Companies that used to make it in Massachusetts

Make It in Massachusetts - early 1980s TV campaign

If you're old enough to remember when Ed King was governor, you probably remember his "Make it in Massachusetts" campaign. Eileen O'Leary pointed us to this collection of ad spots from the campaign, featuring a number of companies that no longer make it in Massachusetts.

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      I remember

      We used to sing you can fake it, fake it in Massachusetts.

      The good old days.

      Pecking order

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      I remember shopping at Caldor's (as we called it) and not KMart because, well, we weren't THAT poor. Ah, the vanity of being lower middle class.

      Similarly

      I know people today who shop at Target and say "Well at least it's not Wal-Mart."

      I wouldn't call it vanity

      More like mental survival - albeit at the cost of someone else. Kind of like the horrible trash family in To Kill A Mockingbird are somehow ennobled by their not blackness.

      To Be Fair

      One of the biggest industries in Massachusetts; the Financial Industry / Money Management industry has forced some of these businesses out of existence through pursuit of shareholder value in mergers. The Globe was sold owing to Trusts in the Taylor family expiring. Bank of New England and Shawmut got caught by the real estate collapse of 1988. The ripple of absorbing them by other banks into Bank of Boston and Fleet gave us Bank of America around here.

      That being said the economy was in the pits in 1980 around here. It was Reagan's defense build up that sent the economy flying through the western suburbs up and rippled out into the rest of Greater Boston. Southern New Hampshire went from being Podunk to being Podunk with dentistry as a result of the same defense related build up.

      If only Digital and Polaroid had been smart. Polaroid wasn't just Waltham. It had a big presence in New Bedford. Digital thought they were going to be the biggest company in the world. They were buying land and buildings willy nilly in the late 1970's. Did you know the Pinehills in Plymouth was going to be Digital's next big manufacturing area?

      Bill Gates and Steve Jobs crushed that.

      I like it better today than 1980 around here.

      Yes, but

      The Globe as we all now took, excuse me, was sold to the Times and became a NY company until the Low Talker took to real estate back from them and whatever was left of the newsroom.

      It is awfully cute to see them having meetings at 53 State now in the area just above the lobby when you are the actual local newsbreaker.

      Your history on DEC is a bit mixed up

      DEC, Prime, Data General & Wang were not undermined by Apple or MS - each of them made a strategic decision to stay with mini platform not believing that PCs or laptops would ever have the popularity or horse power to surplant them.

      Compounding their miscalculation was their commitment to staying with their individual proprietary SW that required contracted support.

      When they were growing, Apple was in trouble because they couldn't hold or gain market share given its product mix. In fact, at one point Jobs was pretty much kicked out of Apple by its BOD - he attempted a come back with his NEXT computer but it never really took off. Evenually he returned to Apple, re-engineered the company and got it on the right path.

      The real change came when IBM started with Operating systems that would accept a host of market derived SW and introduced stand alone desktops that Apple began to compete effectively - the rest is history.

      DEC tried to introduce desktops but it was pretty much a failure - Ken Olsen said in an interview years later that this missing the market on PCs was pretty his greatest failure.

      Ah yes, the Rainbow.

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      Like Betamax and the MiniDisc, a product that ultimately failed because of a "our proprietary technology is best" attitude.

      I bought a DEC PC in 1980 .....

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      ...or so.....I had a friend who worked for them and they were selling off inventory because they were pulling out of the PC market already......I got it at a big employee discount and paid about $500.00 for a computer that, without programming knowledge (which I had none) couldn’t function any better than a calculator of the time.......

      Also Wang Labs

      Wang was a huge presence along Rte 495. I worked for a company that was investing heavily in building equipment that Wang said they wanted. When Wang changed their mind, my employer evaporated overnight.

      I was there...

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      10 seconds into the video where you see the baker do the Thumbs Up next to the large Make It In Massachusetts cake, by chance I was there with my 3rd grade classmates on a field trip in the North End, and we watched the film crew have that baker do take after take, trying to get the right shot. I don't remember which store it was, but him doing the Thumbs Up over and over is what I never forgot!

      I remember not only the campaign

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      but also the bumper stickers.

      A common protest against King at the time was to cut the "thumbs up" portion of the sticker off and then re-apply it upside down.

      The company that I was

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      IMAGE(http://i1.cpcache.com/product_zoom/429466596/make_it_in_massachusetts_bumper_sticker_50_pk.jpg?height=250&width=250&padToSquare=true)The company that I was working for in '81 merged with a PA company, and they decided to shut down MA operations and move to PA. Some employees made up some of the bumper stickers in red with the thumb pointing downward, with the company name and "DIDN'T" across the top. The combined company liquidated by the end of '81.