Tony Chen

Profession: Software Engineer
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Position: Software Engineer, Macromedia

Tony Chen is an auto manufacturer’s worst nightmare. “I ride my bike everyday to work,” says Chen. The multimedia programmer leaves at 6 a.m. from his Mountain View home on a 30-minute, 3-mile ride to the train station. He spends his day programming Authorware, a multimedia presentation program designed to make demonstrations and experiments come to life with songs, video and animation. Basically, the customer programs the software to meet his or her needs.

Chen has always been fascinated by multimedia, but his background is in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. OCR allows a computer to recognize scanned text as actual font-based characters. OCR makes life very easy for lawyers with their mounds of documents. It can also translate into synthesized speech for the blind. Currently, Chen is working on a Japanese version of Authorware.

Chen was born in Shanghai in 1959. After graduating college, the Chinese government awarded him a scholarship to UCLA. They expected him to return. But he met an engineer at school who he married. “The Chinese government said it was okay to stay. Just give the money back,” he says. In the long-term, Chen is working with some other Chinese engineers to develop titles for China. One title in the works will teach English with multimedia lessons. “It will be my contribution to the mainland.”