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Nathaniel (nsb)
Borenstein, Ph.D.



I'm a scientist/programmer/inventor/entrepreneur who has been involved in Internet-related innovations since 1980, specializing in e-mail technology, human-computer interaction, and electronic commerce. Journalists have called me an "Internet Guru" and "a geek's geek, " among other things. I have largely focused, in my career, on taking new innovations and driving them, collaboratively, to become successful products.

I specialize in building consensus in diverse groups, and I enjoy translating between different perspectives, particularly between software development and business strategy.

Since June 2010 I have been working as Chief Scientist for Mimecast. Previously (2002-2010) I was a Distinguished Engineer for IBM's Lotus Division.

I occasionally write on my blog.

You Might Know Me From...

  • My standards work. Among other things, I'm co-creator of MIME, the Internet standard multimedia data format, now used trillions of times each day. My old barbershop quartet is featured in the first-ever MIME message.

  • My entrepreneurial ventures. I co-founded First Virtual Holdings, the first Internet payment company, in 1994, which became MessageMedia and was ultimately swallowed up by Doubleclick when the Internet bubble burst, NetPOS.com, the first Internet-centric point-of-sale system, in 2000, and AmplifEye in 2014.

  • My software projects (notably metamail, Safe-Tcl, and the Andrew Message System), which have been used by millions.

    See my 1991 Girl Scout cookie message here.

    See a video about ACRONYM, the help system I built for my 1985 thesis here.

    See an early overview video of the Andrew System here.

  • My writings, which include three books,, and numerous journal articles and 16 Internet RFC documents. See my 1989 article that won the NYU Olive Branch award for writing about peace.

  • My 21 patents

  • My social activism.
  • What Else Might You Want To Know?

  • Questions that people frequently ask me

  • My life in academia

  • My relatively traditional CV

  • Other stuff I've done

  • My own pithiest quotes in circulation.

  • For over 40 years, I've been collecting my favorite quotations. You can sample one here (reload to sample another) or see them all here, here, and here.
  • If You Want To Know More Than This, You're A Stalker

    In 2009 I moved from my home in Ann Arbor, Michigan to live more or less full time at Guppy Lake, in northern Michigan.

    My wife Trina and I are empty nesters; our three living daughters, three granddaughters, and grandson are scattered across the country at any given moment. I have three brothers:

  • Eliot is a hoity toity academic at NYU
  • Seth is an AP journalist periodically attacked by nut jobs.
  • Joe is a contractor/investor in California.
  • My Meyers-Briggs type is very strongly ENFP:

    I am a lifelong sufferer of depressive disorder, but it has been well controlled by medication for decades. I urge anyone who is battling depression to seek help. The right treatment can not only save your life, it can make it better than you can imagine.

    Like most of us, I too rarely reflect on how lucky I am in general, and in particular to have had so many remarkable people in my life.

    Shana Borenstein, 1982-2020

    Michael Grover, 1982-2021

    Stan Borenstein, 1925-2006

    Debbie Borenstein, 1929-1996

    Sophie Borenstein, 1906-1998