Technology startups can be filled with big egos and difficult personalities, but those who worked with Doug Pihl remember him as thoughtful and supportive of other people’s ideas and pleasant to be around.
Pihl, who made thousands of local investors wealthy through pioneering Minnesota-based high-technology companies, died of cancer July 28. He was 81.
Pihl and his sister, Audrey, were raised in Minneapolis by father Carl-Oscar, a tool maker at Honeywell, and mother Colona. Later cousin Mary Jane Johnson Olson also helped raise them after Colona Pihl was quarantined with tuberculosis.
Pihl graduated from Washburn High School, studied physics and engineering at the University of Minnesota and started his career with Minnesota’s budding computer industry at Data Display, Data 100 and Control Data.
In 1979, Pihl entered the entrepreneurial world, starting Lee Data with some colleagues to make peripheral equipment for IBM’s large computer systems. After several name changes, it