Friday, November 07, 2014

What I Love About the Grateful Dead Community

I attended the Grateful Dead conference ("So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead") yesterday at San Jose State University and will return for more today and tomorrow. There was a lot of star power there, including Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, whose memoir will appear next year. Lyricist John Perry Barlow gave a presentation, and I met Carolyn (Mountain Girl) Garcia, who's working on her memoir for St. Martin's Press. Lots of great authors and journalists, too many to itemize here, and any number of inner-circle folks from the Dead's label, publishing operation, archive, etc.

I loved every minute of it. But what I really love about the Dead community has (almost) nothing to do with star power.

When I arrived, a professorial gentleman was unloading boxes and sorting out lanyards behind the registration desk. I glanced at his name tag but couldn't quite place him. I later realized I had interviewed him over the telephone for my book. His name is Allen Baum, and he was instrumental in starting a little company called Apple Computer. Specifically, Allen brought Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to his first meeting of the Homebrew Computing Club, which Time magazine later called "the crucible for an entire industry." That's where Woz met Steve Jobs. Allen also advised Woz to start Apple rather than work for others.

THIS is the guy handing out the name tags at the Dead conference? Yep.

BTW, the photo shows Woz, Allen, and others reflecting on the Homebrew Computing Club. Allen is in the middle.

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