Barry Appelman is recognized as being the father of the “buddy list” and AOL instant messenger. Companies had been using crude forms of instant messaging within their own networks for over forty years, but the idea of presence, i.e. who is logged on at any given time, was non existent. It was not until Appelman, and his colleagues at the Thomas Watson Research Center, first began to write programs on the mainframe system letting each other know when they were actually online, that modern day Instant Messaging was born.
Appelman joined AOL in 1993 to head up all of AOL server and host development efforts. He authored many innovations and patents: an instant messaging system, a highly scalable email system, ad servers, TCP/IP enabled browsers, among many others. Barry Appelman and his former colleagues from T.J. Watson Matt Korn and Mike Conners who also came to AOL, were crucial to taking AOL from a distant third position in online services to that of a formidable leadership – all within 2-3 years.
Barry Appelman authored 77 patents, and now angel invests in the technology space.