Donald E. Allen
Continuous Touch Keyboard
I am well satisfied with your provision for my showing the Continuous Touch computer keyboard. The basic requirements were fully met, and the terms for services and charges were satisfied promptly, both by your staff and myself. Seminars were well conducted and very informative, and the management was excellent. Such fine results come only by professional skill and personal dedication by all concerned.
My booth accommodations, with signage, power, and furniture were excellent for my purposes. The access of visitors to my booth was satisfactory and accorded well with the traffic to neighboring booths. The relations among exhibitors, staff and public were cordial and mutually satisfactory, and the availability of the snack booth and the round tables were an important addition.
Most satisfying and advantageous to my project was your reference of Derrick McDaniel who showed exactly the right combination of poise, charm, skill and sensitivity to the varied kinds of visitors with interest in my display. He served all four days with a kind of boundless energy which was most helpful and effective. I was able to double the range of demonstrations to interested individuals because he was at least as persuasive as I was.
My primary goal was to verify the level of acceptance of my keyboard design by those who work a keyboard at least two hours weekly on a continuing basis. All whom I asked said they would be willing to spend more than $300 for this system when available commercially. Their motivation was not the gain ins peed but rather the extreme comfort of the operator in entering data. It was not a formal market test, but it convinced me that I should work full speed to produce prototypes for extensive field testing. One professional secretary who types briefs daily in a law firm in LA said "When these keyboards are available, I will make my boss fit the whole office with them! They are really so comfortable."
Outcomes: A young promoter from the LA area, Ted Hampton telephoned me the day after I got home, and expressed a keen desire to assist in getting the Continuous Touch Keyboard in production. We have since corresponded and I have furnished him molds for components from the four-manual keyboard on which we demonstrated the design. There is a good prospect that our joint efforts will be successful. Second, I was contacted by USAR, Inc. of New York City specializing in producing integrated circuits for interfacing keyboards of various styles with IBM and Apple type personal computers. This was in response to my brochure and your admissions card for the Convention. This resolves for me a very basic problem in producing a fully marketable product. Judging: I was pleased to receive "Honorable Mention" for my keyboard, but I was not satisfied with the way it was judged. I was facing the board and screen when a voice behind me said: "Let's see you enter something on the keyboard." I did not know it was the judge, and I was tardy in composing something to put on the screen. Whoever it was moved on immediately, without asking [me] about the makeup of my invention. Both the general design, the concepts behind it, and the simplified circuitry incorporating optical fibers are completely new, and the fast-moving judge gave me no opportunity to present those facts. I thought the judging and presentations were more concerned with showiness than with inventions and their practical and theoretical underpinnings. All in all, I am deeply indebted to your organization and recommend it to others who seek a good medium for presenting their innovative products.Donald E. Allen
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