About David Bunnell

David Bunnell at  PC World 's offices in 1984

David Bunnell at PC World's offices in 1984

David Bunnell (1947-2016) founded the Andrew Fluegelman Award to honor his friend and business partner Andrew Fluegelman (1943-1985), a pioneer of PC software and the first editor of PC World and Macworld, two seminal computer magazines. In 2016, after David's passing, the award became the Fluegelman Bunnell Award to commemorate his own achievements in the technology media over four decades—and, just as important, his boundless belief in the power of computers to enable social change.

David Bunnell, front and center in a staff photo of MITS employees, mid-1970s (photo courtesy of Living Computers Museum + Labs)

David Bunnell, front and center in a staff photo of MITS employees, mid-1970s (photo courtesy of Living Computers Museum + Labs)

A native of Nebraska, David became a schoolteacher after graduating from the University of Nebraska, where he founded the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. While teaching at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, he smuggled food to the Native Americans who occupied the town of Wounded Knee during a 71-day armed standoff in 1973, an experience he chronicled in his book Good Friday on the Rez (St. Martin's, 2017).

After leaving MITS, David founded Personal Computing, one of the first glossy magazines about the burgeoning PC industry. In 1982, along with Jim Edlin and Cheryl Woodard, he launched PC Magazine, the first magazine about IBM's phenomenally successful personal computer. PC Magazine was a phenom itself, but in late 1982, David, Cheryl, and most of the staff left to start an arch rival called PC World. In 1984, they followed that up with Macworld, the first magazine devoted to Apple's new computer. (More than 30 years later, PC Magazine, PC World, and Macworld are all still very much in business as websites.)

In the years to come, David and various associates would create an array of magazines, websites, and events, including the iconic Macworld Expo conference, where Apple unveiled products such as the iPhone; BioWorld, a biotech newsletter delivered by fax; Publish!, a magazine about the desktop publishing revolution; and Eldr, a magazine and site for active baby boomers. David also spent time running existing businesses such as New Media and Upside magazines.

All along, he saw computers not only as a business but also as a force for good. “The overwhelming thrust of the personal computer is that it can liberate and empower people,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. His efforts to encourage that to happen included Computers and You, a  PC skills center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

After the death of his friend and colleague Andrew Fluegelman in 1985, David established the Andrew Fluegelman Award, originally given for innovation in software, in Andrew's honor. Beginning in 2011, he redirected the Andrew Fluegelman Fund's efforts to give Macintosh laptops to college-bound students from the San Francisco Bay Area who had overcome economic and societal challenges to excel in their schools and communities. The joy David took in honoring these young people's achievements was palpable, and we are proud to continue his work.