30 Years of Microsoft Press: Authors Steve Lambert & Joan Lambert, part 1



the first book I wrote for Microsoft Press was presentation graphics on the Macintosh and it was the first
book only because I was given three books to write and
the Mac came out in the middle of it they switched the Macintosh book to the
beginning so they could have it available for the first Mac conference in San Francisco thats when it was released 1984 was when it was it was published in 84 the first book I actually wrote for
Microsoft Press was front page 97 step-by-step in 1997 but I did have the
opportunity to contribute to one of steve's earlier books when I was about this big I made a computer-generated graphic of robots
in love for the Macintosh book for the Macintosh book so yeah that was my first publication I started working at Microsoft Press
through kind of a strange combination of coincidences that started with meeting an old man who had
interesting tales to tell and after listening to them I thought
they should be recorded and made into a book for his
kids I ended up recording a bunch of the stories
making it into a book which we published as a little
publishing house I had no interest in writing I had no feeling that I had any ability to do that but we created this book for him and it
ended up laying around the coffee table in an apartment we lived in that my
girlfriend at the time managed and somebody came by looking for an
apartment that somebody happened to be named Stiskin who had just been brought over from
Japan to start Microsoft Press he picked up the book he was thumbing
through it he said that's an interesting book that's nice who did this she said my boyfriend did it
he's got a computer over here that he did it on he said he has a computer and he writes books and this is 1982 maybe early 83 and so people who wrote books on a computer
weren't all that common I think if you could create a shopping
list on a computer in those days Microsoft Press would hire you so anyway
he left his cards said have this guy stop and chat with me a week or two later I
thought I don't wanna do this but I'll at least stop by and see what
the inside of press looks like inside of Microsoft looks like because this is all in the Northrup building
then there are 480 employees all together in the world and it's a little building out there I stopped and chatted with him and he talked me into taking on the shop writing a book it was
just kind of amazing it was a real coincidental kind of things well as a young child I was
fascinated by watching dad write these books and getting to play with the Macintosh getting
to play with the different computers he was writing on and about and years later we were working together in online training solutions and I was the
Business Development Manager and I signed several contracts for us
to write books for Microsoft Press and I assumed
that Steve and our business partner Joyce Cox would
write all of the books and I signed one contract to many so
there's no one available to write the front page book and I was the only
actual employee who used front page at the time and it kinda fell into my lap
to do that so that was my first book and I was
terrified but I really enjoyed the process and and I think it just went from there then
I picked up the windows book the Windows step by step book and kept going how many have there been now there have been
about old thirty-some although I apparently also write in
Greek and several very interesting languages wonderful there are a few more than that
out there in the lists something you said reminded me of the early days why Microsoft Press was created and what Stiskind who was the original
publisher was asked to do and if anybody is old enough to
remember computer documentation back in the eighties it was mainly graph stuff usually
stapled together it might fancy stuff went into a three-ring binder
it wasn't the same thing as going to a bookstore and getting real books what name was asked to do was bring computer book publishing up to the
standards of real books and that meant good paper
good binding people actually worried about what
font was going into it how the illustrations were done and this was Microsoft Press changed the entire landscape of computer book
publishing and there were very few book published
and then a book or two on a topic how can there be one more book about Excel or whatever there's no room for
another book we already have to two in the world that and now we have
thousands and there's still room for more people
and electronic versions of them all this stuff what is really amazing is
that when name came to this area from Japan he
wandered around the United States for a few months he met people he picked up this staff
Sally and Joyce sally's husband was climbing mount everest I think at the time she
got an invitation to come up here she put a sticker on the windshield of his van parked out front saying moved to
Seattle join me if you want to so he got back in three months that was his hint she couldn't get touch with him anyway name picked up all these people
they came from diverse backgrounds but they were all very good at what each one of them did good editors all these things but none
of them worked on an IBM PC none of them used any Microsoft software
they all had to come in and learn all this stuff they came up to speed on it they spent an
enormous amount of time setting up the typesetting system pre-digital we were doing in those days laying out a book
was cut and paste razor blades wax it's how the books were laid out it
was phenomenal to watch that whole process see how it was done

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