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About - Jonathan E. Sisk

We Literally Wrote the Book

There are few who possess an encyclopedic knowledge of Pick/D3. In fact, Jon wrote Encyclopedia Pick for the late Dick Pick, inventor of D3. In so doing, he also embedded it into the platform as an online help facility which has since mutated into a Web form still used and supported.

Jonathan began as an application programmer prior to joining the National Support Group of Microdata Corporation, whose product Reality was the first commercial implementation of the Pick Operating System.


After leaving Microdata to form JES & Associates, Inc. (now, the first independent Pick training organization.

His first act of business at JES was writing and publishing the first commercial book, " The Reality Pocket Guide".

Dick Pick, the iconoclastic namesake behind the Pick Operating System, enlisted Jon to write what would become his most famous book, "The Pick Pocket Guide".

Several Pick Licensees commissioned their own custom versions, resulting in the Pertec/Pick Pocket Guide, CIE Pocket Guide and the "Ultimate Pocket Guide".

Many of the Pocket guides went through multiple editions and formats. The Pick Pocket Guide - Desk Reference Edition was the first time it was available on commercial bookshelves.

Adapting material from his training courses, Jon was signed by Hayden Book Co. to write "Exploring the Pick Operating System", the first commercial Pick textbook to appear on retail shelves.

He followed that up with first textbook on the Pick/BASIC programming language, "Pick/BASIC: A Programmer's Guide". This book is still available today as a free download.

Over the following decade, Jon was the Series Editor of " The Pick Library" for Tab Professional Reference Books, a division of McGraw-Hill.


During the 80's and early 90's, Jon was a frequent and popular speaker at Industry Trade Shows, Conferences and User Groups meetings, all over the world.

His articles and columns appeared in many industry publications, including Byte Magazine, 

PickWorld, International Spectrum, Spectrum Tech Digest, RDBM Computing, IPUA Journal, Computing News & Review and Engineering Enterprise.

Jon took over  The Database Digest, a technical monthly magazine targeted to Pick technicians, serving as Chief Editor during its short but glorious lifetime.

He also independently developed The Pick Technical Certification Program, the first objective certification for Pick Programmers and Admins. 

Dick Pick commissioned Jon to develop his most epic work, "Encyclopedia Pick (EPick)" an all-encompassing document that covered every single unique subject in the Pick database. He wrote and produced the massive, 1500 page document and as a by-product released it as an on-line Help system. Like an early Wiki, it provided hyperlinks to related topics, contained working examples, allowed collaborative contributions, and could be output directly to a printed encyclopedia with a single click, all of this years before the Web was invented.

In 2000, Jon was part of the team that purchased Pick Systems (the company) as it languished in Orange County Probate Court. He joined the company as Vice-President of Training & Education. The JES staff, stuff and Intellectual Property all moved to Raining Data, the name chosen to replace Pick Systems. But the JES company, good will, domain and library remained in Jon's control. Raining Data changed its name again to Tiger Logic, who in turn sold to Rocket Software.

Once his contract completed, Jon returned to and over the following years was involved in a wide variety of technical sectors and startups, from Information Security to Wiki to Fifth-generation application generators.

By 2008 it was clear that the need for training was still there but the model had changed. Given the costs and disruption of traditional classroom training, Jon began offering personalized, custom, 1 on 1 training live over the internet, employing VOIP and screen-sharing technology to bring the instructor to the student. This turned out to be far more efficient, cost-effective and relevant, as we used the client's own data and apps to train on. It's also more fun and less grueling than spending hours in a sterile classroom environment.

While it looks like Jon carried a lot of the water, it could not have been a success without the incredible Associates. 

These were (and still are) people who were excellent at what they do, and willing to share it. We always maintained that you could teach a teacher to program, but it was far more difficult to teach a programmer to teach. Each and every one of our associates not only possessed an incomparable skill set, they were also excellent communicators. We truly strived to make sure every single person who started out on a classroom journey reached the end of the journey as better human beings.  Our reviews were consistently excellent, although a couple of our people were known for odd attire choices. Okay, one. 

If we still have you, thanks for slogging through this. It's not easy to encapsulate nearly 40 years into a single page and this is far from a complete list of what we have done. It's mostly what we remember. We were already 15 years old before the Web became a thing.

We still have the best black book in the business. If you have a situation involving "Classic" Pick (R-Series) or "Advanced Pick" (D3), we can very likely connect you with a solution. Short of hardware. We don't touch that.

Jonathan E. Sisk Bibliography

The Pick Library, edited by Jonathan E. Sisk

Other Titles Edited by Jonathan E. Sisk

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