|CPU:||Z80 @ 2.5MHz|
|Notes:||This system is untested. It has an SD Systems SBC-100 CPU board, SD Systems Versafloppy disk controller, qty 5 Godbout EconoRAM II 8KB boards, Godbout Econoram VII, SD Systems ExpandoRAM, and a Solid State Music IO-4 board.|
I was contacted by Scott Collier, who was a salesman at TEI. He contributed this note about his time there:
Here is a TEI catalog from 1978.
I worked at TEI between 1979 and 1981. They hired a group of young, aggressive hopefuls, with very little computer sales experience, then put us through months of rigorous training on computer hardware, operating systems and software. Finally management divided the country into four sales regions and turned us out into the market. We were basically inside sales, but after about six months and some success, we began traveling to the customers. I had everything west of the Mississippi, concentrating mainly in California.
I started selling the MCS 112 and 124 mainframe boxes which were very popular! The market niche was exactly what you are doing, to populate with boards made by others and then match up with a monitor/keyboard, printer and some application. We sold through the Byte Shops and Computerland and many other independents. We also managed to get on board with some distributors. The box was stout, with a tough power supply and every reliable motherboard. Later we sold individual components including: a dual 8' drive box and then an integrated box with floppy drives, monitor and keyboard. We sold an OEM printer engine as well.
We operated out of a 60,000 sq/ft building with most of it dedicated to manufacturing, and about a third of it offices and demo area. Manufacturing was vertically integrated, basically meaning we designed the products, stamped out the sheet metal, painted and applied the logo in-house. The boards were also made in-house by an army assemblers and then rolled through a wave soldering process. Warner Swasey provided the power supply. Engineering tested and corrected any initial problems, then orders were sent to shipping. We also had a research and development team that was always adding to the pile of future products. Wallace Berry headed up that group.
The company officers and sales team attended Comdex and the National Computer Conference starting in 1980 or '81, and one or two years after. The shows were attended by investors and inventors who crowded our booth thirsty for anything we could tell or sell! Many of these people knew nothing of computers but were blown away with what we and the other small manufacturers were peddling. I was fortunate to have been able to experience the industry at a time when it was in a crazy growth curve. The players were all passionate, young entrepreneur's, ambitious sales people, techies and software developers (often showing up in flip flops and beards), all focused on climbing their individual ladders to success. Many of them became famous in later years. I met many interesting people, and saw lots of amazing things that TEI products were used for. One of my favorite customer locations was the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena California. This was the time when Voyager I and II were being launched, and I got to tour areas of the campus few people were privy to. My customers loved to have me visit their businesses and see demonstrations of their products. I saw Bill Gates getting out of a limousine at the National Computer Conference in New York, and he looked about 16 years old! I saw Jobs and Wozniak in California rolling around on skates at the various computer shows, single sided, single density 8' disks evolve to double sided, double density and then the smaller ones, the early development of network communications applications and IBM and the other large corporations enter the market. It was a fabulous time to be starting out in the computer world and, though I didn't make very much money, it was a dream job for sure!