G ather ’round, and I'll spin ye a yarn.
A tale of the uncharted Internet in the days when only the stout of heart and the bereft of reason braved the copper wires in naught but dial-up modems, clad merely in barely fledged HTML to gird their naked zeros & ones. Bitmaps were few and far between and audio & video were but the gossamer stuff of dreamer’ fancy.
Into this bleak, inchoate world came I, Ben Schlessinger.
Now, I won't say that I did much more than push a broom behind the HTMLephant most of the time, but I bore witness to the Internet's spectacular growth and rode its disruptive wake into a wonderful, strange new millenium. This journey through the giddy excesses of the Dot Com Boom and its subsequent sobering crash revealed many a curious business pageant played out against backgrounds of unprecedented enthusiasm and cautious determination. I saw the rise of LinkedIn from a warehouse loft of card tables to a billion dollar multinational. And watched glittering enterprises like NBCi topple into heaps of digital rubble. I was on hand for Tribe's entire life cycle, from inception at Il Pirata on 16th street to its dissolution by the relentless onslaught of Facebook. And I was there as Zynga's future was formed in a meeting at Foreign Cinema.
Apropos of Zynga, I was a graphic artist at Freeloader when CEO Mark Pincus first brought eponymous American Bulldog puppy, Zynga into our Georgetown office. Many Shubs and Zulls knew what it was to roast in the depths of a Sloar that day, I can tell you. Yet there were some days when Zynga simply projectile vomited dead seal on graphic designers (true, alas).