Robert "Bob" Young is a serial entrepreneur whose biggest success has been Red Hat Inc, the open source software company. He is also the owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He was born in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. He attended Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria College at the University of Toronto.
Prior to Red Hat, Young built a couple of computer rental and leasing businesses, including founding Vernon Computer Rentals in 1984. Descendants of Vernon are still operating under that name. After leaving Vernon, Young founded the ACC Corp Inc. in 1993.
Marc Ewing and Young's partnership started in 1994 when ACC acquired the Red Hat trademarks from Ewing. In early 1995, ACC changed its name to Red Hat Software, which has subsequently changed to simply Red Hat, Inc. Young served as Red Hat's CEO until 1999.
After leaving Red Hat he founded Lulu.com in 2002, a self-publishing web-site that claims to be the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books. He is Lulu's CEO. In 2006 Young established the Lulu Blooker Prize, a book prize for books that began as blogs. He launched the prize partly as a means of promoting Lulu.
Young is strong believer in user-generated content and open source software. In a 2008 interview he described the way that online social media has empowered consumers:
Today the Internet connects every single one of your customers, not just to you but to each other. So you produce a lemon of a car and you won’t know where to hide because your customers are going to tell each other about it and then the rest of the world about it. So it is actually a fundamentally healthy thing from a consumer point of view.
Conversely if you do have a better product suddenly you have these businesses that grow like topsy. If you come up with an innovation that serves, that resonates with customers, the Internet will allow that innovation to spread dramatically faster than any other technology has enabled a new innovation to be adopted in the history of mankind.
Young focuses his philanthropic efforts to support an increased access to information and advancement of knowledge. In 1999 he founded The Center for the Public Domain. Young currently supports Creative Commons, the Public Knowledge Project, the Dictionary of Old English, the Internet Archive, ibiblio, the NCSU eGames, and the Bald Head Island Conservancy, among others.
Joyce Young, Bob Young's aunt, purchased stock in Red Hat Inc. shortly after its founding. When Red Hat's stock rose significantly after its initial public offering in 1999, they sold enough stock to recoup their initial investment, and retained some stocks. By January 2000, the remaining stock was valued in the millions. In June 2000, she donated $40 million to the Hamilton Community Foundation to be used largely in improvement of Hamilton-area health facilities, an act that represented one of the single largest charitable donations in Canadian history. The couple also made significant donations to the Royal Military College of Canada.
- Center for the Public Domain
- "Biography: Bob Young". http://www.feduja.org/evites/2006_Tech_BobYoung/young.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Ticats Biography: Bob Young". http://www.ticats.ca/page/bob-young. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- “Expert Business Advice: Bob Young on why the people are more powerful than ever” (video) Retrieved 2009-10-06
- "NCSU eGames official site" accessed 2012-01-05
- "BHIC official site" accessed 2012-01-05