FEATURE15 January 2016

What I owe the geeks at IBM

x All content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent from sponsorship or other commercial arrangements.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Features Impact Technology UK

Kantar’s Eric Salama describes the effect computing has had on the market research industry in his contribution to our celebration of 70 years of market research.

In the winter of 1982, I was busy writing my university dissertation. I used a word processor for the first time – some kind of precursor to the lovely Amstrad PCW 8256 that I bought a couple of years later – and I couldn’t believe I could cut and paste, and correct errors without the use of Tippex!

At that stage, I had no idea there was a world of market research and insights – and certainly, therefore, no sense that this industry would eventually be transformed by the kind of computer that had brought me so much joy. That is exactly what has happened, however.

Quite apart from the Sex Pistols and The Clash, the late 1970s and early 1980s ushered in two things – desktop computing and relationship databases. In 1977, the Apple II was among three personal computers launched on an unsuspecting public, followed, four years later, by the IBM PC. This computer was based on an ...