Location: Palo Alto, California
Marilyn Crowell was the executive secretary and office manager at Wedge Innovations for the entire life of the company. She was the first person hired by Andy Butler when he founded Wedge in the basement of his home (218 Cowper St., Palo Alto, CA) in 1985. Crowell experienced the growth of the company as it moved to Scott Road, and later 501 Mercury Road, in Sunnyvale, and lastly to San Jose. She left Wedge on January 31, 1993, having witnessed its sale to Macklanburg-Duncan in November 1992.
On this tape, Crowell discusses how she met Andy Butler when they both worked for Bechtel in San Francisco in 1983, how she came to work at Andy's new company, Wedge Innovations, and what it was like to work there as the company grew. She also describes Butler's efforts to secure venture capital and to finance the company with his own money. She relates many details about corporate culture, such as Butler's personality and management style at length and how he motivated employees. She also discusses SmartLevel packaging design, which was done by Cindy Rogers (Wedge's graphic designer) and Kevin Reeder (an engineering design consultant).
At the end of her interview, Crowell discusses the end of Wedge Innovations. Andy Butler first offered Wedge to Matsushita, who offered only $50,000 for the company. Crowell describes how Macklanburg-Duncan came on the scene and Butler's decision to sell Wedge outright rather than see it broken up and all the employees unemployed. She also speculates on Butler's feelings about the sale of Wedge.
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The Records of Wedge Innovations, 1985-1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.