It Was Like Sending My Son Off to College…

By De Anna Mekwunye

D.Mekwunye

1992 was an eventful year for me and for Wind River.  I started with the company on June 1st and within several months I learned that the small private company that I started with was now planning an IPO.  Once we announced that we would be going public, many of our lives changed.  A group of us from the executive offices, marketing and finance almost lived at 1010 Atlantic (the old address prior to our campus today) day and night to get our CEO Jerry Fiddler ready for an IPO roadshow.  There was so much to do.  We had to craft a presentation that could sell our story to Wall Street.  This wasn’t going to be an easy task – how do you explain what a real-time operating system is?  The world-wide-web wasn’t readily available then. Wind River didn’t have a website at the time.  It wasn’t like people could go to Google and look up terms like RTOS, ANSI, embedded systems or ubiquitous technology. We were using Mac desktop computers and fax machines.  Instead of cell phones, we had beepers.  Email simply wasn’t the main mode of communication at the time.  Nevertheless, we all worked tirelessly to develop a mature, professional looking presentation that would convey who were, what our value proposition was, and how our products were superior to the market. Our presentation wasn’t to be presented on a laptop using PowerPoint either…we used a slide projector!  Once we were all happy with the presentation, I took the files to a vendor in Berkeley who made actual slides to be used with a slide projector. 

Just to be safe, we had two sets of slides created for our upcoming IPO roadshow.  After months of hard work, we were now getting ready for the roadshow and IPO in April 1993. Everything seemed to be coming together well, but timing was a bit of concern.  At the time, Jerry’s wife Missy was expecting their third child any day. We also had to make sure that Jerry looked professional and presentable. He definitely needed to get a haircut and his beard trimmed—this was not an easy task and one that nobody wanted to voluntarily undertake.  We also had to make sure that he had a proper business suit- no Hawaiian shirts, shorts or flip-flops.  These were actual topics of concern at many of our pre-roadshow meetings just to make sure that everything came off without a hitch.  Four days before the IPO, Missy goes into labor and Jerry delivers their daughter Zoe at home.  After the arrival of the baby, Jerry and Missy even entertained a small group of friends – that same night!  Amazing!

When the day finally comes to send Jerry, David Wilner and Dale Wilde off to do the roadshow, the limousine I had previously reserved is ready and waiting outside of our offices.  As we did one last mad run around the offices to make sure that everything was packed, a small group of us gathered in the lobby to see them off.  We were all beaming with pride with great big smiles, wishing them well.  I felt like we as a company were growing up!  It felt as if I was sending my son off to college.  1992-1993 was truly an exciting time at Wind River.

 Happy anniversary Wind River!

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