I was heartened by a piece from the BBC, about how the Web is still in it’s early days, a piece done to mark the 15th anniversary of “the day the web’s code was put into the public domain by CERN.”
I feel so blessed to have been a part of the Web from the earliest of days. I came down to Silicon Valley (from Portland) at the beginnings of the ’90’s to go to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, after having a born-again-capitalist epiphany upon the fall of the Berlin Wall. (I had led a decidedly non-capitalist ’80’s, for sure.)
And I am about to have my 15th year reunion this weekend, so am in a reflective mood. Shortly after graduation, I landed at Silicon Graphics, then the hottest company in the Valley, where I ended up leading the effort to develop the first turnkey web server and the first WYSIWYG HTML editor, under the first “web” brand anywhere, “WebFORCE.”
I have to say, from the moment I first saw the Web, I was a believer that this was something of extraordinary proportions and potential impact.
As for whether the Web is in its infancy or not, I have to confess that I really like what Tim O’Reilly said at the recent Web 2.0 Expo, that the phase we are in the midst of is as important to humanity as the emergence of writing and reading and the coming together of societies in cities. While that might strike many as Silicon Valley hype, I have to say that I agree.
Human intelligence is about to ride the Moore’s Law curve in a way that was not possible before the emergence of the Social Web. Computing in the cloud, together with wisdom of (your) crowd, will make you smarter, more knowledgable, and more capable of withstanding the jarring changes coming down the pike.
For a little bit of (awkward) fun, here’s a link to the short video clip that I had developed for the press conference in January of 1995 to introduce the WebFORCE product line. Yes, it looks cheesy in retrospect, and the phrasing is clearly stilted. That said, there were many around me who maintained the notion that the Web was nothing much to get excited about, a frivolous diversion from the things that really matter.
Here’s to 15 years of proving them wrong, and to many more to come!
UPDATE: Here’s another image I found of the WebFORCE Indy (motto: “To Author and To Serve”)