Interviews With Early Web Developers · Internet History

What this is about:

Nearly a decade ago, Internet Brothers interviewed a number of early pioneers in the independent web production community. Some were creating art, others developing new technologies, some even had a head start on web commerce. They all were well known in web circles because of their ingenuity and drive. By talking with them back then, our aim was to encourage and motivate newcomers. Take a stroll down memory lane as you learn what the web was like in those exciting early days before the dotcom bust. You will hear terms like sharing, and creative expression. Most of all, you will hear the word give.

Jeff ClarkThis is your friendly interviewer, Jeff Clark, as he appeared in 1999. Don't let the boyish charm fool you.

Pioneers of the Independent Web Community

Mark Connell Mark Connell — president, visionary, and chief technologist of and creator of the hot Internet portal WebbieWorld. I asked him about what's cool on the web, how you can better prepare your web site, and what we can expect from WebbieWorld down the pike. His advice would be to define your target audience, create valuable content for that audience, and build the best site you can around it. Mark truly is on the leading edge of web development and community building; I think you'll find his insights refreshing. Note: when this interview was conducted in April 1999, Mark made a number of predictions about emerging technology. Take a look at how many he got right. He proved to be quite the prognosticator.

Elise MarksElise Marks was very busy in her heyday with independent web offerings like The Zesty Weasel, Swallowing Tacks, Saucy Tomato Design (note: all now retired), as well as a number of different weblogs. Because of her great success, she had offers from large professional web design firms and basically disappeared from the community. Their gain was our loss. While stereotypically male computer nerds are transfixed by the latest flashy gizmos, their diva sisters are out reinventing the web with a zesty flair. From her knowledge steeped in practical experience, Elise guides you through sound and fundamental tenets of web design, in sweats and a tacky old pair of ducky slippers no less, in this interview conducted during the summer of 1999.

Ron Wilson Ronald J. Wilson — expert in communicating with the written word, he shares a few tips for effective usage of language on our web sites. Ron is creator and curator of Outspan, (note: now retired) a delightful look at the emerging African continent from an historian's outlook, and a repository for books that have been out of print for more than 75 years. Communication has always been important to Ron. He majored in English and speech in college, then later went into broadcasting and finally commercial narration. An early BBS pioneer, Ron has some interesting anecdotes from those rough-and-tumble days that were a precursor to today's Internet. The interview was conducted in late summer 1999.

Míc MillerMichael Miller — Míc is founder of The Beeline @, a legacy web site that breaks the mold of tired, old search engines, and offers community area information retrieval with a local to global scope. This brilliant information architect guides you through the formulation of his original technology with an eye toward the future. One of his projects at The Beeline has been published. Míc will definitely give you plenty of ideas for improving your potential, and adjusting your view of online community. You may also enjoy the anecdote from his college days playing basketball for the legendary Bob Knight at Indiana. Internet Brothers spoke with Míc in October 1999.

Heather Champ Heather Champ — Did you ever wonder who the early web designers were learning from? Meet one of the original web developers, and creator of the wildly innovative Mirror Mirror. In the mid-90s Heather was writing web how-to articles for the Web Developer Forum, the original gospel for those trying to make their way on the web. Find out about those early days, when traditional media hadn't yet fully embraced the "new kid" on the block, Microsoft was just entering the arena and no one took a decent vacation until 1998. Learn how Ms. Champ has integrated her passion for photography with this online medium. Her tips and advice about WWW techniques and technologies are just as useful now as they were when we did this interview in December 1999.

Wally GrossWally Gross — Meet the Chief Executive Officer of The Technomax Group. Creator of the highly respected and net icon Surfers Choice Internet Awards, Wally has been a model of the search for excellence since the Dark Ages. One of the original web awards, Surfers Choice demonstrated how a pay model application process could be among the most successful award sites for years. Join me as I talked with him in February 2000 about web longevity, site promotion and marketing, and Internet privacy. Wally told us way back then that those who grasp the concept of the web as information and developed delivery methods would become high profile. Contextual merchandising (the weaving together of words or information marketing) is something he alluded to often. Another of those early pioneers who just "got it" from the very beginning.

Joe Jenett Joe Jenett — This versatile developer is a master of interactivity. Creator of a myriad of Internet destinations collectively known as jenett webthings, Joe presents his views of online expression through his quiet and humble willingness to help others. He offers uncommonly creative activities that enable his visitors to participate in content development. Ever the crusader for the independent web community, Joe knew way back in April 2000 when I talked with him that the future of the web will be in the browser as it was then. Joe is also a talented blues guitarist who performs annually at Art Night in Chicago. I love his spirit and motivations and know you will too.

Bobbie OsborneBobbie Osborne — I once asked Bozzy if killing time damages eternity. Her response, "Kill time at every opportunity. It will just improve eternity as the prematurely deceased time is reincarnated and allowed to work on improving it's karma again and again..." She loves life and likes to have fun. It is immediately apparent in her web work at Crumpled Papers, (note: now retired) and in her commitment to helping others. So pour a pitcher of your favorite beverage, kick off your shoes and meet this inspirational optimist. It was June 2000 when I enticed Bobbie to share her life with us.