Nothing To Say

OK, maybe I do have a few things to say about startups and technology...

Posted at 6:18 pm

2009 Feb 12

The World Wide Web: “vague, but exciting” 1

At the 2009 TED conference last week, Tim Berners-Lee told the audience that they found the
original document he had written outlining the World Wide Web at CERN in his boss's papers after he died.  Written in the margin was "vague, but
exciting."   

 

I printed out a copy
of  "Information Management: A
Proposal
" from 1989 and Tim Berners-Lee was kind enough to
autograph it (scanned image below).    I also read it, and have
to admit I probably would have had the same reaction as his boss.   You could call this the "Executive
Summary of the World Wide Web," the beginnings of URL's, HTTP, and
HTML.   But I'm not sure I would have
seen past all the hypertext references (nothing new there, Ted Nelson and
Apple's HyperCard were around for years), and the debate around text versus
graphics/media.   My favorite
understatement of the proposal is "I imagine that two people for 6 to 12
months would be sufficient for this phase of the project."
 

 

But other parts were
more obvious in their brilliance:  a
distributed system linking everything together, the ability to access data in
all formats, a client "browser" that runs on any platform, and early
insight into the power of connecting databases.  It's easy to see in hindsight, but I'm not sure I would have seen it after a
quick review of the proposal, and it definitely makes me want to review all the business plans we receive a little closer from now on.


Original WWW Proposal
         

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