• 1947 June 25
    (b.) - ?


A programmer who co-founded Lotus Development Corporation with Mitch Kapor in 1982 and created the first version of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program, he left Lotus in 1985 and began developing photo-editing software for his own Cambridge, Massachusetts based company, Digital Light & Color, which has been distributing its product, Picture Window, since 1994. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and received his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1970. He later worked at MIT for several years, where he wrote the STOIC language, at Data General, and at Concentric Data Systems. He co-founded Lotus 1-2-3 in 1982 with Mitch Kapor, having received backing from Ben Rosen. Lotus' first product was presentation software for the Apple II known as Lotus Executive Briefing System. Kapor had left his post as head of development at VisiCorp, the distributors of the Visicalc spreadsheet; having sold all his rights to VisiPlot and VisiTrend to VisiCorp. 1-2-3 was notable for its speed and efficiency. The original program was implemented in the assembly language of the PC (Intel 8088), as opposed to a higher level language such as C. It was also nearly bug-free, and introduced the letter hierarchical menus still used in Windows applications. Later versions of 1-2-3 would be implemented in C and were much larger and more complex. Lotus released Lotus 1-2-3 on January 26, 1983. The name referred to the three ways the product could be used, as a spreadsheet, graphics package, and database manager. In practice the latter two functions were less often used, but 1-2-3 was the most powerful spreadsheet program available. Sales were huge, turning Lotus into the largest independent software vendor in the world almost overnight. The business plan had called for $1 million in sales in the first year, but actual results were $54 million.