Thomas Reardon! The Doogie Howser And the Internet Explorer’s creator

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.

Reardon

 

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.

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Bill Gates’ Business at the Speed of Thought

Understanding the nature of my job as a flight attendant,  I do spend most of the time in the air. As a result, I always take with me a book to read during a very long trip or during some night stop away from my home. As an avid reader, I have a huge collection of movie tie-ins, biography books, comics, in paperback, hardback or in an e-ink format (for Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s NOOK), which I can be only proud of.

Recently, I subscribed to kobo.com, which offers a large collection of downloadable books that you can read them right into your iPad while on the go. . I subscribed to Goodreads.com as well which keeps track of my collection. I plan to buy a copy of Collectorz.com, a powerful software that classifies all your collections of books on your computer and on the cloud.

You can check out my collection of books I read in the menu “What I Read”.

Bill Gates’s Business at the Speed of Thoughts (1999)

Business @ The Speed of Thought lays out Gates’s vision of the near future in worldwide business and society. His underlying message: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. For all the productivity gains registered by businesses in the past decade through the skillful deployment of technology, the hot-wired organizations of the 21st century hold the promise of even greater progress.

Bill-Gates-Business-at-the-speed-of-thought

The book is full of real-world examples of companies whose digital nervous systems are making them more efficient and profitable by improving the flow of information among decision-makers at all levels. Not all of these systems are necessarily produced by Microsoft. Gates uses his company’s inner workings to show the processes that go into digitizing a business, but he also candidly discusses Microsoft’s, and his own, failures of strategic vision in the past most notably its tardiness in embracing the internet’s potential.

Gates makes a persuasive argument that technology can be a liberating force. In businesses, improved digital information systems can empower employees to move beyond carrying out orders and take more initiative on their own. Beyond business in education, government, and elsewhere in society the same systems can benefit the common good.

Nashville journalist E. Thomas Wood is the author of Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust (Wiley)

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