Marty Browne was one of the first employees hired by Sandy Kurtzig, Founder and CEO of ASK Computer Systems. Kurtzig envisioned and developed MANMAN, a computer system for manufacturers to run their operations. The system was first offered in the mid 1970s as a timesharing service from Tymshare. Then Kurtzig formed ASK, which offered MANMAN on the Hewlett-Packard (HP) minicomputer and then ported it to the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) minicomputer. Browne was hired when Kurtzig was running the company out of her basement. The company saw meteoric growth in the 1970s and 1980s as more and more manufacturers automated their operations and finances. This interview discusses Browne’s upbringing in the small town of Medford, Oregon, where he lettered in three sports in high school; his stint at Stanford, where he most enjoyed math, philosophy and creative writing; his temporary job that led to his introduction to Sandy Kurtzig; his career at ASK, where, for 20 years, he focused primarily on managing the programming staff for MANMAN using modular programming techniques; and his ventures since leaving the company in 1994.
Browne, Martin; Software business history; ASPs (Application Service Providers); client server; DBMS (Database Management Systems); Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC); Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); FORTRAN; Hewlett Packard (HP); Ingres Corporation; Kurtzig, Sandy; MANMAN (manufacturing system); minicomputers; modular programming; MRP (Material Requirements Planning); SAAS (Software as a Service); timesharing; Tymshare, Inc.; UNIX