Consider this post a piece of bonus material for David Bunnell’s book proposal about his career in tech publishing up to the early 1990s, which I posted yesterday.
Another computer magazine tycoon, Wayne Green (1922-2013), makes several cameos in David’s manuscript. When discussing IDG’s proposal that Apple fund the creation of Macworld, Steve Jobs brings up IDG having acquired Green’s magazines and says they look like “yesterday’s leftover oatmeal.” Later in the negotiations, Jobs talks about the unnerving possibility of Macworld‘s founders dying and IDG bringing in Green to run the publication. And when David attends the Mac launch on January 24, 1984, he runs into Green, who is toting two Radio Shack Model 100 laptops.
Wayne was a fabulous character and a preternaturally gifted huckster, and I’m afraid his perfunctory Wikipedia entry doesn’t capture that at all or even just cover his long career in adequate detail. He published 73, a long-running magazine for ham radio enthusiasts, which—like his later publications—featured his endless editorials on any topic that came into his head. Along with his ex-wife Virginia, he was involved with the founding of Byte magazine, though the exact nature of his contribution became a bone of contention after the magazine was sold—by Virginia and editor Carl Helmers, not Wayne—to McGraw-Hill. His other magazines covered topics as diverse as Radio Shack’s TRS-80 computers, cold fusion, stuff to do in New Hampshire, and compact discs. He started a software company, Instant Software, and acquired a chain of software retail stores, Softwaire (sic) Centre. He boasted of having cofounded Mensa, the organization for high-IQ people. He ran as an candidate for vice president (yes, of the U.S.) in 1988, sans running mate for the top job. A gleeful conspiracy theorist, he didn’t believe NASA landed on the moon and claimed to know what really happened to Amelia Earhart. His books included a guide to healthy living that came with a money-back guarantee if you followed its advice and didn’t live to at least 100. (Wayne himself came closer than most of us, making it to 91.)