Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

A First Pre-VisiCalc Attempt at Electronic Spreadsheets

Computerized spreadsheets were conceived in the early 1960s when Richard Mattessich at the University of California at Berkeley conceptualized the electronic simulation of business accounting techniques in his Simulation of the Firm through a Budget Computer Program (1964). Mattessich envisaged the use of “accounting matrices” to provide a rectangular array of bookkeeping figures that would […]

Lotus 1-2-3 – A Star is Born

It was during the November of 1982 on the giant floor of the Comdex show in Las Vegas that Lotus 1-2-3 would first make its mark. While VisiCalc for the Apple II had shown both the viability of digital spreadsheets and the new “microcomputers,” Lotus 1-2-3 showed that spreadsheets would become indispensable for modern organizations […]

Digital Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Ease and Epistemology

To pick up the story, I started this analysis of the spreadsheet looking at the emergence of Lotus 1-2-3 within the context of the 1980s. This included the importance of the personal computer and the Reagan Revolution – characterized the by the commercialization of Cold War technologies, and the globalization and increasing financialization of individual […]

Microsoft and the IBM PC Case Study: The Deal of the Century

The microcomputer was starting to become popular in the late 1970s and finally caught the attention of IBM. Initially resistant, “Big Blue” became concerned that they were “losing the hearts and minds” of their clients. However, when the Apple II starting to show up in a number of corporate environments, IBM officials were concerned about […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Numeracy and the Power of Zero

Previously, I explored the electronic spreadsheet as a meaning-making application that was central to the financial explosion of the 1980s and its economic aftershocks. Spreadsheets framed and produced information and meaning consequential to monetary and organizational practices as they became part of the daily routines of information workers. In my last post, I explored the […]

Steven Levy’s A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge

This article was very influential in my early thinking about the spreadsheet and cited in my PhD dissertation. It was published as Chapter 10 in Tom Forester’s (ed) Computers in the Human Context: Information Technology, Productivity and People. Basil Blackwell. 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK. Steven Levy gave me permission to put it […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – The Killer App of the Reagan Revolution – Part 1

The major feature of the “Reagan Revolution,” according to Peter Gowan’s Global Gamble, was to “put money-capital in the policy saddle for the first time in decades.”[1] From the time of his presidential inauguration in early 1981 and throughout his eight-year tenure, Reagan’s administration sought to propel the financial sector through widespread policy changes designed […]

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  • About Me

    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

    You can reach me at:

    anthony.pennings@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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