A while ago, I purchased a book called “How The Web Was Won”. It chronicles the journey of several Microsoft idealists who convinced Bill Gates to jump into the Internet bandwagon. It was the beginning for the Internet Tidal Wave, a memo written by Gates himself and sent out to his employees in 1995.
Among the handful of Microsoft denizens who pushed Microsoft from Windows and right into the web, figures Thomas Reardon. A thin, pal skinned computer and math prodigy with a feature of an Irish poet.
I’m interested in Reardon because he was the driving force behind the Windows 95 and 98 projects and the man behind the famous Internet Explorer.
According to his biography, Reardon grew up in the New Hemisphere among 18 children in a strict working class family. According to his relatives and significant others, TR was a child prodigy, learning math and computing. He took a few courses at MIT, and at 15, he enrolled at the University of New Hampshire. He was miserable—a combination of being a peach-fuzz outsider and having no money. He dropped out within a year. “I was coming up on 16 and was, like, I need a job,” he says. He wound up at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at first working in the radiology lab at Duke, helping to get the university’s computer system working smoothly with the Internet. He soon started his own networking company, creating utilities for the then-mighty Novell. He sold his company to the venture capitalist and Bill Gates’ former girlfriend Ann Winblad, who ushered him later to the Gates’ empire.
Reardon’s first job there was leading a small team to clone Novell’s key software so it could be integrated into Windows. However, the major turnover in his career came in 1993, when TR saw the original web browser. He created the project that became Internet Explorer, which, because of the urgency of the competition, was rushed into Windows 95 in time for launch. For a time, it was the world’s most popular browser.
In 2001, Reardon left the company, frustrated by the bureaucracy and worn down from testifying in the anti-trust case involving the browser he helped engineer. Reardon and some of his browser team compatriots began a startup focused on wireless internet named Avogadro. He is now the CEO and co-founder of CTRL-Labs (formerly Cognescent Corporation) specialized in Mind Control, and according to TR, it’s ain’t no sci-fi thing.