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Jay Adelson, a successful Internet innovator and self-proclaimed computer nerd, has evolved from an inquisitive Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School student to the founder of multimillion dollar companies.
"If you'd have seen me as a child growing up, you'd have seen a skinny little kid with giant coke-bottle classes standing on the sidelines," said Adelson. "But I was definitely curious and perhaps even a little artistic in a way."
Adelson, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills, has made a name for himself in Silicon Valley throughout the past two decades as co-founder of Digg, an interactive networking site, Revision3 Corporation and Equinix, a company that is essential to the effectiveness of the Internet today. His fascination with the web, however, came long before many knew the impact it would have on their lives.
"I think as a child, I saw the online world as a way to socialize and expand my universe," Adelson said. "For most people, their universe explodes when they turn 16-years-old and they get a car. For me, it was years before that when I was 10 or 11."
After Cranbrook, Adelson studied at Boston University, eventually migrating to California. He discovered his personal salvation and meal ticket by temping for companies seeking computer knowledge, an elusive commodity at the time.
"Living (in California), even in the early 90s, was very expensive," he said. "But if you had computer knowledge, you could really write your own ticket. I was comfortable in that environment and it paid my rent, and then some."
Adelson became a permanent fixture in the Internet world, and the pace of constant progression has made his life interesting, he said.
"I did well within that world. I think I could translate well between the non-technological world and the technological world. I could communicate to others what technology would mean to them."
While Adelson has made a very lucrative living creating and enhancing technology, he is cautious not to let it take control of his own life. It is his firm conviction that the latest gadgets should enhance the lives of users, not complicate them.
"I don't have an iPod or an iPad," he said. "I'm not that guy. I love technology, but I like to understand things really, really well before I jump in."
Earlier this year, Adelson left Digg to "reboot" his family life and ultimately pursue fresh ideas as CEO of SimpleGeo, a San Francisco-based company working with applications and indexing data.
"My personal life had taken a major toll," he said. "The time off totally paid off in a major way."...continued on page 2