AMA: David Temkin, Brave’s Chief Product Officer — Oct. 4, 2018

Hi, I’m David Temkin.

Way back in the late Precambrian era, my father brought home an Apple II+. Since then, I’ve been hooked on computers and software — especially on the parts of computing that touch human beings.

I taught myself how to code (6502 assembly); eventually got a computer science degree from Brown, and not long after that found my way to Silicon Valley. I made the move from the east coast to work at Apple, as an engineer on the software team for its first-ever mobile device — the Newton. It was a very interesting five years. We laughed. We cried. We learned a lot about building a breakthrough product…. and shipping it too soon.

In 1997, when Apple appeared to be on its deathbed (who could have known?!) I left and went to @Home Network, where I had the privilege of getting an up-close-and-personal view of the dot-com boom. At the time, dial-up was the way to get online;  @Home was the company that made consumer broadband a reality. During that time, I also published a satirical magazine with the tagline, “Every day, computers are making people easier to use”. It was a funny tagline, then. It’s not nearly as funny now, as so much of what we were writing about — including ubiquitous surveillance — has become an uncomfortable fact of life.

In 2001 I co-founded Laszlo Systems, a company that pioneered web technology that enabled rich user experiences, including drag-and-drop and interface animation, that are now staples of contemporary development and design. A few years later, we decided to make our software open source. (That’s when I first met Brendan Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla).

I spent as much time at Laszlo as I did in high school and college combined — a duration which may well be illegal in Silicon Valley. Following Laszlo, worked at Palm as VP of its webOS developer platform, and then as GM/SVP of Mobile and Mail at AOL, and then as CTO of Hightail / YouSendIt. Then, in 2015 I co-founded my second startup a messaging app startup called Cola, and finally joined Brave last fall.

Brave wraps a lot of my interests together in one very intriguing proposition. It takes user experience, developer platforms, open source, and — most interestingly — an entirely new approach to the content economy that challenges the foundations of surveillance capitalism. We’re fighting the good fight with a highly-principled, layered strategy that stands of fighting chance of undoing a currently exploitative, ineffective ecosystem for users, content creators, and advertisers.

See the full AMA here.

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