Speaking Mind to Mind

by Volker Weber

What makes Ray Ozzie tick? From the New York Times:

I was assigned to work on a project online with a programmer in a different part of Urbana-Champaign. We worked for months without meeting. We'd use instant messaging, which on Plato displayed a message in real time, keystroke by keystroke. My partner was obviously brilliant but an incredibly bad typist. It was excruciating, waiting for each letter. He constantly made mistakes. When I finally met him, I was stunned: he was a quadriplegic and had been typing with a stick held in his lips.

I realized at that moment that the computer was a medium that enabled communication with people mind to mind, regardless of their physical well-being. You can work with someone without prejudice, and their true talents will be shown. And from then on, I started to focus on how computers could help people work together more effectively.

After graduation, I said to myself, "By hook or crook, I am going to build software to recreate the interactive environment I'd used with Plato." That thought led to the creation of Lotus Notes, which sits on nearly 100 million desktops, as well as everything else I've done.

Very nice story because it gets right to the core without pitching a product.

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