The Light of Lotus Shines Everywhere (an IBM Commercial)
Have you ever wonder why an advanced electronic spreadsheet package from IBM is given a Buddhist name, Lotus 1-2-3?
Lotus is the symbol of Buddhism. The Buddha and the Bodhisattva of Compassion are frequently portrayed as sitting on a Lotus flower in a Lotus position, and one of the most important Buddhist scripture is called the Lotus Sutra. So, what is the connection between a modern computer software package and a 2,500 old religion?
The answer: Mr. Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the "father" of Lotus 1-2-3, is a devoted Buddhist, who is also a forerunner of computer technology for over 20 years.
Mr. Kapor was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950 and graduated from Yale College in 1971 with a B.A. in Cybernetics. As a young College graduate, he sought spirituality by traveling to various places such as Europe to learn Yoga, but soon disappointed with Hinduism and returned to the States. Finally, he found refuge with Buddhism.
In the late 70's and early 80's, when personal computer was still in the infancy, Mr. Kapor joined Personal Software Inc. to help develop the world's first electronic spreadsheet, the VisiCalc. In 1982, he left VisiCalc to form Lotus Development Corporation and created Lotus 1-2-3. Almost overnight, the spreadsheet was a smashing hit and the Company expanded rapidly to over a thousand employees by in 1985 with sale of $156 million.
After he left Lotus (sold to IBM), he served in various public and private organizations including the M.I.T. as Adjunct Professor. Presently, he spends his time in promoting Buddhist philanthropy via his own Mitchell Kapor Foundation and venture capitalism via his own company Kapor Enterprises Inc.
He helped to contribute idea for the book "Awakening the Buddha Within", by Lama Surya Das. To read his articles in the Tricycle Magazine - Buddhist Review, go to his personal website.
Unfortunately, Lotus 1-2-3 is under strong competition from Microsoft Excel and Quattro Pro at the present moment, with Excel dominating the spreadsheet market. However, the software package known as Lotus Notes is still widely use commercially.
Return to Main Page