Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tech ball

As the NFL draft winds down, its is worth noting Steelers' history even intersects with Pittsburgh's tech transformation.

In the 1970s the Steelers were one of the first teams to implement computer based draft analysis through the BLESTO scouting service.Some of the minimal documented history of the experience comes from Art Rooney Jr's memoir: Ruanaidh - The Story of Art Rooney and His Clan.  Billy Beane was still in his teens.

If you read that snippet you will see mention of a commercial for the Sperry Rand corporation,  which made the computers BLESTO used for its newfangled system, that played off a Pittsburgh theme.  No known video of said commercial is findable these days.  Anyone have any clues where it could be found?

I actually think it is a deeper story that really gets to the importance of human capital in technology development.  I speculate the use of computers at BLESTO came from the computer expertise that existed here because places like U.S. Steel were some of the first commercial customers of the first UNIVAC computers decades earlier. 

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