John Diebold, a business visionary who preached computerization during the era of Elvis and Eisenhower as the future of worldwide industry, has died at the age of 79.
Although Diebold, who died Monday of cancer, is now hailed as a prophet of the computerized future, his zeal for computers was not widely shared in the 1950s.
After graduating from the Harvard Business School in 1951, he was hired by a New York management consulting firm and was fired three times for insisting that clients consider computerizing.
"I was too early," he once said. "It was before the first computer was installed for business use."
Diebold laid out his vision of a computerized future with his 1952 book, "Automation," which presented the then-radical notion of using programmable devices in daily business.