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Mitchell Kapor

Academy of Achievement

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Mitchell Kapor
Mitchell Kapor

Mitchell Kapor

Academy of Achievement

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Mitchell D. Kapor pioneered the consumer software industry as founder of Lotus Development Corporation, and the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the revolutionary spreadsheet and graphics application. A teenage math prodigy from Freeport, Long Island, he studied psychology, linguistics and computer science -- an unorthodox curriculum for the time -- at Yale University. Kapor had hoped that the study of computer science would serve his ongoing interest in the nature of consciousness, but he grew frustrated with the cumbersome, inaccessible mainframe computers of the day. After graduating at age 20, he worked as a disc jockey, transcendental meditation instructor and mental health counselor until his interest in computers was reawakened by the advent of the Apple II computer. Kapor and a partner started Lotus Development in 1982 to develop and license business software for the personal computer. When Lotus 1-2-3 made its debut in January 1983, it was the most powerful spreadsheet application yet designed. Kapor's business plan had called for $1 million in revenue for the first year; first-year revenues reached $53 million and a successful public offering soon followed. The second year's revenues were $165 million. Kapor served as CEO of Lotus until 1986, when he stepped aside to pursue other ventures. In 1990, he helped found the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties organization working to protect privacy, free expression, and access to public resources and information. He was the founding Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit that promotes openness, innovation and participation on the Internet through the creation and distribution of open-source software. In this audio podcast, recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1985 Summit in Denver, Colorado, the 35-year-old Kapor recalls his rebellious youth, his fascination with software design and the development of Lotus 1-2-3. He assures the Academy's student delegates that the secret to success is to find work you enjoy so much you can’t walk away from it.

Latest Episodes

Mitchell Kapor

Mitchell D. Kapor pioneered the consumer software industry as founder of Lotus Development Corporation, and the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the revolutionary spreadsheet and graphics application. A teenage math prodigy from Freeport, Long Island, he studied psychology, linguistics and computer science -- an unorthodox curriculum for the time -- at Yale University. Kapor had hoped that the study of computer science would serve his ongoing interest in the nature of consciousness, but he grew frustrated with the cumbersome, inaccessible mainframe computers of the day. After graduating at age 20, he worked as a disc jockey, transcendental meditation instructor and mental health counselor until his interest in computers was reawakened by the advent of the Apple II computer. Kapor and a partner started Lotus Development in 1982 to develop and license business software for the personal computer. When Lotus 1-2-3 made its debut in January 1983, it was the most powerful spreadsheet application y...

11 MIN1985 JUN 29
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Mitchell Kapor
the END

Latest Episodes

Mitchell Kapor

Mitchell D. Kapor pioneered the consumer software industry as founder of Lotus Development Corporation, and the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the revolutionary spreadsheet and graphics application. A teenage math prodigy from Freeport, Long Island, he studied psychology, linguistics and computer science -- an unorthodox curriculum for the time -- at Yale University. Kapor had hoped that the study of computer science would serve his ongoing interest in the nature of consciousness, but he grew frustrated with the cumbersome, inaccessible mainframe computers of the day. After graduating at age 20, he worked as a disc jockey, transcendental meditation instructor and mental health counselor until his interest in computers was reawakened by the advent of the Apple II computer. Kapor and a partner started Lotus Development in 1982 to develop and license business software for the personal computer. When Lotus 1-2-3 made its debut in January 1983, it was the most powerful spreadsheet application y...

11 MIN1985 JUN 29
Comments
Mitchell Kapor
the END