Arvel Hathcock had two very different loves growing up: rock ’n’ roll and computer software programming. Self-made from the start, Hathcock taught himself to both play the guitar and write software on his first computer, a TRS-80 Model MC-10 that his father bought him when he was 14. “I was the only kid lugging around a huge business computer,” Hathcock remembers.
|E-MAIL MADE EASY: Alt-N Technologies’ Arvel Hathcock created a cheaper and more secure way for small businesses to communicate. photography by Elizabeth Lavin|
In the 1980s, Hathcock played in a heavy-metal band and dreamed of rock stardom. But the birth of his daughter made him realize computers were a better career choice than amps. After independently developing early bulletin board software for several companies, Hathcock joined technology-based Mailing List Systems Corporation, just as words like Internet and e-mail were entering the nation’s vernacular. But Hathcock became frustrated at the expense of e-mail software and decided to create affordable e-mail for small- and medium-sized businesses on his own. “At that very instant, my company was born,” Hathcock says.
Hathcock founded Alt-N Technologies in 1996 to manufacture and sell the advanced MDaemon e-mail server he spent months (and many sleepless nights) developing at his kitchen table. The software features a sophisticated security system that protects clients from spam, viruses, and phishing. As a result, Alt-N was awarded the Authentication and Online Trust Alliance’s 2007 Online Safety Leadership Award. E-mail security is an crucial issue to Hathcock, who is working with members of the Domain Assurance Council and Internet Engineering Task Force to improve authentication techniques and restore trust in e-mail performance. Of the more than 40 e-mail servers on the market today, Alt-N’s server is now the fifth most-used in the world. Now clients in more than 90 countries, including the Dallas Mavericks and Harvard University, can send and receive with confidence.
Still, the 40-year-old CEO keeps several Kramer guitars tucked away in his office and even performed a rousing rendition of “Cat Scratch Fever” at his company’s annual holiday party. For Hathcock, rock ’n’ roll will never die.