Architects of the Web

Architects of the Web

3.0 1
by Robert H. Reid, Robert H. Reid

It is arguably the most significant business tool of our time. As powerful as the television, the telephone. and the personal computer-and destined to subsume them all-the Internet has exploded from twenty-five years of lab room obscurity to become the hottest business story ever. The catalyst of this explosion, of course, is the rise of the World Wide Web, the

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It is arguably the most significant business tool of our time. As powerful as the television, the telephone. and the personal computer-and destined to subsume them all-the Internet has exploded from twenty-five years of lab room obscurity to become the hottest business story ever. The catalyst of this explosion, of course, is the rise of the World Wide Web, the Internet's multimedia domain. The Web itself was just an academic curiosity until a University of Illinois undergraduate and a young researcher wrote a piece of software called "Mosaic" that made the Web accessible and alluring to the masses. In the thousand days that followed Mosaic's release on the PC and Macintosh. the Web attracted more than 40 million users. This spectacular growth sparked one of the most dramatic periods of capital formation in history-so far bringing a million dollars or more in invested capital to over 500 new companies. One of these companies, Netscape, quickly became the fastest growing software company in history. And its flagship product, the Netscape Navigator, became the most popular PC application in the world less than two years after its release. Architects of the Web presents the history of the Web's creation and evolution-as well as its emergence as a dynamic business tool-through revealing profiles of its architects, the brilliant minds who have helped thrust the Web onto desktops and corporate agendas around the world. On the cutting edge of the online revolution, these visionaries have all made vital contributions to the advancement and enhancement of the Web that will define the way we conduct business in the future. A diverse, ambitious group, the architects of the Web include:

• Marc Andreessen, Netscape: Coauthor of Mosaic and cofounder of Netscape, Marc touched off the Web revolution and soon became one of the most celebrated and talked-about entrepreneurs of our time.

• Kim Polese, Marimba: Sun Microsystems' Java language is revolutionizing the economics and competitive dynamics of the technology industry. It is also one of that industry's great marketing successes. Kim was Java's "marketing department" during its early history, and in 1996 cofounded Marimaba to help further the language's development.

• Jerry Yang, Yahoo!: Jerry was a Stanford graduate student when he cocreated Yahoo!. The Internet's leading directory service. Yahoo! has the potential to blossom into the world's most powerful media property.

• Andrew Anker, HotWired: HotWired, the online cousin of Wired magazine, pioneered many of the business and content practices that are now standard to Internet publishing. Andrew, a Wall Street, not Silicon Valley veteran, has been running HotWired since its agenda-setting debut in the Web's earliest days.
The entrepreneurs and companies profiled herein have already begun to play a pivotal role in defining our future business landscape. As the digital revolution continues, white-collar professionals everywhere will feel the effects on their business and personal choices. They are an eclectic group-diverse enough that their stories will give readers a broad and thorough understanding of the Web's history, its capabilities, and its business relevance. They are presented in a way that makes the concepts and forces that they discuss accessible and understandable. All are interesting, funny, thought-provoking, and above all, highly significant, as the changes the Web's architects are effecting will have a profound impact on all of us.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A terrific book that captures the explosion of creativity and business evolution at the center of the Internet phenomenon."—James F. Moore, Chairman, Geo Partners Research Inc.
Library Journal
The origins of the rapidly evolving World Wide Web extend back only to late 1993. Reid, himself a veteran of web business ventures, describes how eight web pioneers and their businesses laid the groundwork for the web today. Drawing on interviews with founders and others, he chronicles the development of Netscape, RealAudio, the Java and VRML programming languages, I/PRO and web advertising, Yahoo!, HotWired, and CNET. Each of the book's eight main segments combines a company history with a biographical sketch of one of the company's entrepreneurial founders. The introduction by technology analyst J. Neil Weintraut clearly delineates the web's uniqueness as an efficient information medium. Despite several typos and the absence of documentation, this book is clearly written, providing good, solid information on an industry that is so new that details are sometimes hard to find. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries serving readers interested in either the web or in doing business on it.Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, Pa.
Kirkus Reviews
An authoritative overview of the last three years on the Internet that is plagued, however, by serious questions of audience, an elitist voice, and an almost paranoid preoccupation with Microsoft's Bill Gates. Beginning with the creator of the first graphical Web browser, Marc Andreesen, Reid—himself a Net world wheeler and dealer—takes a 'big-name' approach in his technological history, using the eight people behind such milestone Web products as RealAudio (Rob Glaser), Java (Kim Polese), and Yahoo! (Jerry Yang) as centerpieces around which he builds his study. Subjects run the gamut from pure technological advances to the history of Web marketing and 'merging mediums,' such as the Web and TV. For a CEO looking to launch a Web site, the book's business-savvy language will work, and it may prove an informative read. Similarly, the highly technical style will make a reader already fluent in the online lingo comfortable. However, to a lay reader, this book is likely to sound dangerously technocratic, as Reid is not very thorough in explaining the dozens of highly technical terms he uses. Indeed, Mark Pesce, creator of Virtual Reality Markup Language, states the dangers of too much technology in too few hands, saying: "I am both excited and mortified by this technology." Furthermore, Reid's perspective is very Bay Area-specific, ignoring developments taking place outside of California. If, for example, Wired is the leading Web publisher, as Reid claims, then what of New York exploits such as Word and Charged? And while Gates-bashing has always been the intramural sport of the industry, Reid takes it to a new low by dubbing Microsoft's CEO 'ChairmanGates.'

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What People are saying about this

James F. Moore
A terrific book that captures the explosion of creativity and business evolution at the center of the Internet phenomenon. A tantalizing mix of diverse players with utopian visions, animated by equal parts aggression and delight. A true saga of our time. -- Author of The Death of Competition and Chairman, Geo Partners Research, Inc.

Meet the Author

Before writing this book, ROBERT REID worked at Silicon Graphics (SGI), a $2 billion maker of supercomputers, workstations, and servers. There, he managed his company's relationship with Netscape (which was cofounded by SGI's own founder, Jim Clark). He now works at Twenty-First Century Internet, a venture capital fund headquartered in San Francisco. Mr. Reid is a graduate of Stanford University, holds an MBA from Harvard University, and lives in Mountain View, California.

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Architects of the Web: 1000 Days That Built the Future of Business 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Architects of the Web by Robert Reid is a must-read for any tech-savvy individual who hopes, or already is, part of a web designing company. Robert Reid provides, through the accounts of eight success stories with vast experience in all things related to the internet, an in-depth view of a brief, yet eventful, history of what has already become one of the most influential concepts in the modern era: the world wide web.  In this book, Reid as well as his contributors (Marc Andreessen, Rob Glaser, Kim Polese, Mark Pesce, Ariel Poler, Jerry Yang, Andrew Anker, and Halsey Minor) discuss not only the internet’s history itself, but also its profound effect on the business world. The book is consistently narrated by Reid in third person. Reid proves to be a very reliable source with a good understanding of the technology and people referenced. Architects of the Web was last published in 1997. Because it was written in the late 90s, its information is very valuable and it says very much about how pioneers of the internet viewed the creation before it became huge. Being that it is non-fiction, the book has no particular main theme or message, however it is very informative and allows the reader to dive in to the truly fascinating origins of the web. For those still doubting how interesting the book is, look no further than the introduction, setting the stage for the creation of the web, and collaborators, several interesting people who worked (or founded) major internet-related companies. For those doubting the relevance and authenticity of the book, look no further than some of these names, including Jerry Yang, co-creator of Yahoo, a search engine that is still very popular today. Robert Reid himself, although without much experience as an author, worked at Silicon Graphics, a company that revolutionized many aspects of computers and technology and existed for almost 30 years, up until 2009. I, a high schooler and computer science student, enjoyed the text in this book that I read. I would, however, understand if someone were to easily dislike it, for it is not a book that could easily be read straight through. Even in many sittings, the book is not exactly concerning a topic that most individuals have much interest in at all. So I would recommend that if you are very interested in computers, the internet, and their histories, go ahead and take a stab at this book and any others like it. I will admit, being that I am but fourteen years of age, at times I became slightly bored, even enough to close the book entirely. I do, though, understand the incredible value of the book to any tech fanatic. I would not recommend the book to any other type of person and believe that readers younger than twelve may not be able to handle reading the entire book and still liking it.