10 Tech Pioneers: Where Are They Now?

These former technology luminaries have all taken different paths. How different? One's a country doctor, one's a budding movie mogul, and one teaches toddlers--and he's not even alive.

But 7th Level's next efforts didn't do quite so well. In March 1997, when the company decided to drop its line of educational titles and focus entirely on games, Grayson left to form his own software firm, The Imagination Station. By the end of that year 7th Level had merged with Pulse Entertainment and left the gaming business entirely. The CD-ROM market eventually collapsed, thanks to both the medium's notorious technical problems and the rise of the Net. Imagination Station, however, continues to provide Internet-based educational materials to elementary schools across the nation.

We don't miss CD-ROMs one bit. But we do miss the parties.

Falls from Grace

Michael Cowpland

1985: Founder of Corel

Now: CEO of ZIM, a mobile entertainment firm

Though it began life as Cowpland Research Labs, this small Ottawa-based firm was known simply as Corel in 1989 when it released Draw, one of the first Windows-based graphics programs. Known as much for his flamboyant lifestyle and fondness for sports cars as for his management prowess, Cowpland proceeded to take Corel on one of the wildest rides in the PC business.

Cowpland wasn't content with being the biggest fish in the Windows graphics pond, so in 1996 Corel acquired the WordPerfect Office Suite from Novell. Cowpland vowed to capture half of Microsoft Office's market share, but never really came close. That same year, Corel announced plans to build both its own handheld PC and a so-named Network Computer. (Corel sold off its moribund hardware unit in January 1999.) In November 1999, Corel released a desktop Linux program designed to compete head-to-head with Windows. Needless to say, that didn't fly. Ventures into Java software development and videoconferencing also didn't pay off.

Around that time Cowpland was accused of insider trading for selling US$20 million worth of Corel shares weeks ahead of an earnings warning that caused its stock price to plummet. Under pressure from stockholders, Cowpland resigned as CEO in August 2000. Two months later Corel made peace with Microsoft, receiving a cash infusion of US$135 million.

In February 2001, Cowpland acquired Zim Technologies, an Ottawa-based text messaging firm, and installed himself as president and CEO. In December 2003, he settled the insider trading case by paying a fine of US$575,000. With Cowpland at the helm, the tiny Zim has slowly transformed itself into a mobile entertainment network, delivering live TV programming to cell phones. Who knows--he may topple Microsoft yet.

Stephen Paternot

1993: Co-founder and CEO of theGlobe.com

Now: Budding movie mogul

Community Web site theGlobe.com had one of those roller coaster rides that only seem possible in the dot-com biz--or the movies. Started by Paternot and partner Todd Krizelman while still undergrads at Cornell, theGlobe was the Facebook of its time, combining live chat with personal ads, classifieds, and games. The company's IPO in November 1998 shattered records, climbing from US$9 to US$97 before closing at US$63.50--a gain of more than 600 percent. Just 24 years old, Paternot was worth nearly US$100 million on paper.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Tynan

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?