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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: What did you see in Netscape when it was just a start-up?

Jim Barksdale: Well it’s interesting.  I was reading one . . .  I had been using the precursors of the Internet for some years.  We’d installed it at Federal Express, you know, communications systems.  Networking had always been an interest of mine, and I was familiar with a lot of the problems of networking computer systems and online systems for many years.  And I had read an article in Fortune magazine about “Hot 25 Companies”.  This little company that had gone in business the month prior called Mosaic Communications.  And I remember commenting to my wife at the time, “This is a great idea.”  And on their picture were Jim Clark, and Marc _____ and the early development team.  There were about a dozen people there.  And as luck would have it, not a week went by and I got a phone call from John Doer with Kleiner Perkins and Jim Clark, and asked me if I would come down and be the Chief Executive Officer.  And I figured, “This looks like a real idea.”  And by that time I had made plenty of money and I could have retired.  In fact that’s what I was thinking about doing was retiring.  But I went down there and I was just overtaken with the joy, the excitement, the fact we were doing something significant, and the people.  They were just some of the wonderful, brightest young people I had ever been around

Recorded on: 7/5/07



What did you see in Netscape?

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