Can ZixIt Fix It?

Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Jack Welch are backing David Cook's new plan to make e-commerce hacker-proof.

David P. Cook is a reinventor. He has a knack for taking clunky, low-tech companies, spiffing them up with computer technology, and making barrelsful of money in the process. His best-known venture, Blockbuster Entertainment, which he co-founded with H. Wayne Huizenga, applied computerized inventory control and tracking of rentals to the old mom-and-pop video rental store and built a vast retail chain that transformed the business. Next, the Dallas entrepreneur took on one of the oldest businesses in the world, one that hadn’t changed much in 10,000 years: collecting roadside tolls. Cook’s Amtech Corporation created an electronic toll-road payment system that allowed motorists to affix a microchip tag to their windshield and automatically have their tolls billed to their credit cards without stopping. Toll roads in Dallas, Houston, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, all use Amtech’s toll-tag system. Now Cook is setting his sights even higher. Instead of reinventing a low-tech business, his new Dallas company, called ZixIt, is attempting to transform the Internet itself by solving the basic problem of security. That’s no small feat, considering that the Internet, from its inception as a Department of Defense project, was designed for fast, open communications and was never intended as a vehicle for commerce. And the wave of recent hacker

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...