Ken Krechmer knew more about the dial-up modem business than any other person I knew, so it was only natural that he would be one of the first people I would interview. Krechmer’s early career brought him into contact with telemetry at the White Sands Missile Range. Next he worked as an engineer doing communication systems design for Litton. Then Krechmer’s entrepreneurial instincts led him to found a company that used modems in its product: a library circulation and control system. Failing at that, he took a job with Novation, an acoustic coupler company in the LA area. He will tell the story of why and how he joined Vadic in 1973 where he served as sales manager until 1978. By then, Vadic had become a leader in the development and sales of dial-up modems. Krechmer left Vadic in 1978 and founded ACTION Consulting, an independent consulting company focused on standards and standardization and how these requirements impacted the marketing and sales of data and voice communications products.
Bob Dolan introduced me to Ken in 1982 when I was in need of a strategic marketing consultant to develop a business plan for ComDesign. I found him to be very knowledgeable about the modem and multiplexer markets and easy to work with. We spent a number of days together and put together a successful plan for a new product launch. We would work together on a number of other company assignments that included a high-speed dial-up modem company, Telebit; a datapbx company, Metapath; and a local area networking company, Communications Machinery Corporation. It was in our many conversations that I was driven to find order in the evolution of Computer Communications. So when I called Ken for an interview, he readily agreed, and we met Bob at the Silicon Valley offices of ComDesign’s venture capital investors, Interwest Partners. In this interview, Ken both discusses the history of Vadic in the 1970s, as well as introduces me to many companies and executives whom I will interview in the year ahead. I enjoyed the support and encouragement I received from both Ken and Bob in our time together.
Keywords: Vadic, dial-up modems, ACTION Consulting, Universal Data Systems (UDS), Novation