He was only 14 when Blake Ross began working at Netscape. By 19 he had co-created Firefox, an open-source browser that has been downloaded 100 million times and garnered 10% of Internet Explorer’s market share.
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue interviewed him in One Teen’s Gigantic Contribution to the Internet.
My absolutely favorite part:
DP: And how were you, a bunch of volunteers, able to do this when the best and the brightest, highest paid programmers from Microsoft could not?
BR: First of all, they dropped the ball. Internet Explorer hasn’t been updated since 2001. And so when Microsoft basically disbanded the Internet Explorer team, the Web started to outpace the Web browser.
We guide our development by what our users want, not by the dollar. You know, no other factors come into play except these features that people are asking for. So basically I go home and I say, “Hey, Mom, you know, what’s still wrong with the internet? What’s bothering you?” And she tells me.
DP: You ask your mom?
BR: Well, she’ll yell at me. And I’ll say, “Mom, calm down. What’s wrong?” And then I’ll fix that.
DP: I wonder why Bill Gates’s mom couldn’t do the same thing?
BR: Yeah (laughs).