William Charles Dawson V (born March 16, 1958) is an American software engineer and co-founder of early Web giant Xoom, which at one time ranked as the 7th largest Internet site in the world. Dawson is credited for creating over 30 products for a dozen companies ranging from scientific research tools to video games. Early in his career, Dawson was the Chief Science Officer at Apple Inc. and a member of the Macintosh Development Team. He also helped launch the optical media industry by producing the world’s first CD-ROMs and DVDs, authoring both the media and development systems that mastered them.

Early life

Born in Los Angeles, Dawson attended six different colleges before selecting San Jose State University to obtain a BFA in Journalism. One semester prior to graduating, Dawson dropped out of college to work for Apple with the encouragement of Guy Kawasaki, who told him he would learn more in six months’ time than from the six schools he had already attended.


After joining Apple as an area associate in 1984,[1] Dawson rose to the position of senior engineer. He authored Apple’s Interactive Music Toolkit for mastering Blue Book CD-ROMs, as well as the QuickTime Album Container file format. Dawson left Apple, and in 1996 co-founded Xoom[2] (NASDQ: XMCM) with Chris Kitze, whom he also created Before It’s News and Unseen[3], leading its engineering, Internet, design and product development teams. His nearly four-year association with Xoom spanned the company’s inception to its IPO, with a valuation in excess of $6 billion. Xoom was ultimately purchased by NBC and is now

After the sale of Xoom to NBC, Dawson was recruited by SoftNet Systems CEO Dr. Larry Brilliant,[5] and he became the company’s technical director. Dawson created a community portal content management system for SoftNet’s 2.4 million subscribers, which is now known as LocalToolbox. SoftNet Systems Inc. was an early independent broadband company that brought high speed Internet access to small cities, airports and rural towns. By September 2000, it had 400 employees and a market value of $280 million.[6]

In 2000, Dawson became the president of Manex Interactive,[7] the multimedia division of Manex Visual Effects, which had pioneered the Academy Award-winning visual effects for The Matrix and What Dreams May Come, among other films. Dawson directed the division’s creation of cutting-edge websites, CD-ROM products, video games, interactive kiosks and digital video production. Dawson recruited Kawika Maszak, also from Softnet and formerly of Gannett, as the division’s executive producer. Manex Interactive received a New York International Independent Film & Video Festival award for its experimental short film Seriality.

In 2009, Dawson reteamed with Xoom’s Chris Kitze to become the co-founder and chief technical officer of Before It’s News, an Internet platform that enables the hosting and distribution of news. Concurrently, he also co-founded and is the chief technology officer of [8] EV Global, LLC. Dawson also runs Bill Dawson & Associates, a company that creates and brands websites and mobile applications.

Personal life

Dawson married wife Susette in 1992 in a wedding ceremony held in a hot air balloon above Wilsonville, Oregon. They have three children: Justin, Dan and Lucille.[9] Bill has played guitar for over 30 years and is a member of the Santa Cruz Ukulele Club, the largest ukulele club in the world.

***Content stolen from WikiPedia.

Bill Dawson