Description: Allowing mere mortals to use the Web.
What impact has your work had on the world?
Barksdale: Well the effect of my past business life has had is I was involved in the early days of three great, revolutionary changes. And I was involved in a very deep and meaningful way, and I’m very proud of that. No one can imagine a world today that didn’t have Federal Express or the overnight express industry. We invented that business. Nobody can imagine a world that didn’t have cellular communications. And at McCall Cellular, we were one of the first private – in other worlds, non-bell companies – to grow it and build it, and I’m very proud of that. That’s a very systems oriented business as well. And lastly, of course, the Netscape browser changed the world and made it where mere mortals could use the web. And that was a great source of joy, but it was also a great accomplishment that proved to the world that this new medium was friendly, enjoyable, effective, affordable. And all of those I was blessed to be in the very early stages of – not only three companies that created their own industries, which is quite unusual, but three industries that changed the world.
Barksdale: Philanthropic investment to me – at least the way we run it at my foundation – is we try to invest in those things that can make a difference, that are important, and that we can muster the resources to do. We don’t tend to participate in others . . . with others. We tend to do things that are doable, but are big dreams. For example, the biggest effort we make is in, as I said, early childhood literacy. If we can actually prove the model that we’re working on, we will change the lives of millions around the world.
Recorded on: July 5 2007