Internet History Podcast

By Brian McCullough @brianmcc

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Description

A History of the Internet Era from Netscape to the iPad

Episode Date
176. The Epic Fail of Digg V.4 With Will Larson
49:56

This story has gone down in Silicon Valley lore as the ultimate cautionary tale. Digg was the earliest high flying startup in early social media. But then, other startups like Facebook and Twitter started to steal the limelight. So Digg tried to keep up by launching the infamous Digg version 4. And… it’s a disaster. Users hate it. So much so, that many people feel that the reason Reddit is Reddit today is because the Digg community fled their en-masse. Digg Version 4 has become a much cited horror story for when a redesign can be so disruptive it can kill a company. So, what’s the real story behind this urban legend? Today, we talk to Will Larson, who today is at Stripe, was a young engineer working on the launch of Digg version 4.

 

Aug 06, 2018
175. How the Internet Came to Pakistan With Imran Haider
41:24

Today, we're going to continue our occasional project of getting oral histories and personal anecdotes about how, exactly, the Internet and the web came to various places around the world. On this episode we're going to look at how the Internet came to—and is still in the process of coming to—Pakistan. Imran Haider is a listener to the show, works in the tech industry, and analyzes the south asian tech scene at his blog, arkito.co. Today, he tells us how the digital revolution came to Pakistan, how it's still in the process of rolling out, what that has meant for Pakistani society and what the startup and tech scene IS in Pakistan. My thanks to Imran Haider for being a longtime listener to this show, and for being willing to contribute to the project, and please, check him out at arkito.co... it's Ben Thompson level analysis of the tech scene in the sub continent.

Jul 22, 2018
174. Bringing the NYTimes and MSNBC Online With Lisa Napoli
01:06:00

Lisa Napoli got a job straight out of college at CNN in its earliest days, which is a crazy startup story in it’s own right. But then she worked for a time at Delphi, which was an early online service and competitor to AOL and Prodigy that I don’t think we’ve covered much here before. And then she helped bring the NYTimes online with CyberTimes, which, as she said, is forgotten to history even by the New York Times. Then on to MSNBC, a crazy hybrid tech and media startup that I don’t think we’ve discussed much either. There’s just so many great stories here. Please enjoy this conversation with Lisa Napoli.

Jul 08, 2018
173. Netscape's Rosanne Siino
01:01:45

Rosanne Siino has been on my list to talk to from day one of this podcast. As you know, I started by reaching out to Netscape folks and Rosanne was the head of communications for that very first dotcom company. She saw it all, she can give us her take on both the engineering side and the management side, since she was uniquely able to observe both. Rosanne and I were recently on a documentary series currently airing on A&E in the US, The Untold Story of the 90s. So, I reached out, and we recoded this fantastic extended interview about all things Netscape and about the very birth of the Internet Era.

Jun 24, 2018
HUGE Podcast Announcement
03:08

HUGE Podcast Announcement! Details on how to pre-order the podcast book!

Jun 16, 2018
172. How Politics Came to the Web With Karl Mattson
53:35

Today we're going to go back to take a look at early journalism on the web. Karl Mattson helped launched one of the first political news websites, ElectionLine. He helped cover the 1996 election when covering an election on the web was a completely new thing. He then moved to AOL, helped run their news channels and has some amazing historical details about he era, especially the Clinton intern scandal.

Jun 10, 2018
171. Claude Shannon, Father of Information Theory
59:58

Claude Shannon was a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as "the father of information theory." In the pantheon of cool people who made the modern information era possible, he’s right up there. Today, we’re going to talk about Shannon’s life with Jimmy Sony and Rob Goodman, authors of a great biography of the man called A Mind At Play, How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age. Especially you software engineers out there, if you don’t know who Claude Shannon was, get educated. You owe your livelihood to this man.

Buy the book!

May 27, 2018
170. The Godfather of Streaming Music, Robert Reid
01:29:16

Summary:

Robert Reid, the founder of Rhapsody, can be considered the Godfather (founding father?) of the streaming music reality we now live in. But guess what? That's only half of this episode! Because it turns out, Robert is the author of a book that was probably one of the biggest reasons I started doing this podcast. The book was Architects of the Web, 1000 Days that Built the Future of Business. It was one of the first books to come out about the history of the web era. It was published in 1997, I think. I read it in college. I re-read it maybe 6-7 seven years ago and it helped inspire me to start this podcast. Those first interviews I launched the podcast with? The Netscape guys? Jon Mittelhauser? Alex Totic? I read about them in this book and I straight up cold-emailed them. So you're going to get a fascinating fly-on-the-wall account of early Netscape, early Yahoo, all sorts of companies we've talked about.

Robert continues to be an accomplished author.

Buy his books:

After On

Year Zero

And listen to his exceptional podcast, also called After On.

May 13, 2018
169. Kottke.org's Jason Kottke, @jkottke
01:03:49

Jason Kottke, of kottke.org fame, was one of the early bloggers, one of the first bloggers to go pro, and one of the few solo bloggers still going. If you know Kottke.org, then you love it. How could you not? If you’ve never heard of it, you can thank me later. This episode examines what it means to be a publisher on the web for 20 years as well as the discipline required to find cool stuff on the web every single day (almost).

Apr 29, 2018
168. The History of Java With Todd Sundsted
42:22

People have been yelling at me for years that I’ve not covered more technical aspects of the web’s history, especially things like Java. Specifically Java. The argument can be made that Java helped the web evolve into what it’s become. So, that’s why I was thrilled to sit down with Todd Sundsted, who is a developer who has been working with Java for more than 20 years. Todd walks us through the history of Java and why it is so important to the web’s general evolution.

Apr 15, 2018
167. NYTimes Tech Columnist, Farhad Manjoo @fmanjoo
58:41

Today, a man who needs no introduction: New York Times Technology Columnist Farhad Manjoo. This episode was recorded about two months or so ago, so we talk about the book leave Farhad is on that he only recently made public, but of course, we get into his whole career and his unique vantage point and views on the world of tech.

Apr 01, 2018
166. Amazon, Hulu and Oculus with Eugene Wei
01:13:49

No joke, this is one of my favorite episodes we've ever done. Eugene Wei was an early employee at Hulu, so we get some details on that company for the first time, and he also worked at Flipboard and Oculus, so we get some important context especially on the future of VR and the like. But the most fascinating stories you'll hear will be about Amazon, where Eugene was the first analyst in the strategic planning department. As you'll hear, Eugene had a unique perspective on Amazon's early strategy and business structure, almost a historically unique perspective... he could see month to month, how Amazon was built, what Amazon was trying to do, and why. This is such an amazing perspective on such an important company.

Mar 17, 2018
165. Claire L. Evans, Author of Broad Band- The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet
01:07:04

Claire Evans is the author of the new book: Broad Band The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. This is the best tech history book I’ve read in a while and you know I read them all. Of special note, considering our 90s-heavy focus on this podcast, the book includes the stories of Word.com, which was a competitor to Feed.com (which we’ve previously covered) and Women.com which was a competitor to Ivillage (which, again, we’ve spoke at length about). But you also get an amazing portair of tech in the 1970s, hypertext as a movement outside of the web, and stories about amazing women like Grace Hopper and Jake Feinler.

Buy it today!

Mar 04, 2018
164. How the Web Came to Germany, With Thomas Ganter
52:18

Podcast listener Thomas Ganter gives us a first person, anecdotal account of how the web came to Germany in the 1990s.

Feb 19, 2018
163. The History of Online Video with JibJab's Gregg Spiridellis
01:04:09

Gregg Spiridellis has been making things go viral on the web since before the term VIRAL was even a thing. His company, JibJab has been producing web videos since the dialup dotcom era, producing hits you might remember such as Elf Yourself, Nasty Santa and This Land Is Your Land. JibJab has survived the dotcom bust, the coming of broadband, the coming of YouTube, the coming of social media and the mobile internet. What you’ll hear today is absolutely a masterclass in pivoting, in adapting a business model to thrive in every new technology environment and embracing every new platform and paradigm.

Feb 05, 2018
162. Venrock's David Pakman on Apple's Music Group, N2K, eMusic and Dollar Shave Club
41:36

David Pakman is a well respected venture capitalist at Venrock, but also a lifelong musician and music fan. Earlier in his career he played a significant role in bringing music to the web. David tells us about cofounding Apple’s Music Group, his role in facilitating the first digital sales of music online at dotcom-era companies N2K and MyPlay, and competing directly against iTunes when he was at eMusic. As a bonus, he gives us some background on the more recent founding story of Dollar Shave Club.

Jan 21, 2018
161. Jeff Bussgang on Open Market and early eCommerce
39:21

It gets my goat that these days, the history of ecommerce begins and ends with Amazon. There were so many companies and big ideas that got us where we are today, and one of the most important companies was Open Market. Jeff Bussgang is here to tell us the (today) often overlooked story of the earliest days of trying to sell stuff on the web. Today, Jeff is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners.

Jan 08, 2018
160. Growing Up With The Web With Desiree Garcia @thedezzie
46:37

An exploration of what it was like to come of age in the early web era.

Dec 18, 2017
159. The Forgotten Story of PLATO, with Brian Dear
01:08:43

Plato was an online and interactive learning computer system developed in the 1960s at the University of Illinois. But in the early 1970s, Plato got truly networked, and the users took over. Plato had already pioneered such things as touch screen computing, but the kids introduced and pioneered concepts like forums, message boards, e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, multiplayer games and even emoticons/emojis were pioneered on the Plato system.

Buy The Friendly Orange Glow

Dec 11, 2017
158. Bob Stein of Voyager and The Criterion Collection
59:32

Bob Stein was the founder of Voyager, publisher of the first consumer CDROM titles, and, far and away the leader of the CDROM industry in the late 1980s and early 90s. Bob was also one of the founders of the Criterion Collection, as well as the publisher of the first electronic books. 

Nov 27, 2017
157. Rob Malda (@cmdrtaco) on SlashDot and Social Media
01:20:18

You might know him as Rob Malda, or you might know him as CmdrTaco, but he was the founder of the great geek social website Slashdot. Slashdot recently turned 20 years old, Rob commemorated this in a great Medium post, and so I reached out to him to tell us the story of one of the first great social media websites.

Nov 12, 2017
156. Dave Winer on The Open Web, Blogging, Podcasting and More
01:37:23

Dave Winer has been called the godfather of a lot of things. The godfather of blogging. The Godfather of Podcasting. One of the key people involved in the development of RSS. But as you’ll hear in this great and wide-ranging chat, Dave Winer is just a software developer who has never stopped tinkering, never lost his interest in coming up with new tools and new technologies. Dave was kind enough to sit down and go over his whole career, from the very earliest days of the PC era, to the present day.

Oct 30, 2017
155. Giphy with Nicole LaPorte
23:35

SUMMARY:

Nicole Laporte has a cover story in Fast Company magazine this month about Giphy, potentially the next big story in online advertising and marketing, as well as… search?

Read her profile of Giphy here.

Oct 16, 2017
154. Om Malik on Blogging and Web 2.0
01:08:22

Om Malik is, of course, a legend. One of the first journalists on the “tech beat” in the 1990s, one of the first bloggers to “turn pro,” one of the driving forces behind the Web 2.0 time period, and one of the most trusted analysts of the technology industry in general, today he is a venture capitalist at True Ventures.

Oct 01, 2017
153. The AOL/Time Warner Merger - Crossover with the Acquired Podcast
01:45:51

What is generally considered the worst merger of all time, and certainly the crescendo event of the dotcom bubble era, today we take a look at the AOL/Time Warner merger, again with the excellent guys at the podcast Acquired.

Sep 17, 2017
152. David Shen on Early Yahoo and the Maturation of Online Advertising
01:05:15

David Shen was employee #17 at Yahoo, where he eventually had a hand in, not only the birth of advertising as the primary business model for the web but, eventually, the development of digital ads into their more modern, interactive form. As you'll hear, David recounts the early days of Yahoo, surviving the dotcom bust and taking advertising beyond the simple banner ad.

And he recounts all of this in his recently published new book: Takeover! The Inside Story of the Yahoo! Ad Revolution

Sep 03, 2017
151. Facebook's First Senior Software Engineer, Karel Baloun
01:02:49

Karel Baloun was the first senior software engineer hired at Facebook in 2005. This was after the Accel round of funding, when Facebook truly began to staff up and grow up. Baloun was only at Facebook for a year, from 2005 to 2006, but he provides some amazing insights about the company. What was Facebook’s culture like in 2005? What were the key innovations that ultimately let Facebook succeed where others failed? Would Zuckerberg make a good President of the United States? What became of Pokey, the mascot Facebook once considered launching?

You can buy Karel’s 2007 book here.

Aug 13, 2017
150. More SoundCloud Chat with Buzzfeed's Ryan Mac
24:29

Just as last week’s episode posted, another great piece about SoundCloud was posted on Buzzfeed by the great Ryan Mac. So, in a rare attempt by me to be topical, today’s episode is with Ryan Mac, discussing his article, which fills in some of the details about what Christina and I were speculating on last week.

Ryan’s article can be found here.

Aug 06, 2017
149. Christina Warren on SoundCloud
01:08:33

Our friend Christina Warren is back for another analysis episode. Christina recently posted a tweetstorm about SoundCloud, and its prospects for the future. So she kindly agreed to come on the show, look at the history of SoundCloud as a company, and try to help me figure out why SoundCloud finds itself on the brink of oblivion. You all know Christina from her years at Mashable and most recently, Gizmodo. As you’ll hear toward the end, she’s at Microsoft now, and you can always hear her on the Rocket podcast.

The Verge article we refer to can be found here.

Jul 30, 2017
148. Don Melton on Apple, Safari, WebKit and Netscape
01:49:53

Don Melton is popularly known as the father of the Safari web browser or WebKit. He’s basically a web browser legend. Not only does Don tell us a lot of great stuff about Safari, WebKit, Apple and more, but he was also an early Netscape employee, so we get some more great details about that company, especially in its later stages.

Jul 23, 2017
147. The First Text Message With Neil Papworth
26:25

The first text message (or, to be accurate, SMS message) was sent on December 3, 1992. It was sent by Neil Papworth, and it said, “Merry Christmas.” This is the story of that first text, recorded for the first time.

Jul 09, 2017
146. Mike Slade on Steve Jobs' Return To Apple
01:01:10

As promised, Mike Slade is back to tell stories from the period 1998 through 2004, when he was Special Assistant to Steve Jobs. Background details on the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone and more!

 

Jun 25, 2017
145. Brian Merchant, Author of The One Device
59:46

Finally! A detailed history of the development of the iPhone inside Apple. But not only that, an extensive history of all the technologies that came together to make the iPhone possible. Lithium ion battery technology, touchscreen technology, Gorilla Glass, GPS, digital photography, maps… everything. The author, Brian Merchant, was kind enough to send an advanced copy and, as you’ll hear when I talk to him, I couldn’t have been more excited to read! This is the book I’ve been waiting for for about ten years.

Buy your own copy here!

Jun 18, 2017
144. The "First" Blogger, Justin Hall
01:44:57

A lot of people give credit to Justin Hall for being, if not the first, then spiritually, at least, the “first” blogger. Since early 1994, first as Justin’s Homepage and at various points, as Justin’s Links from the Underground and Links.net, Justin Hall has been writing online and sharing online—especially, sharing himself online—longer than almost anyone else on the planet. Hear his story today, and watch his documentary at: http://overshare.links.net/

Jun 11, 2017
143. Neil Hunt on the History of Netflix and Netflix Streaming
01:16:19

For several months now, I've been complaining on Twitter and a bunch of other places that, for as ubiquitous as Netflix streaming has become—I think it's one of the most important technology products of the last decade at least— there's actually been comparatively little journalism or scholarship about how the product came about. That's why I was delighted to get acquainted with Neil Hunt, who is the Chief Product Officer at Netflix. Since he's been at Netflix since 1999, not only is he the perfect person to tell us how Netflix streaming came about (the technical hurdles, the strategic decisions, etc.) but he can also give us the whole history of Netflix, from basically the very beginning.

Link to transcript.

May 29, 2017
142. Andy Rachleff @arachleff co-founder of Benchmark and Wealthfront
47:06

Andy Rachleff was a co-founder of Benchmark, one of the most respected venture capital firms to this very day, and one of the biggest venture players during the dotcom era. On today’s episode, Andy gives us more background on eBay’s founding and what venture investing was like during the dotcom era. But Andy is also that very rarest of breeds, someone who became an entrepreneur AFTER an illustrious career as a venture capitalist. So Andy also tells us all about Wealthfront, one of the most interesting players in the modern personal investment space.

May 21, 2017
141. Nathan Latka @NathanLatka of the Top Entrepreneurs Podcast
21:17
May 13, 2017
140. The Google Chef, Charlie Ayers
48:12

The famous Google Chef, Charlie Ayers, remembers joining Google when it was about 50 employees, the company’s early growth, culture, and the unique role he played in shaping that culture.

Apr 24, 2017
139. The Napster Story with Jordan Ritter
01:21:45

If you know the Napster story at all, then you know about the Shawn(Sean)s. Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. But in my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of other people, a name that you should be just as familiar with is Jordan Ritter. Napster was an incredible phenomenon, reaching tens of millions of users at its height, and though Jordan Ritter didn't invent Napster, he very much was responsible for scaling it and turning it into the phenomenon it became. In today's episode, Jordan recounts the entire Napster story, from its gestation in the w00w00 hacker collective (which, by the way, people talk a lot about the PayPal mafia, but an argument can be made for a w00w00 mafia) all the way through Napster's legal descent into oblivion. You might know Jordan as the cofounder of Cloudmark and Servio, and at the end of the episode, he talks about the big problems he's working to solve today.

Apr 16, 2017
138. (Ch. 9.2) The History of Google Part 2
47:26

There was one important trait that Google shared with the dotcoms: it wasn’t making very much money. It’s somewhat forgotten, given what would come later, but Google existed for several years without much of a business plan. The vision Larry and Sergey had sold the Venture Capitalists on involved a three-pronged strategy. First, Google would license its search technology to the major portals. Second, the company would sell its search technology as a product to enterprises. And third, there were some vague promises about selling ads against searches on its own website.

Apr 10, 2017
137. (Ch. 9.1) The History of Google Part 1
47:31
Apr 02, 2017
136. Petstore.com's Joshua Newman on the Pets Space During the Dotcom Era
49:28

During the dot-com era in the late 90s, there were four different venture-backed startups (six, depending on how you count) that focused on the pet retail space. Most famous, or notorious, I guess was Pets.com, of the sock puppet fame, but today, we’re going to get some context and perspective on this moment in time from another player from this era. Joshua Newman was the founder of Petstore.com, which actually got started first, but eventually ended up getting acquired by Pets.com. I wanted to talk to Joshua because I think the Petstore.com is a really interesting lens to look at e-commerce companies in the dot-com era, the strategies they pursued and the unbelievable environment they existed in.

Mar 26, 2017
135. The Pseudo.com Story With Dennis Adamo
01:11:27

Before Snapchat Stories, before YouTube, in the dial-up era of the 90s, there were a select few who were experimenting with streaming video and interactive media on the web. The most prominent and notorious of these pioneers was Pseudo.com. Dennis Adamo was one of the co-founders of Pseudo.com.

You can learn more about Dennis' VR startup here: Spaceoutvr.com

The articles about Josh Harris and Pseudo that I mention are here and here.

And the documentary on Harris called We Live in Public is on iTunes.

Mar 20, 2017
134. Yahoo's Acquisition of Overture (Crossover Ep. w/the Acquired Podcast)
01:30:19

Today's episode is a special event, a crossover episode with the Acquired Podcast, which you can find in your podcast directory by searching for the word Acquired, or by going to Acquired.fm. Acquired is hosted by Ben Gilbert, the Co-Founder of Pioneer Square Labs and David Rosenthal a Principal at Madrona Venture Group out in Seattle. To mash up our two models, we're going to talk about Yahoo's acquisition of Overture, and how that related to Google's ultimate success with Adwords. We talked about a lot of this with Gary Flake in episode 133, so, for a bit of context, here is that entire story. Please enjoy, and please, do check out the Acquired podcast at Acquired.fm

Mar 13, 2017
133. Gary Flake on Overture, Yahoo and the History of Search
01:42:04

Gary Flake has been involved with search technology ever since he got turned on to this particular field in college. In this wide-ranging discussion, Gary lays out for us, basically, the history of search technology before Google, the impact of Google, and then, since he lived it, the notion of competing with Google. The reason why Gary can talk so in depth about all of this is that he was Yahoo's Chief Science Officer in the early 2000s, when Yahoo, via the infamous project Panama, and other initiatives, attempted to keep Google from taking over the entire search market. And because, prior to that, Gary was at Goto/Overture, he gives us basically the entire story of the birth of paid search as an industry. The story of Google is about two miracles. The first miracle is the Google algorithm that essentially solved search. And the second miracle is paid search... AdWords, AdSense, all of that... which is essentially the greatest advertising machine ever invented. But, not a lot of people remember: paid search was actually invented, not by Google, but by Goto/Overture.

Feb 26, 2017
132. MG Siegler @mgsiegler on TechCrunch and GV
01:29:21

You all know MG Siegler. From TechCrunch’s most famous blogger to GV’s most affable venture capitalist, he has a lot to say about Apple, the business of blogging and where Silicon Valley is at in the modern era.

Feb 20, 2017
131. Elizabeth Osder on the NYTimes.com, Yahoo and More
01:14:34

Elizabeth Osder is one of those digital media veterans who’s career has spanned the entire web era, from bringing the New York Times online (though, she got her native New Jersey online first by launching NJ.com a few years beforehand) all the way through her continued work with any number of digital media companies through her consultancy the Osder Group. In between, she has some amazing stories about working at Yahoo, launching the earliest of multimedia websites for folks like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the fallout from the dotcom bubble.

Feb 13, 2017
130. AOL, AIM, Chat Rooms, The Time Warner Merger... AOL's History with Joe Schober
01:40:31

Joe Schober was the longest serving employee of America Online, working there as an engineer, and later chief architect, from 1992 until just a few years ago. So, there literally couldn't be anyone better to walk us through AOL's history and many iterations. In this episode, we go back to the days when America Online was an underdog online service with only a couple hundred thousand users, through AOL's dominance in the early web era, the AOL/Time Warner merger... all of it, including an insider look at the chatrooms and AIM.

Feb 06, 2017
129. Michael March on the Indie ISP Industry, and the Birth of Online Spam
01:18:40

Michael March was the founder of Internet Direct, the first commercial ISP in Arizona. Michael gives us a first-hand account of the independent ISP industry that grew up around the country in the 1990s. AOL might have been the training wheels for the internet, but the Mom-n-Pop ISPs probably gave more Americans their first Internet experience than any of the online services.

Bonus: Michael was an incidental witness to the first major commercial spam event on the Internet, a story that he relays at the end of this episode.

And you can see Internet Direct featured in a really delicious infomercial from the time here.

And you can follow Michael on twitter @cowmix

Jan 30, 2017
128. Jim McCann of 1800Flowers
51:44

Would it surprise you to learn that 1800Flowers was not only one of the first ecommerce pioneers but quite possibly, the first to be profitable in a meaningful way? You wouldn't be surprised if you knew the story of 1800Flowers and its founder, Jim McCann. Today we speak with Jim to hear that story, to learn about a company that was fearless in trying any new thing that came along... so long as it brought them closer to their customers. And, since Jim has been at this for quite a while, toward the end, he also tells us where he thinks commerce—in general—is going.

 

Jan 16, 2017
127. The History of the iPhone, On Its 10th Anniversary
01:03:31

"So… Three things: A widescreen iPod with touch controls. A revolutionary mobile phone. And a breakthrough internet communications device. An iPod… a phone… and an internet communicator… An iPod, a phone… are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device! And we are calling it iPhone.”

- Steve Jobs, January 9, 2007

Those words have become so famous in the history of technology that I imagine a large percentage of listeners have them memorized. Ten years ago this Monday, January 9, Steve Jobs stood on stage and announced the iPhone to the world. It was the crowning achievement in the career of the greatest technologist of our time, the moment that the modern era of computing began.


On the ten year anniversary of the birth of the iPhone, this is the story of that moment and the history of that device which can take a rightful place alongside the original Macintosh, the first IBM PC, the Apple I, the Altair 8800, the DEC PDP-8, the IBM System/360 and the ENIAC as one of most important machines to have brought computing into everyday life.

 

Jan 06, 2017
126. (Ch. 8) How the Dotcom Bubble Happened
01:05:34

The background, root causes and rough outline of the dotcom bubble. How it happened, why it happened... and why it's unlikely to happen again anytime soon.

Jan 01, 2017
125. Sebastian Mallaby on Alan Greenspan and the Dotcom Bubble
36:37

As most of you know, I’m busy writing a book that this podcast is partially source material for, and at the moment, I’m deep in the weeds on chapters about the Dotcom bubble—how it happened, why it happened, that sort of thing. By necessity, I’ve been going into a lot of economic background for the bubble, and in the course of doing so, the famous chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, keeps coming up. So, today’s episode is a bit of an analysis episode as I speak with Sebastian Mallaby, who is the author of THE definitive biography of Greenspan, a book called The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan. Listen along with me as I try to get a sense of the role the Fed chairman played in setting the table for the dotcom bubble.

The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan

Dec 12, 2016
124. Founder of ReadWriteWeb, Richard MacManus
01:04:59

Summary

Sometimes you get to talk to your actual heroes. I've been reading Richard MacManus probably almost as long as he's been writing on the web. He is the founder of the popular ReadWriteWeb blog, and he was one of the forces behind the Web 2.0 movement that was so influential in my career as a web entrepreneur. Here's another story of the accidental professionalization of blogging, from one of the pioneers.

Richard is a science fiction writer now! Buy his book Presence! It's about the future of VR!

PS: My TED Talk can be found here.

Nov 27, 2016
123. Founder of Reel.com, Stuart Skorman
47:16

 

Summary

At the dawn of e-commerce, if Amazon.com staked a claim in books, and sites like CDNow staked a claim in music, then Reel.com should be remembered as the important dot-com era player in movie retail. But more than just going toe to toe with Amazon, Reel.com actually pioneered online movie rental as well. Reel.com's founder, Stewart Skorman, actually came from the world of video rental stores, and sold his video chain to Blockbuster. So the first site to rent you movies via the postal service? Reel.com. And more importantly, the site that really pioneered movie matching technology, that art/science of recommending which movie you're really going to want to watch tonight? Reel.com.

Stuart's exceptional memoir/entrepreneur's handbook is called Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur: Why I Can't Stop Starting Over

Nov 14, 2016
122. The First Web Search Engine? With Oliver McBryan
23:52

If you’ll remember back to the chapter episode on the early search engines and Yahoo, I said that it’s hard to pin down exactly what the “first search engine” was. There were so many competing projects and technologies that launched in different ways at different times. One potential candidate is the World Wide Web Worm, which is criminally undercovered by the histories out there. The World Wide Web Worm was developed by Oliver McBryan, at the University of Colorado at Boulder in late 1993. It grew out of an early directory site for web content that McBryan also launched, a sort of Yahoo before Yahoo.

 

Nov 07, 2016
121. Chamath Palihapitiya @chamath on Facebook, AIM and WinAmp
56:14

Summary

Most of you know Chamath Palihapitiya as one of the most prominent and progressive venture capitalists working today. But before forming Social Capital, Chamath was an early employee at a startup we've already covered, WinAmp; was the head of AOL's Instant Messenger product; and of course, was an early employee at Facebook.

Oct 31, 2016
120. Jason Calacanis @jason on Silicon Alley, The Dot-Com Bubble and Web 2.0
01:24:09

Most of you will know Jason Calacanis from his many high profile endeavors such as his podcasts (especially This Week in Startups) his Launch conference and Inside.com. But older listeners will remember Jason as one of the most colorful personalities of the dot-com era in New York, as the publisher of Silicon Alley Reporter. And Jason also played a key role in forming the modern media landscape as the founder of Weblogs Inc. We talk about all of that much more.

Oct 24, 2016
119. The Story of Slate.com with Julia Turner @juliaturner and Jacob Weisberg @jacobwe
43:16

SUMMARY

I missed it (I should really be keeping a calendar of these things) but Slate.com celebrated its 20th anniversary last month. If you’ll recall, we went into some detail about Slate’s founding in this chapter episode, but today we have Slate’s current Editor in Chief, Julia Turner, and a former Editor and current Chairman of the Slate Group, Jacob Weisberg, on the pod to discuss the history of Slate and the contributions Slate made to the evolution of digital media on the web.

 

Oct 09, 2016
118. The Birth of Amazon's 3rd Party Platform with John Rossman
42:10

John Rossman helped transform Amazon.com’s business. After the dotcom bubble burst, Amazon delved into a new business line that allowed third parties to do business off of Amazon’s platform, and make use of Amazon’s many competencies. In this Episode, John describes his role developing the Amazon 3rd party marketplace and gives us his perspective on what makes Amazon successful. John’s book about Amazon is called The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Lessons Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company. If you want to understand Amazon on a deeper level, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Sep 26, 2016
117. Founder of Friendster and Nuzzel, Jonathan Abrams
01:04:23

Jonathan Abrams was the founder of the first modern social networking site, Friendster. This is essentially the story of the birth of social media… the ideas that inspired the very notion of social networking, the struggles to launch a web startup after the dotcom bubble burst, the challenges of suddenly becoming the hottest startup in the world, and the eventual battles with MySpace and Facebook for social as we know it today.

Sep 18, 2016
116. Director of the Documentary Silicon Cowboys ( @Silicon_Cowboys ) Jason Cohen
25:51

If you'll remember a few years ago I spoke with Rod Canion about how Compaq created the industry standard computer platform that finally supplanted IBM. Well, this week, on September 16, a new documentary about the Compaq story, called Silicon Cowboys, is coming to theaters, On Demand and various rental and streaming services like iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Video. So, we spoke briefly with the director of the film, Jason Cohen. Find out more about where the movie is showing and view the trailer here.

The film will be opening in theaters this Friday in the following cities..

New York, NY
Pasadena, CA
Santa Monica, CA
San Jose, CA
Houston, TX
Columbus, OH
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Grapevine, TX
South Miami, FL
Phoenix, AZ
Westminster, CO
Cherry Hill, NJ
Arlington, MA

Sep 12, 2016
115. Mike Slade on 80s Microsoft, NeXT, Starwave and Steve Jobs' Return to Apple
01:04:51

I originally wanted to talk to Mike Slade about Starwave, the innovative company that launched some major names onto the web, including ESPN.com, ABCNews.com, MrShowbiz.com, and after an eventual sale to Disney, put together the pieces that eventually became the Go.com portal play. But Mike is one of those guys who has had such a varied and interesting career, I couldn't help but go into other eras of his career. The dude worked at Microsoft in the early 1980s. He worked at NeXT in the early 90s. And from 1998 through 2004 he was Special Assistant to Steve Jobs as he saved Apple as a company, launched the iPod and kicked into motion the modern gadget era.

Sep 05, 2016
114. Douglas Colbeth, CEO of Spyglass
56:04

We've spoken a lot on this show about Netscape and the "Browser Wars," but there's a key angle to this story that we haven't had the chance to delve into yet. While Netscape was out in California creating Navigator, there was another company, Spyglass, that had licensed Mosaic's browser code and was attempting to build a business around web browsers at the exact same time. Spyglass helped bring browsers to market before Netscape did, and even went public before Netscape's famous IPO. And one more thing? Internet Explorer was developed as a competitor to Netscape Navigator because Spyglass did a deal with Microsoft. Douglas Colbeth was a co-founder and CEO of Spyglass, and in this episode, he gives us all the background and fascinating details surrounding the opening salvoes of the Browser Wars.

Aug 28, 2016
113. Joel Johnson on Gawker and the Rise of Professional Blogging
01:45:22

Summary

Joel Johnson has spent nearly his entire professional career, working in digital media. He went from being an anonymous online commenter to being an early editor of Gizmodo, to eventually becoming editorial director of Gawker Media. Essentially, Joel was there from the very beginning when blogging began to "go pro" and evolved into modern media as we know it today. Joel recounts the history of the blogging "industry," Gawker Media especially, and gives us his own perspective on where digital media has been, and where it might be going.

Aug 08, 2016
112. Inventor of the First Digital Camera, Steven Sasson
01:08:04

Summary

Steve Sasson was the inventor of the world's first digital camera. Because it's hard to imagine modern life without digital photography, it's maybe easy to forget what a marvel it really is. And Sasson has been front and center for the entire digital photography revolutions. In this episode, he recounts for us the sort of skunkworks project that led to the first digital camera, recalls the long gestation the technology had within the company that developed it, Kodak, and toward the end, we get into a fascinating examination of technology disruption itself, for which Kodak is often held up as a poster-child, in terms of innovation challenges in the digital era.

You can see Steven demo the first digital camera in this brief video:

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson

Photos of the original camera here and here.

Aug 01, 2016
Announcing the Podcast Book!
11:02

Quick, special announcement of a book, based on the podcast, coming from Liveright (W.W. Norton) in 2018. Regular episode to come next monday...

Jul 25, 2016
111. CompuServe Founder Jeff Wilkins
55:25

Summary

Jeff Wilkins was the co-founder and first CEO of CompuServe, perhaps the original consumer online service. Jeff recounts for us CompuServe's founding in 1970, the launch of it's consumer-facing service in 1980, and all of the innovations that CompuServe brought to life: the first commercial email product; the first newspapers online; the first airline listings; and most interestingly, CB Simulator, the grandaddy of all chat apps in the world. We even revisit the famous AOL CD carpet-bombing campaign from a new angle, and Jeff shares his insights about how and why AOL was able to become the dominant online service of the 90s.

Jul 05, 2016
110. Hunter Walk Talks Second Life, Google Adsense and YouTube
01:13:56

Special Note: We’re testing something new this week. You can read a full transcription of this episode here.

Everyone’s favorite, friendly neighborhood Venture Capitalist, Hunter Walk, discusses four amazing segments of his career: Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Second Life, Google Adsense and YouTube.

Jun 12, 2016
109. The History of Sierra Online with Laine Nooney
01:12:56

Summary

Ken and Roberta Williams were the founders of the legendary PC gaming company Sierra Online. Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media and Communication at Georgia Tech, Laine Nooney, joins the show to discuss the history and legacy of Sierra Online. You can find out more about Laine's work at her website, LaineNooney.com and by following her on Twitter at Sierra_OffLine.

Pictures of Ken and Roberta Williams:

Picture 1

Picture 2

A screencap from King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne

A screencap from Kings Quest V

A screencap from Leisure Suit Larry

Jun 05, 2016
108. BabyCenter.com Founders Mark Selcow and Matt Glickman
01:01:41

Mark Selcow and Matt Glickman were the founders of BabyCenter.com. The story of BabyCenter is a combination of several themes we've discussed on this show: creating community as a strategy for building a sustainable audience, attempting e-commerce in the 1990s, and, most interestingly, we get into an in-depth discussion of their experiences  of the DotCom bubble.

May 30, 2016
107. Founder of Marketwatch, Larry Kramer @lkramer
01:25:17

Summary

Larry Kramer was the founder of MarketWatch.com. He’s also been the President and Publisher of USA Today and he’s currently interim CEO of TheStreet.com. We talk to him about creating a brand like MarketWatch in a space dominated by powerful incumbents like The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and others. But we also hear what it was like to work in the legendary Washington Post newsroom in the 1970s and 80s, as well as what it takes to bring success to modern media properties like USA Today in the digital era. If you want a first hand primer of when digital and old-world media collided, you couldn’t do better than to listen to the career path of Larry Kramer.

May 22, 2016
106. Co-Founder of Tesla, Marc Tarpenning
01:23:02

Summary

Marc Tarpenning, along with Martin Eberhard, was the cofounder of Tesla Motors back in 2003. But before that, Tarpenning and Eberhard were also the cofounders of NuvoMedia, which produced one of the world's first ebook devices, the rocket eBook. So, for the first part of the episode, Mark recounts the story of NuvoMedia and then about 25 minutes in we begin the founding of Tesla, in my opinion, perhaps the most amazing startup story of the last 20 years.

May 15, 2016
105. Tom Rielly, Founder of PlanetOut
01:23:57

Summary

Tom Rielly was the founder of PlanetOut, the largest LGBT website and community of the 1990s. Tom recounts the unique impact the web and online technology had on the LGBT community and, prior to that, remembers the early days of the Mac industry. But of course, Tom is best known today for his work at TED, where he is director of Community as well as the TED Fellows program. So we get some interesting TED history as well, especially how posting TED Talks online has transformed the organization.

May 09, 2016
104. Suck Again! Joey Anuff And Carl Steadman Return!
01:24:46

Summary

What more do I need to say? Joey and Carl are back for round two.

You can visit the Suck archives here.

 

May 02, 2016
103. Rafat Ali @rafat of PaidContent and Skift
01:32:00

Summary

I can't be sure about this exactly, but I would hazard to say Rafat Ali is possibly patient zero when it comes to taking a blog and turning it into a real, 21st century media company. Before the Huffington Post, before TechCrunch, even, maybe, kind of, before Gawker, Rafat founded PaidContent in 2002. He later sold it to the Guardian Media Group in 2008. Today he is the CEO of Skift.com, a media vertical in the travel industry space. Rafat has such an amazing story: an immigrant's story, an accidental entrepreneur's story, and, basically, the first-hand story of how blogging morphed into "professional," modern digital media. 

Apr 25, 2016
102. Analysis Ep. 5 - The History and Future of Automotive Tech with Mike Dushane
01:18:09

I know it’s a bit beyond our usual chronology of 90s-era technology, but car tech has come up so much in recent episodes, that I thought it was high time to learn more about the history and future of automotive tech. Electronic vehicles, Tesla, autonomous vehicles, but also, basic recent car tech advances like navigation systems and the like. So, to help me with that, I spoke with Mike Dushane, a 20 year web veteran, like myself, but also a veteran of Automobile Magazine, Car and Driver and, generally, an observer of and participant in the automotive industry over the last couple of decades as digital technology and cars have collided.

Apr 10, 2016
101. Matt Kursh on Pen Computing, Sidewalk and MSN
01:07:23

Summary


Matt Kursh was a part of the pre-web Silicon Valley frenzy for pen computing that we’ve spoken about several times on this show. Matt is kind enough to give us an in depth look at that mini-bubble and explains how it happened and how it paved the way, in a roundabout way, for modern handheld devices. Matt was also involved in several Microsoft initiatives in the 1990s, including the pioneering local site Sidewalk and MSN.com at the height of the portal era.

Mar 21, 2016
100. The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates? The Gary Kildall Story
01:38:31

Summary

To celebrate our 100th episode, we’re taking a special look at one of the foundational legends of the technology industry. It’s about the man who invented the modern disc operating system (the OS) and the concept of the software platform. That man was Gary Kildall. And the question we examine in this episode is, why is Bill Gates the richest man in the world, and not Gary Kildall? Could things have turned out differently?

In this episode we use audio from the following documentaries:

Triumph of the Nerds

and

Computer Chronicles

Special thanks to Justin Schwinghamer for the original score and the voice acting.

Mar 13, 2016
99. Founders of Suck.com, Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff
01:38:57

Summary

Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff were the founders of perhaps the most influential of the early web content sites, Suck.com. If you’re unfamiliar with Suck, you’re about to get a taste of why so many of us have been such big fans for so long. If you’re a longtime follower of the adventures of Joey and Carl, then get ready for some of that old time stuff, for the first time in 20 years.

You can visit the Suck archives here.

Feb 28, 2016
98. Rob Lord, Founder of the Internet Underground Music Archive
56:56

Summary

Rob Lord was the founder of the Internet Underground Music Archive all the way back in 1993. This would become the first website devoted to the distribution of music via MP3 downloads, and very much paved the way for a lot of what came later. Before almost anyone else, Rob had a vision that digital would be the future of music distribution, and he has pursued that vision throughout his career, which includes such music related startups as N2K, Muse.net and the Songbird player. We’ve actually already mentioned Rob at length in the Justin Frankel episode, as Rob joined Justin to create Nullsoft and disseminate the Winamp player. There’s some great, never-before-discussed details here, about doing business with the music industry, with Napster, and even with a young Travis Kalanick.

Today, Rob is working on a new startup called Shrines, which should be in public beta shortly.

Feb 24, 2016
97. Chris Fralic @chrisfralic Discusses Half.com and Del.icio.us
54:08

Summary


Most of you will know Chris Fralic as a partner in the VC firm First Round Capital, here in New York City. But Chris was also heavily involved in two key companies that we’ll be talking more about over the next year, Half.com and del.icio.us. Chris gives us the history and context for those two innovators, and shares stories from an interesting career, stories that range from competing against Michael Dell to sell computers to launching TED Talks online.

As an added personal historical bonus, Chris shared the Personal Pitch Deck he put together when trying to convince Half.com to hire him, back in the day. You can see he did his homework, analyzing the market, evaluating the opportunity and weighing the challenges Half would face. No wonder he got hired. Click here to view it.

Feb 14, 2016
96. The First "Web" Cam With Quentin Stafford-Fraser
01:11:22

Summary

I wanted to speak to Quentin Stafford-Fraser because he was involved in the first “web” cam. I say “web” in quotes because, it wasn’t technically on the web, but, well, you’ll understand the distinction when you listen. But Dr. Stafford-Fraser has been involved in so many things, right up to the present day, that I couldn’t help but ask him about the rest of his fascinating career. So, come for the webcam stuff, but stay to hear about studying computer science under the founding legends of the field, the first webserver at Cambridge, the development of Virtual Network Computing, augmented reality, and even the present and future of smart and autonomous car technology.

Feb 08, 2016
95. Pathfinder Executive Paul Sagan
45:32

Summary

Paul Sagan has had a long and illustrious career, which includes: 1) stints working on the Full Service Network, that interactive tv initiative in Orlando Florida that we've mentioned several times in the past, as well as 2) being a key member of the team that developed Pathfinder, one of the very first professionally produced content sites on the world wide web. He was also heavily involved in the development of another company we've mentioned previously, Akamai Technologies, where he served as Chief Operating Officer, CEO and Director. Today, Paul is Executive in Residence at General Catalyst Partners. A couple of times, we mention another oral history project that Paul is a part of, and that is Digital Riptide, which collects interviews about how journalism and digital technology have evolved over the past 25 years. You can find out more about that project at DigitalRiptide.org.

Feb 01, 2016
94. Founder of the First Dorm Room Dot Com, Tripod's Bo Peabody
47:44

There's a certain romance surrounding dorm room startups. From Microsoft, to Dell, to Facebook, there's something about the audacity of building a company before you even get your degree that catches the imagination. The title for the first of the Dot Com dorm room startup probably goes to Tripod, which was founded all the way back in 1992 by Bo Peabody. Bo recounts how Tripod stumbled upon one of the earliest antecedents for what today we would call social media, and gives us an amazing analysis about what it really takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

 

Jan 10, 2016
93. (Misc 4) Minitel, the French Internet That Came Before the Web
33:42

Summary
Today we’re going to talk a bit about alternate Internets. In previous episodes, we have outlined how, going back to the 1970s and 80s, early experiments with networked computing and online services began using a technology called Videotex. So, I wanted to dig deeper into these experiments to look at them as valuable precursors to the world wide web and the modern Internet. It is unlikely, for various technical reasons, that videotex could have evolved systems that could have challenged the modern TCP/IP internet as we know it, but it’s fun to explore these other systems and imagine an alternative net that might have developed. And most interestingly, to me at least, this exercise will allow us to examine Minitel, the French Videotex network that grew to prominence a full decade before the World Wide Web.

Special thanks to Laurent Bristiel @LaurentBristiel for his research assistance on this episode.

The New York Times on the death of the Minitel

This is the Reply All episode about working for a Minitel Rose service

Jan 03, 2016
92. Founder of the World's First Commercial Website, Dale Dougherty
56:41

Summary

Dale Dougherty was the organizer of the world’s first ever web developers conference, the World Wide Web Wizards Workshop in July of 1993. This was where Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen first met. Dale is also the man who coined the term “Web 2.0” when he organized the first Web 2.0 Summit. But Dale was also the co-founder of the web’s first ever commercial website, Global Network Navigator, or GNN. Today, Dale is probably best known as the founder of Make Magazine, Maker Faires and the entire Maker Movement.

Dec 14, 2015
91. Co-Founder of Feed Magazine, Stefanie Syman
46:22

Summary

If you'll remember in Episode 32, we explored the early digital media startups like Salon, Slate, Suck, Pathfinder, etc. One site that was mentioned, but did not get a lot of detail in that episode was Feed Magazine (aka, Feedmag.com, or Feed). The reason I couldn't go into much detail is because secondary sourcing about Feed is difficult to come by 20 years on. And that's what I was absolutely delighted to make contact with Stefanie Syman. Stefanie, along with Steven Johnson, was a co-founder of Feed, and she recounts the wonderful time period early on when two freelance writers could say, "Gee, why don't we just publish a magazine on the web?" It's a great story of the early Internet scene in New York City, and stay tuned to hear all the people who cut their teeth at Feed and went on to fabulous careers.

Dec 07, 2015
90. CEO of MapQuest, Barry Glick, Discusses the History and Future of Location Tech
01:11:10

Summary

I don't think very many people, twenty years ago, would have imagined that maps, location technology and the like would prove to be so strategically important and structurally integral to the Internet and modern technology as we're coming to know it. One person who might have had the vision was Barry Glick, founding CEO of MapQuest. Barry was there in the early days when maps and computers first met, and he has stayed in the location tech industry through the emergence of GPS, mobile devices and now into the current future of driverless cars and the like.

Nov 20, 2015
89. How Tom Hadfield Founded Soccernet At Age 13
46:20

Summary

Tom Hadfield was the founder of Soccernet, which is still the premiere soccer (football!) website in the world. But just as the title says, Tom began Soccernet when he was twelve or thirteen. So, certainly, Tom takes the cake, out of anyone we’ve spoken with so far, for having been in the Internet Game his entire life. Tom tells us the unique story of Soccernet’s founding and how it ended up with ESPN. As a bonus, since Tom is the first person we’ve spoken to from outside of North America, he’s also able to give us our first look at how the web took off in other parts of the world.

BTW, spread the word on the podcast via these links:

NPR’s Earbud.fm submission form.

ProductHunt podcast tool

Nov 09, 2015
88. How Microsoft Went Online, With Brad Silverberg
45:10

Summary:

In the early 1990s, Brad Silverberg was one of the key champions of the Internet within Microsoft. As the first ever Senior Vice President of the Internet Platform and Tools Group, he essentially led Microsoft’s efforts to embrace the Internet and the Web beginning in late 1995. As the senior Vice President of the Personal-Systems Division, Brad also led the development of Windows, from the launch of Windows 3.0 through Windows 95, which he helped establish as Microsoft’s greatest ever product. Today, he is a venture capitalist with both Fuel Capital and Ignition Partners.

Nov 02, 2015
87. Tim DeMello Talks Home Delivery Startups
23:50

Summary:

One of the big trends of recent years in the tech space has been the rise of delivery startups like Instacart and Postmates and the like. In a way, this is a resurrection of an idea, if you remember famous 90s startups like WebVan, Peapod and Kozmo.com. So, I thought it would be interesting to speak with someone who founded a delivery startup back in the 90s. Tim DeMello was the founder of Streamline, a delivery startup which actually predated the dot-com era. We talk to Tim about the economics of home delivery businesses and find out what he thinks the prospects are for the current crop of delivery companies.

Oct 26, 2015
86. Martin Nisenholtz on Bringing the New York Times Online
01:01:56

Martin Nisenholtz is a digital media pioneer. He founded perhaps the first digital marketing group at Olgilvy and Mather all the way back in 1983. But from 1995 through 2012, he was first the President of New York Times Electronic Media and then CEO of New York Times Digital and then Senior Vice President of Digital Operations at the New York Times Company. Martin, is literally the guy who has been front and center in everything the Times has been doing in digital for the last 20 years. He headed the team the launched the first NYTimes.com website back in 1995, and he has helped steer all of their web and digital efforts all the way through to the present social and mobile era.

A screenshot of @Times on AOL here.

A screenshot of an early NYTimes.com homepage here.

Oct 19, 2015
85. Evan Kirstel @evankirstel Discusses The Wireless Industry and Broadband
38:50

Listen:

Evan Kirstel is a 20 year veteran of the wireless, broadband, cloud and social space. He is also absolutely the number one person to follow on Twitter if you like a daily dose of amazing articles and blog posts. Evan helps me frame just that: how the modern wireless industry developed, the various issues involved in the evolution of broadband, and where it all might be going.

Oct 12, 2015
84. Analysis Ep. 4 "Clutching Pearls" With Chris Higgins
01:43:19

Summary:

Chris Higgins is back! In this very fun episode we talk about Windows 95, command line computing, who is the Microsoft of tech today and how the Matrix is the perfect hacker/Internet movie.

Listen, we promised a bunch of things would be in the show notes, but sadly, we didn’t write them down. This is what I could remember. If there are others I forgot some, send them to me via email or a tweet.

Oct 05, 2015
83. Founder of Travelocity, Terry Jones
44:32

Summary:

Terry Jones was the founder and CEO of Travelocity. Perhaps the primary pioneer in the online travel space, Terry explains the unique challenges Travelocity faced when dealing with the airline industry, fending off competition from the likes of Microsoft (Expedia) along with giving us a pretty fascinating look at how the modern travel industry works.

Sep 27, 2015
82. (Ch. 7.4) eBay Wins the Auction Wars
40:59

Summary:

Part 2 of eBay’s founding story. How, why and when eBay became the undisputed king of the online auction space.

Bibliography:

Sep 21, 2015
81. Founder of WebCal and "Turbo Yahoo" Bruce Spector
59:57

Summary:

Bruce Spector is another early web entrepreneur whose company would be acquired during the dotcom era. In this case, the company was WebCal and the acquirer was Yahoo. Bruce later went on to spearhead Yahoo's acquisitions during the late 90s, including two of the largest, Broadcast.com and Geocities.

Sep 15, 2015
80. Founder of CBS Sportsline Mike Levy
56:38

Summary:

There was a time, early on in the web era, where things were very much wide open. An entrepreneur could survey the scene and say, "No one has done a great sports site yet. Why don't I build one?"

Mike Levy did just that, taking on deep-pocketed incumbents like ESPN to build Sportsline (eventually, CBS Sportsline) into a lasting and powerful brand. Mike recounts Sportsline's initial incarnation as a dialup service, its partnerships early on with major sports celebrities, as well as being present for the foundations of the modern fantasy sports industry.

Sep 07, 2015
79. Glenn Fleishman @GlennF Returns!
01:26:54

Summary:

Glenn Fleishman is back to talk more about Amazon's founding mythologies, the recent controversies surrounding Amazon's work culture, and the effect the web revolution has had on publishing and journalism, but from the point of view of a writer.

The New York Times article we discuss extensively can be found here.

The David Halberstam book on the rise of modern media can be found here.

And the book that Glenn recommends can be found here.

Aug 30, 2015
78. Yahoo's Master Brand Builder, Karen Edwards
01:16:07

Summary:

Most people agree that Yahoo the king of the dot-com-era search sites on the strength of its zany, friendly, ubiquitous brand. The woman responsible for building that brand was Karen Edwards. Karen recounts becoming the first dot-com company to advertise on tv, seeking out “near-surfers” and marketing an internet company in an era where many people didn’t know what the internet even was.

Aug 24, 2015
77. Narendra Rocherolle @narendra of Webshots and 30 Boxes
02:00:35

Summary:

How did we get from a place where people were completely skeptical of living their personal lives online to the "share everything" society we live in now? Well, companies like Webshots got us here. Webshots was the first site to organize and encourage public photo sharing online. Narendra Rocherolle was one of the founders of Webshots and in this episode, we talk a lot about the digital sharing habit and how it evolved. But we also get what I think is the most detailed and informative founder arcs we've yet heard. You'll learn how Webshots was founded, pivoted a couple of times, found success, had a successful exit... only to find its acquiring company in bankruptcy after the dot-com bust... only to have the founders themselves buy the company back and find success all over again.

Aug 17, 2015
76. Steve Goldberg of Microsoft and the IAB
01:31:24

Summary:

Steve Goldberg was the first hire for Microsoft's Advertising division. He was present at the launch of such projects as MSNBC, Slate, Expedia and MSN, the portal. Steve goes into fascinating detail about Microsoft's relationship to the advertising industry, and Microsoft's strategic goals generally. But we also speak more broadly about online advertising, because Steve was one of the founders of the IAB, that online advertising trade association/standards body that, to this day, is such a guiding force for the industry.

Aug 03, 2015
75. The Development of Consumer Broadband with Intel's Avram Miller
01:34:31

Summary:

Avram Miller was the co-founder of Intel Capital, and during the 90s, racked up some of the greatest venture fund successes of all time, backing such companies as Broadcast.com, Geocities, CNET and more. Crucially, for our purposes, Avram and Intel were also instrumental in the development of residential broadband. Just this week, we heard in the news how Comcast has more internet subscribers than tv subscribers for the very first time. Avram was key in—as he puts it—convincing the Cable industry that it wasn't just in the entertainment business but in the communications and technology business as well.

Please visit Avram's exceptional blog: Two Thirds Done.

Jul 27, 2015
74. Developer of Winamp, Justin Frankel
01:08:20

Summary:

A conversation with Justin Frankel, creator of the Winamp application, which was arguably the software package responsible for popularizing the MP3.

Jul 20, 2015
73. "Father" of the MP3, Karlheinz Brandenburg
01:36:29

This is the story of MP3, the technology that (revolutionized? upended? destroyed? transformed?) changed music forever. It is also a conversation with the man who is most responsible for developing MP3 technology, Karlheinz Brandenburg.

Jul 14, 2015
72. Owen Thomas Returns!
51:58

Summary:

Owen Thomas is back on the show for another analysis episode, helping us establish the context for the dot-com era. You can listen to his previous episode here.

Note: Next week's episode will be dropping on Tuesday morning.

Jul 06, 2015
71. Founder of Quote.com, Chris Cooper
55:09

Summary:

Get ready for one of the most fascinating entrepreneurial stories we've covered thus far on the show. Chris Cooper was the founder of Quote.com, which, as you'll see, powered the finance portals of everyone from the search engines to the online traders like E*TRADE. But, prior to that... let's just say Chris Cooper has done it all: degrees in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering; a job testing nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site; several years making his living as a professional gambler in Las Vegas; several years making his living manufacturing illegal drugs, Breaking Bad-style; a stint in prison where he learned to code; proprietor of a subscription-based BBS; and of course, founder of one of the web's first sources of financial information.

Jun 28, 2015
70. The Forgotten Story Of The Original IPhone Released In 1998
45:29

It turns out that almost exactly 9 years before Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone, there was another 3-in-1 device that was introduced to the world, and it just so happened that that device was also known as an iPhone.

But the company that brought the "first" iPhone to market, all the way back in 1998, was called InfoGear, not Apple.

This is the story.

Jun 22, 2015
69. Steve Yelvington Discusses Newspapers and the Early Web
01:00:06

Summary:

Today we’re going to go a bit backwards in our timeline, back to some of the issues we covered in our Chapter 5 episodes. All of the research I did on newspapers and their early attempts to experiment with digital media came from secondary sources. That is why I was excited to be introduced to Steve Yelvington on Twitter. Steve is a several-decades-long veteran of the newspaper industry as well as a true online and web pioneer. He gives us some great first-person perspective about how the news industry succeeded and failed in its attempts to address the challenges of the Internet Era.

We mention a recent blog post of his in our conversation. You can read that blog post here.

Jun 15, 2015
68. Founder of When.com, Ted Barnett
01:26:31

Summary:

So far in our project, we've mostly spoken to people who were involved in startups that went public in the dot com era. But as I've said many times, that's only part of the story. I very much wanted to speak to someone involved with a successful startup that was acquired by a larger "portal" site. So, I reached out to Ted Barnett, who was one of the founders of the early web calendar site, When.com, which was eventually acquired by AOL. In this episode, we talk about the economics and strategic considerations of a 90s startup that found overnight success, but could not scale in a way that would allow it to continue to grow without hooking up with a larger, deeper-pocketed partner.

But Ted's career is so interesting and varied, we also got to delve into a bunch of other fascinating topics: what it was like to work at Apple in the late 80s, early 90s John Sculley-era; the pre-web "bubble" of pen-computing startups; working at AOL at the height of its late-90s powers; how a company like Kodak dealt with technological disruption completely decimating its 100-year old business; and even the current prospects for Virtual Reality technology.

Because our discussion with Ted paints such a well-rounded picture of a technology career lived in full... recounting how a young technologist can work their way up the ranks, all the way to founder and CEO... I would go so far as to say this is absolutely an essential listen for young people who are starting out in Tech today.

Jun 08, 2015
67. Journalist Maggie Mahar Discusses the Dot-Com Bubble
54:21

Summary:

Maggie Mahar is an award-winning journalist who has written for Money magazine, Institutional Investor, the New York Times, Bloomberg, and in the 1990s, covered the markets for Barron’s Magazine. She is also the author of an excellent book, Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004, that has been extremely helpful for me as I begin to frame the episodes that will bring us into the dot-com “bubble” era. I reached out to her to see if she would help me kick around some of the ideas that her book raised… in order to wrap my mind the causes and context of the bubble. Of course, I recorded our conversation so that we can all start thinking about this era together.

Jun 01, 2015
66. (Ch. 7.3) The Founding of eBay
43:49

...or, to be more strictly accurate, this episode covers the founding of AuctionWeb, the site that would become eBay. How Pierre Omidyar founded a company that brought auctions to the web and revolutionized what classified ads and ecommerce could be.

May 25, 2015
65. The "Book Club" Episode
15:47
May 18, 2015
64. Geocities Founder David Bohnett
53:47

Summary:

We continue our survey of the pioneering social/community sites by sitting down with David Bohnett, who, along with John Rezner, founded Geocities. David recounts how a lifelong passion for communications tech inspired the idea of Geocities, how and why the site grew to become one of the 5 most popular web destinations in the world by the late 90s, as well as the company's blockbuster sale to Yahoo.  We also marvel at how Geocities lives on, thanks to the passion and affection of the Geocities community.

May 11, 2015
63. TheGlobe Co-Founder Todd Krizelman
56:17

Summary:

One of the biggest names of the dot-com era was TheGlobe.com. It had one of the most successful and storied IPO's of it's day, and it was lead by two early-twenties co-founders, long before that sort of thing was common. Todd Krizelman (along with Stephan Paternot) was one of those co-founders, and in the offices of his current company, MediaRadar, he sat down with me to remember the founding story of one of the earliest and most innovative community sites on the web. We're exploring these community sites as a sort of survey of proto-social-media websites, and as you'll hear, TheGlobe was one of the most interesting.

If you're interested in reading more about this story, check out the book A Very Public Offering: A Rebel's Story of Business Excess, Success, and Reckoning.

May 04, 2015
62. iVillage Co-Founder Nancy Evans
01:14:34

Summary:

Nancy Evans and Candice Carpenter founded iVillage in the mid 1990s. iVillage was one of the first community-focused sites on the early web, and grew to be one of the biggest of its ilk. Not only was iVillage a site and a company founded by women, but it was also among the first sites that targeted women as a demographic in the early web era. Nancy recounts for us the development of the company, the benefits and pitfalls involved in being one of the highest-flying companies of the dot com era, and gives us some powerful perspective about the role women have played from the very beginning of the web era.

Apr 27, 2015
61. (Ch 7.2) Amazon's Dominance of eCommerce
01:06:14
Apr 19, 2015
60. Early eBay Executive (And Future California Governor?) Steve Westly
44:52

Summary:

If you are a Californian, then you might know Steve Westly's name very well. After all, in the mid 2000s, Westly was elected Controller of California, essentially the Chief Financial officer of the state, and he also ran for Governor in 2006. In fact, if you listen to the end of this episode, he might again show up on a ballot for governor some time in the very near future. But before his time in California government and politics, Steve Westly was also one of the key early eBay executives, who was instrumental in transforming eBay from a niche hobyist website to the global auctions and commerce powerhouse we all know it as today. We've not yet gotten to eBay in our overall narrative yet, so think of this as a primer to wet your appetite for the story of eBay's founding, coming very soon. In the mean time, you're going to very much enjoy this conversation with eBay's Senior Vice President, Steve Westly.

Here's a recent story from the LA Times about Westly's potential run for Governor.

Apr 13, 2015
59. Early Amazon Engineer and Co-Developer of the Recommendation Engine, Greg Linden
01:03:41

Summary:

As you know, we’ve been trying to cover from every angle, the innovations that ecommerce sites in general, and Amazon.com specifically, brought to the world. That is why I was thrilled to get to speak with Greg Linden, who was one of the Amazon engineers who was responsible for a lot of the personalization and data-driven innovations at Amazon, especially the recommendation engine. Greg explains in great detail the technological challenges involved, but also gives us a conceptual and almost philosophical background to the ways that harnessing data and deploying personalized systems can improve commerce.

If you want to read any of the blog posts Greg has done about his early Amazon days, go here.

Apr 05, 2015
58. Robert Levitan of iVillage and Flooz
01:06:14

Summary:

Robert Levitan has been involved in many pioneering tech companies. The two that I wanted to focus on were iVillage, one of the early web community sites, one of the very first sites to engage with women as a segment of the online audience, and arguably, one of the proto-social networking sites. Later, Robert was the founder of Flooz, the most prominent of the dot-com era companies to attempt digital payments and digital currency.

To learn more about Robert's new startup, check out: liveapp.com.

Mar 30, 2015
57. (I Lied) The Special Requests Episode
13:30

I lied about there not being a show this week. Except, it's not a show. It's more of a state-of-the-podcast address, celebrating (belatedly) our one year anniversary.

 

http://www.internethistorypodcast.com/donate/

 

Mar 23, 2015
56. Infoseek Founder (and Inventor of the Optical Mouse) Steve Kirsch
50:11

Summary:

Steve Kirsch is one of the most fascinating entrepreneurs we’ve been lucky enough to speak to on this show. Going back to the 1980s, he was the inventor of the optical mouse. Back in the days of desktop software suites, he brought FrameMaker to the world. He founded Abaca Technology, the spam filter company and OneId. And today he is the founder and CEO of a really interesting new startup called Token. But we wanted to speak to him about founding the search engine and web portal InfoSeek. Steve recounts all of this and more, in one of the more comprehensive conversations we’ve had with a truly serial web entrepreneur.

As you can hear from the plane noise in the background on the intro, I’ll be on the road for the next two weeks, so the next new episode will be March 30.

Mar 16, 2015
55. The Watershed Year of 1995 with W. Joseph Campbell
36:15

Summary:

W. Joseph Campbell is a Professor in the School of Communication at American University. He is the author of six nonfiction books, including Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism. Just this year, he came out with an excellent new book called 1995: The Year the Future Began. As soon as I heard about this book, I read it, because, as you’ve heard if you’ve been listening to this show, 1995 was a seminal year, especially for Internet history. In fact, the conceit of this project, of course, is that the modern Internet Era began in 1995. So, I was thrilled to talk with Dr. Campbell about how 1995 became the year that the Internet entered the mainstream. We also talk about a lot of the other events from 1995 that made that year such a watershed of recent American history.

Mar 09, 2015
54. CDNow CEO Michael Krupit
01:02:12

Summary:

Michael Krupit first joined CDNow as the Chief Technology officer. He soon took over COO duties, and eventually rose to become CEO of the entire CDNow operation. Mike gives us the background on the early days of another early ecommerce pioneer, and he gives us some great insights into attempting to dominate a commerce niche as opposed to Amazon’s “everything store” strategy. But just as fascinating is the fact that around the years 2000-2001, Michael was right there in the thick of it when the MP3 and Napster revolutions first rocked the music industry. This is a fascinating discussion about first being the disruptor and then becoming the disrupted.

Mar 02, 2015
53. Match.com and Sex.com Founder Gary Kremen
01:01:36

Summary:

Gary Kremen is another early internet legend. Kremen was one of the first people to recognize the opportunity that the Internet presented in terms of classifieds advertising. Seizing this opportunity, Kremen founded Match.com, to this day, still the largest player in the online dating space. But Kremen is also famous for the legendary struggle to control the Sex.com domain name, which Kremen registered, lost control of, regained control of (after a lengthy legal battle) attempted to turn into the adult version of Google and eventually sold on to other investors. This is one of the more colorful and fascinating interviews we’ve ever been able to feature on this show.

Feb 23, 2015
52. (Ch 7.1) The Birth of Amazon.com
54:54

Summary:

Finally, the long-promised foray into e-commerce, starting with… not the first… but practically the first… player in the space… and ironically enough, the 800 pound gorilla in the space to this day. Amazon. Dot com. We examine Jeff Bezos, the man. We consider Amazon, the idea. We look at e-commerce, the concept. It’s interesting. It’s groundbreaking. It’s available with free 2-day shipping for Prime members. Just kidding.

Bibliography:

Feb 16, 2015
51. Glenn Fleishman @GlennF Discusses Early Amazon
01:13:51

Summary:

You may know Glenn Fleishman from a bunch of things. He has written for Wired, Fortune, Popular Science, The New York Times, and PCWorld, and contributes regularly to The Economist, The Seattle Times, Macworld, etc. Also, in the last few years, he was the publisher of the Magazine, the iPad publication that we spoke to Chris Higgins about in previous episodes... and he hosted a very popular podcast called the New Disruptors. But for a brief time in the 1990s, he was also the catalog manager for Amazon.com, right around the time of the site launch. Not only was Glenn willing to give us the details on some of the early decisions and processes at Amazon, but he also goes into a frank assessment of Amazon strategy, what the prospects for the company looked like at the time... and even Jeff Bezos himself.

Feb 09, 2015
50. Amazon's Technical Co-Founder and Employee #1, Shel Kaphan
01:00:52

Summary:

Shel Kaphan was the very first person hired by Jeff Bezos to launch Amazon.com. A lot of people consider Shel to be a co-founder in all but name, because he, along with Paul Davis, was largely responsible for the entire technical architecture that Amazon launched with, from the website, to the back-end systems that made selling books on the Internet possible. I was thrilled when Shel agreed to talk to me, because he does not give a lot of interviews, and I knew he could shed some light on some of the earliest Amazon details that absolutely no one else could. Shel gives us the background on everything from the commerce systems to the development of Amazon’s famous review and recommendation systems. This is such a fascinating, detailed look at Amazon’s very beginnings, I think that it reminds me of all the great details we got from Mosaic and Netscape engineering teams we spoke to in the earliest interviews for this project. Enjoy!

Feb 01, 2015
49. Lycos Founder and CEO Bob Davis @BobDavisHCP
29:41

Summary:

Bob Davis was not only the founder of the search engine/web portal known as Lycos, he was also the CEO, first employee, and for a time, the ONLY employee. Bob recounts how Lycos took technology from academia, turned it into a viable company, and became one of the "four horsemen" of the dot com era. Today, Bob is a partner at the venture capital firm, Highland Capital Partners.

Jan 26, 2015
48. Amazon Director, Customer Service Strategy, Jane Slade
49:17

Summary:

Jane Slade joined Amazon.com's nascent customer service team when it was a couple of people, some computers, and one phone line. Over the coming years, she helped to build the customer service operations at Amazon into the enormous team it is today. Jane recalls for was what it was like in the early days and why keeping customer experience central to everything Amazon does is probably the key driver for the company's success.

Jan 19, 2015
47. Analysis Episode with Christina Warren of Mashable.com @film_girl
01:02:37

Summary:

Christina Warren is the Senior Tech Analyst for Mashable.com. She came on the podcast to talk with me about Amazon’s place in the tech universe, Jeff Bezos as an entrepreneur, and to break down what might be the four or five main business models for the internet. Be sure to look for Christina’s work on Mashable.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @film_girl. She also co-hosts a terrific podcast called Overtired.

The two articles we discuss on the episode are:

Amazon Bought This Man’s Company. Now He’s Coming for Them

Facebook is the New AOL

Jan 12, 2015
46. (Ch 6) A History of Internet Porn
01:13:28

So, I ran across this quote from Star Trek television producer Rick Berman. He said, “Without porn and Star Trek, there would be no Internet.” That’s a notion that I have to say really kind of rang true to me, in a tonge and cheek sort of way. I mean, it’s something you hear all the time. The idea that pornography leads the way with any new technological innovation. That Porn is some x-large percentage of the overall internet Do you ever wonder how much of the internet is actually porn? If it’s such a large amount then wouldn’t it be worth investigating how porn has shaped the web and the internet generally? That’s sort of the thinking that led me to begin thinking about this episode.

Bibliography:

Jan 04, 2015
45. Excite Co-Founder Ryan McIntyre
01:03:52

Ryan McIntyre, along with his fellow Stanford classmates (Graham SpencerJoe Kraus, Mark Van Haren, Ben Lutch and Martin Reinfried) was one of the "Excite 6" who founded the Excite search engine in the early 1990s. Ryan recounts what it was like to found a college start-up before that was a "thing," and explains how the technology was developed with the help and guidance of VCs and other early investors. We delve into the "Coke vs. Pepsi" competition with Yahoo, the madness of the "dot-com" era, and analyze the dominance of Google in the search space today.

Dec 15, 2014
44. The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, Co-Founder of Akamai Technologies
59:03

Summary:

On HBO, the show Silicon Valley is about a young kid who comes up with a billion-dollar algorithm and attempts to build a company around the technology. Well, there's a real-life parallel, because that is what happened to Danny Lewin in the early 1990s. He co-developed an algorithm that gave birth to the Content Delivery Network industry, and the company that he co-founded on the strength of this technology is Akamai Technologies. To this day Akamai is a major backbone of the entire Internet.

But that is only one of the fascinating things about the story of Danny Lewin. Born in Colorado, Lewin's family moved to Israel at a very young age, and Lewin eventually became an special forces operative in Sayeret Matkal, the elite anti-terrorism unit in the Israeli military.

Tragically, Lewin was one of the passengers on American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked on September 11, 2001. There is reason to believe that Danny Lewin was possibly the first person to be killed by the hijackers on that day.

In this episode we talk with author Molly Knight Raskin who has written a book, No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet, which chronicles Danny Lewin's amazing life story. It's a fascinating book, which I encourage you to read for yourself, and this is a fascinating episode.

Buy The Book:

No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet

Dec 08, 2014
43. Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan on the History and Future of Search
50:24

Summary:

Danny Sullivan is generally acknowledged as THE expert on the search industry (www.searchengineland.com). Danny first got his start coving search all the way back in 1996, and for almost twenty years, he has covered search technology as it has evolved from the likes of Excite and Yahoo into the dominance of Google and the emergence of social and mobile as the new frontier. Danny gives us a bit of his own background before we wade into the 90s search scene. We spend a lot of time discussing how and why Google grew to dominance and toward the end, Danny tells us where search technology might be going in the future.

Dec 01, 2014
42. (Misc 3) Did Al Gore Really Invent the Internet?
26:10

As you know, often on this podcast, I run across issues or tidbits from the past that don’t quite fit our overall narrative. But sometimes those tidbits are just too interesting for me to ignore. One of those things I keep running across is Al Gore and his role with the early Internet.

I think it’s something that we all sort of “know.” That Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet. I remember this being a small political issue at the time of the 2000 election, but I honestly never cared enough to investigate the details. Last weekend, however, I went down a research rabbit-hole and decided to find out the truth. Not because I’m a huge Al Gore fan, or because I’m looking to score points against him either. I was just genuinely interested, and wanted to find out the historical truth— not just the partisan-tinged conventional wisdom.

So, here is what I found out.

A full transcript of the CNN interview we talk about can be found here.

Nov 24, 2014
41. Excite.com CEO George Bell
01:03:43

Summary:

George Bell was the CEO of Excite.com, took that pioneering search engine public, and became the CEO of Excite@Home when he oversaw that major merger of the dotcom era. George talks about the development of search technology, the madness of the dotcom bubble and even explains the background to one of the more notorious what-ifs in Internet history: the time that Excite had the opportunity to buy Google for a mere $750,000.

Nov 17, 2014
40. Microsoft and Internet Explorer Executive, Ben Slivka
01:20:35

Summary:

I was absolutely thrilled that Ben Slivka agreed to come on the podcast with us. Obviously, we’ve had plenty of oral histories relating to Netscape and the development of it’s browser. But we’ve only spoken to a handful of people about Internet Explorer thus far. Obviously, Internet Explorer was every bit as vital to the development of the early web so I’ve been eager to get more background from the Microsoft side of the story. And who better than Ben Slivka, who was the leader of the original Internet Explorer project at Microsoft. Ben recounts where Microsoft was at as a company before Windows 95 and the web, and he walks us through the development of Internet Explorer from version 1.0 through 4.0 and beyond. If you’re interested in the technology- and feature-development of the modern web browser, you’re unlikely to hear a better hour of conversation. So, I know you’ll enjoy this conversation with Ben Slivka.

Nov 10, 2014
39. CNET Founder Halsey Minor
53:08

Summary:

Halsey Minor is an absolutely legend when it comes to the online era. Along with names like Jerry Yang, Jeff Bezos, Pierre Omidyar and others, Halsey Minor deserves credit for creating one of the first truly great companies on the web: CNet. Halsey recounts the CNet creation story with us, but also goes into his early days on Wall Street, with another entrepreneurially-focused young man named Jeff Bezos. And toward the end of our talk, Halsey talks about the project he’s embarked upon now, which is working in the bitcoin space. Interestingly, Halsey feels that Bitcoin as a technology has the potential to be every bit as revolutionary as the web was, and perhaps even more so. So please enjoy a conversation with Halsey Minor.

Nov 03, 2014
38. An Oral History Of The Web's First Banner Ads
01:16:30

The first banner ads went live on the web 20 years ago today, October 27th, 1994, when the website HotWired.com first launched on the internet. We've spoken to some of the people responsible for the creation of these ads, and so, in honor of the anniversary, I have re-edited their interviews into an oral history that tells the whole story. But in case you think you've heard all this before, please note that there are segments from 4 entirely new interviews that you have NOT heard before. So, if you want to hear the whole story comprehensively, download and listen!

THE FIRST BANNER AD

Please note: The post on the website for this episode has all the ads and graphics we mention throughout the podcast, so please check that out to see the full picture.

 

Oct 27, 2014
37. Wired Magazine Founding Editor John Battelle @johnbattelle
43:29

Summary:

Younger listeners might know John Battelle as being one of the original forces behind the Web 2.0 movement, as the founder of the Web 2.0 Summit as well as Federated Media. But John was also the founding editor of both Wired Magazine and Industry Standard magazine, that great, lost magazine of record for the dot com era. For our purposes, we’ve been focusing more on HotWired, so that’s why I was super excited to speak with John and get some of the background stories from Wired the magazine as well as Industry Standard. Enjoy!

Oct 20, 2014
36. Talking Early Online Services With Chris Higgins @chrishiggins
01:51:58

Summary:

Another conversation with writer and journalist Chris Higgins. We start up talking about the recent sad demise of the Magazine, a project Chris was heavily involved in. But then we spend most of the episode talking about the early online services and what it was like to go online before online meant the web. If you’re from this era, get ready for a nostalgia bomb. Hope you enjoy.

Oct 13, 2014
35. Joe McCambley Discusses Advertising and the First Banner Ads
45:07

Summary:

Joe McCambley is one of the more prominent names in modern digital marketing and advertising. He's had major roles at Digitas, at AOL in it's modern incarnation and he's the co-founder of the Wonder Factory. I wanted to talk to Joe about his time with Modem Media, where he was one of the creative forces behind the development of the first banner ads that premiered alongside the launch of HotWired. The 20th anniversary of these first banner ads is coming up at the end of the month, and I'm putting together a special episode where I'll edit together interviews from several different people all for one comprehensive piece that will tell the story. As I told Joe after this interview, my original intention was just to use this conversation as a part of that piece. But our discussion went in such wonderful directions, delving deep into nature of modern advertising and the future of marketing in the digital age, that I decided this deserved to be it's own stand alone-episode. If you're working in digital media today, I think this is required listening.

Sponsor link:

audibletrial.com/internethistory

The "You Will" campaign can be viewed here.

The first banner ad can be viewed here

Oct 06, 2014
34. Owen Thomas of HotWired and Suck
53:17

Summary:

Owen Thomas is one of the most prominent voices in modern web media. He is currently the editor in chief of ReadWrite.com, but he was also the west coast editor for Business Insider, the founding editor of Daily Dot, executive editor of VentureBeat, managing editor of Valleywag… and I could go on and on… Business 2.0, Red Herring, etc. I was particularly excited to talk to Owen about some of his earliest jobs, at HotWired and at Suck. Owen gives us some more great background about the launch of Hotwired and the inner workings of Suck.

Sponsor link:

audibletrial.com/internethistory

 

Sep 29, 2014
33. HotWired CEO Andrew Anker
54:52

Summary:

Soon after the founding of Wired Magazine, it was decided that Wired needed a major web presence. Andrew Anker was recruited to write a business plan and launch a website that would become HotWired.com. As we’ve seen in this chapter, HotWired was among the first stand-alone media websites, and pioneered a great many things, not the least of which were the first banner ads. Andrew gives us some wonderful insights into the early days of Wired (going back to the magazine’s funding) as well as the evolution of HotWired, Suck, Hotbot and other early web properties he helped bring to life.

Sep 22, 2014
32. (Ch 5.2) Wired, CNET, Slate, Salon and Suck
01:26:02

Summary:

We continue our survey of early web media plays with some that have lasted the test of time and some that, while not currently extant, were lasting in terms of impact. It’s a big episode. WSJ.com. NYTimes.com. EOnline. The Weather Channel. ZDNet. CNet. Salon. Slate. Wired magazine and HotWired.com. And our long lost, beloved Suck.com.

By the way, as promised, here are some early NYTimes screenshots, compliments of Rich Meislin.

@times on aol

Here is a screenshot of @Times on AOL

Sep 15, 2014
31. Real Networks Founder and CEO Rob Glaser
43:02

Summary:

Rob Glaser was, and is, the founder and CEO of Real Networks. If you were around in the 90s, you’ll remember Real Audio and Real Video and the Real Media player. In the age before broadband, Real Networks pioneered streaming media on the web. Quite simply, the early web would not have been multimedia without Real, and by the late 90s, fully 85% of the streaming audio and video on the web was Real Media. But Rob was also an early Microsoft Executive, so the interview starts out with Rob giving us some fascinating stories about being recruited to join Microsoft in the early 1980s as well as his work with the successful relaunch of Microsoft Word and Excel in the mid 80s.

Sep 08, 2014
30. (Misc 2) The NSA And The 1990s Debate Over the Clipper Chip
37:23

Summary:

What the mid-1990's debate about the so-called "clipper chip" can teach us about our contemporary debates concerning NSA surveillance of the Internet and the Web.

This episode was originally written as a piece on Medium, entitled The NSA Tried This Before, What The 90s Debate Over The Clipper Chip Can Teach Us About Digital Privacy

Sep 01, 2014
29. Analysis Episode 1 With Chris Higgins @chrishiggins
01:43:04

Summary:

A new kind of episode today. I sat down with writerblogger and former programmer Chris Higgins to do a sort of analysis episode, expanding on some of the issues covered in Chapters 1 and 2. Hope you enjoy.

Aug 25, 2014
28. Pathfinder Executive Oliver Knowlton
29:54

Summary:

Oliver Knowlton is another one of our Pathfinder.com alumni. He’s had a wide and varied career in media, from his role as the General Manager of Sports Illustrated to his current role as the VP of the Digital Portfolio Group at Gannett, he’s been working in various aspects of digital media for two decades. Our previous Pathfinder interviewees have given us bookends of the pathfinder story, its origin story and the denouement, as it were. Oliver’s discussion gives us a great summation of the story from someone who was there for the whole ride.

Aug 18, 2014
27. She Gave The World A Billion AOL CDs - An Interview With Marketing Legend Jan Brandt
01:30:17

Summary:

Jan Brandt is a legend in the world of marketing. She singlehandedly led the famous AOL "carpet-bombing" campaign that put millions of AOL trial discs and CDs in everything from magazines to popcorn boxes to banks. AOL was able to leap to the front of the online pack, over competitors like CompuServe and Prodigy largely on the success of this campaign. Jan tells us how this strategy developed, the thinking that went into it and goes into great detail about what worked and what didn't. But she was also a very early AOL executive, so she is able to give us some fantastic background about AOL the company: its culture, its people and its visionaries–people like Steve Case. She takes us from AOL's beginnings, through its considerable growing pains (remember "America On Hold?") its rise to dominance in the dot-com era, and even gives us her perspective on the legacy of the AOL/Time Warner merger.

Aug 11, 2014
26. Head of Time New Media Executive Linda McCutcheon
01:19:00

Summary:

Linda McCutcheon is another Pathfinder veteran. She came up through Time Inc. on the marketing side, so she was the one responsible for landing the first advertisements that ran on the Pathfinder site. But she also stayed at Time Warner through the entire lifecycle of Pathfinder, eventually rising to head the entire Time New Media operation. Linda gives us a great recap of entire era from the Full Service Network efforts through to the dot com days when she successfully brought Time New Media into profitability. One small note… halfway through we lost our Skype connection, ironically because her Time Warner Cable signal went down in her office. So, there is a bit of an interruption halfway through. But allowing for that, it’s a brilliant conversation about the past, present a future of media.

Aug 04, 2014
25. Pathfinder Editorial Executive Craig Bromberg
01:09:57

Summary:

Craig Bromberg has had a long and fascinating career at the intersection of media and technology. An early adopter of online technologies, Craig was a freelance writer when he was chosen by Pathfinder head Walter Isaacson to become the first editorial director of the Pathfinder project. Craig tells us about the thinking that went into the launch of the website and the strategic goals Pathfinder was intended to achieve. But he was also a participant in the byzantine corporate politics that so hobbled Pathfinder’s trajectory, and he gives us a fascinating first hand account of what it was like to fight for a specific vision inside a big organization like Time Warner. Craig has worked with media from every angle and so the second half of the interview sees us get into a fascinating discussion about where media is doing and how it can succeed in a digital age.

Jul 28, 2014
24. (Ch 5.1) Mercury Center and Pathfinder - Big Media's Big Web Adventure
01:15:18

Summary:

We’ve been looking at how companies were feeling their way into the internet era, trying to create new industries and new mediums without precedent or a road map. But thus far, we’ve mainly been looking at pure-play tech companies. And when the web revolution came, everyone wanted a piece of it, not just the tech world. So, this episode looks at the creative and business efforts of those people companies who came from outside the traditional environs of Silicon Valley.

We’re largely going to look at big media. When the web began, it was considered to be a new medium, and so it was assumed by many if not most people that big media would logically dominate this new medium. The reason this did not come to pass is complicated, and we’ll look at some of the many reasons why. We’ll look at pioneering newspaper efforts like the San Jose Mercury News’ Mercury Center. We’ll examine unlikely big media web properties that got the web exactly right, like the Weather Channel. We’ll look at how one unlikely company, Reuters, singlehandedly disrupted the entire content industry by turning news into an online commodity. And more than anything, we’ll look at the rise and ignominious fall, of Pathfinder, onetime rival of sites like Yahoo, the portal that maybe wasn’t a portal, the greatest website you don’t remember.

I mention the Pathfinder Museum. Go there for great visual and data artifacts from the site.

There is an exceptional (and exceptionally long) profile of the Mercury Center saga from the Columbia Journalism Review.

Bibliography:

 

Jul 20, 2014
23. Co-Founder of FocaLink, Dave Zinman
42:48

Summary:

Today we have an interview with Dave Zinman, co-founder of FocaLink Media services, which, if you'll recall, developed the first remote ad server. We previously spoke to his co-founder, Jason Strober. Dave is a long time advertising industry veteran. He was also at Yahoo and is currently the CEO of InfoLinks. I hope we've done a good job in these interviews of giving you a decent understanding of how online advertising developed and how it functions to underpin the internet as we know it today. Dave gives us some fascinating insights on all of this, and especially toward the end of the interview, we get in depth about how modern advertising functions. We get into retargeting, the modern advertising method that represents the the apex of advertising evolution. How does Facebook make all it's money? It's retargeting that makes it possible. So, get ready for an excellent master class on how modern advertising works.

Oh, and there's a bonus story, right at the end, about the founding of eBay.

Jul 14, 2014
22. Co-Founder of DoubleClick, Kevin O'Connor
51:18

Summary:

Kevin O’Connor is the co-founder of the granddaddy of all Internet advertising companies, DoubleClick. Chances are, if you’ve seen a banner ad over the last decade or so, it was served up behind the scenes by DoubleClick’s DART technology. Now the backbone of Google’s banner ad inventory, DoubleClick was one of the first internet advertising companies formed, one of the largest of the dot-com era, and as we discuss in this interview, DoubleClick is really the Godfather of the New York City Silicon Alley tech scene.

One of the more interesting things to me, is when Kevin talks about the early controversy that DoubleClick ran into in terms of user privacy and cookies and control of user information. In the late 90s, the firestorm that DoubleClick encountered just for doing basic ad tracking was a huge deal. Now, in the age of Facebook and the NSA listening to everyone, that whole brouhaha seems… I dunno… naive? Were we ever really so young as an Internet? Anyway, Kevin has a lot of good stuff to say about that.

Jun 23, 2014
21. Yahoo Employee #3, Tim Brady
01:05:49

Summary:

When you talk about Yahoo, most people know the names Jerry Yang and David Filo. But if you talk to people who were there at the time, there is another name that everyone mentions: Tim Brady. Tim was Yahoo’s employee number 3. He wrote the original Yahoo business plan. He became Yahoo’s project manager, and as much as anyone, he played a major role in building the company that Yahoo became in the 1990s. Tim was also a college buddy of Jerry Yang’s, so he offers us excellent background on Yahoo’s founding and the thinking that went in to the company’s development.

Jun 16, 2014
20. (Ch 4.2) How Yahoo Became The Web's First Great Company
01:05:52

Summary:

Yahoo became the web’s first truly great company, and in this episode, we examine why. Turning to advertising as a business model, Yahoo was among the first to find a way for the Internet to generate real money. In addition, we look back at the “portal wars” as Yahoo, Excite, AltaVista, et al, competed to become all things to all internet people, and in the process, helped set off the dot com mania.

Jun 09, 2014
19. Co-Founder of Netgravity, John Danner
51:10

Summary

This is a wide ranging and fascinating interview with John Danner. John was the co-founder of another of the major internet advertising pioneers, NetGravity. John gives us some more great background on how the technology and culture of the advertising industry evolved, and because NetGravity was the company that built Yahoo's first advertising system, we get some great details about early Yahoo. But John also gives us some incredible insights about what it was like during the dot com era madness. If you're currently an entrepreneur or aspiring to be an entrepreneur, you're going to want to listen closely to the 2nd half of this interview because John speaks some serious truths about the realities of growing a venture backed business.

Jun 02, 2014
18. The True Story Behind Halt And Catch Fire - An Interview With Rod Canion
47:17

An Interview With Compaq Co-Founder and CEO Rod Canion

This Sunday, AMC is premiering a new original series called Halt And Catch Fire. Set in the early 1980s, it tells the story of a band of cowboy entrepreneurs and engineers who join the PC Wars by cloning an IBM machine and taking on Big Blue for control of the nascent personal computer industry.

AMC’s show is fictional, but it turns out, there is a true life story that is similar to this course of events, and it led to the creation of one of the greatest technology companies of all time, Compaq Computers.

Rod Canion was one of the co-founders of Compaq back in the early 80s, and he was there for the real world PC wars. He’s written a book about the time period, Open: How Compaq Ended IBM’s PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing. In the interview below, I spoke to Rod about the book, the process of taking on Big Blue and cloning the IBM-PC, and how a series of incredible calculated gambles paid off to eventually build one of history’s most successful technology companies.

May 26, 2014
17. Co-Creator of the First Remote Ad Server, Jason Strober
27:40

Summary

In this episode we continue our exploration into the roots Internet advertising. We’re speaking with Jason Strober, another Internet Advertising pioneer and co-founder of Focalink Media Services, Inc. Focalink was responsible for arguably the first remote ad server, a crucial technical component that made online advertising possible. Jason recounts for us the early, “wild west” days when a small group of ambitious people made an entire industry up from scratch, and with it, laid the financial foundation for the Internet as we know it.

May 20, 2014
16. Internet Explorer Team Member, Hadi Partovi @hadip
25:59

Summary

Hadi Partovi was one of the original 9 people on the Internet Explorer project. He left Microsoft in the late 90s to found Tellme Networks, which was eventually acquired by Microsoft for $800 million dollars. This precipitated a second stint at Microsoft where he was General Manager of MSN.com during MSN’s only year of profit, and where he incubated Start.com (which became Live.com, which now points to Microsofts’ online Outlook efforts). After leaving Microsoft a second time, he joined up with his brother Ari to found iLike, which was purchased by Myspace, and both Partovi brothers worked for a time as Senior Vice Presidents at Myspace. In between all this, Hadi and Ari were early investors in Zappos, Facebook and Dropbox, served as advisors to Facebook and still serve as advisors to Dropbox. Hadi is currently the founder and CEO of Code.org, a non-profit working to help schools teach coding to students around the world.

Here is a link to a recent interview with both Partovi brothers.

The post page for this episode is here.

 

May 14, 2014
15. (Ch 4.1) The Early Search Engines And Yahoo
33:24

Summary:

As the early web grows, the explosion of content and websites creates chaos. Early search engines are among the most popular sites on the early web, as users try to find their way around the new medium. Sites like Excite, Lycos, Alta Vista and others try to take an algorithm and data-based route to organizing the chaos, but the site that leaps to the front of the pack, Yahoo!, goes in the other direction, creating a hand-sorted directory.

We learn how Jerry Yang and David Filo started Yahoo! in a trailer on the campus of Stanford University and prepare to make the first great brand of the Internet Era.

Bibliography:

May 09, 2014
14. (Misc 1) The Forgotten Online Pioneer, Bill von Meister
49:00

What If I Told You…

… there was a crazy entrepreneur who was the true founder of what would become America Online? He was the guy who hired Steve Case back before AOL was AOL.

What if I told you that same entrepreneur invented true, networked, online gaming—not in the era of the Xbox 360, but back in the days of the Atari 2600?

What if I then told you that same entrepreneur invented a Napster/Pandora/Spotify/Sirius-like music service, all the way back in 1981, before the compact disc was even widely available?

That Man Is William von Meister

And he is the subject of this episode. I’ve enjoyed all of the episodes we’ve done so far, but I have to say this has been the most fun. It’s exciting to shed some light on a bit of history that I think has been criminally overlooked. And to be honest, it’s just such a crazy story, about a hard drinking, heavy-smoking, women-chasing entrepreneur, seemingly from the Mad Men cloth, who was “a pathological entrepreneur” with a “reality-distortion-field” that would give Steve Jobs a run for his money. It’s a story of about a dozen harebrained businesses, none of which were really successful (excepting of course that some or all of them lent their DNA to the company that would become AOL) but all of which were way ahead of their time, and in many ways, presaged technologies we take for granted today.

Details:

Some of the articles I mentioned about the GameLine System:

Also, the books mentioned as source materials:

Also, this:

isaac-asimov-trs80

Apr 25, 2014
13. Co-Designer of the First Banner Ad, Co-Founder of Razorfish, Craig Kanarick
58:40

Summary

Craig Kanarick was one of the people responsible for the first ever banner ad, which appeared on Oct. 27, 1994 on Hotwired.com. As mentioned in the podcast, there’s no “first” ad, as several were launched in a rotation at the same time. But as mentioned on the podcast, a lot of people like to think of the first ad as this one, for AT&T, which you can see here:

first ever banner ad

And for more information about the “You Will” AT&T campaign, read about it here, or dig this.

Craig went on to found Razorfish, along with his childhood friend Jeff Dachis. Razorfish was a pioneering design, technology and advertising studio that brought many large brands and corporations onto the web for the first time. Razorfish was also a pioneer of the web-tech scene in New York City, which has come to be called “Silicon Alley.” Craig is currently the founder of Mouth.com, headquartered in the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn, as is this podcast (thus, the DUMBO-ish picture I chose above). In our conversation, I mention some contentious media coverage that Razorfish received back in the day, in my opinion, painting them as poster-boys for dotcom-era excess. I offer some of those articles for context:

Apr 17, 2014
12. (Ch 3.2) The Rise of AOL
39:33

Summary:

America Online survives the inevitable run-in with Microsoft, only to come out the other side stronger.  The company has to endure major PR fiascos and network capacity issues, but eventually sees itself firmly established as one of the major players of the dot com era.

Bibliography:

Apr 11, 2014
11. (Ch 3.1) CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL and the Early Online Services
31:12

www.InternetHistoryPodcast.com

@brianmcc

@nethistorypod

Summary:

We take a step back to look at the early online services: CompuServe, Delphi, GEine, the WELL and especially, early AOL. Why? Well, because online services very much served as “training wheels” for the Internet. Online services were NOT the Internet, exactly; at least not at first. But they very much helped get people used to living life in an online environment. AOL especially would grow and enjoy success to the point that it became one of the most powerful companies in technology. We take a look at how America Online grew to dominate the online services market before the inevitable showdown with (who else?) Microsoft.

Bibliography:

Apr 03, 2014
10. Rob McCool, Founding Engineer, Mosaic and Netscape
36:50

www.InternetHistoryPodcast.com

@nethistorypod @brianmcc

Summary:

Rob McCool is another of the core group of original Mosaic programmers who went on to found Netscape. Unlike a lot of the others we have spoken to, he worked more on the server side of the equation for both projects. Rob was also the original author of the NCSA HTTPd web server, later known as the Apache HTTP Server, so we can think of him as the Godfather of Apache. He was a contributor to the initial specification of the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), and later what became known as the Netscape Enterprise Server. Rob went on to work at both Yahoo and Onlive. He is currently at Google, where he works on structured Knowledge Bases and semantics.

Apr 02, 2014
9. Jon Mittelhauser, Founding Engineer, Mosaic and Netscape
54:05

Summary:

Jon Mittelhauser is another of the core group of original Mosaic programmers who went on to found Netscape. Jon worked on the Windows versions of both Mosiac and Navigator eventually became the project manager for the Netscape Navigator project on the whole. He gives us great background and details about the development of browsers, the creation of features (he is the father of the hand icon, for example, and was instrumental in bringing image support to the web) and early web advancements in general.

Mar 27, 2014
8. Aleks Totic, of Mosaic and Netscape
47:56

Summary:

Aleks Totic was one of the original Mosaic engineers at the NCSA, responsible for the Mac version of Mosiac. They don’t call him “Mac Daddy” for nothing. He was then one of the 6 original programmers recruited by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark to form Netscape. Aleks gives us some excellent behind the scenes anecdotes about both projects, and what it was like to head out to California to work on some crazy startup before doing something like that was “cool.”

A few fun nuggets of history we mention in the conversation:

Mar 16, 2014
7. (Ch 2.2) Bill Gates "Gets" The Internet
42:11

Summary:

Microsoft was on top of the world at the dawn of the Internet Era… but like Jack Dawson in Titanic? Microsoft would pivot, and pivot hard, once it realized that the Internet was The Next Big Thing. This episode outlines how younger Microsoft employees agitated for a greater focus on the Internet, and how Bill Gates “got” the Internet religion. Microsoft’s embrace of the Internet is truly one of the greatest acts of agility in corporate history. Windows 95 and Internet Explorer are launched, and the seeds are sewn for the great anti-trust battle to come.

Bibliography:

Mar 13, 2014
6. Mosaic and Internet Explorer Engineer, Chris Wilson
01:04:41

Summary:

Chris Wilson has been working on browser technology for the better part of two decades. A member of the original Mosaic team, he went on to work first at Spry (producing Internet in a Box) and then later at Microsoft, where he was a major developer of Internet Explorer for almost 15 years.

Chris tells us about developing the first Windows port of Mosaic, describes how he was one of the original champions of CSS as a technology, gives us more background about the evolution and life cycle of Internet Explorer, and even described his brief tenure working on Microsoft's first foray into search engine technology!

The quora thread I mention briefly can be found here.

Mar 10, 2014
5. Netscape and Mosaic Founding Engineer, Lou Montulli
01:05:46

Summary:

Lou Montulli is a web pioneer. In 1991 and 1992 he co-authored a text web browser called Lynx with Michael Grobe and Charles Rezac while he was at the University of Kansas. This web browser was one of the first available and is still in use today.

In 1994 he became a founding engineer of Netscape Communications (employee number 9) and programmed the networking code for the first versions of the Netscape web browser.

He is also responsible for several browser innovations, such as HTTP cookies, the blink tag, server push and client pull, HTTP proxying, and the implementation of animated GIFs into the browser. While at Netscape, he also was a founding member of the HTML working group at the W3C and was a contributing author of the HTML 3.2 specification. He is a member of the World Wide Web Hall of Fame.

Lou was also a co-founder of Epinions.com. He was the CEO of Memory Matrix, and when that company was purchased by Shutterfly, he served as Shutterfly’s Vice President of Engineering. He is currently the co-founder and Chief Scientist at Zetta.net.

Mar 06, 2014
4. (Ch 2.1) Microsoft At The Dawn Of The Internet Era
58:19

Summary:

Netscape has set the standard and taken the lead. But how long will it last? We take a step backwards in this episode and examine why Microsoft was so dominant at the beginning of the Internet Era. We ask the questions: Did Bill Gates really miss the Internet? And: Was the Information Superhighway and the Internet one and the same thing? And we look back on all the things that were distracting Microsoft at the dawn of the Internet Era.

Bibliography:

Image Credit:

LurkerTech.com

Feb 26, 2014
3. (Ch 1.3) Netscape's IPO As The Big Bang
32:15

Summary:

Netscape launches and is a smashing success. Jim Barksdale officially comes on as CEO. Netscape fights off legal threats from the NCSA and the University of Illinois. Despite it’s young age and lack of profits, Netscape files to go public in THE historic IPO of the era. Flush with cash, flush with fame, Netscape girds for battle with a new foe: Microsoft.

Bibliography:

Image Credit:

Assorted Materials

Feb 20, 2014
2. (Ch 1.2) The Creation of Netscape
59:05

Summary:

Marc Andreessen heads out to Silicon Valley. He hooks up with startup legend Jim Clark. They decide to form a company, Netscape, to build upon Mosaic’s previous success. They “get the band back together” by recruiting most of the original Mosaic development team. Netscape Navigator is developed. The company hustles to establish itself before other, larger competitors catch on to the opportunity that is the web browser market.

Bibliography:

Image Credit:

Start-Up: The Book

Feb 19, 2014
1. (Ch 1.1) Mosaic - The "First" Web Browser
40:38

Summary:

Ayoung Marc Andreessen and a team of programmers at the NCSA on the campus of the University of Illinois create and publish the Mosaic browser, thereby creating the world wide web’s first killer app. Mosaic enjoys meteoric, overnight discuss. But the higher ups at the NCSA take the project away from the “kids” who created it. Examining Mosaic as the “trial run” for the product that would eventually be called Netscape Navigator.

Bibliography:

Image Credit:

Kottke

Feb 11, 2014