Valley of the Boom (2018) s01e06 Episode Script

Part 6: fatal error

1 RENO (OVER TV): The justice department has charged Microsoft with engaging in anti-competitive SEAN: The government's now going after Microsoft with both barrels.
RENO (OVER TV): Designed to maintain its monopoly TARA: Cool.
RENO (OVER TV): in personal computer operating systems.
When you come across a snake, you kill it.
You don't go back and play with a dead snake.
We reached an agreement to sell the Netscape communications corporation to AOL.
This guy who has been calling himself Michael Fenne is really David Kim Stanley, a fugitive of the law.
ROBERT: What about the technology that I created? MICHAEL: Well, I'm trying to deal with this bankruptcy stuff so that you and Chuck don't get arrested.
ROBERT: What? MICHAEL: Hey, what did y'all think of iBash? GROUP: Whooo! You spent twelve million dollars of my money on something that didn't work.
MICHAEL: Huh.
STEPHAN: Michael Egan told us, "I wanna do business with you guys.
" ED: We bought 51% for 20 million.
STEPHAN: Which at the time was the single biggest investment in internet history by an individual.
Got the girl.
Got the money.
Huh.
Now I'm ready to live a disgusting frivolous life.
TODD: That piece was very damaging.
STEPHAN: Dude, you know they took it out of context! TODD: You created the context! We are running a billion dollar company.
And you played right into the narrative that maybe we shouldn't be.
MICHAEL: Because it burned inside me.
Because.
Be-be-be-because.
Be-be.
Because.
It burned.
Because it burned inside me.
REPORTER: IPO gate is far from a sure case.
- Well, it's the internet.
- It's life in the fast line.
Cash is cash.
Anyone can create enough wealth in a couple of years to be a billionaire.
Fun becomes popular.
Of the 175 internet companies that went public this year almost one-third are trading below their initial offering price.
MICHAEL: Because it burned inside me.
REPORTER (OVER TV): America Online says combining the web audience of AOL and Netscape will let consumers and businesses do more on the web.
The combination creates a force to be reckoned with for anyone targeting consumers on the internet.
MARC: Yes, I went to work at AOL.
Is that so difficult to understand? Sorry, I'm not angry at you.
Fine, let me break it down; I created something you all now use every day, that speeds communication, commerce, education, even love.
And that thing was given to all of you.
You're welcome.
Did I make a tidy sum? Yes, I did.
Did I leverage my wealth and position toward the greater good? I did the thing I did.
And I retreated from a creative role to something else.
I'm a human being, with an expiration date.
And I'm living the rest of my life.
And I'm definitely done talking about it.
TODD: Hey.
STEPHAN: Hey.
I'm really sorry.
TODD: No, man.
It's all good.
You were right.
STEPHAN: No, let's go in the conference room.
I feel really bad.
TODD: You drive this company.
You and your vision, made this all happen.
STEPHAN: Todd, that's not true.
TODD: You made a mistake.
One that got amplified by the fishbowl we're living in as the guys who started this company.
There wouldn't be a company without you.
There wouldn't be a fishbowl.
And there wouldn't have been the craziest IPO in history.
STEPHAN: We did do that.
TODD: We did.
Because it burned inside me.
MARC: Why are we divided into thirds? Hello? DARRIN: Heeyyy, you up? It's a lot, right? I know, the entire thing.
This delicious bacchanal, this orgy, if you will, of money and power, I mean, that big ol' juicy bubble, it's starting to stretch tight.
Yeah, I know, you can feel it right, yeah, I mean, it is full to bursting, the signs are everywhere, the center will not hold.
That's Yeats, bitch.
So, I and all of us financial sector experts, as certified investment practitioners, do the prudent thing, the wise thing, the right thing, and hew tightly to our fiduciary responsibility, right? Well, as they say in the olden days, NOT! MICHAEL: Everybody wanted what we were building.
I told them, I said, you can't have my social security number.
You can't know who I am or where I come from.
If you want what we're building at Pixelon, you have to leave my past alone, whatever that may be.
That was the deal.
DAN: This guy that's been calling himself Michael Fenne is really somebody named David Kim Stanley, who is on the state of Virginia's Most Wanted List for uh, you know, being a fugitive of the law.
DAVID: First of all, I threw my driver's license away, threw every piece of, every trace of anything that might identify me as David Stanley.
I threw all that away.
Um, I dyed my hair blonde, I put on 200 pounds.
I did as much as I could do short of mutilation to change my appearance.
The founder is fictional, which is kind of appropriate because in many ways the product is fictional too.
DAN: Almost immediately after iBash, it was pretty clear that it was a failure.
The fact they were unable to stream the event live on the internet confirmed; that this was a technology that wasn't ready for prime time.
I specifically made it my objective to let Chairman of the Board know; this was not possible and they kept going forward anyway.
BRIAN: The actual broadcast of it live, Pixelon didn't even broadcast it live.
GARY: iBash failed.
WISKOWSKI: Michael, this is the last time I'm gonna call you.
I'm getting on a flight and we're gonna hash this out in person.
And you'd better have some very compelling answers.
DAVID: Just try not to attract attention.
They have people everywhere.
SHEILA: I don't know how to drive and attract any less attention.
DAVID: They put me "beyond salvage" that means they might disappear me.
So we just need to keep moving.
Keep it moving.
Please, speed up! SHEILA: Michael, you're scaring me.
DAVID: Just Hey, pull over! SHEILA: Ah! OK.
DAVID: Look.
You should be scared.
We should all be scared, the CIA doesn't mess around.
SHEILA: Why would the CIA? DAVID: Hey, I told you not to ask me about that.
It puts you at risk! DAN: Michael's behaviour by all accounts was increasingly erratic.
DAVID: The "Hit Squad" is probably on their way.
And this new so-called "CEO," Paul Ward? He's working for the bad guys.
SHEILA: What are you the "Hit Squad?" Are we in danger? I thought you liked Paul and Denise.
We had them over to the house! I thought the whole iBash thing was such a big success.
DAVID: Honey, I need you to do something for me, you go home, get any of my papers in my office and put them in a box and then put them in the cubby hole under the garage.
OK? - SHEILA: Yeah.
- DAVID: Hey, shh.
Get down! OK, sit tight, baby.
Do not answer the phone or the door under any circumstances, I'm talking about your life here.
This may be the last time we ever see each other, know that I have truly loved you, even when you let me down.
SHEILA: Oh, Michael, please don't say that.
Please.
I don't.
Michael, Michael! REPORTER: AOL is more powerful in consumer activity than any company, including Microsoft.
So here's competition at its finest, with people slicing up Netscape for the real key assets.
Andreessen becoming the AOL CTO was a bit of, you know, wow, that's an interesting one, isn't it? There's a lot of irony around the AOL purpose of Netscape.
That was just part and parcel.
Given everything he had said about the company, yes, it was odd.
And I don't really know even what he did in that role, if anything.
JIM: (IN AOL VOICE): You've got a visitor.
MARC: Ha-ha.
JIM: I just wrapped up all my transitional stuff here.
I just want to stop in and let you know where we are with the antitrust case.
- MARC: Why? - JIM: Why? Why would you want to update me? JIM: Are you because it has to do with the company, Marc, with our positions.
MARC: My position? Is that it's over.
JIM: It's far from over, Marc.
Microsoft was offered the option of negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
They've opted not to take it.
So it's not over.
MARC: They're not taking the option to settle.
- JIM: No.
- MARC: Of course they're not.
Gates will continue to starve us out until there's nothing left.
No engineers, no will toward continuing to fight for open source.
It's a victory by demoralization and attrition.
"Death by a thousand paper cuts.
" It's a good strategy, actually.
JIM: Yes or no.
Could it be a fool's errand? Of course it could.
Could it just possibly be an opening to achieving some sort of victory? I think that that is also possible.
MARC: Are you going back and playing with dead snakes, Jim? JIM: The main thing is, I started this thing and I'm gonna finish it.
I made a promise to a lot of our folks to see this thing through.
See, the thing is, Marc.
MARC: Thank you, Jim.
JIM: Alright.
The NASDAQ finally found some life on Friday.
But beneath the broad numbers was another day of dot-com meltdown.
theglobe.
com, one of the original hit internet IPOs is now 50 cents a share.
Everyone was so frustrated that the stock kept dropping despite all of our performance, that everybody thought there was just something broken, something's not working, there's a disconnect.
And that frustration translated into everybody is saying, "Well, we need more stock because our stock keeps dropping in value.
We need more stock.
" A pressure cooker was building.
I could feel that something was gonna give.
I don't know.
I'm out of ideas.
I just might go see the new John Woo movie.
TODD: John woo? Ugh.
STEPHAN: Seriously? John woo is "ugh?" TODD: Bunch of operatic, over-the-top slow-motion diving gun battles.
STEPHAN: Dude.
He's a master.
A true artist.
John Woo is the man.
TODD: Meh.
Steph, we are so screwed, buddy.
STEPHAN: We are? TODD: I don't see any way we're not.
Well y'know Todd, there are things you could do to be less screwed.
Why are you acting so weird? Oh, crap.
PHILLIP: Bro! STEPHAN: Okay.
Now we're screwed.
PHILLIP: Had a good run, boys.
But it ends here.
STEPHAN: You guys ready? - TODD: Ready.
- CODER: Let's do this We sparked off internet IPO mania and we were also the beginning of the end.
- Think if we do something radical, - Steph! - like re-allocate 30% of - Steph! STEPHAN: What? TODD: Mike Egan cashed in 50 million in globe.
com stock.
- STEPHAN: No.
- TODD: Yes.
STEPHAN: He's the Chairman of our Board.
TODD: It's already being widely reported.
STEPHAN: He didn't even tell us.
STEPHAN: Mike Egan was my (BLEEP) Gordon Gecko.
He was the guy who was like gonna make the bet on the (BLEEP) genius Bud and Bud's own dad didn't quite believe in him.
You know? And it's like you finally get to show off to your own dad.
You found somebody who believes in you so mightily and that will put so much money behind you.
We need to go out to the Valley.
Create a new story, do some laps, shake some hands, raise some cash.
Let em know that we're not dead yet.
You know.
Maybe Bob Halperin will even double down.
- TODD: OK.
OK.
But Steph.
- STEPHAN: Yeah.
TODD: No plastic pants.
MICHAEL: Look at all these beautiful minds and bodies at work! You are all my children! I hope we are working at maximum efficiency here.
What's the update on the backend work, Brian? BRIAN: Ummm, it kinda is what it is.
Ready to ship, I guess.
MICHAEL: "Um, uh, err, it is what it is.
" Take out the "ums" and "ahs," friend! "Ready to ship, Michael!" BRIAN: Ready to ship, Mr.
Fenne.
MICHAEL: Michael! BRIAN: Ready to ship, Michael.
GARY: It's odd when you're at a circumstance like that because it's kinda happening to everybody.
And a lot of it was um, just keeping it to yourself.
You would have opinions about what was going on but nobody else seemed to be saying anything to keep it from happening.
You know, there are all sorts of stories about what happened the day that Michael was removed from Pixelon, when he was essentially, you know, fired.
The day he was a tumultuous one.
He's launching into these long uh, tirades on the public-address system.
MICHAEL: Good morning, rock stars! iBash! What a victory.
I'm so thankful to the Lord and our divine technology.
We are on a role people, so let's keep it up! And when we hit that IPO we will be in the land of milk and honey! GARY: It was the dot-com era.
Everybody there thought that they were on the precipice of great wealth.
It's odd what that does to people, that sort of was the overriding thing.
Just deal with it.
Increasingly the officers and the investors were saying, "Michael's got to go.
" MICHAEL (OVER INTERCOM): This is the master speaking.
The master!! Frank, report to the woodshed, your uncle is gonna give you a whoopin'! Frank! WISKOWSKI: Lee Wiskowski here for Lee Wiskowski here for Michael Fenne.
RECEPTIONIST: I'll check.
Is Mr.
Fenne in? There's a Lee Wiskowski.
WISKOWSKI: I know he's here, I can see the door is open.
MICHAEL: Hello, security, this is Michael Fenne.
Get your asses up here.
Sha! Shah, sha, sheh, she.
Hi.
Hi.
Hi.
I'm Michael Fenne.
- WISKOWSKI: Hey! - PAUL: Hey, Lee! WISKOWSKI: What the hell, Paul? PAUL: I know, I know.
Things have gotten, weird.
WISKOWSKI: Paul, you're the CEO.
We hired you to keep an eye on iBash and Fenne.
If you can't do that, then why the (BLEEP) are you here? WISKOWSKI: I can't believe this is happening.
And I just gave this nutbucket 28 million.
PAUL: What's happening? WISKOWSKI: What's happening Paul is a fatal error.
This is enough.
This is enough.
Fenne has to go.
I think in late '95 Andreessen was talking about how he was gonna put us out of business.
MARC: Well, we think there's a series of activities that Microsoft's been engaged in which may or may not be legal and we've turned over that information to the department of justice and they'll figure out what to do from here.
The idea of having a gov't committee basically have a design review over engineering decisions just made Bill and people like me gag in our mouths.
And that is probably why we dug in our heels even though we had all these potential opportunities just to get off basically with almost no penalties whatsoever.
Looking back on that, everybody thinks that was just disastrous thinking, we got our egos in the way.
I'm not sure what you're talking about, you'd have to show me the context.
But it was born out of this idea about like the pride of engineering and like Bill's ego really is an engineer's kind of ego about, don't tell me how to do my goddamn job.
I don't see anything about that in here.
Well, I think that clearly when they go into a competitive situation they'll use every weapon at their disposal, um, the only um, the only issue now is that some of those some of those weapons may or may not be legal and it's something for the government to uh, to decide.
JIM: If I might, Mr.
Chairman, I'd like a show of hands, how many of y'all use Intel-based PCs? And of that group, who use PCs, how many of you use a PC without Microsoft's operating system? Gentlemen, that's a monopoly.
Some people agree with that, some people wouldn't.
KLEIN: Judge Jackson had this case before him for more than 2 years.
A bunch of the "legal team" felt like this really deeply principled uh thing about getting the government out of our industry.
Did you actually read what was in there? KLEIN: He found that Microsoft had repeatedly abused its monopoly power.
And why Bill stayed with the suit you know come hell or high water.
It was really born out of this set of emotions around, hey, like we built this industry out of nothing.
KLEIN: And violated law by crushing emerging threats to Windows dominance.
To have lawyers come in out of the hills and tell us you know we made the wrong engineering decisions or the wrong design decisions was just like please just stay out of our industry.
Just stay out of it, you're not going to add any value.
You're just going to make a mess of it, and argue you know, they did.
- PAUL: Michael? - DAVID: Hey Paul.
- PAUL: We need to talk.
- WISKOWSKI: Right now.
Look Michael, you've been handing out stock options like candy, you just blew north of 12 million on a party to announce our tech, where our tech failed, and now quite frankly, you're acting a little strange.
We need some answers as to what the hell is going on here.
Gentlemen, I think it would be in all our best interest if you addressed me with a modicum of respect.
I am after all the Chairman of this enterprise and I am guaranteed that position for the next seven years no matter what.
No, Michael.
No.
We're past all that.
I'm ready to gather some complaints for a class action lawsuit unless you can provide an immediate course correction here.
Did you just threaten me? After I took your less-than-perfect money and allowed you to be my date to the prom? The one among all the other suitors, to take this company to the stratosphere, where it is definitely heading, God willing and the lake don't rise, as soon as we set that IPO.
I have sweated blood and risked everything for you.
And you.
- PAUL: Michael.
- MICHAEL: Get out.
WISKOWSKI: I still haven't heard.
MICHAEL: Get out!! WISKOWSKI: We need him out.
PAUL: We don't have enough Board members.
Well find them.
Gather them.
Muster their asses.
I don't care how hard it is, do it now.
We need him out.
Okay, Steve Curtis and Joel Shepard are local.
Get 'em down here.
Mike Kelly is in Palo Alto.
We need to do this today.
What the hell? C'mon, let's get outta here.
PAUL: Yeah.
DARRIN: Remember Buck's of Woodside? The place where venture capitalists and tech superstars shimmy on up that great Silicon Valley river to spawn? Welcome back.
We need to listen to every angle on how to make theglobe viable again.
We're circling the drain.
ED: We worked really hard on our agenda this year.
Why can't we just execute, and not cut and run? If that's some veiled reference to my sell-off, I've already explained that I needed capital to stay involved here.
I just think bringing in the guys to pitch a whole new strategy feels desperate.
- MARC: Sorry, Jim.
- JIM: Hey.
I don't have a lot of time.
I have a 1:15.
How's AOL treating you? I got a ton of work to get back to.
Sure.
You're a busy man.
- DARRIN: Here you go, gentlemen.
- JIM: Thank you.
DARRIN: That's right, this man ordered a glass of milk.
What a, bbbaaaaah, what's up? You can see me.
You know, I don't really exist, right? I understand.
DARRIN: My man.
STEPHAN: Déjà vu all over again.
TODD: We can do this.
We can definitely do this.
Right? DARRIN: Gentlemen, welcome to Buck's.
EGAN: So, how do you two propose we turn our company around? WILL: We're really excited about a way to completely reimagine theglobe.
BRIAN: Yeah, it begins with an entirely new staff.
TODD: Well, well, well, Will and Brian.
Can't say I'm surprised because you're a couple of (BLEEP), (BLEEP).
STEPHAN: Mike, Ed.
Thank you.
Go (BLEEP) yourselves.
There were a couple of employees that were bright guys in their own right that were trying to do the right thing for the company.
DARRIN: It's just business, fellas.
They just sort of aligned against Todd and Steph.
STEPHAN: It felt like a betrayal to Todd and I.
The fact that Mike Egan took the meeting felt like a betrayal.
Implying that we weren't doing a good enough job.
They were very unhappy um, with the fact that that meeting occurred.
They think that we could've handled it differently.
Um, yeah, you know, maybe they're right.
JIM: This is huge.
"Calling the world's largest software maker untrustworthy, U.
S.
District Judge Jackson ordered Microsoft to be broken into two smaller companies to prevent it from violating state and federal antitrust laws in the future.
" This is unprecedented.
"Microsoft was unwilling to admit that it had violated federal antitrust law and has shown no willingness to modify its business conduct.
" Sounds about right.
Whew.
But Jim, it doesn't really matter.
The war is over and we lost.
Well, at least it'll level the playing field for future companies.
You remember what it was like to be a 22-year-old wunderkind with a dream? Like those fellas that just left? Oh, come on, Marc, this is a win.
We've been fighting these sonsabitches forever.
And we got em.
And it's the right call.
The right thing finally prevailed for one damn time in big business.
That doesn't make you happy? Nothing? Anything? Well, we'll see if it sticks.
Really, Jim, I do really need to go.
There's just so much work to do.
Yeah, yeah, I hear that from anybody except Jim Clark.
Pretty sure the other Jim is riding around on his self-driving yacht right now.
Maybe you need a couple of those.
Yeah, I don't think so.
Well, maybe I need a couple of those.
Jim, what you did, fighting Microsoft, that was.
Thank you.
I appreciate that.
You take care of yourself.
Yeah.
I am.
Don't get me wrong.
I think they're a great company.
But I think there's a paradigm shift happening here, or a platform shift where um, by and large things are now happening you know, with or without Microsoft, they're, they're no longer the center of the universe.
It made the industry more competitive as you rolled into the 2000 decade.
It probably created products like Google and uh, Facebook.
They may not have existed had that ruling not have been passed down and phased in and implemented.
It's just such a stupid thing to fall for.
Some kind of father figure-mentor comes along and I turn into an 8-year-old kid.
Egan was the guy who made it all happen for us; gave us the keys to the kingdom.
Just really hurts that he'd go all the way to full douchebag betrayal.
You think of any possible way to fix this? I mean, we could force Will and Brian out because of our position, but if Egan wants them in he could just call a vote.
- STEPHAN: Hey.
- TODD: What? When's the last time we talked about, like, the reason we started this company? Like our "mission statement?" Yeah! Oh, God.
A really, really, really long time.
"Change the world.
" "Democratize information.
" "Help like-minded people find each other.
" - STEPHAN: All that.
- TODD: A year, two, more? - STEPHAN: A million years ago.
- TODD: Yeah.
I'm out.
- TODD: I'm out.
- STEPHAN: We're out.
It's time, buddy.
Todd and I decided that moment, we're out, we're done, we're resigning.
At the time that we step down, we thought we should step down.
One, the stock performance was not particularly good.
The job had become much less fun.
We did not think we had a strategy that would take us through this time of difficulty.
And so I remember feeling the decision to step away was entirely good.
I thought it was appropriate and I thought it was good.
WISKOWSKI: I'm telling you guys, Paul was there, Fenne was talking about God and spankings.
CURTIS: More importantly, he blew 12 million of the company's money on a failed beta test.
KELLEY: I've been looking at the books, which are a mess, and it looks much more like 20 million to me.
WISKOWSKI: Look, it's very possible we might need some police backup here.
OK, this guy's a freakin' nutbucket.
SHEPARD: What we need is one more Board member so we can vote this guy out, if that's the consensus.
They needed one more member to show up and he's out on horseback ride.
BART: Gentlemen.
So Michael, you understand our position.
We think we understand yours.
Your Chairmanship is in a very precarious position.
I've reached an interesting agreement with a certain gentleman from the Board, but we'll leave that action for last in our meeting.
WISKOWSKI: Michael.
We're asking you to step down as CTO and Chairman and remove yourself from the premises immediately, following a binding vote by the members present.
You are all going to burn in hell for what you're trying to do to me.
WISKOWSKI: All in favour of removal, aye.
Aye, aye, aye.
- WISKOWSKI: Paul.
- PAUL: Aye.
Now I know who my Judas is.
The gathering of the Board resolves when they finally muster the votes that they need to actually eject Michael Fenne from Pixelon.
Finally, reality catches up with him.
One possible explanation for the severance package is that they still hoped to market this technology to somebody and the last thing they wanted was a disgruntled founder who's going and trying to torpedo potential deals, I mean, that's certainly one explanation.
Another is that they knew of his past and knew of his false identity, and wanted to keep that quiet.
It seems clear that you would only pay a severance package to somebody who's behaved like this, if you want to keep something quiet, that you want to make something really unpleasant go away.
DAVID: Crucified at the altar of greed and mediocrity.
Another takedown by the "Hit Squad".
GREENSPAN: How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values? REPORTER (OVER TV): Investors believe they could get rich quick by buying internet stock.
Companies are going public at prices far lower than they would have a year ago.
Cyberspace investments have proved to be risky.
IPOs in the technology field have been hit really hard.
Many of those new issues have failed to live up to expectations.
So how did it happen? Why did so many investors put so much money behind so many companies that had never made a dime? In hindsight, it all appears so obvious.
The internet mania was a giant bubble, destined to burst.
DARRIN: So, that happened.
The bubble was burst; The internet stock market was dead.
Why did the bubble burst? Not enough was real, and um, eventually, you know, investors started pulling the plug.
The world had turned on the internet, right? It was panic.
People had over-extended themselves, they had never lived in a world where things stop.
And suddenly they did.
Everybody had borrowed on margin and bought stocks and the minute those stock prices fell enough and they got called in on their margins, they had to sell, sell at any price.
I was certainly impacted by the bubble burst.
And it caused a lot of people a lot of pain and suffering.
Not many people walked away billionaires.
And I would, I would venture to even say something I've never said before which is, I don't think the right people walked away necessarily, as billionaires.
I'm not sure it was equitable.
And I think that's what bothers me to this day.
That many of those people who I think put in their heart and soul, probably didn't get quite enough really, when all was said and done.
And um, that's, that's too bad.
The pink slip parties came about after people started getting laid off, the same way the internet took off and the tech jobs like exploded, when the dot-com bust started to happen, people were getting laid off every day you would hear a friend saying they got laid off.
It was just like a wave of layoffs.
When the bubble collapsed suddenly people were losing their jobs, so I came up with the idea of hosting these pink slip parties, where employers could network and connect with potential employees.
REPORTER (OVER TV): Candlelight is not for romance, but for résumés.
This pink slip happy hour links ex-dot-comers with recruiters.
PATTY: We'll be doing them every month until they're not needed anymore.
It was stressful.
Everyone was losing their jobs all around me and I didn't really know what was going to happen.
Even my day job laid off everybody.
They went out of business.
Luckily, I had just started making money off the pink slip parties.
But I didn't feel like that was going to be long-lived because everyone was fleeing by the thousands.
We are going to drink.
Dance a little.
Network a lot.
And by the end of the night, we will have new jobs or at the very least, not remember losing our old ones.
PATTY: The pink slip parties lasted about a year and a half and then I had to close the site.
Honestly, it was kind of a relief.
ROBERT: I'd like to report a sighting of a fugitive.
Somehow Michael Fenne gets wind that his secret identity has been blown.
I'm a child of God who made a mistake and who has suffered miserably for that.
I was mystified when I learned that Michael Fenne was a elaborate cover for a fugitive from the law, David Kim Stanley.
I didn't understand how that could've happened.
I didn't understand how I could've missed it.
I didn't understand how multiple investors could have missed it.
I didn't understand how the world could've missed this.
This was a company that had spent, upwards of 8 to 12 million dollars on a launch party, and was extensively chronicled in the news.
How could this happen? I still don't really know.
We found out that, you know, he wasn't who he said he was.
We found out that he was you wanted on, you know, charges from another state.
The word was he was, you know, a fugitive from the law.
That just blew my mind.
Virginia's 10 Most Wanted List.
David Kim Stanley.
I, I was flabbergasted.
I couldn't believe it.
Hi.
This is David Kim Stanley.
I'm at Big Bear Discount Gas, I'll be on a bench by a large bear.
OFFICER (OVER RADIO): Copy, be advised, David Kim Stanley is in custody, we're transporting now.
REPORTER: First comes the boom, then the shake out.
Streaming video sight, Pixelon.
com is mired in lawsuits seeking the breakup of the company.
When he talked about his technology, he had a glimmer in his eye.
There was almost a halo emanating from his head.
He either really did believe it himself, or he was a very, very convincing actor.
It didn't matter if it was 1895, 1995, or 2018.
Scams all follow the same basic playbook.
Everybody's getting rich, you're being left out.
DAN: It was getting bigger and crazier than I imagined it ever could.
DAN: And yet you continued.
DAVID: Because it burned inside of me.
DAN: Would you have kept running forever? DAVID: I always planned to come back and you can't argue with that because I did.
DAN: And what would you like the world to know about you? I'm a child of God who made a mistake and has suffered terribly for it.
It is more important than you can imagine right now.
When the concept of the browser and the web and the internet have become conflated.
But, when, um, the browser, um, was created, it changed the whole experience of being online.
So it's interesting that the first browser was called Navigator.
It made it possible to really explore.
The fact that anyone in the world can connect to you from anywhere in the world, anytime of day, any day, at high speed in an instant, is unbelievable.
It was a great ride and we changed the world, we kicked off the commercial internet, make no mistake about that and I don't think it would've happened in the same time frame without us.
It really unleashed the power of an inter-connected world.
What we did was very, very important and I'm glad and I think almost everybody associated with it takes a great deal of pride in being part of something that big and worthwhile.
You know, we weren't just picking our toes in Poughkeepsie.
We were at the time in Silicon Valley uh, the revolutionaries.
We were the ones that would take down the big companies, Microsoft being one of them.
And we had a suction drawing of brilliant people that said, I wanna be in the resistance, I wanna fight that.
There was definitely a phoenix-like element to the dream of, of a free browser.
Firefox, which is sort of the evolution of everything that we were doing back in the '90s with Netscape, has succeeded where, where we maybe as a corporation failed, the ideal succeeded and I love that.
I was just a build engineer.
But I was part of something that was special and I still think, I think a lot of us still think it was truly special.
It was an incredible time, it's the most joyous time of my work life.
What we really were, when people dug creating things, and it was very artistic, totally artistic, and so we, we were able to collectively make our art.
And get it to the people via the internet and in giving them this product, we were giving them the internet too.
Perfect.
Perfect.
The story of the beginning of the dot-com era is often told with these tales of absolute madness, these are, both extravagance, which we did not have, as well as ethical lapses.
Think about all of the hand ringing and, and lawsuits at the end of this period.
We did not have any of that.
It was, it was positive.
We're positive people, but I'd be lying if I didn't say uh, it wasn't a disappointment.
Netscape represented the beginning of "a new era" of technology and a browser.
theglobe simply represented a concept of "the internet" and virtual community and living online.
So that's what created these incredible surges.
Nobody was buying into the specifics of theglobe.
To both their tributes, Todd and Steph and Michael, they both saw it.
They knew it.
And yeah, theglobe, you know, has been regarded as a precursor to Facebook.
It was just a moment in time where the entire sector was a bit early.
When Facebook started in 2004'ish, it was ten years after theglobe, computers cost one one-hundredth, bandwidth was one one-thousandth.
So I have no regrets there.
I don't think we could have pulled off Facebook but we came as close to pulling off Facebook as one could have in the, the first dot-com era.
You know it's like, what we unleashed was sort of the joking thing.
And we have unleashed something completely uncontrollable, but that's what I love about the internet now is that at the moment it is uncontrollable and we actually need to make sure it stays that way.
All of us benefit from technology and are afraid of it.
All of us look at our kids and see how quickly they adopt to new technology and wonder how they do it.
And you know what? They're gonna feel the same way about their kids who are gonna feel the same way about their kids.
This town is always gonna have another shot, another leg, we just don't know what it is, we don't know when this leg's gonna end and we don't know when the next one's gonna start or what's gonna start it.
But that's what Silicon Valley has proven to be.
I am so glad I was there for the internet revolution.
I'm happy to be around for the, for the cryptocurrency and crypto revolution in general.
The world keeps changing, and being able to tap into this zeitgeist is going to be key to the long term success of the product.
I will be in this and many other places of splendour.
I will be singing and playing, and taking a true love with me to all the places that you will only be able to think about in your head.
I will live them.
And the saddest part for you is that I am maybe one of the few people alive that can actually accomplish this.
Recover completely from the fatal wound that you gave and rise like a phoenix from the ashes of fiery death to be reborn so much better than before.
And you know if I have anything, I have that kind of gift from God.
But now.
Onto the good stuff of my new life.