Mitch Kapor knows something about reaching full potential.
When the IBM PC came out in the early 1980s, it was fabulous in concept. A computer that fit on a desk! But available programs were clunky and sales were slow. Kapor went about developing Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet designed for the computer that turned the early PC into a bona fide business machine.
It’s no different with students who are potentially brilliant at science and math, but are hamstrung by poor schools that are not equipped to prepare them for the 21st century. “It is possible to take a population of students who are failing and whose schools are failing them, who are being written off as not being college material,” Kapor says, “and if they have the right support, they can all go to college and succeed.”
Kapor is a tech icon, for starting Lotus, for cofounding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for being the first chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, which supports Firefox and other open source projects. He’s a San Francisco-based venture capitalist now and he’s done well for himself.
But he has always had a wide progressive advocacy streak. Born in Brooklyn, he worked as a rock disc jockey, taught Transcendental Meditation and worked as a mental health counselor before making his name in the tech field.