Interview with General Magic co-founder and visionary Marc Porat

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Steve Jobs excitedly announced at the iPhone launch in 2007. But few knew that two decades earlier Marc Porat had the very same idea and, with some of the best designers, engineers and marketers, he tried to build it. It was code-named Pocket Crystal and the company was General Magic.

I first learned about the General Magic story back in 2016 and have been fascinated with the story ever since — I even interviewed co-founder Andy Hertzfeld and engineer Megan Smith for my podcast. But there was…


Major breakthroughs require commitment, time, and the resources to go the distance.

Rony Abovitz is a serial tech entrepreneur and visionary. He co-founded MAKO Surgical in 2004 — a robotics company specialising in manufacturing surgical robotic arm assistance technology utilised by hospitals worldwide. MAKO was acquired by Stryker Corporation in 2013 for $1.65 billion.

Abovitz went on to found Magic Leap — a spatial computing company which envisaged a futuristic world, many years ahead of its time. Starting out of his garage in 2010, Abovitz worked on Magic Leap at night whilst still working at MAKO during the day. He partnered with award-winning Weta Workshop in New Zealand and assembled a world-class…


Shazam Founders: Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang, Chris Barton, Dhiraj Mukherjee

“The number one determinant of entrepreneurial success is persistence. If you are not prepared to go to superhuman levels that are beyond rationality to realize your dream, then your chance of finding success is virtually zero.” Chris Barton

The story of Shazam is one of pure innovation, foresight, and friendship. In 1999, Chris Barton dreamed of a seemingly impossible solution to ambient music recognition and created the team — including friend Dhiraj Mukherjee, classmate Philip Inghelbrecht, and engineer Avery Wang — to make it a reality. …


Image of Elizabeth Feinler by Peter Adams for Faces of Open Source

“I am proud to have had a small role in the development of the Internet, a technical phenomenon that has changed the way the world learns and communicates.”

Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler is a pioneering information scientist and the former Director of the Network Information Systems Center at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International), which she joined in 1960 to work in the Information Research Department.

In 1972, Elizabeth joined Doug Engelbart’s Augmentation Research Center (ARC) to work on the ARPANET Resource Handbook. Elizabeth was principal investigator for the Network Information Center (NIC) project from 1974 to 1989. During that time, Elizabeth’s NIC group worked on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which evolved into the Defense Data Network (DDN), both forerunners to the Internet .

The…


Interview with Machine Learning Scientist Catherine Breslin

This is the nineteenth interview in the Beyond Work series looking at how founders and innovators work from home during the global pandemic of Coronavirus. In this interview, we meet Catherine Breslin.

Catherine is a machine learning scientist and consultant based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She has a First-Class Honours MEng in Engineering and Computer Science from Oxford University, as well as MPhil in Speech, Text and Internet Technology, and a PhD in Engineering and Automatic Speech Recognition from Cambridge University.

Catherine has a wealth of experience in both business and academic environments including four and a half…


Radia Perlman

“Constantly question why things are the way they are.”

** This interview first appeared in my newsletter here.**

I wanted to share an interview from my archive with you. As this year marks 35 years since Radia Perlman invented the algorithm for implementing a spanning tree protocol (STP), I thought it a great time to share her story which originally appeared in my book, Female Innovators at Work.

Radia’s invention (one of many patents she holds) transformed the Ethernet from technology which was limited to a few hundred nodes confined to a single building into a technology that could handle massive networks and thus laying the groundwork for the…


How Duane Jackson Turned Adversity into Success — Part III

**This interview first appeared in my newsletter Founder Stories — you can sign up here.**

This is the third and final instalment of my interview with serial tech entrepreneur Duane Jackson. You can read Part I about his childhood in care homes to prison here, and Part II which charts his time through prison and on to his first startup here.

In this final instalment, Duane discusses what it’s really like to be a founder of a growing startup, the highs and lows he experienced whilst trying to sell his first business, and what it feels like to wake up…


How Duane Jackson Turned Adversity into Success — Part II

Duane Jackson with Prince Charles of The Prince’s Trust

[*This interview first appeared in my newsletter here. Sign up here.*]

In the first part of this interview, we took a deep dive into Duane Jackson’s extraordinary back-story from his mum putting him into a children’s home at eleven to being arrested in the States at nineteen with 6,500 ecstasy tablets.

Here, we chart his life from the court case through prison and out the other side to his first startup — how the lessons from prison taught him how to be a better entrepreneur, the challenges he overcame in the early days of building his startup, and why it’s…


How Duane Jackson Turned Adversity into Success — Part I

*This interview first appeared in my newsletter here. You can find parts II and III of this interview linked.

Duane Jackson is a hugely inspiring serial entrepreneur. But no one could have guessed how successful he would become based on his childhood.

Duane grew up in East London with his mother, brother and sister. At eleven, his mother called the police on him and got him taken into care. At fourteen, he was expelled from school with no qualifications to his name. At nineteen, he was arrested trying to smuggle 6,500 ecstasy tablets into the USA.

But during his stint…


Ryan Hoover taken by Christopher Michel, Hawaii 2018

*This interview first appeared in my newsletter here. Sign up to be the first to read all my interviews here.*

Ryan Hoover is the founder and CEO of Product Hunt — the site where anyone can launch and discover new products. He started it as a side project back in 2013 before selling to AngelList three years later for a reported $20 million. Following the sale, Ryan started Weekend Fund in order to invest in early stage startups.

In this interview, we revisit his childhood, how Ryan got into tech, and how being curious has led him here today.

Here’s…

Danielle Newnham

Writer. Founder. Interviewed 300+ founders and innovators and I’m sharing their stories here. 📚 Author x 2.

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