Boston, Home of E-Commerce

3/4/08

For your afternoon viewing pleasure, may I commend to you the following video from Alex Randall, co-founder of the Boston Computer Exchange.

To commemorate what he says is the 25th anniversary of the very first e-commerce transaction, Randall sat down in front of a video camera to tell the tale of how he and his wife, Cameron Hall, set up an online marketplace for computers in their living room and, on March 5, 1983, sold the first one to a customer in Chile. It’s a fun story filled with nostalgia gear (remember the days of the Apple I, the Osborne, and 300 BPS modems?), and a great reminder of the Boston area’s key role in computer and internet history. Happy birthday, e-commerce!

And now, for those of you who want to dispute Randall’s claim to having facilitated the first online transaction—and I know you’re out there—fire away.

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  • http://www.water-island.com Alex Randall

    Nice story guys.
    Anyone want to argue, please write to me.
    The key event was the first upload of the first database of products for sale to any public user system.
    The first sale was March 5th…
    The data upload was the first of its kind.

  • Priscilla Purinton

    A couple of people with a vision… and the will to make it happen! Hard to remember when e-commerce was so new . Now it’s the best way to shop! Thanks for a great trip in the way-back machine!

  • Suzanne Darrow

    Happy Anniversary, Alex! Nice job with the video, you make an excellent case.

  • http://actmanre.com Ed Shugart

    Extremely interesting! Having met you this past summer in St. Thomas after you had purchased some items from my wife’s e-commerce website, I know the above is a true story.

    Well done!

  • Dave Hingston

    What a hoot! I recall the buzz of those days as clearly as I recall the hum of my LISA when I cranked her up. Now if only you could get a penny for every e-transaction…

  • http://www.financialfoghorn.com Dr. Gonzo

    Who…?
    Eh?
    Computers?
    It’ll never work, bring back the quill pen!!!

    Dr. Gonzo