Sky Dayton is the founder and Chairman of the Board of EarthLink, founder of eCompanies, and the founder, Chairman, and CEO of Boingo Wireless. He is an avid surfer, snowboarder and member of the board of trustees of the US Ski & Snowboard Team. He is also a member of the Church of Scientology.
In the beginning
Dayton was born in New York, New York in 1971. His father was a sculptor and his mother a dancer and poet. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Los Angeles, CA. He lived for a time with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, David DeWitt, was an IBM Research Fellow and he played a huge part in introducing young Sky to technology and computers.
At the age of 9, Sky got his first computer a Sinclair ZX81 (nearly identical the my own Timex Sinclair 1000). He learned to program in Basic on this early machine. Sky went on to high school at the Delphian Academy a private boarding school in Oregon.
The Delphian Acadamy (or Delphian School) is closely tied with the Church of Scientology. The school doesn't mention their Scientology ties on their web page, but they mention their Applied Scholastics license and links with the Association for Better Living and Education - which are front organizations for Scientology. If you examine the copyright notices on the Applied Scholastics page you'll discover they have a common address with the Church of Scientology (6331 Hollywood Blvd, L.A., CA).
In 1988, Sky graduated from the Delphian School at the tender age of 16. He chose not to further his studies at that time. He got a job at entertainment advertising firm where he became exposed to Apple Macintosh hardware and digital imaging software. In short time he was managing the digital imaging department of the company. He soon moved on to a larger advertising company, Mednick & Associates. He stayed on with this company in a similar role until he was 18.
A budding entrepeneur
In late 1990 Dayton and a friend raised $20,000 from family and friends and opened Mocha Gallery, an art gallery and coffee house in L.A. After 6 months they changed the name to Cafe Mocha and got rid of the art business. The trendy Cafe Mocha was written up in the LA TImes, Vogue and GQ magazines and was featured on MTV's "House of Style". He soon opened another coffeehouse called Joe Cafe. Despite their apparant success it was reported that these operations were money losers.
While still managing Cafe Mocha, Dayton and a Scientologist friend Adam Walker opened Dayton/Walker Design, a Studio City, CA. advertising and design firm in 1992. Dayton/Walker served entertainment clients including Fox Television, Disney, Columbia, Sony Pictures, and Warner Brothers.
In 1993, Dayton discovered the Internet and created a GUI, Internet Navigator, to help ordinary people use the internet. By 1994 Dayton had figured out that there was tremendous potential for a dialup Internet access company in southern California. In the spring of 1994 he opened Earthlink, Inc. To fund the venture, Dayton found two Scientologists: Kevin O'Donnell, the father of a school friend, and Reed Slatkin, a stock trader, financial manager and friend of Walker's family. To help run the business, Dayton hired friends and drew on management courses he'd taken at L.A.'s Hubbard College of Administration International, another Scientology-affiliated school.
Dayton quickly expanded the company and by the summer of 1995 Earthlink was able to provide national service enabled by its agreement with UUNET. In 1996 Dayton turned over the day-to-day operation of the company to Charles "Garry" Betty. Betty was responsible for limiting the overt Scientology influence, according to people who worked there at the time. At the time, the company had 30,000 subscribers and was growing at a rate of 15 percent to 20 percent a week. They maintained a phenomenal growth rate for a long time.
Dayton is married to Arwen Elys Dayton, a scientologist whose parents worked at the Delphian Academy while she attended the school. Arwen is a published science-fiction author and screenwriter. They purchase a 6,800 sq. ft. home in Pasadena worth $1.8 million. In 1998 Dayton starts taking surfing lessons and becomes enthralled with the sport.
In June 1999, Dayton left his position with the company (now boasting nearly 2 million subscribers) and announced the formation of eCompanies with former Disney Internet chief Jake Winebaum. eCompanies is an incubator and venture capital fund for developing Internet companies. It is a privately held company, but there are reports that the company is struggling (as most Internet companies did in 2000).
Finnius Dayton was born to Sky and Arwen in early 2001 and the family's primary residence moves to Santa Monica (they maintain another home in upstate New York).
One of the eCompanies funded ventures, Boingo Wireless, was founded by Dayton in December 2001. Dayton is currently spending most of his time managing the day-to-day operations as CEO and Chairman of Boingo. He is still Chairman of Earthlink which grown to become the largest independent Internet service provider in the world with over 4.8 million subscribers paying $21.95/month.