Missed opportunities, journalistic regrets, and Capn Crunch


Journalistic regrets? One thing I could always kick myself for is having run into Cap’n Crunch aka John Draper (many years back) both at a payphone booth in Goa at Calangute and at Porvorim (where Ricky’s office was then located)…. and not realising the role this man had played in the history of technology. The Wall Street Journal has a nice story titled. The Twlight Years of Cap’n Crunch: Silicon Valley legend John Draper made his name with brains and branks, before slipping to the margins:

In the decades since Mr. Draper gained fame for his hacking skills as a “phone phreak” — he once claimed to have gotten then-President Nixon on the phone — Silicon Valley has aged and matured. Pioneers that Mr. Draper worked with, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, have gone on to become wealthy members of the business establishment.

THEN THERE is “Cap’n Crunch,” part of an aging community of high-tech wunderkinds. Once tolerated, even embraced, for his eccentricities, Mr. Draper now lives on the margins of this affluent world, still striving to carve out a role in the businessmain stream.

Although his appearance and hand-to-mouth existence belie it, Mr. Draper developed one of the first word-processing programs as well as the technology that made possible voice-activated telephone menus. He receives invitations to speak to foreign governments and international conferences. At a recent celebration of Apple Inc.’s 30th anniversary, Mr. Draper, sporting a straggly beard, stood to contribute a story, causing the room to break into applause.

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