Bing Newcomb, Whose E*Commerce Remodeled Inventory Buying and selling, Dies at 79


Rising up in a working-class household in small-town Oregon, Bing Newcomb would have in all probability been destined for work within the area’s sawmills or lumberyards after highschool apart from one factor: He was legally blind.

So as an alternative he went to school, turning into the primary in his household to graduate. He then grew to become a pc programmer and invented a system that revolutionized inventory buying and selling, enabling particular person traders to purchase and promote shares on their private computer systems and making him a multimillionaire.

Mr. Newcomb, who co-founded the corporate E*Commerce and wrote the pc code that made it work, died on Jan. 29 at his residence in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 79. His loss of life was reported domestically earlier however introduced solely final month by the household by means of Oregon State College, his alma mater and a significant beneficiary of his philanthropy. His spouse, Gerry Newcomb, mentioned the trigger was congestive coronary heart failure after neurological problems.

In 1980, Mr. Newcomb and William A. Porter had been launched by a mutual buddy at a Halloween get together in Palo Alto. Mr. Porter, a onetime cowboy turned electronics whiz, had simply bought an Apple II private pc, the corporate’s first mannequin aimed toward shoppers. How, he puzzled, may he and different people use the brand new know-how to purchase and promote shares from residence?

Mr. Newcomb, who had been working as a contract pc programmer, hiring himself out to banks and different companies that wanted a information to rising digital applied sciences, offered the solutions.

In 1982, with $15,000 in capital, the companions began TradePlus, one of many first digital buying and selling platforms. Its first commerce was made on July 11, 1983, by a Michigan dentist.

By enabling traders to commerce shares from their computer systems, the corporate minimize the price of transactions beneath the charges charged not solely by full-service brokerage homes however even by many low cost brokers. The service helped promote the sale of residence computer systems and remodeled novice Wall Avenue buffs into skilled day merchants.

Regardless of his impaired imaginative and prescient, Mr. Newcomb skied and hiked, and, whereas he couldn’t drive, he would rise properly earlier than daybreak, tape a flashlight to the handlebars of his bike and pedal to work, arriving earlier than the inventory market opened in New York.

After the market tanked within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, the corporate re-emerged in 1991 as E-Commerce Securities. It quickly grew to become a pacesetter in on-line inventory transactions.

By 1994, revenues had risen geometrically, from $850,000 solely two years earlier to almost $11 million. A enterprise journal proclaimed the agency to be the fastest-growing personal firm in Silicon Valley. It went public because the E*Commerce Group in 1996.

Mr. Newcomb, who had been the corporate’s chief system architect and vp for analysis and improvement, retired with 2.4 million shares of the corporate in 1997, when the value per share was about $23.

Bernard Alan Newcomb was born on Nov. 10, 1943, in Scio, Ore., a metropolis of fewer than a thousand residents south of Portland, to Lyle and Agnes Newcomb. His father labored as a janitor at Scio Excessive Faculty.

Bernard was born with clouded imaginative and prescient attributable to congenital cataracts. He was often known as Bing as a result of when he was a toddler, that’s how his older brother pronounced his title.

He boarded on the Oregon Faculty for the Blind in Salem by means of the second grade, returning residence on weekends. He then attended Scio public faculties by means of highschool. He was his class’s valedictorian.

He constantly made the dean’s listing on the School of Enterprise at Oregon State College in Corvallis and graduated third in his class in 1965.

However as a result of he was visually impaired, he recalled, he was rebuffed by recruiters for banks and accounting companies. A placement counselor at Oregon State persuaded Common Electrical to rent him within the information processing division of the corporate’s Hanford Works plant in Richland, Wash., the place he labored for 3 years.

His marriage to Carol Kearney led to divorce. In 2020, he married Gerry Lee Marshall. Along with her, he’s survived by a brother, Jerry, and a stepson, Forbes Marshall.

After he retired, Mr. Newcomb turned to philanthropy. He endowed the Bernard A. Newcomb Basis and, together with his spouse, centered on bettering the lives of individuals with disabilities, amongst different causes.

His $6.1 million reward to Oregon State in 1997 was the most important inventory reward the college had ever acquired.

In 2000, Mr. Newcomb and his household donated $1.3 million to construct a soccer subject, monitor stadium and different athletic services at Scio Excessive Faculty — the place, due to his imaginative and prescient, he had been relegated to being the group’s water boy.

He supported analysis by means of the All Could See Basis within the ophthalmology division on the College of California, San Francisco, the place he additionally funded the Bernie and Gerry Newcomb Heart for Progressive Eye Surgical procedure. He acquired the Hellen Keller Achievement Award from the American Basis for the Blind.

Mr. Porter, who has acquired a lot of the general public credit score for E*Commerce, died in 2015.

The corporate was purchased by the Wall Avenue brokerage home Morgan Stanley in 2020.


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