Silicon Cowboys Review – Three Guys, Pie and a Dream the Recipe for Documentary Success

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Silicon Cowboys, from FilmRise and Zipper Bros Films, presents the creation of the modern laptop that humbly began in a Houston Diner over an afternoon slice of pie with three guys who were unknowingly about to begin a revolution.

Written and directed by Jason Cohen, Silicon Cowboys utilizes both reenactments and first person interviews to present the timeline and story behind the world's greatest invention. Silicon Cowboys is based on the book "Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing" by Rod Canion.

Interviews included Venture Capitalist Roger McNamee, Sr. Lecturer, Harvard Business School Howard Anderson, Co-Creator, AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire" Chris Cantwell, EP, HBO's "Silicon Valley," Alec Berg, Founder, Lotus Software Mitch Kapor, Science Writer, New York Times John Markoff and Curator Computer History Museum, Chris Garcia.

Additionally, the original fifteen-member team that would become Compaq Computers were also interviewed. Beginning with the three guys who would draw their Dream Machine on the back of a paper placement at a local diner Co-Founder and CEO Rod Canion, Co-Founder and VP Engineering Jim Harris, Co-Founder/VP, Marketing Bill Murto.

Gathering their staff, they held an incognito job fair drawing from the talent base of colleagues they knew over the years from their careers at the Houston, Texas based Texas Instruments. During the introduction, the potential candidates were told essentially they would have to make a blind decision, as they couldn't explain what they were working on, couldn't show them a prototype and essentially couldn't give them any other information than an invitation to join them and be on the cusp on an exciting venture that had the potential to revolutionize the etch industry. And the documentary doesn't say if they even had that much information.

As a testament to the character and possibly the desire to be involved in something that quite possible even blind had the air, the electricity, of a bigger idea. The dreamers signed a twelve-person team that day bringing the entire staff at Compaq Computers to fifteen.

With this team, the company had structured formation with executives Bill Fargo, Hugh Barnes, David Cabello, Gay Stimac, Steve Flannigan, Mike Swavely, Karen Walker, Ben Rosen, Ross Cooley Steve Ulrich, Charles Lee and Kim Francois all signing on and it was only then they received information on the company.

The next step for our kitchen table dreamers: a prototype. Since the idea of a laptop computer was nearly foreign even in 1984. Computers had yet to see the speed of light revolution that most modern users are accustomed to experiencing annually.

Silicon Cowboys details the rise from living room/kitchen table and humble beginnings of three dreamers to global giant and its speed of sound growth! So how did they do it? The first laptop was in reality a desktop server with a handle and a small screen with a detachable keyboard.

So in front of the world, in 1984, our CEO and Founder Ron Canion stepped in from of the media and unveiled an extraordinary contraption. With the look of a singer sewing machine at 27lbs with a small handle Compaq Computers laid the case on its side, flipped two side toggles releasing the bottom of the case exposing both a hidden keyboard on the other side of the bottom panel and a small computer screen.

It was revolutionary! Beating the computer industry which consisted on IBM at the time and stepping out into the world with a luggable laptop. The laptop computer was born. Compaq couldn't produce them fast enough.

Many companies had tried to copy IBM's code and come up with the same only to be stopped by the formidable industry giant and beaten as they lawyered up pounding on the little guys, the upstarts, the dreamers, until they backed away. And IBM would try that this time also.

As Compaq was living large, the laptop was losing weight, and soon the 27lbs luggable was streamlined, slimmed down and it would take a good five years for the luggable to lose the excess weight and become packable.

In that time IBM showed up and attempted the lawyer up shake down, as the lawyers arrived in pairs, 32 lawyers later, GC Bill Fargo would relay the information and soon Compaq, flush with tech money, the nearest thing to Texas Gold, paid to have the giant step out of the ring which they did.

Dreams come at a price. And while our three normal guys who would rise to the top of the technology industry, looked like they had it all and for a while they did, soon the demands of the 24/7 commitment took its toll and families were falling apart. The cost of the standard bearer, in any industry, can be a fine line between stratospheric success and the deterioration of home life and to these three the success of the laptop was costly on the homefront.

Silicon Cowboys is a must see documentary. More than the story of dreamers, or of the tech industry, it is the story of an upstart company, called COMPAQ Computers, that decided over pie (it must have been the sugar) to venture into the David and Goliath ring built by IBM and fight for a market space.

Little did they know not only would the survive they would win and force IBM out of the laptop computer space.  The documentary presents an astonishing victory from a small upstart company with a singular big idea that worked.

Silicon Cowboys is exceptional. The backstory of the laptop with some reference to Steve Jobs whom all assume with the success of his creation the laptop was all him also. Silicon Cowboys fills in the blanks of technology industry's archaic 1984 history. What is so stunning as I pound out this review on a laptop the evolution to revolutionize the industry is only just over thirty years old. 

Silicon Cowboys is packed with archival footage of 1980's big hair, big ideas, big shoulders and the background of the 27lbs big luggable laptop.

Silicon Cowboys opens September 16, 2016. See it!  A MUST SEE Documentary!

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Trump Meets With PM Abe; Comey Media Whirlwind; ISIS/Kabul; UK/Commonwealth; SW Airlines; Columbine; Barbara Bush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently won an unprecedented fourth term, to the White House to reaffirm the dedication to global partnerships, engage in bi-lateral discussions and speak with the press.

     
  • ARTHUR CHRISTMAS Director Sarah Smith Prepares For Holiday Happiness

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    ARTHUR CHIRSTMAS, from COLUMBIA PICTURES, SONY PICTURES ANIMATION and AARDMAN PRODUCTIONS lights up the screen with this charming, fast action, holiday adventure filled with all the happiness of the yuletide season.

     
  • Karl Lagerfeld, Iconic Fashion Designer, Has Died

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel and Fendi Creative Director and iconic Fashion Designer who influenced generations with his creations, has passed away one month after his final collection debuted at Paris Fashion Week. He was 85.

     
  • LA/Maui/NYC Arts: Morrison Hotel Gallery Rocks Out with the Rolling Stones in the Exhibition Keith, Unfiltered

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In 1968, the then-tour manager for the Rolling Stones introduced "the greatest rock and roll band in the world." If half a century of packed stadiums, chart-topping albums, and worldwide acclaim are any indication, the Stones have more than lived up to the moniker.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Issues Sanctions; Air Asia; 2016 President Race; Syrian Civil War; Mario Cuomo

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order authorizing additional sanctions against Kim Jong Un and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in response to the unprovoked, financially destabilizing and destructive cyber attack against SONY Pictures Entertainment.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Budget Deadlock; Obama Hosts Netanyahu; Phone Meet with Iranian President; Diplomats Expelled From Venezuela

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama continued to push his foreign policy agenda as the government prepared for a financial showdown with House Republicans refusing to pass a budget that would include implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.

     
  • Shiver Review – A Terrifying Trip into a Serial Killer’s Mind

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    SHIVER,” from Cyclone Productions and Bandersnatch Films, presents a nail-biting, psychological thriller that pits a blood thirsty serial killer against the skill, wit and determination of the detectives and a single surviving victim.

     
  • Playboy Mansion Sells to Neighbor; Allows Bunny Patriarch Lifetime Living

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hugh Hefner sold his Holmby Hills Mansion for a cool $100Million, half of the original listing price, to his neighbor, Daren Metropoulos, the owner of Hostess Snack Foods. The Playboy Enterprises founder will live out his days dolling out $1M annually for expenses.

     
  • Spring Gifting: Moosh-Moosh Collectibles Certified Toy Fresh

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The newest "it toy" since Moosh-Moosh™ launched its cuddly buddy collection earlier this year, kids and kidults have certified the squishable, cuddliest pillows Toy Fresh on Instagram as kids and celebrities can't get enough of these pillow pals.

     
  • World News: A China with Two Faces

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    For hiding the appearance and the danger of the coronavirus in the first hours of its spread, the Chinese regime confirmed that it was indeed a dictatorship whose modern appearances masked the bases of the regime: authority, mistrust and worship of secrecy.

     
  • Celebrity Photos: Joel Edgerton, Lucy Liu, Daisy Ridley, Parker Sawyers Announce Medalists at 2016 Student Academy Awards®

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tonight honored 17 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 43rd Student Academy Awards® ceremony, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. 

     
  • Casting By Review – Meet The Unsung Heroes of The Entertainment Industry

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Casting By,” from Creative Chaos Ventures and Tashtego Films, brings to the screen the back story behind of the rise of the modern day Casting Director and the evolution of the Entertainment Industry.

     
  • Celebrity Photos:Kering and the Festival de Cannes Celebrate Women

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 'Women in Motion' program, designed to highlight and celebrate the contribution of women to cinema, Kering and the Festival de Cannes celebrated the commitment and exceptional career of the American actress Jane Fonda, a two-time Academy Award Winner, producer and philanthropist.

     
  • Former Presidents, World Leaders, Pay Tribute To George H.W. Bush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the news that former President George H.W. Bush had passed away, a steady stream of accolades praising the leader as a humble, dedicated, public service, who remained faithfully dedicated to his family, his wife and the life they built.

     
  • Eastern Seaboard Recovers after Apocalyptic Hurricane

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hard-hit New Yorkers, known for their resilience, bowed to the killer storm as Sandy battered the World Financial Center with an unprecedented power usually reserved for the canyons most infamous financial brokers.