Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

One Day in the Digital Revolution A Good Friday

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

One Day in the Digital Revolution A Good Friday

Article excerpt

Most of the time, the Digital Revolution rushes by so fast it's little more than a blur of mergers, high-tech breakthroughs, and big ideas.

There are days, though, that deserve to be pulled off the assembly line of time. Freeze-framed, they capture the personality and sheer force of the changes afoot. Friday was one of those days.

The financial markets were closed, highway traffic was light, and a thinned-out work force was gearing down for an Easter weekend. Here in Silicon Valley, a pair of recent college graduates had every reason to relax - each had made millions in the stock market the previous day. Yet for Jerry Yang and Joe Kraus, Friday was no holiday. Mr. Yang, cofounder of Yahoo! Inc., and Mr. Kraus, cofounder of Excite, are at the nexus of a business that is dazzling Wall Street. Their companies run Web sites that help people surf the Net - and as the number of people coming to their pages each day continues to grow, their stocks are becoming some of the biggest gainers in the market. And with many Internet companies still struggling to turn a profit, it's an indication that the Web is emerging as a major player in the economy of the future. For Yang - whose net worth is more than $760 million - Yahoo's rise has allowed him to think a little more long term, but he says, "We're always paranoid." No wonder. Just miles up the road, Kraus acted surprised when asked if he planned to take part of the day off. "I didn't know it was a holiday. I can't. The other guys are working." The other guys would be Yang and Yahoo, as well Lycos, InfoSeek, and America Online. They're all companies rushing frantically to become to the Internet what CBS, ABC, and NBC once were to television. They want to be the home base, the channel setting for users to find all they need on the Internet. And timing is everything. The Internet has been around for 30 years, but only recently has it become a true mass-market medium. It has achieved an audience of users now estimated at more than 50 million worldwide, and as the market broadens the demand for ease of use intensifies. Gateways to the Web Jerry and Joe want to be your facilitators. They and their competitors are transforming their businesses from providing search engines that help people just find things on the Internet to something much broader. Now, they want to be the gateways to personalized news and information, chat rooms, e-mail, and direct sales of consumer products. Their revenue comes from advertising and partnerships with companies that want the audience their services deliver. And increasingly, companies like Yahoo and Excite are delivering more of an audience. …

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