While serving as a director at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, Mockapetris takes credit for being the first to implement the SMTP mail protocol.
The technologist is most noted as a creator of DNS. Although he no longer has an official hand in its development, he is pushing for an evolution that would make it easy for non-English speakers to use the Internet.
"People have been slow to do innovation to try and support [internationalization] because they are protecting a legacy. I just see internationalization as an imperative, rather than something that we should be trying to do without jeopardizing the installed base," he says.
Like some other tech pioneers, Mockapetris has tended to join companies in the start-up phase, bowing out after the companies became established. In addition to working at @Home, he was CTO for messaging company Software.com and a founder of fiber-optic equipment maker Fiberlane, which eventually split and became Siara Systems and Cerent (later acquired by Redback Networks and Cisco Systems, respectively).
Mockapetris hasn't always been dying to drive in the fast lane, though. When his first child was due, he tried ditching the hectic pace of Silicon Valley. But he couldn't resist the start-up siren call. This time, it was Fiberlane, in Santa Barbara.
"When [my wife] heard me saying 'this really is an opportunity to change the world' she knew we were moving," he says.
Later, after moving back to Silicon Valley, Mockapetris and his wife added twin boys to the family. "Nowadays, I think going to work is where things are more relaxed," he jokes.
When it comes to technology, though, Urban Media's CTO is in a hurry. "I love to talk to people about far-out technology and try and get them to move it from: 'oh, we are promising that for Q4 of 2000' into 'I can get [you] prototypes tomorrow.'"