||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
1 November 1950 |
Brooklyn, New York, USA
|Known for||Lotus 1-2-3 and co-founder of The Electronic Frontier Foundation|
Mitchell David Kapor (born 1 November 1950) is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3. He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the first chair of the Mozilla Foundation.
Early life 
Kapor was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended public schools on Long Island in Freeport, New York, where he graduated from high school in 1967. In 1966, he studied astronomy at the Summer Science Program. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1971 and studied psychology, linguistics and computer science as part of an interdisciplinary major in cybernetics. Kapor served as Music Director and Program Director at Yale's radio station WYBC-FM.
During the 1970s, Kapor was employed as a radio disc jockey at WHCN-FM, a commercial progressive rock station based in Hartford, Connecticut. It was also in this period that he became interested in Transcendental Meditation, going on to teach it in Cambridge, Massachusetts (where he also worked as a low-level computer programmer) and Fairfield, Iowa. Kapor subsequently began a career as a mental health counselor at New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs, who was responsible for technical architecture and implementation, and created Lotus 1-2-3. Kapor served as the President (later Chairman) and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986 and as a Director until 1987. In 1983, Lotus' first year of operations, the company achieved revenues of $53,000,000 and had a successful public offering. In 1984 the company tripled in revenue to $156,000,000. The number of employees grew to over a thousand by 1985.
Lotus' first product was presentation software for the Apple II known as Lotus Executive Briefing System. Kapor founded Lotus after working as head of development at VisiCorp (the marketers of VisiCalc) and selling the rights to his products VisiPlot and VisiTrend to VisiCorp.
Shortly after Kapor left VisiCorp, Sachs and he designed and developed an integrated spreadsheet and graphing program. Even though IBM and VisiCorp collaborated on VisiCalc for the PC and VisiCalc shipped simultaneously with the PC, Lotus had a superior product. Lotus released Lotus 1-2-3 in January 1983. The name referred to the three ways the product could be used: as a spreadsheet, a graphics package, and a database manager. The last function was seldom used. 1-2-3 was the most powerful spreadsheet available in the new PC-compatible market; sales were enormous, turning Lotus into the largest independent software vendor in the world almost overnight. The business plan had called for $1,000,000 in sales in the first year, but the actual results were $53,000,000.
Electronic Frontier Foundation 
In 1990, with fellow digital rights activists John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, he co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and served as its chairman until 1994. The EFF is a non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public interest to protect privacy, free expression, and access to public resources and information online, as well as to promote responsibility in new media.
UUNET Technologies 
Commercial Internet Exchange 
Mozilla Foundation 
Kapor was the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at its inception in 2003. He founded the Mitchell Kapor Foundation to support his philanthropic interests in environmental health. He also co-founded, and is on the board of, the Level Playing Field Institute, a 501c(3) dedicated to fairness in education and workplaces. Kapor was the original Chair and is currently on the Board of Directors of Linden Lab, a San Francisco-based company which created the popular virtual world Second Life, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Wikimedia Foundation.
Sunlight Foundation 
Other startups 
In 1990, Kapor's new company ON Technology introduced their new product On Location, an application designed for the Macintosh that contained an indexing system that permit quick retrieval and display of text on the Mac's hard disk. "We think we're being cagey by bringing it out on the Mac first," Kapor said. "It's a richer medium than MS-DOS, and if we have a hot product in the Mac market, it will be easier to get into the PC market."
In 2006, Kapor founded his latest startup, Foxmarks (later renamed as Xmarks), based in San Francisco.
Personal life 
In 1996, the Computer History Museum named him a Museum Fellow "for his development of Lotus 1-2-3, the first major software application for the IBM PC."
- "Civil Liberties in Cyberspace" - Scientific American Special Issue on Communications, Computers, and Networks, September, 1991 
- Electronic Newsletter of The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cambridge, MA - scroll down to Current Legislative and Policy Efforts by Mitchell Kapor. - September 1991
- Articles in the EFF archive
- Rosenberg, Scott. Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software (2007) Random House ISBN 978-1-4000-8246-9, about Mitch Kapor, collaboration and massive software endeavors, particularly the open source calendar application Chandler.
See also 
- Mitchell Kapor: Biography www.kapor.com. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Computer Hope (2012). Computer history - 1940 - 1960. Computer Hope. Retrieved on 2012-02-17 from http://www.computerhope.com/history/194060.htm.
- "The MIT 150: 150 Ideas, Inventions, and Innovators that Helped Shape Our World". The Boston Globe. May 15, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Cassidy, Mike (May 5, 2011). "Lotus founder Mitch Kapor sets his sights on fixing education". Contra Costa Times.
- Kapor, Mitch. "House Science Subcommittee Testimony". Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Advisory Board". Wikimedia Foundation. January 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- Board and Advisory Board Sunlight Foundation, February 14, 2011
- New York Times. " New Retrieval Software By On Technology Inc." by John Markoff. January 22, 1990.
- Cringely, Robert X. "Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date", Addison-Wesley, 1996, p95
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mitch Kapor|
- Mitch Kapor's blog
- Mitch Kapor's weblog archives
- Inside Mitch Kapor's World
- Mitch Kapor's Why Wikipedia is the next big thing
- Wikimania 2006 bio
- How to build a successful company, Mitch speaking at Stanford (podcast & video)