Kenneth Harry Olsen (born on 20 February 1926) is an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with colleague Harlan Anderson and venture capital provided by Georges Doriot’s American Research and Development Corporation. He was born in Stratford, Connecticut. Olsen was a Massachusetts engineer who had been working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the TX-2 project.
Ken Olsen was known throughout his career for his paternalistic management style and his fostering of engineering innovation. Ken Olsen’s valuing of innovation and technical excellence spawned and popularized techniques such as engineering matrix management that are broadly employed today throughout many industries.
In 1986, Fortune Magazine named Olsen “America’s most successful entrepreneur.” Olsen was the focus of a 1988 biography, “The Ultimate Entrepreneur: The Story of Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation,” by Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar.