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Tech visionary Jim Clark speaks his mind

Jim Clark, a Stanford University computer scientist who morphed into the entrepreneur behind Silicon Graphics (SGI), Netscape and various Web startups, recently returned to Silicon Valley from his home in Florida to accept a “Visionary” award from the software industry group SD Forum.

With Marc, I tirelessly promoted and explained to everyone who would listen that the Internet/Web was going to explode into every form of media business and completely disrupt the advertising model of newspapers and television. We even tried to convince Jan Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine that they should be publishing their product and selling music online. We created demonstrations to many companies in the fall of 1994 of how they could do these things. It took Steve Jobs to really show them by doing it.

Having spent a lot of time thinking about networking at SGI, when I realized what the Web would become, I was all in (with Netscape). People thought I was nuts until we generated $70 million of revenue in year one, and $300 million in year two. Microsoft killed the company, but at least AOL bought us before we expired. Ironically, if Microsoft had focused on how to leverage it, rather than how to kill it, they might be in Google’s position today. Serves them right.

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