While Mike and James had done everything they could to prepare for the change from 1999 to 2000 that some thought would cause havoc with computers around the globe, Mike spent New Year’s Eve babysitting his servers, just in case. As it turned out, everything was fine.
The office had moved out of the “dungeon” into the “hothouse.” With concrete construction, the computers overwhelmed the building’s air conditioning. Not only was it very hot, but the condensation also caused constant dripping from the ceiling. Mike finally splurged on a portable air conditioner which improved the situation immensely; that being a good example of how the company survived through the year. While Mike was reluctant to spend on anything unessential, others like him were literally throwing money around.
Starting back in about 1994, investors were increasingly drawn to internet-related businesses. Those businesses become well funded with the expectation that investors would realize huge gains in the future. The business model of the day was to grow fast at any means – often offering free services to gain market share. Internet companies had luxurious facilities and rewarded staff with lavish vacations. Spending was wild and valuations were wilder.
Super Bowl ads in January 2000 were $2 million for 30 seconds and 16 internet companies were in the mix. The following year, there were only three.
Beginning in March 2000, the dot-com bubble burst. There were too many companies chasing the same market with no cash or foreseeable profits in the near term. Investors jumped ship and many companies went out of business. Those that did survive lost upwards of 75% of their value.
Berners-Lee was truly the father of the internet, and is still alive and continuing to mold his offspring. He didn’t just envision the internet, he made it work – including the development of HTML, which is an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the programming that turns computer code into a visual display. It calls code from a server, takes the content and shows it as described – things like displaying headings in a larger font, spacing paragraphs, placing images with the corresponding text, and allowing the click of a link to transport the viewer to a different display.
Sir Berners-Lee (knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth in 2004) also had the wisdom to found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create standards for the inter-web. Today, he serves as a director for the esteemed organization, with a mission to “lead the Web to its full potential.”
THANK YOU, SIR!!