Name of Interview: Randy Suess
Date Interviewed: January 23rd, 2004
DV Tapes Filled: Two hours
Location: Chicago, IL

rsuess.jpg (11K) Photo of Randy Suess from the April 1980 Issue of Kilobaud Magazine
dialup.txt (8.9K) Dial Up Directory, by Frank Derfler, Jr., Kilbaud Magazine (April, 1980)

Randy Suess' interest in my documentary was somewhat minimal, or at least his interest in being interviewed by me. I'd sent a number of letters to him, but it didn't look like it was going to happen. I'm not the type of person who thinks he's doing everyone a big huge favor by interviewing them with my camera, so I was prepared to respect his wishes and work around his missing presence in the interviews with maybe an older still photo or two.

The fact that an interview did happen is directly the result of the efforts of Peter Zelchenko, a technology writer and historian (among many other things) who was also very helpful in my interview of Ward Christensen. Peter was not prepared to let Randy miss being in the documentary if there was any way it could be facilitated, and it was his phone calls, suggestions, and pizza that made the whole thing happen.

We arrived at Randy's apartment and after discussing some current events set up in his living room, where I peppered questions involving CBBS and his thoughts on BBS history. Randy was gracious and quite funny as he talked about the process of working on the hardware side of CBBS and his later projects, and giving his opinions on triumphs and failures in the whole idea of bulletin board systems. We skipped around to a lot of subjects, since he'd been involved with them for so long and I wanted them to weigh in. Peter also chimed in with some excellent theories and questions for Randy to work from.

I showed Randy some of the work I'd been doing in other quarters with the documentary, and he seemed at least somewhat pleased at the project. I was grateful for his time, and again to Peter to making it all come through. I'd always had Randy on the "Must Interview" list, and I was delighted it'd become a reality.

From Randy's, after dropping Peter off at his home, I fired into the night, driving the hundreds of miles to my interview for the next morning, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Randy's new additions to the history of the BBS rang in my head the whole way.