"Surf's Up"

Excerpts reprinted from Forbes, July 27, 1998, by Eric Nee

Front row, left to right:
Rob Glaser, RealNetworks
Jerry Yang, Yahoo
Henry Nicholas, Broadcom
Shikhar Hosh, Open Market
Gil Shwed, Check Point Software
Mike Levy, SportsLine USA
Jerry Kaplan, Onsale
Joe Firmage, USWeb
Back row, left to right:
Sky Dayton, Earthlink
Larry Rosen, N2K
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
Halsey Minor, Cnet
Kevin O'Connor, DoubleClick

The Internet's a great thing, but nobody's figured out how to make money from it...So a lot of smart people were saying a few years back. Then the prevailing wisdom became, yes, the Internet is real, but established companies will take it over.

This thirteen young hot dogs weren't listening. In a few short years their Internet companies have gone through childhood, passed puberty, and now are establishing themselves as companies to be reckoned with. And investors have responded, shooting the stock prices of these and other leading Internet companies up in recent weeks.

Bezos and the twelve other guys profiled here have one thing in common: They didn't wait around for the Internet to prove itself as a commercial medium before jumping in with both feet. Each started his own company, and ten remained chief executive. All of the companies are public, have solid holds on their markets, and together have created $22.7 billion in new wealth--not just for the founders, but for their employees, their backers and investors in general.

Yes, by ordinary standards many of the (stock) prices are ridiculous, but you can't blame investors for wanting a piece of this kind of action.