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MIT Technology Review

35 Innovators Under 35

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  • Lou Montulli

    32

    It’s one thing to devise a key innovation for the Internet. Lou Montulli has designed half a dozen. While a computer science major at the University of Kansas in 1991,he wrote Lynx, a program that enabled a computer user to automatically link text documents. It became one of the earliest and most popular World Wide Web browsers. At the same time, Montulli was a leading figure in the grass-roots effort to improve several fundamental computer languages and protocols, including the hypertext transfer protocol—the addressing scheme that links Web pages—and HTML, the language for creating text and images on Web pages. In 1994 he moved to California to work as a founding engineer at what became Netscape, developing the first commercial Web application. Not all of his innovations have been universally embraced: he is responsible for cookies—data files that enable Web sites to recognize returning users—as well as blink tags—those endlessly flashing words on Web pages. Shrugging off the burden of being named People magazine’s sexiest Internet mogul of 1999,the freelancing Montulli continues to experiment with new ways to exploit the Internet.