This past week Lotus 1-2-3 turned 30 years old. 1-2-3, if you are unaware, was the PC spreadsheet to Visicalc’s Apple version. Visicalc was the original electronic spreadsheet, invented in the late ’70s. Given that, it was Lotus 1-2-3 that made PCs a must-have for business people all those years ago. It was also the forerunner to Excel.
As a numbers lover, spreadsheets and their history is fascinating to me. It is amazing to me that the tools we use for calculation — spreadsheets and calculators — are both as old (or almost) as I am. Even though technology has changed drastically in that time, the same tools still persist.
A few links for those of you interested in the spreadsheet in general and Lotus 1-2-3 in particular:
- Mitch Kapor, Lotus’ CEO, on the anniversary
- Dan Bricklin, Visicalc and spreadsheet inventor, on the anniversary
- Lotus 1-2-3 history video
- Lotus 1-2-3 promotional video (amazing that people could get this excited over a spreadsheet)
- Dan Bricklin on the idea behind Visicalc (more history here)
- History of spreadsheets video
- Wikipedia article on spreadsheets