Jim Clark and I start planning the company that became Netscape. But first it is important to remember how universally scorned and dismissed the Internet’s prospects for business and consumer use were 20 years ago. The prevailing view at the time was the Internet was only for scientists and nerds. Consumers would get “interactive TV” and the “information superhighway“. This negative view of the Internet was widely shared within the tech industry, telecom industry, media industry, government, and press with a few exceptions.
So, not wanting to be stupid, Netscape business plan number one was: Consumer software for interactive television! Great idea, but then we looked at the market in the cold light of day: We decided it was hard to build a software company for a 60 unit install base.
On to plan number two: Create online multiplayer gaming service for revolutionary new Nintendo 64 console, powered by SGI 3D chip. Very exciting. Then we looked at the market in the cold light of day: We decided it was hard to build software for hardware that wouldn’t ship for two and a half years. After those two failed starts, we almost packed up and went home. We were frustrated and out of brilliant ideas. (To be continued.)
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