Bob Cherry: This is a wonderful and accurate description of the work environment at Xerox during the peak of the corporation's golden years. So much innovation and invention took place at PARC, SDD, and other units. This was a different world than today. I worked at Xerox during that time both in El Segundo and in Palo Alto. This was a world where innovation and invention reigned supreme. Sharing was encouraged, not hidden. Cooperation across business units happened openly and freely. The author did a fine job in capturing the essence of this era. While the book may be fiction, the work environment it describes was very real.
This story captured the expansive void between the innovators and the senior management of the day. The "toner heads" didn't understand what lay before them even though their own people used them. They certainly didn't have a clue how to market it. While the product was excellent, the obstruction by management and and marketing to deliver it to a market that was hungry for the technology, was never overcome. If they possessed the vision of Steve Jobs, I have little doubt that Xerox would have become the world's leader in personal computing. This story captured that this feeling was felt throughout the entire Star program -- great product and play but Xerox would fumble the ball.
This book is a great reminder for those of us who where there and watched it all evolve and come to light. From seeing an 8010 playing Pink Floyd in stereo to those of us who went to Slick Track during lunch, and playing games across the campus on our Altos, it is meaningful. However, there is a lot of terminology and technical detail in these pages that an non-technical reader may find boring and not meaningful. Those of us who were at the Xerox during this era will certainly appreciate much of this inside look but, the code, tech terms and such will probably overwhelm a casual non-tech reader.
I want to thank the author first for writing this book and also for the opportunity to review this book with an advance copy through Book Funnel. While I didn't work directly with the author, our paths certainly crossed many times during those years. My team's contribution was the Optical Mouse that shipped with Star. Someone decided that after we did the mouse that Star would ship with them. After the problems with the ball mice and dirt, that was probably a wise decision.