We’ve all heard of Texas’ high-tech heroes—we’re thinking, for instance, of a certain personal- computer mogul—but who will be their successors, the household names of tomorrow? To find out, we e-mailed more than three hundred of the state’s multimedia professionals and asked them to pick the industry’s heavyweights-in-waiting, men and women on the cusp of celebrity. Specifically, we asked for power players in six areas of the industry: game developers, software developers, Web designers, company builders, Internet-service providers, and 3-D artists. The only catch was that they had to be under thirty; this is, after all, a business in which youth trumps experience.
The response was overwhelming—and, thankfully, the same names cropped up over and over. That unanimity became the basis for the list that follows. As you’ll see, our selections have much more on their résumés than “hates to wear a suit.” They have big-name clients, great ideas, quantifiable talent, and—that currency of the moment—buzz. Some could soon move onto bigger and better deals and leave our state, but that’s the biz. Get acquainted with them while you can. Who knows? One could be the next Michael Dell.
CircumStance Design—Big Hand, Dallas
Tim Barber, 29 Creative Director
David Bliss, 27 Technical Director
The setup After graduating from college in 1994, they founded the experimental design studio CircumStance Design, which later merged with rival Big Hand.
What they do CD-ROMs ( James Cameron’s Titanic Explorer, Barbie Screen Styler, the sneak preview for X-Files: The Game) and Web sites (Neiman Marcus, Fox Sports Games, Amnesty International).
How they look “One of us will bleach his hair out to a bright white; the other will opt for something darker,” Barber says. “We’re a design firm with entertainment clients. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we were stodgy and uninteresting-looking.”
Luis Borromeo, 21 Internet Developer
Patrick Curry, 19 Human Interface Engineer
Dynamic duo Borromeo and Curry were sixteen and fourteen, respectively, when they started their own Web-site design company, ZFI, in 1994. At first they worked out of Curry’s bedroom at his parents house. “After trying to meet with a client there,” Curry says, “I realized that the bed was not a good conference table.” Luckily Borromeo had a driver’s license, so they began to meet clients at nearby cafes. In 1997, after the Web site they created for frogdesign won a Clio—the advertising industry’s equivalent of an Oscar—frogdesign acquired ZFI. Now their clients include Disney and Adidas.
Wham! Holy Cow! Ouch! When Borromeo is in frogdesign’s San Francisco outpost, he and Curry mount a company-wide deathmatch game of Quake: Left Coast vs. Third Coast.
Virtually There, Fort Worth
Corbin Broesche, 24 Senior Account Executive
R. Jeffrey Ireland, 24 President
Stephen P. Kinch, 25 Director of Production
Alex D. Seleny, 25 Vice President
What they do Web-site development, hosting, management, marketing, consulting—you name it. Clients include the Bass Performance Hall, La Madeleine, and Pier 1 Imports.
Will work for pizza A few months after they leased their first space in 1997, they worked out a barter deal with Mr. Gatti’s: Some of the money they earned for hosting the Mr. Gatti’s Pizza Web site went to paying their pizza tab.
They’re not Apple Don’t accuse them of spare beginnings. “We didn’t start in a garage,” Seleny says. “We started in a converted office above a garage.”
Andrew Busey 27
Way back in 1993, he created one of the earliest Internet portals. He was the first Net employee at Spyglass, the product manager for Mosaic (the first commercial Web browser), the instigator of Spyglass-Microsoft discussions that led to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and the founder of ichat, later renamed Acuity, whose online customer-service software is used by more than two thousand clients, including AT&T and IBM. His latest venture is an as-yet-unnamed Web-based e-commerce company set to launch in July.
A good sport An Eagle scout, he’s a lover of techno-gadgets, the stock market, and certain avocations. “I’m starting to get into golf and tennis,” he says, “but it’s slow going. Especially golf. It’s a lot harder than it looks.”
id Software, Mesquite
John Carmack 28 Co-founder, Co-owner, Lead Programmer
He got games Carmack holds high-tech’s