Alan Corwin, 1946-2021: Anchor Laptop founder was an early pioneer in Laptop gross sales and Seattle tech

Alan Corwin began Anchor Laptop or computer Methods in Seattle in 1981 as a Personal computer profits and teaching spot. (Twitter Photo via @ShipInTheKnight)

Seattle’s tech heritage is populated with revolutionary figures these kinds of as Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Jeff Bezos, whose perform on anything from program to online retail altered the planet. Alan Corwin did not start out Microsoft or Amazon, but he was a noteworthy entrepreneur himself as the founder of Anchor Laptop or computer Systems, an early seller of personal desktops in the region in the 1980s.

Corwin died on July 7 at the age of 75.

An obituary revealed this 7 days said the 6-foot, 4-inch redhead “stood out in a crowd” and that he experienced a exclusive spirit combing competitive drive, wit and kindness.

Born in Rhode Island on April 30, 1946, Corwin grew up on a modest dairy farm. His household moved to Springfield, Mass., exactly where Corwin attended large university and then neighborhood higher education. He labored as a dental technician in the Navy throughout Vietnam and afterward painted bridges prior to traveling to the Pacific Northwest and keeping for great.

“The ‘Seattle Freeze’ did not freeze out Al,” the obit reads.

“He managed a real estate business office and he just fell in enjoy the very first time he sat down with a personal computer system,” said Jennifer Rubinstein, Corwin’s longtime lover, who advised GeekWire that she commenced dating Corwin in 1995.

Corwin started off Anchor in 1981 as Seattle was emerging from the financial results of the “Boeing Bust” and Microsoft was a younger enterprise on the verge of upending the world of software program. From a place in Seattle’s Pioneer Square community, Anchor marketed Kaypro brand PCs and supplied schooling and outreach to Seattle-region businesses and prospects at a time when pretty much no a single realized a lot about computer systems and what they could do.

A Kaypro II Computer. (Flickr Picture via CyberHades)

Caren Park was Anchor’s director of teaching in those people days and figures she was all over employee No. 6. She experienced moved to Seattle from the Bay Spot when an proprietor of the retail chain ComputerLand was wanting to open a education facility in the place. That work didn’t go any place and Park credits a gentleman named Jim Mitchell with connecting her to Anchor.

“I commenced off by providing seminars to men and women who would appear into the store, something that I’d been accomplishing in San Francisco,” Park reported. “It was just a pair blocks from the Kingdome. I was parking in their parking lot and walking around.”

By Park’s recollection, Anchor was 1 of the initial Seattle-region corporations to sell PCs out of a storefront locale and “definitely the initially people to lease computer systems west of the Mississippi.”

Park claimed Corwin was generally pleasant to anyone who wandered via the store doors. She claimed his search was unmistakable.

“Tall, gangly. That carrot major,” Park reported of Corwin’s purple hair. “He often had a smile.”

Alan Corwin in the course of the Anchor Personal computer times in the early 1980s. (Photograph courtesy of Jennifer Rubinstein)

Corwin’s obit stated the Grateful Dead as just one of his passions, and Park remembered a time when the iconic band performed in Tacoma, Wash., and Corwin and other folks from do the job used Park’s residence in close proximity to SeaTac as a jumping off place for likely to the concert.

“They weren’t hippies in the sense that they have been lazy men and women that just sat close to and smoked pot all working day,” Rubinstein said of Corwin and his pals. “They have been very, very hardworking people today. But they deemed themselves almost to be portion of the counterculture, I assume.”

There were being programs to franchise Anchor throughout the U.S., Park mentioned, but she left in 1983 when she was employed absent by a firm in Canada. She inevitably taught in Canada, labored as a consultant, wrote software package, worked at KING in Seattle and also Microsoft, and these days life in Sammamish, Wash.

Anchor did incorporate shops in Bellevue and Tacoma, but by the mid to late 1980s, Rubinstein explained the business enterprise fell on challenging situations. The strain to increase and fast variations in the Computer market took their toll and Corwin was still left holding the bag, and a pile of financial debt owed to the IRS. Rubinstein claimed more of a company qualifications may have helped Corwin thrive, but he was never ever bitter about the consequence.

Newspaper advertisements for Anchor Pc from the 1980s. The image on the appropriate depicted the company’s historic Pioneer Square area in Seattle. (Images courtesy of Jennifer Rubinstein)

Corwin bounced about to several jobs in the several years that followed at places these as Boeing, Washington Mutual, AT&T and with the point out of Washington. He worked for Edmonds, Clean.-centered Innovaura Corp., in which he contributed to a 2019 patent for a magnetic discipline imaging program. And he was a mentor with South Sound/Tacoma Score, where he served aspiring business people and company homeowners with tips.

“He was an incredibly cheerful, optimistic human being, but I imagine the thing that truly got his juices operating all the time was to be involved in these projects,” Rubinstein claimed.

Rubinstein stated the first Pc salesman finally migrated over to Apple solutions and he maintained a lasting interest in technology.

“One detail I imagine is type of incredible — I really do not even know what to do with his Twitter account — but he acquired on to Twitter in 2012 and he has like 17,000 followers,” Rubinstein explained. “Just some dude sitting at dwelling, generally BS’ing and criticizing Trump. I imply, a ton of persons do that and they have like 5 followers,” she laughed.

Rubinstein labored for the federal governing administration as a civil rights investigator and as an asylum officer. She mentioned Corwin’s totally free spirit was the source of a minimal bit of competition in their romance mainly because he was not preserving for retirement. But he always was great at coming up with income for his share of the house loan and other charges.

She mentioned Corwin believed retirement sounded tedious, and that he would usually maintain operating.

“It did just appear like at some level he was certain to strike some sort of jackpot, and that never ever happened,” she explained. “In the remaining evaluation, I believe there was some thing just attractive about the reality that he was often ready to do what he wished to do.”

According to his obituary, a sendoff for Corwin will be held at the Tacoma Elks Lodge at Allenmore Golf Course on Aug. 8 at 3 p.m.

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