Test Your Nerd Knowledge! — May 10, 2022

Here’s a review of this week’s questions:

  1. What information technology services provider was founded in 1988 by a one-time Presidential candidate?
  2. Who is Travis Kalanick and what service did he develop in 2009?
  3. What is the name of the computer peripheral manufacturer that dominated the floppy disk drive market in the 1970s?


And here are the answers:

  1. Perot Systems. After his huge success with Electronic Data Systems, the company he started in 1962, but before his entry into politics in 1992, Ross Perot, along with a group of investors, founded Perot Systems in 1988. The company helps businesses create and manage their technology networks, with services including consulting, systems integration, and operation, primarily in the energy and healthcare verticals. Perot, the Texas billionaire who became famous overnight when he decided to take on then-President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in the 1992 Presidential race, sold the company to Dell, Inc. in 2009.
  2. Uber Technologies, Inc. Fans of the Showtime series “Super Pumped” are familiar with the story of Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, portrayed by Joseph Gordon Levitt. Kalanick’s story, while fascinating, may serve as a cautionary tale to upstart entrepreneurs in the tech industry. The company blew up in its first five years, but by 2014, Kalanick’s reported behavior and reputation for fostering a culture of toxic masculinity, bullying and misogyny started damaging his brand. Numerous other challenges began piling up, causing him to resign, by demand of his key investors, in 2017.
  3. Shugart Associates. After a distinguished career at both IBM and Memorex, Alan Shugart struck out on his own to start Shugart Associates in 1973. After attempting to launch a small business computer system like the IBM 3740, Shugart’s team narrowed their focus to serve the growing need for floppy disks and drives. In 1976, they introduced the Shugart SA-400 Minifloppy disk drive, which retailed for $390. Success followed quickly, to the point where the company was shipping 4,000 drives per day. The company was sold to Xerox in 1977 for $41 million.