Now and then, the young and brilliant visionaries grace the entrepreneurial landscape, their innovative skills and enthusiasm for change making a significant impact in the world as they transform something ordinary into a remarkable work of excellence. In the case of Blake Aaron Ross, the esteemed co-founder of Mozilla, it is proven that one’s innovative effort can indeed revolutionize the way people accessed the web.
Born in June 1985, in Miami, Florida, Blake Ross was raised in the Key Biscayne area with his highly qualified parents—his mother a psychologist and his father a lawyer. Even at such a tender age, Blake’s love for software development was evident as he would spend hours on one project or the other. When he was ten, he developed his first individual project, his website named America Online.
As he grew older, his interest in programming grew so much that he joined Netscape as an intern at 15. During his time at the company, he had lots of frustration with the browser he was working on. This frustration with the web browser resulted in creativity as he brainstormed ways to resolve the problem.
By his graduation from Stanford University in 2003, Blake was simultaneously working for Mozilla in California. It was here that he thought of creating a web browser that was small, easy to use, yet powerful. He collaborated with his two colleagues, Dave Hyatt and Joe Hewitt. Ross conceived the idea of developing a user-friendly web browser that was easier and safer to use compared to its competitors.
The project soon took off, and the trio developed it into programming codes and developed the first version of Firefox, which was first released to the world on November 9, 2004. At the time of this revolutionary event, Blake Ross was just 19. The first version of Firefox gained massive attention for its user-friendly interface, and Firefox became an instant hit with 100 million downloads a month after its launch. Within a year of its release, Firefox became the preferred web browser worldwide.
A wunderkind, Blake kept working on newer projects dedicated to making the use of the internet safer and faster. One of the ideas birthed his start-up, a user interface named Parakey developed with Hewitt in 2006. Through Parakey, Blake aimed to bridge the widening gap between web and desktop. A year after its first market launch, social media giant, Facebook, saw the potential in Parakey and acquired it for a multi-million dollar price.
A software development whiz, Blake is constantly working on newer ideas. In 2007, soon after Parakey was purchased, he joined Facebook as Director of Product, where he worked till 2013. After he resigned from the company, Blake continued to pursue his other interests.
Banking on his wealth of experience in the industry he works in, Blake wrote an original screenplay fanfiction for HBO’s sitcom Silicon Valley. The TV series became an audience favorite worldwide. At only 36, Blake has received multiple awards for his innovative work in revolutionizing the web. In 2005, he was listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s hot list and was nominated for the top Rave award of Wired magazine.