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Internet History Podcast by Brian McCullough

Internet History Podcast

by Brian McCullough

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An interactive history project, producing a book on the history of the internet era by crowdsourcing facts and first person accounts from listeners. Each podcast represents a new chapter focusing on some section of internet history.


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136. Petstore.com's Joshua Newman on the Pets Space During the Dotcom Era

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Mar 26, 2017


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.



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135. The Pseudo.com Story With Dennis Adamo

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 20, 2017


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.



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134. Yahoo's Acquisition of Overture (Crossover Ep. w/the Acquired Podcast)

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 13, 2017


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



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133. Gary Flake on Overture, Yahoo and the History of Search

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Feb 26, 2017


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.



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132. MG Siegler @mgsiegler on TechCrunch and GV

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 20, 2017


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.



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131. Elizabeth Osder on the NYTimes.com, Yahoo and More

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 13, 2017


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.



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130. AOL, AIM, Chat Rooms, The Time Warner Merger... AOL's History with Joe Schober

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 06, 2017


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.



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129. Michael March on the Indie ISP Industry, and the Birth of Online Spam

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jan 30, 2017


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



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128. Jim McCann of 1800Flowers

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jan 16, 2017


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.

 



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127. The History of the iPhone, On Its 10th Anniversary

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Fri, Jan 06, 2017


"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.

 



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126. (Ch. 8) How the Dotcom Bubble Happened

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jan 01, 2017


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.



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125. Sebastian Mallaby on Alan Greenspan and the Dotcom Bubble

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 12, 2016


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



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124. Founder of ReadWriteWeb, Richard MacManus

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Nov 27, 2016


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.



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123. Founder of Reel.com, Stuart Skorman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 14, 2016


 

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



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122. The First Web Search Engine? With Oliver McBryan

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 07, 2016


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.

 



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121. Chamath Palihapitiya @chamath on Facebook, AIM and WinAmp

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 31, 2016


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.



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120. Jason Calacanis @jason on Silicon Alley, The Dot-Com Bubble and Web 2.0

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 24, 2016


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.



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119. The Story of Slate.com with Julia Turner @juliaturner and Jacob Weisberg @jacobwe

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Oct 09, 2016


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.

 



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118. The Birth of Amazon's 3rd Party Platform with John Rossman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 26, 2016


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.



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117. Founder of Friendster and Nuzzel, Jonathan Abrams

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Sep 18, 2016


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.



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116. Director of the Documentary Silicon Cowboys ( @Silicon_Cowboys ) Jason Cohen

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 12, 2016


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



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115. Mike Slade on 80s Microsoft, NeXT, Starwave and Steve Jobs' Return to Apple

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 05, 2016


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.



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114. Douglas Colbeth, CEO of Spyglass

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Aug 28, 2016


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.



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113. Joel Johnson on Gawker and the Rise of Professional Blogging

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 08, 2016


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.



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112. Inventor of the First Digital Camera, Steven Sasson

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 01, 2016


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.



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Announcing the Podcast Book!

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 25, 2016


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



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111. CompuServe Founder Jeff Wilkins

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Tue, Jul 05, 2016


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.



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110. Hunter Walk Talks Second Life, Google Adsense and YouTube

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jun 12, 2016


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.



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109. The History of Sierra Online with Laine Nooney

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jun 05, 2016


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



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108. BabyCenter.com Founders Mark Selcow and Matt Glickman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 30, 2016


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.



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107. Founder of Marketwatch, Larry Kramer @lkramer

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, May 22, 2016


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.



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106. Co-Founder of Tesla, Marc Tarpenning

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, May 15, 2016


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.



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105. Tom Rielly, Founder of PlanetOut

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 09, 2016


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.



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104. Suck Again! Joey Anuff And Carl Steadman Return!

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 02, 2016


Summary

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

You can visit the Suck archives here.

 



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103. Rafat Ali @rafat of PaidContent and Skift

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Apr 25, 2016


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. 



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102. Analysis Ep. 5 - The History and Future of Automotive Tech with Mike Dushane

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Apr 10, 2016


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.



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101. Matt Kursh on Pen Computing, Sidewalk and MSN

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 21, 2016


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.



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100. The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates? The Gary Kildall Story

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Mar 13, 2016


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.



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99. Founders of Suck.com, Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Feb 28, 2016


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.



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98. Rob Lord, Founder of the Internet Underground Music Archive

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Wed, Feb 24, 2016


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.



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97. Chris Fralic @chrisfralic Discusses Half.com and Del.icio.us

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Feb 14, 2016


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.



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96. The First "Web" Cam With Quentin Stafford-Fraser

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 08, 2016


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.



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95. Pathfinder Executive Paul Sagan

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 01, 2016


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.



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94. Founder of the First Dorm Room Dot Com, Tripod's Bo Peabody

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jan 10, 2016


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.

 



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93. (Misc 4) Minitel, the French Internet That Came Before the Web

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jan 03, 2016


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



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92. Founder of the World's First Commercial Website, Dale Dougherty

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 14, 2015


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.



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91. Co-Founder of Feed Magazine, Stefanie Syman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 07, 2015


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.



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90. CEO of MapQuest, Barry Glick, Discusses the History and Future of Location Tech

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Fri, Nov 20, 2015


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.



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89. How Tom Hadfield Founded Soccernet At Age 13

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 09, 2015


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



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88. How Microsoft Went Online, With Brad Silverberg

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 02, 2015


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.



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87. Tim DeMello Talks Home Delivery Startups

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 26, 2015


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.



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86. Martin Nisenholtz on Bringing the New York Times Online

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 19, 2015


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.



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85. Evan Kirstel @evankirstel Discusses The Wireless Industry and Broadband

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 12, 2015


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.



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84. Analysis Ep. 4 "Clutching Pearls" With Chris Higgins

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 05, 2015


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.



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83. Founder of Travelocity, Terry Jones

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Sep 27, 2015


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.



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82. (Ch. 7.4) eBay Wins the Auction Wars

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 21, 2015


Summary:

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

Bibliography:



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81. Founder of WebCal and "Turbo Yahoo" Bruce Spector

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Tue, Sep 15, 2015


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.



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80. Founder of CBS Sportsline Mike Levy

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 07, 2015


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.



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79. Glenn Fleishman @GlennF Returns!

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Aug 30, 2015


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.



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78. Yahoo's Master Brand Builder, Karen Edwards

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 24, 2015


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.



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77. Narendra Rocherolle @narendra of Webshots and 30 Boxes

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 17, 2015


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.



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76. Steve Goldberg of Microsoft and the IAB

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 03, 2015


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.



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75. The Development of Consumer Broadband with Intel's Avram Miller

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 27, 2015


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.



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74. Developer of Winamp, Justin Frankel

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 20, 2015


Summary:

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



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73. "Father" of the MP3, Karlheinz Brandenburg

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Tue, Jul 14, 2015


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.



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72. Owen Thomas Returns!

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 06, 2015


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.



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71. Founder of Quote.com, Chris Cooper

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jun 28, 2015


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.



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70. The Forgotten Story Of The Original IPhone Released In 1998

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 22, 2015


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.



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69. Steve Yelvington Discusses Newspapers and the Early Web

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 15, 2015


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.



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68. Founder of When.com, Ted Barnett

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 08, 2015


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.



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67. Journalist Maggie Mahar Discusses the Dot-Com Bubble

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 01, 2015


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.



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66. (Ch. 7.3) The Founding of eBay

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 25, 2015


...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.



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65. The "Book Club" Episode

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 18, 2015


Summary:



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64. Geocities Founder David Bohnett

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 11, 2015


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.



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63. TheGlobe Co-Founder Todd Krizelman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 04, 2015


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.



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62. iVillage Co-Founder Nancy Evans

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Apr 27, 2015


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.



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61. (Ch 7.2) Amazon's Dominance of eCommerce

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Apr 19, 2015


Summary:

It’s part two of our Amazon founding story. How did Amazon come to completely dominate e-commerce? How did Jeff Bezos’ “Get Big Fast” strategy evolve? How and why did Amazon become the quintessential “dot com” and dot-com-era stock? The answers are within. :)

Bibliography:



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60. Early eBay Executive (And Future California Governor?) Steve Westly

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Apr 13, 2015


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.



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59. Early Amazon Engineer and Co-Developer of the Recommendation Engine, Greg Linden

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Apr 05, 2015


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.



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58. Robert Levitan of iVillage and Flooz

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 30, 2015


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.



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57. (I Lied) The Special Requests Episode

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 23, 2015


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/

 



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56. Infoseek Founder (and Inventor of the Optical Mouse) Steve Kirsch

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 16, 2015


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.



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55. The Watershed Year of 1995 with W. Joseph Campbell

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 09, 2015


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.



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54. CDNow CEO Michael Krupit

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 02, 2015


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.



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53. Match.com and Sex.com Founder Gary Kremen

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 23, 2015


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.



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52. (Ch 7.1) The Birth of Amazon.com

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 16, 2015


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:



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51. Glenn Fleishman @GlennF Discusses Early Amazon

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Feb 09, 2015


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.



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50. Amazon's Technical Co-Founder and Employee #1, Shel Kaphan

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Feb 01, 2015


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!



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49. Lycos Founder and CEO Bob Davis @BobDavisHCP

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jan 26, 2015


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.



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48. Amazon Director, Customer Service Strategy, Jane Slade

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jan 19, 2015


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.



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47. Analysis Episode with Christina Warren of Mashable.com @film_girl

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jan 12, 2015


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



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46. (Ch 6) A History of Internet Porn

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jan 04, 2015


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:



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45. Excite Co-Founder Ryan McIntyre

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 15, 2014


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.



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44. The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, Co-Founder of Akamai Technologies

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 08, 2014


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



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43. Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan on the History and Future of Search

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Dec 01, 2014


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.



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42. (Misc 3) Did Al Gore Really Invent the Internet?

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 24, 2014


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.



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41. Excite.com CEO George Bell

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 17, 2014


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.



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40. Microsoft and Internet Explorer Executive, Ben Slivka

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 10, 2014


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.



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39. CNET Founder Halsey Minor

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Nov 03, 2014


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.



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38. An Oral History Of The Web's First Banner Ads

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 27, 2014


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.

 



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37. Wired Magazine Founding Editor John Battelle @johnbattelle

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 20, 2014


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!



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36. Talking Early Online Services With Chris Higgins @chrishiggins

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 13, 2014


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.



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35. Joe McCambley Discusses Advertising and the First Banner Ads

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Oct 06, 2014


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



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34. Owen Thomas of HotWired and Suck

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 29, 2014


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

 



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33. HotWired CEO Andrew Anker

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 22, 2014


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.



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32. (Ch 5.2) Wired, CNET, Slate, Salon and Suck

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 15, 2014


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



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31. Real Networks Founder and CEO Rob Glaser

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 08, 2014


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.



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30. (Misc 2) The NSA And The 1990s Debate Over the Clipper Chip

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Sep 01, 2014


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



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29. Analysis Episode 1 With Chris Higgins @chrishiggins

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 25, 2014


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.



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28. Pathfinder Executive Oliver Knowlton

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 18, 2014


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.



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27. She Gave The World A Billion AOL CDs - An Interview With Marketing Legend Jan Brandt

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 11, 2014


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.



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26. Head of Time New Media Executive Linda McCutcheon

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Aug 04, 2014


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.



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25. Pathfinder Editorial Executive Craig Bromberg

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 28, 2014


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.



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24. (Ch 5.1) Mercury Center and Pathfinder - Big Media's Big Web Adventure

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Jul 20, 2014


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:

 



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23. Co-Founder of FocaLink, Dave Zinman

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jul 14, 2014


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.



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22. Co-Founder of DoubleClick, Kevin O'Connor

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 23, 2014


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.



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21. Yahoo Employee #3, Tim Brady

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 16, 2014


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.



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20. (Ch 4.2) How Yahoo Became The Web's First Great Company

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 09, 2014


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.



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19. Co-Founder of Netgravity, John Danner

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Jun 02, 2014


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.



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18. The True Story Behind Halt And Catch Fire - An Interview With Rod Canion

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, May 26, 2014


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.



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17. Co-Creator of the First Remote Ad Server, Jason Strober

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Tue, May 20, 2014


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.



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16. Internet Explorer Team Member, Hadi Partovi @hadip

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Wed, May 14, 2014


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.

 



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15. (Ch 4.1) The Early Search Engines And Yahoo

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Fri, May 09, 2014


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:



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14. (Misc 1) The Forgotten Online Pioneer, Bill von Meister

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Fri, Apr 25, 2014


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



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13. Co-Designer of the First Banner Ad, Co-Founder of Razorfish, Craig Kanarick

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Apr 17, 2014


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:



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12. (Ch 3.2) The Rise of AOL

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Fri, Apr 11, 2014


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:



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11. (Ch 3.1) CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL and the Early Online Services

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Apr 03, 2014


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:



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10. Rob McCool, Founding Engineer, Mosaic and Netscape

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Wed, Apr 02, 2014


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.



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9. Jon Mittelhauser, Founding Engineer, Mosaic and Netscape

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Mar 27, 2014


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.



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8. Aleks Totic, of Mosaic and Netscape

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Sun, Mar 16, 2014


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:



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7. (Ch 2.2) Bill Gates "Gets" The Internet

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Mar 13, 2014


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:



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6. Mosaic and Internet Explorer Engineer, Chris Wilson

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Mon, Mar 10, 2014


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.



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5. Netscape and Mosaic Founding Engineer, Lou Montulli

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Mar 06, 2014


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.



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4. (Ch 2.1) Microsoft At The Dawn Of The Internet Era

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Wed, Feb 26, 2014


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



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3. (Ch 1.3) Netscape's IPO As The Big Bang

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Thu, Feb 20, 2014


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



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2. (Ch 1.2) The Creation of Netscape

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Wed, Feb 19, 2014


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



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1. (Ch 1.1) Mosaic - The "First" Web Browser

internethistorypodcast@gmail.com (Brian McCullough @brianmcc)Author: Brian McCullough @brianmcc
Tue, Feb 11, 2014


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



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