What kinds of qualities do you want on your team? We start discussing skills and the qualities of our personnel with guest George Dyson while our intern and our IT guy go in search of John Von Neumann’s early computer. Dyson identifies some useful lessons from Julian Bigelow, who served as the engineer on von Neumann’s computer. 
This episode deals with personnel lessons learned from an important early computer, the one built by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study. Unlike some of its antecedents, this machine followed a basic pattern that has been replicated in modern processors. That pattern is called the “von Neumann architecture.”
The von Neumann architecture was first described, in an incomplete way, in a paper called “The Draft Report on the EDVAC.” Most scholars accept that this paper was conceived and organized by von Neumann, though it was probably drafted by von Neumann’s assistant and contains contributions, perhaps substantial contributions, from others. Beyond dispute is the claim, as Anna notes, that it was written in Courier Font.
Once you have a character, it is impossible to control him or her. In the winter of 2016, Anna-the-Intern made a pitch to the (even then) notorious Elon Musk. She thought that he might like to be the next host of the podcast as the then current hosts were not pulling their weight.
She waited. No call. No email. No tweet. No nothing.
But it was a good performance with we felt worthy to preserve in our archive.
Every community should have tradition for the December Holidays. Our tradition comes the predecessor to this drama, the podcast “Errant Hashtag.” This is an adaptation the essay “Songs of Comfort and Joy.”
Two notes, while this is dramatic, it is not technically drama. The event actually occurred at the Computing Center of Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. It was documented in the Dallas newspapers. Second, the Producer’s father is in the center of the back row.
HWMS did not long remain a conventional podcast, if it ever was conventional. In the summer of 2015, we interrupted an interview by parading a French Army band through the studio.
By the fall of 2015, we knew that we wanted to move another direction. We went looking for dramatic talent, hired actor Sarah Corbyn Woolf, and put her on stage as Anna-the-Intern.
Anna believed that technical information was transient, that it could be easily purchased on the open market and that the real guarantors of success were the ability to read a room and to express yourself with confidence.
Sadly, she is probably right on all points.
The HWMS Drama begins.
HWMS began as conventional podcast. More or less. (Probably less but we wouldn’t admit it.) It followed in the footsteps of three successful podcasts: “Known World” (2007-2009); “Crowdpod” (2010-2012), and “Errant Hashtag” (2013-2015). All three had become books: Too Soon To Tell (Wiley 2009), Crowdsourcing for Dummies (Wiley 2012), and The Company We Keep (IEEE Computer Society 2015).
As was common to podcasts that started in the mid-teens, the founders believed that they could recreate the conversations that they had in private. They were probably right but they hadn’t been entirely honest with themselves about the nature of those conversations. They were always a little dramatic.