In the Spring of 1994, I met the dozen people who were going to help me create a new publication for a new medium.
We were feeling pretty elite, the people picked by Wired magazine, which fancied itself the font of digital coolness, to design and launch HotWired. In the Spring of 94, the team of html jockeys, Photoshop wizards, audio specialists, network administrators, database architects, user interface designers, webmasters, art directors and editors was just beginning to get acquainted.
We all went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant. We were all grinning like fools because we were going to be paid to do something we'd have paid to do. At dinner, I was seated next to a slim fellow of nineteen, with blond hair past his shoulders. He was one of the interns who had been chosen from scores of applicants because he had such a cool web page. Justin Hall. Swarthmore sophomore. Creator of the notorious Justin's Links from the Underground, the site that always seems to be up on cool pages, dirty pictures, and net.controversy. He was taking a semester off college to grab a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"And what brings you to HotWired?" I asked. I am not a master at breaking the ice.
"The opportunity to work with you," said Justin, with a straight face, looking me right in the eye.
I immediately decided to like him. Either the guy was such a brazen suckup as to be a genius of the genre, or he was a wiseass who was laying on the irony, or he just said the first thing that came into his mind. In any case, I went for the straightforward audacity of it. He sure blew my icebreaker to oblivion.
Justin plays the computer and network like Heifetz with a violin. Definitely a virtuoso. Gary Wolf, who succeeded me as Executive Editor at Hotwired, was there one night when Justin was exercising his virtuosity, and captured the wonder of it in a short email essay that I saved to this day.
Justin's going to show us a view of the world that only a smartass virtuoso of the digital arts can show us.
In my 21 years I have managed to milk this medium a modest munificence
an apple II+, I played a lot of games.
so I failed some classes, rebelled hard against my mother's third husband, George, a second generation greek immigrant 55 years older than I
high school, in chicago, more computer games, rebelling, grateful dead exposure from my brother, and resulting drug use
huh huh heh huh hhha uh
I took lots of acid.
thought about making a small run edition of the collection versus but um, like
by that time,
let's go back to the software store -
and I edited a bit of a hacked newsletter "The Humble Review"
so I thought, hey, I should be a writer
well, so I went to college, and I finally got _my own_ internet account,
"hi, I'm joe, I'm a physicist, and this is my dog"
wait, if he can make a web page for such a human subject, might not I?
thus, on january 2something 1994 I wuz born agin, on the web
see, I was like surfing the net a lot, you know,
so I posted my tours guides reviews travells
like not nearly eighty, but a few poems about that young woman up there,
and pretty soon, you've got a body of text jes' a beggin' interpolation,
is my life story!!!
on the web, like links dude.
so I done this a lot.
hey, that girlfriend, I couldn't figure out how to give her what I had to give. so, with the internet, I found, the internet could take all the love I had to give!
and when you're 19, that's a lot.
so I used my web page to get me a job at hotwired
I met all these crazy cyberweirdos there - like spoon and abbe and howard rheingold
well , let's just say there were divergant philosophies.
so, whippersnapper I was,
oh, I'm still in like college and shit,
but having been invited to speak at the rand corporation, and national newspaper conferences, and lollapalooza,
and commanding an audience in the daily 10s of thousands
and having posted on my web site that I thought this publishing power was a
gift, but I'm the same white male rich kid that's been doing it for years
in the hundreds,
I got together a 28 city tour, by greyhound bus, sleeping on reader's floors, and meeting merchant marines, and feral truck driving holy ghost obsessed blues pianists, and putting illiterate witchitanian seventy year old truck drivin' woman cleota, puttin' her story online
soon thereafter I got this gotdamned carpal tunnel precusor tendonitis I have in my arms
which arose at just the time I was to start cranking for minds
I read histories of publishing efforts (rolling stone, new yorker)
I believe in electric minds, because I believe in howard. something drew us together at hotwired (besides the drugs, I mean)
I've written about him, too
we've spent a lot of time together over the last year, and there are two
reasons I am here (for the purposes of this paragraph:
two, when we walk on the nearby marin mountains, howard always picks up trash.
that's respect I can match.
oh yeah, and howard sez he's going to make me a writer.
electric minds |
virtual community center |
world wide jam |
edge tech |
Any questions? We have answers.