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MIT Technology Review

35 Innovators Under 35

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  • Evan Williams

    31

    Evan Williams is a survivor. In early 2001 he was the sole remaining employee of Pyra labs, the San Francisco company he had cofounded with fellow TR100 honoree Meg Hourihan and programmer Paul Bausch. They had designed Blogger, a Web application that allows people to create Web logs (or “blogs”)- Web pages where users can maintain Internet journals. Blogger helped realize the promise of the Internet; that ordinary folks with no programming experience could use it to air their views. Blogger’s friendly interface- and free server space- are widely popular. After the dot-com crash, when Williams had trouble raising money to buy badly needed servers, Pyra Labs asked users for help, and they donated more than $10,000. That modest infusion was enough for the company to rally, and Blogger’s popularity skyrocketed. It currently has more than one million registered users. Williams continues to develop Blogger at search engine heavyweight Google, which bought Pyra Labs last February. He believes blogs will become “an accepted part of the media ecosystem.” Indeed, blogs have turned public attention to overlooked news, including the controversial remarks of Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) that led to his ouster as U.S. Senate majority leader.