Gentle Oshman Inspired Loyalty as He Made Work Fun in Silicon Valley

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“M. Kenneth Oshman” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT obituary quoted and cited below.

(p. 19) M. Kenneth Oshman, who helped create one of the early successful technology start-up firms in Silicon Valley, one that embodied the informal management style that came to set the Valley apart from corporate America, died on Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 71.
. . .
In the 1970s and ’80s, Rolm was the best example of an emerging Silicon Valley management style that effectively broke down the barrier between work and play. Setting out to recruit the most talented technical minds, Rolm became known as a great place to work, so much so that it was nicknamed “G.P.W.”
Early on as chief executive, Mr. Oshman took funds normally used for company Christmas parties and used them to help construct a company recreational center, consisting of swimming pools, racquetball courts, exercise rooms and other amenities to attract new employees and underline the image that Rolm was a fun place to work.
But there was a tradeoff, said Keith Raffel, who left a staff position on Capitol Hill to become an assistant to Mr. Oshman at Rolm before starting his own company.
“The quid pro quo was you would be driven and work really hard,” he said.
With a gentle, understated style, Mr. Oshman stood apart from other well-known leaders in Silicon Valley, many of whom were seen as capricious and even tyrannical. He was a mentor to a generation of Silicon Valley technologists and able to inspire a kind of loyalty in his employees not frequently seen in high-tech industries.

For the full obituary, see:
JOHN MARKOFF. “M. Kenneth Oshman, Silicon Valley Mentor, Dies at 71.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., August 10, 2011): A10.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary is dated August 10, 2011 and has the title “M. Kenneth Oshman, Who Brought Fun to Silicon Valley, Dies at 71.”)

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