Interweb, Inc. was the Southeast’s premier Web presence provider for corporations and non-profit organizations. Interweb helped companies utilize the Internet to build brand equity and raise awareness of existing services. Interweb also worked strategically with its clients to create new applications for Internet technologies. Interweb was purchased by THINK New Ideas in the summer of 1998.
By 1992 I had given up on virtual environments being an attainable goal and began to think about the storage and retrieval of data. I thought that sales people could use a system that let them download updated presentations or demos while they were on the road. I didn’t really have a concept about how to do it other than some kind of password protected ftp or gopher server.
In the winter of 1993 I was flipping through a friend’s text book, and got to the section on the World Wide Web and thought, that’s it. I had already met Paul Goggin earlier that year and I began to invite him over for dinners to geek out talking abut the world wide web and how we could start a business.
By the summer of 1994 I had the financials for a business plan that Cliff Davenport helped me put together. I did a presentation for Bill Scott, President of ITC Holdings in West Point Georgia. Mr. Scott passed on investing in Interweb but they did go on a few months later to lead the first big round for Mindspring and Charles Brewer. Cliff was on the board of ITC and told me later that Bill had thanked him for introducing them to the internet. Our last office was right next to the main Mindspring building and we use to have them over for beer on the roof deck on Fridays.
Will duPont joined Paul and I and together we tried to finish the business plan in-between games of Castle Wolfenstein. I remember leaving Pulp Fiction mid way through because I had to go pick up copies at Kinkos for our first big meeting with some guys at Pricewaterhouse.
We had a good meeting and they suggested we talk to Paul Arne at Morris Manny and Martin. Paul told us to go talk to Dorn and Diane and we ended up leasing office space across the hall from them and Internet Atlanta. By the end of 1994 we had a 10mg ethernet connection into a 45mbs line, two hops from MAE east. Our internet connection and a long relationship with Hewlett Packard would go on to help us serve bellsouth.com and many of the sub-variants for about 3 years, even one year after the creation of bellsouth.net.
I went up to Dorn and Diane’s house for some reason earlier that year. They lived outside of town and had a T1 line pumped into the basement. I was down in the basement with Dorn watching him screw 14.4 US Robotics modems to a piece of plywood. I asked him what it was and he said, “Mindspring.”
Nick Owen got tired of waiting for Will and I to finish the business plan and joined us around the time we got the office space. None of us were really technical except Paul. Paul showed me how to code html and Nick taught himself Cold Fusion. Nick went on to write the best internal time tracking, project management and financial tracking tool I have ever used. I’m sure it had a name but I can’t remember what it was now.
We started 1995 off strong signing our first client in the first quarter. The client was John Bell and the site was for his label Backdoor Records, who’s primary band was Bloodkin. That year we also landed West Wayne, Invesco and BellSouth Small business. I coded all of the first BellSouth small business site. Our office was around the corner from West Wayne, Bellsout’s advertising agency. When it was time to deliver the site, I put all of the files on a 44mg Syquest and walked it over. I felt like I had finally become a full on cyberpunk, holding 20 k (or something like that) worth of data that I had made. It felt really good.
The high was short lived when we landed Invesco and I knew my “design skills” were not going to cut it. Gib Fenning had done our logo and had much more experience than any of us running an advertising business. He agreed to come on and help out with Invesco and put together the big BellSouth presentation that got us on Stan’s radar (Mr Internet at BellSouth).
We did a series of internal presentations for Stan, who was basically presenting the idea of Bellsouth.net. In the spring of 1996 I had built a VRML interface for the small business site ( for real!) and it got me into a presentation with the CMO, William Pate. CKS was the big firm running the Bellsouth account and three of them were also presenting. I chatted them up, held their boards and exchanged business cards. One of the guys’ title was “online strategist.” I got new business cards the next week and became an online strategist.
After another series of meeting several months later, we won the Bellsouth.com business away from CKS. Five guys, through hard work and staying in the client’s face, won the Bellsouth business. We leased more space in the building and went from 5 to 26 in six months. Two notable hires were Matt Hanes, employ number one and Greg Haygood, employ number two.
We grew the business over the next few years doing work for Turner, UPS, First Data, CARE, Orkin and a number of other big companies. On the side I did the first websites for Widespread Panic and The Black Crowes. At the near height of the internet boom in 1998 we sold to THINK New Ideas, Ron Bloom and Adam Curry’s company. A year later THINK New Ideas was purchased by Answerthink and I left to join CTN Media Group and start Wetair.