marco Cantu, Bob Swart, Freddy Enok Hansen, Cary Jensen, Dan Horn, Guy Kawasaki, Marie Huwe, Matt Pietrick, David Stafford, James Coplien, Lars Frid-Nielsen, Alain Tadros ("Lino"), Marie Lenzi, Claudia Currie (my "Australian Daughter"), Martin Griss, Dr. Ira Pohl, Mike Weisert, Neil Rubenking, Peter Coad, Bob Jervis, Pat Kerpan, Peter Kukol, Kelly Welty, Dale Fuller, Tod Nielsen, Heidi Roizen, Peter Plamondon, Randy Miller, Richard Hale Shaw, Jon Erickson, Janet Heimlich, Bill Conroy, Gary Wetsel, Jason Vokes, Malcolm Groves, Nigel Brown, Amanda Grant, Andrea Ginsberg, Kate Stone, Ben Riga, and everyone else who has helped me over my 42 years in programming and the computer industry.

During these 26 years we have seen the rise of object-oriented programming, the IBM Personal Computer, arrival of the Apple MacintoshUML, Agile Methods, C++, Delphi, the ubiquitous Internet, smart phones, RESTful web services, tablets, One Laptop per Child, and cloud computing. It's truly amazing what developers can build today.  I can't wait to see what we'll be able to build tomorrow.

On this 26th anniversary of my start here in Scotts Valley, I promise to continue to do all that I can to help our company, our partners, our customers and our industry for years to come.

Thanks for all the help and memories!  Programming is Life!

David I.

ps:  A reminder: David I’s 60th birthday fund raising challenge - send Cal Poly CS/SW Women to Grace Hopper Conference

Gold User, Rank: 1, Points: 2466
David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.


  • Guest
    Jordi Saturday, 18 June 2011

    Hi David,
    It seems that you've had a lot of fun. Nice story!.


  • Guest
    Dorin Duminica Saturday, 18 June 2011

    Nice story indeed.
    I want to congratulate you for your long journey and HOPE that EMB realizes your real value.

    Hats off to you sir!!

  • Guest
    Eduardo A. Salgado Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Happy Birthday, Anniversary, Anniversary, Father's Day, and many more, David I.


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    Jonathan Lessard Wednesday, 21 August 2013

    Hello Mr. Intersimone,

    I'm a researcher specialized in video game history (a field in its early stages, admittedly).

    I've been looking a long time for a good collection of the Softsel Hotlist which pops here and there in magazines and newspapers. It would be invaluable to have a consistent series as there is little data available concerning early PC game sales.

    Any ideas where that could be found?!

    Sorry for the intrusion and thank you for the attention.


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