Wednesday, April 16, 2003

May 1993

Spring cleaning has resurrected an old copy of the Sunday New York Times Magazine from May 1993 featuring a cover story by James Gleick called The Future is Here, And It's Ringing about the state of telephony at that time and where it was headed. There are great terms like "cellular phone" instead of cell phone in it, but that's just the beginning.

The cover shows the Flintstones at home in their cave -- Fred carrying Dino who's holding a phone -- and it's attached to a computer with a happy George Jetson on the screen. The subhead says, "But most of us are still fumbling around in the information stone age."

Stop and think. Where were you and what were you doing in May 1993? I think I was living in Manhattan Beach, had just stopped working as a Senior Sales Executive for Lexis/Nexis, charging a fortune for proprietary information services. The Internet was already beginning to kick our asses and we were telling our management about it and they weren't really listening. I had just moved on to a new company, a start-up that appeared to "get it" better, or at least had better technology, and on one of my sales calls in San Jose, Brad Templeton of Clarinet and his boys had taken me into the back room on a blistering hot day, the blinds pulled down against the glaring Silicon Valley sun and showed me something called the World Wide Web. It was a good place to lose my web virginity.

May 1993. Let's do the math ... it doesn't seem possible ... 100 years ago? Yes. 10 years ago? No way.