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James Love Barksdale offers living proof that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aren't cocky young upstarts faking their way to success. This consummate Southern gentleman, known for his folksy sayings and[…]

A child of Ole Miss.

Question: Who are you?

Jim Barksdale: My name is Jim Barksdale. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. And after I semi-retired, I moved back there 40 years later.

I’m one of six boys.  So at a very early age, I learned the value of the word “no” – as in, “Can I have the car tonight?”  “No.  Other brothers have already spoken for it.”  But also I grew up in a time of great social turmoil in the deep South.  I was a child of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.  I was at the University of Mississippi when James Meredith came to school there, and a riot broke out and two people were killed.  That probably had shaped . . . that shaped my life quite a bit.  I saw the enormous issues of civil rights firsthand, and I think it’s had a pronounced effect on me the rest of my life. 

When I was in college, I studied literature and was gonna be an English-Lit major until I realized that was gonna make it hard to get a job.  So I switched to the business school, and I think I pictured myself going into the world of business.  And about that time the hot new things were computers.  So I went to work for IBM when I got out of Old Miss

Recorded on: July 5, 2007