Your Haas Network
Mike Homer, BS 81
Chairman and Cofounder
From humble blue-collar beginnings, Mike Homer, BS 81, has made his way to the upper echelons of the high-tech world through focus, determination, long hours, and a fortuitous penchant for computers. Now the chairman of Kontiki, the video-on-demand software provider he started nearly five years ago, he's become well known in Silicon Valley as an influential manager and angel investor.
To put himself through UC Berkeley, Homer held down a full-time supermarket job. At graduation, he landed a job as a computer applications programmer, but was shortly thereafter snatched up by Apple to develop systems software. He soon became then-CEO John Scully's right-hand technical assistant, and eventually crossed over to manage new market development.
Hit with startup fever, Homer left Apple in 1991 to head marketing for a new company, GO, one of the first developers of mobile hand-held computers. When venture capitalist John Doerr recruited him as the VP of marketing for Netscape in 1994, Homer became a major player in the creation of the commercial Internet.
Looking back on his 20 years as a manager, Homer says, "Berkeley taught me not only the nuts and bolts of business, but also how to work with diverse groups of people. That has served me well." Homer has given back by supporting the Haas School's Center for Responsible Business. "It's taken me a while to figure out that being involved in business shouldn't just be about making money," he says. "It should be about contributing to society."