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Zat, Inc.
837 SW First Ave
Portland OR  97204

Coming to visit Zat? Get a map or driving directions (from anywhere in the continental USA).


fax: 503-223-2334


For information about employment opportunities with Zat, send email to We are looking for outstanding candidates in two main areas:
  1. hard-core computer nerds who want to help build the next two or three generations of rapid application development environments, and create the future.
  2. people with specific experience with enterprise technologies such as Enterprise JavaBeans, transaction processing, databases, client-server, thin clients, transaction processing, e-commerce, and distributed objects.

Who We Are

Zat was founded by Wm Leler and Philip Goward. Before Zat, Wm and Philip had both done widely recognized work in seemingly diverse areas of the computer industry, including distributed computing, computer graphics, user interfaces, visual authoring, and object-oriented computing. Real renaissance nerds. They never dreamed they would find a project that would bring all these skills together, until Zat. Here are short biographies of Wm and Philip.

Zat was first conceived of at the Banff Centre for the Arts, in Canada. Wm had been invited to be faculty at a two-week workshop on the Internet, called Interactive Screen. This workshop is attended by people like Laurie Anderson and John Oswald, film makers, novelists, futurists, designers, and computer scientists, including the top interactive media people from companies such as Microsoft, Apple Computer, Silicon Graphics, Real World, Viacom, Brøderbund, Voyager, and the BBC.

Everybody at the workshop was excited about the new possibilities afforded by the Internet, but their attempts to develop anything beyond simple static Web pages were being thwarted by the lack of suitable tools. As Wm says, it was like a light clicked on in his head. People were trying to take tools that were designed for writing software that ran on a single computer, and use them for writing networked software. He and Philip had seen the same thing happen (and fail) in the distributed computing field a decade earlier. Tools for writing sequential software cannot be simply adapted for writing distributed (networked) software — new tools are required.

A small group at the workshop got together for intensive talks about this new breed of tool for the Internet. Philip drove up to Banff and joined the group. Before the workshop was over, a design had been started, Philip had created a proof-of-concept demonstration, and a fledgling company was formed. Within a few weeks, seed funding was obtained. Things were moving quickly.

Once back in Portland, Wm and Philip called Dave Shapiro to ask if he would take on the responsibility of running the new company. His immediate response was no, he didn't have the time, but as a favor was willing to listen to the idea over lunch. After just an hour, Dave had caught the fever as well, and signed up. Here is a short biography for Dave.

Like all computer start-ups, Zat originally worked out of Philip's basement, but Zat soon outgrew that and moved into an office in an area of downtown Portland filled with web developers, galleries, restaurants, bakeries, and bookstores (including Powells, the largest new and used bookstore in the world).

The Zat Family

Designing, building, and selling the world's first Internet Rapid Application Development Environment is no easy task, so Zat enlisted the aid of some of the top people in the world. We formed a technical advisory board, and convinced Adele Goldberg, Andries van Dam, and Hamish Forsythe to serve on it.

Adele is one of the creators of Smalltalk, and managed the research lab at Xerox PARC before founding ParcPlace Systems. Andy is a leading researcher on visual authoring environments, a co-founder of SIGGRAPH, founder of the computer science department of Brown University, and co-wrote the standard textbook on interactive computer graphics. He is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Microsoft. Hamish was co-founder and CEO of mFactory, creators of the legendary multimedia authoring tool mTropolis.

An early and continuing contributor to Zat is Josh Portway, who works for Peter Gabriel at Real World Multimedia. He was in the original small group at Interactive Screen, and was involved in the design of Spin. Josh is one of the most creative developers in the world, and has extensive experience with just about every authoring tool ever sold.

Many people have been extremely helpful during the development of Spin. Gerald Wluka a respected e-commerce consultant, has been invaluable in helping us develop our business and marketing plans. Our plans have been honed using feedback from the best and brightest people in this industry, including Richard Dellinger, founder of Docent, Matt Harris, Director of Enron Communication Ventures, and Adrian Russell-Falla, founder of Rulespace and

Alan Kaiser wrote the networking and media libraries for Myst and You Don't Know Jack, the Netshow, and is now one of the principals of Liberate. Sara Diamond is director of the Multimedia Institute at The Banff Centre. Bill Stewart is the head of the Quicktime for Java project at Apple Computer. Marina Zurkow runs a multimedia design firm, O-matic, in New York. Kent Laursen ran a multimedia design firm, O2Ware, and was one of our original alpha testers, but he got so excited about Spin that he now works for us.

Zat's Name

As you may know, one of the biggest challenges of forming a new company is finding a name for it.

Zat tools are based on the programming language Java, so we chose a Javanese word for our company name. Zat means "that in which a thing's special potency lies."

Zat also has meaning in a few other languages, including Punjabi, Slovak, and (our favorite) Dutch.


We like the name Zat because you can make so many puns with it, like Zat's Zat, Zat's the truth, and Zat's all she wrote. Two Zat users can have a converZation. Our authoring tool supports improviZation. Our debugger can do a Zat scan. Zat gurus are bodhiZattvas (you become one when you reach Zatori). We have our own Zatgeist. And when we celebrate, we throw a Zaturnalia. It's a verZatile word.

Have you had enough of Zat? Are you Zatiated? Reached the Zaturation point? Been rendered insenZate? Perhaps you've had enough of our Zattitude? Or are you inZatiable? With Zat, your Zatisfaction is guaranteed.

Don't settle for airZats, when you can have Zat which you desire.

Zat is where it's @.


Wm Leler

President and Chief Technical Officer

Wm Leler's passions (Computers, Languages, and Design) come together in Zat. Wm built his first computer when he was still in elementary school, then went on to earn degrees in Electronic Engineering, Art (Design), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science. In his first job out of school he assembled and managed the team that built the world's first 3D graphics workstation for seismic interpretation. This pioneering product set the standard that is now the dominant technology used for oil exploration, a multi-billion dollar market.

After that, Wm began his love affair with start-up companies, holding management, product development, and marketing positions. At Ithaca Software, which was acquired by Autodesk, Wm was responsible for new product development — building new tools for distributed programming and graphics. As one of the first five employees at Cogent Research, Wm successfully built and managed the graphics group, and designed the underlying technology used in their groundbreaking operating system — a distributed version of UNIX.

Wm is a recognized expert in networked and distributed computing, computer graphics, and advanced computer languages. Wm has written two successful books, on computer graphics and computer languages, and has published numerous articles on networked and distributed computing, computer graphics, virtual reality, and advanced computer languages. In his spare time, Wm has taught courses on parallel computing, computer graphics, and object-oriented programming at the graduate level.

Philip Goward

Vice President of Engineering

Philip Goward brings extensive product development and management experience to Zat. Philip has developed a half-dozen successful software products, including the award winning Undercover, which received a 4.5 mouse rating by MacUser Magazine. Philip's products have spanned a wide range of disciplines, including computer graphics, user interfaces, object-oriented business modeling software, and medical information systems.

Philip has held management positions at a number of prestigious companies, including ParcPlace Systems (the spin-off from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Labs). His work there won the 1995 Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference Award. At Presidio Systems (acquired by Domain), Philip established a new technology development office and within its first year developed patentable technology significantly improving the company's key product line. This product dramatically reduced programmer time, and provided non-programmers the ability to deliver applications.

Philip received his bachelor's degree, with honors, in Computer Science from the University of Manchester (England) and completed all course work for a Masters in Computer Science. Philip has published many articles and has taught courses on C++ and computer graphics.

Dave Shapiro

Chief Executive Officer (Interim)

Dave Shapiro brings to Zat successes in running small, high-growth enterprises. In addition to founding high-tech companies, Dave has been hired to turn around several venture-funded companies.

Besides his development, marketing, fund raising, and operations skills, Dave has managed a boutique investment bank, chaired the award-winning Washington Exposition of Science and Technology, and is a board member of a private medical college. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, obtained his Masters Degree from the Denver University School of Business and Law Degree from Northwestern School of Law.

Kent Laursen

Member of Technical Staff

Kent Laursen brings outstanding experience with business software and databases to Zat. Prior to joining Zat, Kent was at the helm of O2ware, an object-oriented consulting firm he founded in 1991, whose clients included Chevron. O2ware also developed products, including Query Paper, a pen-based data access tool that was bundled with Momenta's pentop computer. O2ware's groundbreaking work has been written up in such publications as PC Week, Infoworld, and Datamation.

Kent has also worked as an independent consultant in New York's financial industry, was Senior Engineer at Pictureware, Inc., developed graphics, imaging, and desktop publishing workstations at Linotype, and has taught courses on advanced programming. Kent has considerable experience in bringing advanced computer power to non-programmers, including the development of a visual programming system for imaging applications, and the introduction of computers into recording studios in England and Germany. Kent holds a degree in Computer Science from Oregon State University.

Brian Bucknam

Member of Technical Staff

Brian Bucknam is a publishing software expert, equally proficient both for the Web and for conventional print. Brian was the co-founder of Astrobyte, which developed the first successful plug-in that brought Web page authoring and export capabilities to QuarkXPress. After achieving over $1M in annual sales, Astrobyte was acquired by Extensis. Before Astrobyte, he worked at Quark on the revolutionary release of QuarkXPress 3.0, and headed the development team for Quark's work-group publishing product, QPS. Brian also has considerable software development experience in networking, computer graphics, user interfaces, and database design. Brian holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Colorado.

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