The History of the Internet

Inc-logo3I spoke the other night at Aaron Cohens class.  He teaches at NYU and his class is called The History of the Internet.  Considering I lived through the history it was a perfect place to speak. 

When I walked into the classroom they were discussing a paper that Mary Meeker wrote in 1996.  She believed in certain companies to invest in although cautious.  She also was bold in her prediction of how many people would be using the Internet in 10 years.  She fell short by about 30%.  Ended up that the Internet actually turned out to be bigger than many thought. 

The class was also discussing social media.  Will Facebook still be as important ten years from now as today?  One kid said he would short Apple and be long on Facebook.  As always interesting to hear the perspective from a group of college students.

It is great that Aaron is teaching this class.  It doesn't seem that long ago to me and so I am not sure I would refer to it as history but it is.  In order to know where we go from here it is always important to understand the past. 

The first generation of entrepreneurs were different than the generation of entrepreneurs who rethought the web in 2006 and the next generation is going to be different again. Each generation grows up incorporating technology into their lives in different ways and that usage creates ideas on what could be next. 

I talked about what I wanted to do when I was graduating college.  What I would tell my 20 year old self if I went back again and about what road should I follow.  I basically told my life line story, the career I have had, the hiccups along the road and where I am today and what I do.  Questions and answers to the students and to Aaron.

All and all a really wonderful evening.  I am definitely looking forward to speaking to a room of bright eyed students again.  There really is nothing else quite like it. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    The Internet’s evolution is happening so quickly such that you can see its past, present and future in the span of just a few years all at once.They should look at my book (Opening Digital Markets) written in 96-97 prior to the “hype years”. I was pretty level-headed about where things were going.

  2. TanyaMonteiro

    did they record it, would love to watch it?

    1. John Revay

      My question as well

      1. Gotham Gal

        I do not believe they did. Next time. I will definitely be going back.

  3. ShanaC

    What do you think is different about this generation of entrepreneurs as opposed to the past?

    1. Gotham Gal

      this generation of entrepreneurs grew up with technology. they have a much better understanding on how it is part of their day to day life. the first generation just knew that it was life changing but wasn’t exactly sure how to grow businesses on the always, the concepts and businesses will continue to evolve as technology becomes better and better.

      1. pointsnfigures

        agree. I see two year olds with iPads and iPods. It takes around 30 years for true efficiencies to be built from radical new technology. We aren’t there yet with ubiquitous internet technology. If you believe it first started accelerating in 1995, we have another ten years before we will understand the true potential of what we are creating.