I was going to write about my past. Somehow sum up my experience in multiple postings... but I don't think I can manage. It seems too self indulgent. I'd rather get to the meat of the matter like Yahoo's small publisher overture offering, or what I think about Amazon and collaboratively filtered product recommendations.
But I'll say a few things because my wife thinks I should ... I started an independent record label in 1991. I dropped out of college to do it. My parents were oddly supportive. I guess they thought that I could possibly get a better education being a small-time entrepreneur than a hapless film student at a university. The label was named Quagmire. We released 4 CDs and a Box Set in two years. We were distributed nationally and gained national attention with a video on MTV and lots of radio airplay. Two of the bands of note were A Western Front and The Slowest Train in the World.
In 1993 our distributor went bankrupt. We had all our eggs in that basket and lost tens of thousands of dollars in inventory. I had been online using news groups and gopher for a few years. It was a hobby really. I did some research and kept in touch via email with friends in their various locations at college. It was a beautiful thing. I still love the black screen and bright green text of a terminal session. But at this time, things were changing. My partner Tim and I decided that since our audience as a label was primarily college students, and most of the people online were college students, why not put our label on the Internet? We built a gopher site and launched at the end of 1993. We had downloadable images, sound files, biographies, and a printable order form to purchase our remaining discs. This was good. But it wasn't enough. We decided to give it away. In December of 1993 I saw the web for the first time the way it was meant to be seen, with graphics and text living happily together on the same screen. I was blown away. I hooked up with the like minded folks at IUMA - The Internet Underground Music Archive in Santa Cruz and became their Art Director. At the same time they let us use their sunsite disk space and bandwidth to put up the first full album to be distributed online. A Western Front's Full Blown Dave in June of 1994. We got way more attention for this than we ever would have with the traditional label. International media, a write up in Rolling Stone, CNN, etc. It was a crazy time. I worked at IUMA through 1995. During this time we also launched IAMfree, the Internet Arts Museum for FREE through a non profit organization we founded called ARTnet.org. In May of 1995 a friend of mine called who owned a popular advertising agency in Silicon Valley. LVL Advertising. My friend was the "V", Steve Venuti. They had Egghead Software as a client and he asked me what they should do on the Internet. Sell software was the only thing I could think of at the time, so we took that idea and started LVL interactive. Finally I was getting paid in something other than burritos for working on the web. It felt right. We launched Egghead on August 24th, 1995 the same day Windows '95 was released and a month after Amazon launched. From there we helped Cisco with its first e-commerce initiative "Internet Junction" and then it took off. Soon I could say I co-founded a company worth millions of dollars. It wasn't a bad place to be....
I'm going to leave it there. I don't think anyone is really interested anyway and like I said, I would rather get this blog thing off the ground and start yapping about things happening now. Perhaps I'll go into other stuff later. But for now that's it. I should say that I've made a lot of friends over the years and none of my accomplishments could have happened without their support and help. OK good. On to the real deal. Hmm.. where to really begin...?