Sally's citation as Mass HiTech All Star

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 09:29:28 -0700

There's a glitch: Apache has nothing to do with Mozquito... other
than that, congratulations!

Full text follows; skip the web page's forgettable/regrettable
caricature art :-(



The Journal of New England Technology

Interactive media - Sally Khudairi
How to build a successful standard

The job:
Chief executive officer
The ZOT Group

The accomplishments:

* Joined World Wide Web Consortium at MIT in 1996;
* Helped to develop eXtensible Markup Language (XML) as
next-generation standard for website design;
* Founded ZOT Group in 1999, to offer consulting about Internet
strategies and to connect clients with strategic partners.

By Gavin McCormick staff writer

If it's not the Everest of marketing challenges, it's got to be among
the highest peaks: how do you generate buzz about technical

Granted, creating a set of World Wide Web communication standards
that all major players agree to use has been a linchpin keeping
Internet development zipping along at, well, Internet speed.

But the acronyms alone (HTTP, PICS, HTML, XML) are enough to turn the
spine of the most ambitious marketer to mush. How are you supposed to
explain this stuff - much less create a climate where folks around
the world, including snarling industry rivals like Microsoft and
Netscape, agree to use it?

Well, it helps if you can code and design with the best Web-heads.
And it helps if you can befriend everyone from dig-ditchers to
diplomats, then connect strangers like a world-class matchmaker. And
it helps if you have an effervescent spirit, genuine enthusiasm and a
love of talk.

In other words, it helps if you're Sally Khudairi. She turned out to
be the perfect person to act as the public face of the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C), the Cambridge group headed by Web inventor Tim
Berners-Lee that's recognized as the standards-setting body for Web

Khudairi's bridge-building between industry players, as well as her
role in educating hundreds of people from chief executives to
reporters, helped the organization make universal Internet standards
- specifically, the implementation of eXtensible Markup Language, or
XML - into an unshakable tenet.

"XML isn't the end-all of data formats, but creating the standard
solved a huge problem in the industry," Khudairi said. "New standards
get proposed every week, but if the industry doesn't buy into them,
it doesn't matter. The key was getting people to drop their agendas,
come to W3C and create a consensus."

Berners-Lee said, "When Sally joined the W3C, it was strong on
technology but with little idea of how the standards effort would fit
into the streams of communication, formal and informal, that bind the
industry. Sally created W3C's brand. She wove us into that web of
industry and media people."

Ora Lassila, a W3C advisory board member, said, "Sally is the most
connected person I've ever worked with in the Internet business."

After leaving the W3C last year, Khudairi has turned her
brand-building skills into a consulting business, ZOT Group, now six
months old. Khudairi's background makes ZOT well-placed to help
organizations in three ways:

* Track industry standards to determine how they'll affect a
company's Internet strategy;

* Act as a "dating service" to connect company officers with
strategic partners and other industry leaders;

* Develop public relations strategies.

"We understand technology, we understand Web interactivity and we
understand marketing," Khudairi said. "That allows us to hand-pick
clients and give them an integrated, comprehensive service."

Robert Ainsbury, chief executive of Aeneid Corp., a ZOT client, said,
"It's rare to get top-quality guidance on emerging technologies, or
help with a marketing strategy, or world-class connections across the
breadth of the on-line community. It's almost impossible to get all
three from one company, but that's what ZOT delivers."

ZOT's clients are an eclectic group, including not just cutting-edge
companies but industry nonprofit groups. A few examples:

*, a 500-member, California-based alliance dedicated to
ensuring that e-commerce systems can interact with each other. The
group is releasing a new product, eCo, that will allow different
business systems to function harmoniously, and it has formed the Open
Buy Internet Consortium ( to further e-commerce

* The Apache Software Foundation, a Delaware-based nonprofit alliance
of thousands of software developers who write patches and bug fixes
for Web products. The foundation has just released a product,
Mozquito, that allows users with HTML browsers (the Web's former
lingua franca) to view documents written in XML, the new language.

* Aeneid Corp., a San Francisco firm that makes search engines for
industry-specific portal sites, such as in health care.

* Gray Cell Inc., an Indian company that has just opened headquarters
in California to help distribute a two-way messaging device that
allows messages to be sent over the Internet to mobile phones and
other text-enabled hardware.

Khudairi, who does a lot of shuttling between ZOT's Watertown offices
and her mostly California clients, said, "I love what I do. Sometimes
it's exhausting, but no two days are ever the same, and it's never

Another ZOT client, Gregory Bolcer of Endeavors Technology Inc.,
said, "Sally is a rare talent, one of the few with a deep
understanding of the complete business, marketing and technical
aspects of the Internet and the Web."