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Featuring: Bob Mahoney by Bob Talmadge

BBSes were first created as a fun way to talk to friends without having to get together in person.

Bob Mahoney began his BBS Exec-PC on November 28, 1983, remarkably the same month and year as Event Horizons first went online.

Mahoney was part of a new grass-roots trend: Thousands of public-access computer bulletin boards sprung up in North America, according to Jack Rickard, editor of Boardwatch Magazine.

Bulletin boards weree the electronic equivalent of clubhouses or taverns, places where users congregate via modem to share software, exchange messages and files, and chitchat.

Some board owners, such as Mahoney and Maxey, make money at this, but it's rare: Rickard estimates back in the 1990's, only 6% of boards were profitable, with 10% to 15% breaking even. Most operators are hobbyists who want to have fun with computer friends.

ExecPC was an online service provider started in 1983 by owner Bob Mahoney as the Exec-PC BBS. While not nearly as financially successful as Jim Maxey's Event Horizons BBS, ExecPC quickly grew to be the world's largest and respected bulletin board system in the 1980s and throughout the 1990s, competing with the likes of Compuserve, Event Horizons BBS, and Prodigy. In addition, Bob Mahoney is a very nice man.
Bob Mahoney

The company was sold in 1998 to of East Lansing, MI. After a lengthy series of acquisitions, the assets are now held by WorldNet of Buffalo, NY.

The Exec-PC BBS launched on November 28, 1983 in the den of owner Bob Mahoney. Known primarily for its extensive shareware software archives, the BBS also offered E-mail, message forums, and BBS door games to paying subscribers.

Photo just for fun of Bob Mahoney and used in an issue of Boardwatch Magazine.

As the file archives grew in size, Mahoney created the Hyperscan feature, allowing members to quickly search for files by keyword -- a common feature today, but rare at the time. The Exec-PC BBS grew to over 250 lines, with over 300GB of file storage at its peak in the mid-90s. Callers could connect to the Exec-PC BBS via long distance at no additional charge, or connect to any CompuServe World access number for a per-minute fee.

In 1996, the file collection of the Exec-PC BBS was placed on the world-wide web through the web site. was officially abandoned in 1999 having been made obsolete by other Internet services, but the BBS still remains accessible via telnet on the Internet at

Exec-PC Chat
One of the major missing features of the Exec-PC BBS was the ability to speak with other members of the service in chat rooms. Instead of building chat functionality into the BBS, Mahoney created a separate system, Exec-PC Chat, which ran alongside the Exec-PC BBS. This system was a Major BBS-based system with 48 lines. While popular, the chat system did not prove to be profitable, and Mahoney let it die a respectful death. The former Exec-PC Chat ran under the name Over the Edge until shutting down in 1996.

ExecPC Internet
Sensing the promise of the Internet, Mahoney built Internet functionality into the Exec-PC BBS in 1994. When calling into certain numbers known as "gold nodes," the BBS member was connected to an Internet shell account on servers run by IBM's VNET division. This solution quickly proved to be slow and confusing to members, so Mahoney set up a separate division of the company that same year to provide dialup access via both shell accounts and PPP. Unlike the BBS, ExecPC Internet provided service exclusively to individuals in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.Bob and Tracy Mahoney at Exec-PC BBS

ExecPC Internet proved to be tremendously popular, and grew from its first paying subscribers in 1994 to just over 80,000 subscribers in 1998. As it grew, the company added business-class access services such as ISDN and T1 lines, as well as web hosting service. However, like all BBS's, ExecPC and its incarnations died when the web took over.

Exec-PC's focus was on information sharing. It grew to be one of the largest BBSes in the world. Mahoney used a large commercial hard drive so to run RBBS software and a single telephone line. There were no multiline systems at that time, none at least I was aware of.

But soon he added more telephone lines to be able to keep up with demand, spending most of his money to do so. Because there was no technology released in the 1080’s for a true multiline and multiuser system, Bob Mahoney had to write the software himself for his users.

He eventually moved his systems to an office space and acquired nearly thirty thousand faithful callers using two hundred phone lines. Bob Mahoney at Exec-PC BBS

In 1994, following his decade of success, Mahoney decided to get into the ISP (internet service provider) business which cost much more. He actually purchased 5000 modems to service his users.

It all grew to nearly 8000 modems, 30 routers, 100 servers, two T3 lines, and two-hundred fifty T1 lines. Of course this was long before Wi-Fi!

But it wasn't long before the web came along and the investment Mahoney made as an ISP faded along with his BBS business. But Bob Mahoney was resorceful and he and his wife continued with other successful ventures. And so it goes.


+ The concept of BIG SIZE while retaining that small system feel
+ Generous time and byte credit for file uploads and public message posts
+ One computer per phone line (processor per user) - pioneered in 1983
+ No consistent busy signal problems since rapid expansion began in 1983
+ Hyperscan(tm) file search feature invented and trademarked by Exec-PC -
the fastest file finding system any BBS! Searches 20,000 file 2 seconds.
+ Entire PC-SIG California file collection online for download at all times
+ Full file menu capabilities at pause of file listing
+ Direct connect to packet network for low cost long distance calls
+ Resumption of interrupted Zmodem UPLOADS
+ Autodownloading, invented and trademarked by Exec-PC

On I found this:

Bob Mahoney, a high-tech consultant to Shell Oil and other companies, started a business-oriented electronic bulletin board in a spare bedroom in his Milwaukee apartment. He used his life savings and equipment bought by Shell to cobble together his system, built around a vintage $5,000 IBM PC; a $7,000, 30-megabyte hard drive storing some 700 files; and a $600, 1,200-baud modem. From such crude beginnings, the Exec-PC board has blossomed into a $1 million-a-year concern run out of an office in Elm Grove, Wis. Mahoney offers 650,000 files, from business programs to games, to more than 10,000 customers, who log on for $75 per year.

Reference Link 1

Greg Ryan speaks about his wonderful time with Exec-PC