After three years at CLSI as New Products Manager and Product Manager, I came to a major fork in my career path. I could have taken a position as a systems analyst at Data General, one of two mini computer manufacturers in the Boston area (the other was Digital Equipment Corporation). Or I could take what at the time seemed like a much riskier job creating a for-profit business based on prototypes developed under grants from the National Science Foundation. I decided that the second option would contribute more to my ultimate goal of starting my own company.

In 1982, I took a job with Cambridge Development Lab, a spin-off of Technical Education Research Center (TERC), a not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A TERC project manager was already selling prototypes on printed circuit boards for computer graphics and interfacing laboratory sensors to microcomputers. My job was to ramp up production, create a marketing plan, and generate a profit that could be plowed back into the parent organization when federal grants dried up.

During this period, I created a catalog of computer products for science teachers, attended trade shows, did workshops, and wrote articles such as "Four Approaches to Microcomputer Laboratory Interfacing," which was published in The Science Teacher magazine in 1983.