Q&A: Light the birthday candles for Lotus Notes: "When did you know you had something big with Notes?
[Ray Ozzie:] I'll say something that let's you see a little bit about my personality: I knew we had something before we started the company. The two guys who started Iris with me -- Tim Halvorsen and Len Kawell -- the three of us had been at the University of Illinois in the mid-'70s and had been exposed to a system called Plato, where we first lived the online community experience. We knew what it was like to work with other people at a distance online because we lived it for years.
We lost that when we went into industry. When we graduated from school, they went to DEC and I went to Data General and suddenly we were thrown into this way-back machine of working the old-fashioned way. We had an innate desire to bring back that method of virtual online work that we had experienced before.
In 1989, because of (Lotus founder) Mitch Kapur [sic] and a number of other people who believed in us, we finally had the opportunity to start a company and build that vision.
When we came out with the product in '89, we knew what you could do with it and we couldn't understand why we couldn't communicate to others the difference that they could make."
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