31 Facts About Larry Tesler


Larry Tesler was born on April 24,1945, in the Bronx in New York City, to Jewish parents Isidore, an anesthesiologist, and Muriel.


Larry Tesler lived in the Bronx through his childhood and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1961.


Larry Tesler went on to Stanford University in 1961 when he was 16, studying computer science and graduating in 1965 with a degree in mathematics.


Larry Tesler worked at Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the late 1960s.


Larry Tesler left Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory due to a number of factors in the early 1970s; he recognized that artificial intelligence would not be a usable technology for many years, and his marriage to his college girlfriend had recently ended in divorce.


Larry Tesler took his daughter and moved to Oregon with a number of Vietnam War veterans who were returning there to build homes.


Larry Tesler called Stanford to see if they had anything, and learned that Alan Kay, whom Tesler had worked with while at SAIL and then a member of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, had been actively looking for him shortly after his departure.


Larry Tesler had been more interested in Xerox's work with personal computers, so he turned down the offer.


Larry Tesler established the idea that computer interfaces should be modeless, where all actions are available to a user at all times, rather than modal, requiring the user to enter a specific mode to perform them.


Larry Tesler was part of a team with Adele Goldberg and Douglas Fairbairn that worked on the Xerox NoteTaker, a portable computer system Alan Kay had envisioned.


Larry Tesler was a proponent of ease-of-use for user interfaces while at PARC.


Larry Tesler is considered the originator of the phrase "user-friendly" as a measure of usability after a salesman told him that word processors were difficult to sell because they were "just so unfriendly".


Larry Tesler is tied to the origins of the phrase "what you see is what you get"; he and his colleagues were complaining about the way documents printed out differently to their appearance on the screen.


Larry Tesler is credited with coining the term "browser" after creating a Smalltalk code browser in response to a coworker having difficulty in parsing through someone else's code.


Larry Tesler had been present during both of Steve Jobs's fateful visits to PARC in late 1979, a couple of years after Jobs had cofounded Apple Computer.


Larry Tesler was one of several Xerox PARC employees who left the company in 1980 to join Apple Computer following Jobs's visits.


Larry Tesler said his reasons for leaving included the fact that Apple had clearly gotten the idea of computers and was much more excited in the work PARC was doing while Xerox still thought itself a copier company, and that he found Apple's management much more approachable than Xerox's.


Larry Tesler started at Apple in July 1980 supporting the development of the Apple Lisa, and worked for them until 1997, holding various positions, including Vice President of AppleNet, the division within Apple working on Internet technologies, Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group, and Chief Scientist.


Larry Tesler worked with Pascal's creator, Niklaus Wirth, to develop Object Pascal in 1985 which was used to create the Lisa Toolkit.


However, Larry Tesler claimed some decisions related to the Newton's release, such as deciding against an Apple-developed handwriting recognition software, over a third-party which slowed down the device, were estimated to have cost Apple millions of dollars.


Larry Tesler voluntarily left the group just before the Newton shipped in 1993 and became Apple's chief scientist within the Advanced Technology Group.


Larry Tesler explored a number of potential projects being developed by the group, but these had been too risky for Apple at the time, so the group focused on networking strategies.


In 1991, Larry Tesler contributed the article "Networked Computing in the 1990s" to the Scientific American Special Issue on Communications, Computers, and Networks of September 1991.


One of the last programs that Larry Tesler oversaw at Apple was a programming language aimed for use by schoolchildren, named Cocoa.


Larry Tesler dismissed most of the employees in mid-2000, and then left, leaving two employees to continue the company.


Larry Tesler worked for a year at the personal genetics information company 23andMe as product fellow, before establishing himself as an independent consultant in December 2009 to help Silicon Valley companies with designing their user interfaces and experiences.


Larry Tesler had kept his countercultural attitudes beyond his early career, which he became known for at his other positions.


Larry Tesler maintained an attitude that being successful in Silicon Valley was a "rite of passage", and those who succeed should try to help fund new ventures and to educate others.


The Computer History Museum, on Larry Tesler's death, described Larry Tesler as having "combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone".


Larry Tesler maintained his strong preference for modeless software well beyond his time at PARC.


Larry Tesler died in Portola Valley, California, on February 16,2020, at the age of 74.