Marc Canter

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Marc Canter

Marc Canter is an American internet entrepreneur, speaker, and technology evangelist. An early pioneer of online software,[1] he has been called the "godfather of multimedia".[2]

Canter is cofounder and Chief Evangelist of Cola, a company that publishes a messaging application. Previously, he was a founder of social networking tool Broadband Mechanics, as well as Macromind, the company that became Macromedia.

Early life[edit]

Canter's father was a Democratic politician and organizer of a meat packers union in Chicago, and a mentor to political consultant David Axelrod.[1] His grandfather, Harry Canter, was leader of the Communist Party of Massachusetts, a translator for the Soviet Union, and later, a publisher of communism-related books as well as a leftist weekly, the Chicago Star, that he bought from Frank Marshall Davis.[1][3]

A singer in childhood, Canter enrolled in Oberlin College intending to become an opera singer, and was exposed there to synthesizers, computer music, and building and coding computers.[1]

Career[edit]

After college, Canter travelled to New York City to help his friends build a music studio called "Noise New York." During this time Canter learned about laserdiscs, laser light shows, NAPLPS, pro audio and video equipment, and a then-new technology called videodiscs. Canter has also worked as a taxi driver in San Francisco, California.[1]

Canter dropped out of graduate school to work for Bally-Midway, programming music and graphics for video games. He coded one of the earliest pieces of licensed music content ("Peter Gunn" for Spyhunter).[1][4][5]

In Business[edit]

Canter co-founded MacroMind in 1984, the company that later became Macromedia, and began developing for the newly launched Apple Macintosh.[6][7] The company created the first multimedia player, the first cross-platform authoring system and the world's leading multimedia platform. Partly due to his work with the company, Canter is considered one of the founders of multimedia.[8]

At MacroMind, Canter was involved in one of the first known cases of a virus being distributed via commercial software.[9] According to the March 16, 1988 edition of the Toronto Star, several MacroMind products shipped with virus infected media. Analysis later revealed that Canter's computer was infected with the virus while he was working on training material for the software products. MacroMind and Canter moved to San Francisco, California, where the company received venture capital funding and was the third software-related investment of the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.[1] To speed growth, Macromind engaged in a series of mergers and acquisitions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, renaming itself Macromedia in 1991.

After being forced out of Macromedia in 1991, Canter embarked on a number of online projects, including an online interactive band (the Mediaband), an online video series (the Marc Canter Show), and an online restaurant operating system, Mediabar.[10] Through the 1990s, Canter was a "fixture of the local tech scene", described as a technology provocateur and advocate, part of a social and business technology community that included Robert Scoble, Ron Conway, Dave Winer, Sean Parker, Mark Pinkus, and Michael Arrington, among others.[10]

In the 1990s and 2000s, Canter was involved in various startups in the formulative stages of product development and design. He was an early participant in Tribe.net and helped develop its "tribes" system, and early social network 'groups' technology.[11] He consulted for Ruckus Network and Visual Media. Broadband Mechanics has also collaborated with Avid Technology.[12]

Canter and JD Lasica founded a video sharing website, Ourmedia in March 2005. Canter was founder and CEO of Broadband Mechanics a digital lifestyle aggregator (DLA) company.[13] Broadband Mechanics built tools and environments, including "People Aggregator", to enable online communities.[14]

Burnt out on venture-funded companies, and described as having burned all of his bridges in Silicon Valley,[2] Canter and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 2009. Intending to get out of the technology business. There, he became involved in economic development projects involving teaching multimedia coding skills to unemployed workers.[2][10]

In 2014, Canter launched Thingface, an authoring tool for developers to create Internet of things-related mobile applications.[15] The company was later renamed Interface.

In 2015 Canter, along with CEO David Temkin and three other executives, cofounded Cola, a company that launched a messaging application designed to serve as a platform for messaging-based mobile applications. Canter described the company as "Slack for the rest of us."[16][17]

Internet policy and culture[edit]

Canter is a contributor to many open standards efforts and advocates for end-user controlled digital identities and content - being a co-founder of the "Identity Gang",[18] and a co-signer of the Social Web Users' Bill of Rights.[19] He has consulted with global corporations including PCCW and Intel and has written on the multimedia industry, micro-content publishing and social networking.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Luke Lefler (2014). "The New Stack Makers: Marc Canter and the Days Before Macromedia — Part One". The New Stack. 
  2. ^ a b c "Valley's one-time godfather of multimedia is leaving for Ohio". Chris O'Brien. July 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ Trevor Loudon (August 5, 2012). "The Canter Family – From Soviet Propaganda, Frank Marshall Davis, David Axelrod and Barack Obama to Cyber Revolutionary". 
  4. ^ "LinkedIn: Marc Canter". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  5. ^ Joi Ito (2002-09-20). "Product Placement on the Sims!". Joi Ito's Web. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  6. ^ "Macromedia - The Story". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  7. ^ "Online repository". San Diego Union-Tribune (online version) (Knight-Ridder News service). 2005-04-04. p. 1. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  8. ^ Packer, Randall (2001). Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, Expanded Edition. Norton. ISBN 0-393-32375-7. Marc Canter, who developed the first commercial multimedia authoring system, was a chief catalyst... 
  9. ^ Peter G. Nuemann (1988-03-18). "RISKS DIGEST 6.46". Newsgroupcomp.risks. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  10. ^ a b c Luke Lefler (2014). "The New Stack Makers: Marc Canter with Memories of Scoble, Winer and The Internet of Things". The New Stack. 
  11. ^ Andrew Leonard (2004-06-15). "You are who you know". Salon (Salon.com). p. 2. Retrieved 2007-01-05. A posting on Tribe.net had led me here. I found out about the event after joining a "tribe" called "social software intellectuals" -- originally created by Marc Canter 
  12. ^ "Broadband Mechanics: Our Clients". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  13. ^ "Welcome to Broadband Mechanics". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  14. ^ Marc Canter explains that People Aggregator source is available, but not under an open source license
  15. ^ Tom Foremski, date=August 15, 2014. "Multimedia pioneer Marc Canter launches ThingFace venture for authoring Internet of Things apps". ZDNet. 
  16. ^ Robert Hoff (November 12, 2015). "SF App Startup Cola Creates 'Slack For The Rest Of Us'". Forbes. 
  17. ^ Anthony Ha (November 12, 2015). "Cola Is Building A Platform To Help You Send Fewer Text Messages". TechCrunch. 
  18. ^ http://www.identitygang.org/ Identity Gang
  19. ^ "A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web". Opensocial.org. September 5, 2007. 
  20. ^ "MicroContent Musings". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 

External links[edit]