what the proposal manager really wanted)? How couldthe strong points of the company’s approach be madeglaringly clear to the proposal evaluator? How couldthe publications specialist make any meaningful contri-bution to the editorial caliber of the proposal?As it turned out, workable (but not fail-proof)answers to these dilemmas were afforded by the story-boarding, composition, critiquing, troubleshooting, andediting disciplines embodied in the STOP process. TheSTOP disciplines, of course, did not, like Pallas Athena,instantaneously appear in full battle array from the headof one individual or the collective heads of a group of tech-pub specialists and proposal managers—but theydid germinate at a pace that seems breathtaking in ret-rospect once the seed of the approach was planted.An early impetus for the origination of this newpublications approach came from a tough-minded pro-gram manager named Mike Rapport. The proposal hewas charged with developing represented an entreeinto a product area deemed by Hughes-Fullerton’s man-agement luminaries to be crucially important to thecompany’s future. With the spotlight on him, a ﬁerydetermination to make Hughes’ proposal stand outfrom those of the competition marked Mike’s discus-sion of his proposal plans with Jim Tracey and DaveRugh. Tracey headed the publications group whereRugh worked as writing supervisor and I worked asediting supervisor, and which served the proposalneeds of Hughes-Fullerton’s Data Processing ProductsDivision and Systems Division.
There seems to be a natural passage length that iscompletely compatible withtreating a speciﬁc topic withinthe conﬁnes of a two-pagemodule.
In early 1963, Tracey, Rugh, and Rapport considered a numberof approaches to making the proposal distinctive. At one point, Ibelieve, Mike advocated some sort of comic-book treatment (myapologies to him if my memory is wrong), which clearly would havebeen too frivolous for proposal purposes. Finally, Tracey’s suggestionof a modular approach won Mike’s endorsement. The notion was toconstruct the proposal entirely of two-page modules, with text andany associated visual facing each other. Such a format, they agreed,would offer important reader advantages, and would certainly dis-tinguish the proposal from any that had come down the pike thus far.
The Two-Page ModuleEvolves
Shortly after the meeting with Mike Rapport, Tracey convenedour group for an after-hours brainstorming session to explorewhere the modular-proposal idea might take us. The response wasenthusiastic. I voiced the thought that the two-page modulescould be treated as self-contained themes, akin to college “blue-books.” Others were quick to point out that treating them thatway would help us to exploit some of the proven techniques of expository/persuasive composition that were often lost in the fogof loosely structured proposal discourse (e.g., clearly identifyingthe subject and its relevance, sticking to it, making a strategicallypersuasive point about Hughes’ approach to the issues pertinent toit, and presenting an argument to prove this point via the module’stext and visual). The desirable thematic character of the moduleslater led to the appellation Sequential Thematic Organization of Publications, and STOP was born.It seemed probable that working at the level of two-page mod-ules could solve a lot of problems in proposal-cadre communica-tion. An author could jot down a paragraph outline for his mod-ule (call it a “storyboard”, somebody said) and include a roughversion of his visual. His storyboard, along with related story-boards from other authors, could then be pinned up and reviewed jointly by manager, editor, author, and anyone else concerned withthe subject (Figure 1 shows an early-days storyboarding session atHughes-Fullerton). The author’s argument could be honed by dis-cussing its pros and cons, and he could walk away with a marked-up storyboard like that shown in Figure 2, reﬂecting what inputthe manager really wanted. In other words, the module could berevised at the outline level before the author invested his time andenergy in the difﬁcult chore of composing it. What a boon thatcould be! I wish I could remember everyone who took part in thatﬁrst brainstorming session, because, as things worked out, themeeting proved to be a momentous one. Writers and editorsincluded Walt Starkey, Dave Rugh, Dave Gater, Mal Gable, StuJones, Ailleen Lang, Carole McCorkindale, and Larry McCollum.Art supervisor Jack Hunt and production supervisor DorothyMorico also took part. I left the meeting, as I know others did,exhilarated by the feeling that we had hold of an idea that could
Figure 1.This photograph shows an early-days storyboarding session at Hughes-Fullerton.