"The new technology from Tivo and replay provides the
ultimate in television convenience. It will also spy on you,
destroy prime time and shatter the power of the mass
"...On any time line that describes this phase of American
capitalism, you would have to include (in addition to Nov. 9, 1989)
April 4, 1994 (birthday of Netscape), Nov. 10, 1994 (birthday of
Amazon.com), May 5, 1996 (birthday of eBay) -- and Aug. 4, 1997.
Aug. 4, 1997, was the beginning of the end of another socialistic
force in American life: the mass market. Forty years from now when
you have your grandson on your knee and he asks you, "Grandma, how
did 50 million Americans ever let themselves be talked into buying
the same mouthwash?" you will say, "Well, you have to know how
things were before Aug. 4, 1997."
"That was the day a pair of Silicon Valley engineers named Jim
Barton and Mike Ramsay started their own technology company. They
had no idea what that company might do. It didn't matter: all over
Silicon Valley engineers were founding companies before they had
any idea of what their companies might do; the urge to innovate
preceded the innovation. The Internet had created a climate of
entrepreneurship. It was assumed that even ordinarily smart
engineers with the desire to create something new could do so with
impunity, and Barton and Ramsay were more than ordinarily smart.
They were so smart that a pair of venture capital firms -- New
Enterprise Associates and Institutional Venture Partners --
advanced them several million dollars to get them started, few
questions asked. "Three million dollars was pocket change," Ramsay
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