Today marks the 40th year since just over a dozen intrepid Apple II users held a meeting at the ComputerLand in Federal Way, Washington. A letter distributed by the store manager at the time, allowed Val Golding to get the word out and bring together like-minded computer users who were just becoming familiar with their newly-purchased Apple II computers, to share ideas and software, and to help each another get the most out of the Apple II.
Who knew that a one page flyer could start a group which would grow to over 50,000 members, a magazine distribution of over 100,000, and be a multi-million dollar publishing company at the height of the 1980s computing boom.
But it did, indeed, become such a group. Many of the key players from the early years such as Val Golding, Dick Hubert, Bob Clardy, Kathryn Hallgrimson, Dr. Charles Stillman and Don Williams helped drive the path for the fledgling group. The moniker “World’s Largest User Group” did not come easily or without peril, but come it did. For those of us who were lucky to have been a part of that growth, we watched a company that seemingly grew without a lot of fanfare or even accolades. The products the company has produced and published over the years, and the authors that worked with us were the real assets.
From those humble beginnings in Val’s basement, using ComputerLand as our meeting place and having help from countless others, eventually the group considered downtown Renton, Washingon its home. Initially located on 304 Main Street, A.P.P.L.E. expanded down the Kent Valley as both A.P.P.L.E. and the city of Renton grew larger.
Since that time, there have been many ups and downs with both the A.P.P.L.E. user group as well as the computing industry as a whole. From the Don Williams shutdown of the main office in 1990, to the re-birth under the guidance of Dick Hubert, to the closing of the BBS by Norman Dodge, to the second re-birth by under current president Bill Martens, A.P.P.L.E. has been here and continues today supporting users, providing timely news, a 50+ page member magazine, and a variety of new Apple-related books each year.
Members of A.P.P.L.E. can read further about our 40th Anniversary, and what it means to the user group, in this month’s issue of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine which is forthcoming within the week.