This is, I think, a pretty good glimpse of one of the roles I want to play the next decade — don’t give up on me! :))
Something else is going on here. To a large extent, value on the Internet is not being created by businesses, as much as they want all kinds of credit and money for creating this wonderful value. Inventors, folks who are coming up with new tools, are creating it. Some of them are well harnessed by businesses, but it turns out that businesses don’t have to exist for them to harness themselves with the Net and get these things out there. For example, the person who created Eudora is a University of Illinois fellow who did it basically for himself and people he knew. In terms of quality, Eudora is visibly beyond any other email program. It makes you wonder what’s wrong with companies, what prevents them from doing the right thing when a random person puts his exquisite tool out on the Net for free. This happened with Eudora, and later with Mosaic, which led to a commercial version, Netscape Navigator.
The inventors of these tools are not crazed codgers in basements. They are, by-and-large, young people with a sense of social and cultural responsibility who want things to be better for everybody. They are as valuable as our snazziest scientists, but are not accorded the respect or rewards of the snazzy scientists. They are taken for granted more than they should be. Something is wrong if we think inventors are a lower order of being than theoretical scientists.