So, I was a teenage computer geek. Which is, I guess, how maybe 40 million teenagers might describe themselves today. But back in 1979 when I first got a computer there can only have been a few thousand of us spread across the planet.
The following year, when I was 15, after writing a couple of articles for computer magazines, I was asked to write a book. Soon, I had a proper literary agent, advances, royalties and similar adultness. By the time of my third book when I was 16, I was selling 25,000 copies and earning £30,000 – maybe the salary of a successful estate agent.
When I was 17, I had several books and bits of shrinkwrapped software under my belt. Then, all of a sudden, the media got hold of me. In truth there wasn’t much of a story:
Q. So, you’ve written books about computers. Aren’t they frightfully complicated?
Q. And you’re only 16. Isn’t that terribly young?
I mean, I would try to be more polite, but it did seem a bit odd. Anyway, one embarrassing tidbit from that time is this video, that helpfully preserves some fine comedy hair and jeans for future generations to laugh over:
So, why am I revealing this slightly embarrassing artifact now? Well, after the announcement, I was delighted to get an overwhelmingly positive response, with only a couple of (entirely reasonable) questions. The questions were kind of about my intentions, and how things were going to unfold over the future. The sort of stuff that people who know me well would have a fair idea about. So I figured the best way to answer those questions is to start to make a bit more effort to show who I am, and where I came from.