In early 2000, I could sense something important happening with this new new thing they called “The Internet” and I wanted to be a part of it. Since my days at Fortune Magazine, I had learned that the best way to get someone’s time and attention is to tell them you want to write a story about them. So I called one of the hot new tech magazines, Upside … and introduced myself cold to the editor. He was intrigued enough by my credentials to give me a freelance assignment … on small startup down in Mountainview with a funny sounding name …. This was pretty early in Google’s history … They had just received $25 million in VC financing from Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital. John Doerr and Michael Moritz both went on their board and after a series of interviews with all the principals including Sergey, Larry, Doerr, Moritz and a whole host of others, I came away impressed and wrote a very positive article. My editor threw the article back at me and said, “This needs to be completely rewritten with a more skeptical eye. I personally know these guys and they don’t know what their doing. They have no business model.”
Rather than give way to my editor’s bluster, I sought to finesse things. “Give me more time and I’ll expand the Google article into a search industry story.” My editor agreed to the compromise, and I spent another month interviewing the CEOs of Ask Jeeves, Inktomi, Alta Vista and others. This time, my editor accepted my draft and the article made it into print, virtually untouched. Shortly after that article was published my editor was fired and I found myself on a short list of Contributing Editors who had the distinct honor of being present at the creation of the Internet bubble. I had a front row seat to all the hype … and I confess that during that period the visionary side of me prevailed over the skeptical side. Some of the following articles will attest to the frenzy that surrounded that amazing period in business history.