At least that’s what many of my friends and colleagues thought.
Thirty years ago this month, in October 1983, I left AT&T Bell Labs and started Telecom Analysis Systems (TAS) in my basement. I was joined by colleagues Steve Moore and Charles Simmons. The three of us were determined to see if we had what it took to build our own electronics manufacturing business from scratch. It was the journey of a lifetime, and did much to define who I am today. I remember and appreciate all who helped me achieve the amazing success that TAS became, most especially my co-founders, Steve and Charles. We faced a tough, challenging proving ground, and we came through it tougher, wiser, and richer. Not bad.
I left a secure management job at the world’s premier R&D company to roll the dice on a basement business startup. Though from the outside that may have seemed like a tough decision, it really wasn’t. If I hadn’t tried to start my own company, I never would have forgiven myself.
To commemorate the anniversary of my departure from Ma Bell, I’m reproducing a chapter from “Proving Ground: A Memoir” right here. At only three pages, it’s the shortest chapter in the whole 488-page book. It’s titled simply, “Leaving Bell Labs.”