50, and proud of it

Computerworld was founded in 1967

Normally, we don't feel the need to talk about our age. But this year, we're trumpeting the fact that Computerworld is having its golden anniversary.

Welcome to Computerworld's 50th year of publishing!

Computerworld 50th Anniversary [2017] Computerworld

Fifty years ago in 1967, our founder, Patrick J. McGovern, was a sharp 30-year-old entrepreneur with a photographic memory and a vision about how technology could change the world. He had launched the research firm International Data Corp., now known as IDC, three years earlier. McGovern debuted Computerworld as the published results of an annual business computer census survey after sweet-talking his way into customer lists from the largest computer companies of the day. And before long, Computerworld had 125,000 paid subscribers. (For more information about the beginnings of Computerworld and Patrick McGovern's fascinating career, see: "At the start: Pat McGovern and the birth of Computerworld.")

The first full editorial issue of Computerworld was launched June 21, 1967. From the start, McGovern intended for it to be a news magazine that delivered computer industry news faster than the competition. After a couple of monthly issues, he made it a weekly publication. And for most of its long history, Computerworld stuck to that frequency.

Computerworld has practiced quality journalism throughout its 50-year history; editors and reporters have always been encouraged to pull no punches, to debunk hype, to dig out the truth. Most of Computerworld's editorial staffers have been on the job for at least 10 or so years. Several have been on staff for 15. A handful have had more than 20 work anniversaries here. All are part of a close-knit group who work toward excellence every day and enjoy being part of the tradition. For more on the Computerworld staff, see our Editorial beats/contacts page.

We think we've come up with a uniquely Computerworld way to celebrate the magazine's golden anniversary. Instead of having a single special package with scads of articles that would be overwhelming online, we give you the 50th anniversary installment plan. Every month throughout 2017 we will be releasing a new package of anniversary-related content. We are unearthing videos from Computerworld's past, which include numerous tech luminaries; collections of computer industry-related satirical cartoons penned by two different artists; past and present interviews of industry bigwigs; a small selection of our finest articles handpicked by our editors; a "50 years of technology" timeline; a look at the biggest tech flops; and a humorous collection of decades-old print advertisements that ran in Computerworld (an update of the most popular story from our 40th anniversary package). Watch for even more in June, the actual anniversary month.

A lot to celebrate

I got into the business of computer publishing in 1983 when I became fascinated with the power of computers to connect the world. Pat McGovern had that vision many years earlier. His first foray into international publishing came in 1973, when he launched Shukan Computer in Japan, the first international version of Computerworld. IDG was among the very first businesses into China in 1980. Not surprisingly, my first publishing job was at IDG.

IDC and Computerworld were just the tip of the iceberg. Over 50 years, McGovern built a large empire consisting of three primary groups: IDG communications, the publishing arm (including Computerworld); the IDC research arm; and IDG Ventures, an investment firm that focuses on up-and-coming technology businesses. And that is just in the U.S.; IDG operates in 97 countries around the globe.

McGovern was often affectionately referred to as "Uncle Pat," but never to his face, of course. He believed in loyalty — and he inspired it in his employees. For decades he walked around many of the campuses of his various companies shaking the hands of every employee, one by one, chatting with them and handing them a holiday card containing a generous holiday bonus. He passed away in 2014, beloved by IDG's employees and with his stamp on the company culture strong. It bespoke honor, integrity and intelligence. He is sorely missed.

Earlier this month, China Oceanwide and IDG Capital agreed to purchase IDG. Something like this was long Pat McGovern's plan. He wanted to convert his equity in IDG into a philanthropic endeavor largely devoted to the study of the human brain, one of his lifelong passions. That transition is under way right now. So Computerworld's latest chapter is one of rebirth.

We are ready for the future. Bring on the next 50 years!

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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