Joining Laszlo

I first met the folks at Laszlo Systems in December of 2000, when I was the CTO of AlphaMask. A decade earlier Laszlo’s founder David Temkin, my business parter Mike Reed, and I had all worked at Apple on technologies associated with the Newton. Mike and I were in San Francisco, and David invited us by to see Laszlo.

At the time, I had been thinking of getting someone from the MIT Media Lab to design a user interface that took advantage of AlphaMask’s animation and scaling capabilities to go beyond the desktop metaphor. When I saw what Laszlo was doing, I stopped considering this. “If I ever want to do anything interesting with 2D interfaces”, I thought, “I should do it at Laszlo”.

David was interested in licensing our graphics engine, but Laszlo didn’t have any money. A year later, in October 2001, Mike and I sold AlphaMask to OpenWave. And in November, Laszlo received its seed funding. David called us to ask whether our graphics engine was still available for licensing. It wasn’t, but I was. I signed a six month contract.

I agreed to work for Laszlo because I thought the technology was amazing, and because I was looking for something to do while I decided what I wanted to do longer term —- probably start a company in the Boston area. During my first six months a couple of things happened. One was that I realized this was a real company, with a business plan and business people as good as the engineers. Another was that I really enjoyed working with everyone. So six months later, instead of leaving Laszlo to start my own company, I suggested they hire me and start a Boston office, and a year later, here I am.