Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The web and the people who run it

Definitely worth the read, Kevin Kelly's essay on the growth of the internet: We Are the Web. My favorite passage was this one:

This dismissive attitude pervaded a meeting I had with the top leaders of ABC in 1989. I was there to make a presentation to the corner office crowd about this "Internet stuff." To their credit, they realized something was happening. Still, nothing I could tell them would convince them that the Internet was not marginal, not just typing, and, most emphatically, not just teenage boys. Stephen Weiswasser, a senior VP, delivered the ultimate putdown: "The Internet will be the CB radio of the '90s," he told me, a charge he later repeated to the press. Weiswasser summed up ABC's argument for ignoring the new medium: "You aren't going to turn passive consumers into active trollers on the Internet."

I was shown the door. But I offered one tip before I left. "Look," I said. "I happen to know that the address abc.com has not been registered. Go down to your basement, find your most technical computer guy, and have him register abc.com immediately. Don't even think about it. It will be a good thing to do." They thanked me vacantly. I checked a week later. The domain was still unregistered.

Though they are becoming more rare, there are still companies out there that dismiss the web way too quickly. Good thing. It leaves more room for us folks who run the internet. Millions and millions of us.

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