|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Well, in about 1974 (I think it was) I was commisioned to design a system using the then VERY new Intel 8080, not even an 8080A! I had a Teletype model 33 which was not being used for anything else so I wire wrapped a board with the 8080, the support logic, 4 1702A EPROMs and some 1103 (I think) dynamic RAM chips, all of 512bytes of RAM as I recall.
The 1702's were programmed in a programmer of our own design which was run by an Interdata Model 70 which we purchased in 1972 as I recall.
Interstingly we need floating point capability for a project only a couple of years later. For this we made our own hardware floating point box using a MOSTEK calculator chipset (I think it was from an HP calculator as it worked in Reverse Polish Notation) which we interfaced to the later 8080A based design which by then had the 8224 and 8228 support IC's (clock generator and bus support logic as I recall) available.
All of this time the mass storage on our 8080 machines was paper tape and EPROMs supported by the Interdata 70 and a Data General Nova which also had an EPROM programmer and an 9 track tape drive.
Now I wonder how we did it all! From there it was CP/M in about 1976 and eventually we built some systems using MP/M and MP/M-II. We retired the MP/M systems in 1998, but at last check there are still two of our very original 808 systems still in service, and at least one of the 8080A/Calculator systems. Boy this poll made me nostalgic!
For those interested, I will be 50 this year so I suppose I have been working throughout the entire micro/personal computer revolution! Especially as a hardware designer.