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Mitch Kapor

No, my family is Russian, Georgian, via Ellis Island.

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I actually built a tiny computer as a junior high school project.

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I was trying to figure out what to do next, I'd been accumulating ideas for productivity tools - software people could use every day, particularly to help organize their lives.

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That's why it has to be a nonprofit, because a nonprofit is required to take monies it receives and use them for the purposes for which it's chartered by the government. It can't be pocketed.

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We've already gotten a significant grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a university consortium. I think the whole sector of Foundations, potentially with government support, is promising - more than promising, I think, it's substantial.

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The culmination of all of that was the decision to start a company, which became Lotus, to do a product, which became 1-2-3. By the time I reached that point it had been four years, and it felt like a lifetime, but really it was kind of evolutionary.

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Well, I had a lot of help from my father with the soldering and so on, and he was very good at math and was fascinated with computers, and so I was fortunate enough to have a bunch of exposure going all the way back to high school - this was in the 1960s.

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