Biblio‐Techniques, which was incorporated in 1980, developed a product based on IBM hardware, a commercial database management system, and the Washington (Western) Library Network software. The company's product was innovative and promising but complex and incomplete, and required further development. The company tried to bootstrap that development through up‐front fees from customers who believed in the product. However, the lack of coherent management doomed the effort to failure. This article presents a candid discussion of the rise and fall of Biblio‐Techniques, and details the remarkable relationship between it and its customers. The article is accompanied by four sidebars, two of which are contributed by former customers of Biblio‐Techniques.
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