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1995. The obligatory list.
Dec 25, 1995 :: Michael Sippey

So, by now you've probably leafed your way through the Newsweek article claiming 1995 to be "The Year of the Internet." The drill is pretty familiar by now. Another dumbed down Steven Levy article introducing everyone to HTTP, URLs and MUDs. (Oh, Steven, what happened to your intellient writing on Artificial Life, or the Insanely Great Macintosh? Why are you schlocking for Newsweek?) Another tale of how Jim Clark attracted Mark Andreesen and started the tidal wave that is Netscape. And yet another list of cool people on the Net.

Sure, you could read the Newsweek article. But who needs it. It's been a crazy year, and here's my list of terribly important "stuff" in 1995.

  • Out of Control, by Kevin Kelly. I think it was actually published in '94, but this is the best cross-disclipinary book I've ever read. Economics, computers, biology; all wrapped up in plain English. Required reading.
  • Bionomics. The economy is NOT a machine. It is an organism. And a very complex one at that.
  • Marshall McLuhan. The only way we could make sense of this new medium is to make it a message. Because "Even mud gives the illusion of depth."
  • Yahoo. A structured internet? Sure, that's worth some VC money.
  • Road Warriors. Daniel Burstein and David Kline tell it like it is. Somewhere between George "The Future's So Bright I've Gotta Wear Shades" Gilder and Neil "Amusing Ourselves to Death" Postman.
  • Windows 95. You couldn't ignore it. I spent all year tweaking my task bar and shortcuts.
  • Survival Research Labs. Build a robot. No, build two. And make 'em fight each other. Cooooool.
  • Dave Winer. Sure, he whines. But his DaveNet pieces have opened my mind to the possibilities of fully scripted web publishing and (more importantly) connecting with people. He makes me want a Mac.
  • Corporate Web Sites. The stampede was on in '95. Yes, it led to a whole bunch anemic sites with bloated image maps. But there were some bright, shining examples of companies reconnecting with their customers. Can you say IBM?

And, finally...

So you get to the end of the list, and say "I knew all that." OK, fine. This is called "Stating the Obvious" after all. But next week will be different. Tune in next Monday for a look ahead at 1996...

Merry Christmas.



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