Category Archives: About

Background information about Ken and this website.

Kenneth Lafferty Hess


Ken successfully wears a lot of hats in his life:  educator, entrepreneur, engineer, and author. And no matter which of those hats he’s wearing it’s his nature to create and build something new, be it an original product, solution, or organization.  When he saw how much his daughter learned doing her own science projects, it was only a matter of time before he founded Science Buddies in an effort to create the same positive learning experience for students everywhere. Closely observing how students and teachers do science projects, Ken developed a recommender system called the Topic Selection Wizard specifically because of the problems students had picking a project that interests them.

Prior to turning toward education, Ken founded Banner Blue Software where during the 1990’s he popularized computer genealogy by designing, developing, and selling the Family Tree Maker product line. Now owned by, Family Tree Maker has sold millions of copies and fostered the creation of some of the most popular sites on the Internet.

Ken authored the book, Bootstrap: Lessons Learned Building a Successful Company from Scratch, recounting his experiences founding and managing a startup organization. He has also lectured about the startup experience at Stanford University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Ken currently chairs the Statewide Advisory Board of the California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science (COSMOS), a program of the University of California for students in grades 8 -12.

Ken graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Engineering with Distinction and received a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard. He is a Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut.

Elsewhere on the Web

Ken’s Wikipedia Page

Ken’s LinkedIn Page