Where Are They Now: Silicon Valley Edition
July 1, 2016 Leave a comment
Every industry has its golden days—especially the tech industry, which is always rapidly changing. The dynamic tech industry has seen its share of extreme highs and lows, successes, and fails. With such a rich history, Silicon Valley represents a core part of the American dream and identity. So many entrepreneurs, thinkers, and innovators paved the way for the industry we know today. So who are those legends, and where are they now?
One of the most crucial sectors of Silicon Valley has always been finance. Without it, all those shiny tech companies would never see the light of day. At the beginning, there was Thom Weisel, founder of Montgomery Securities, one of the largest investment firms then in operation. Montgomery Securities, founded in 1978, valued a culture of collaboration, commitment, and self-expression. A finance giant, the company helped launch Thom Weisel’s long career in finance and investment. He went on to found other firms like Thomas Weisel Partners, which remain operational. Today, he is an avid athlete and art collector.
Like Weisel, Mark Cuban is one of the tech boom’s biggest names. Cuban began a career by founding Broadcast.com, a site that allowed users to listen to radio broadcasts over the internet. However, because so few people had access to broadband internet in 1998, the business never really took off and eventually folded. But in 1999, Yahoo bought Broadcast.com for a whopping $5.7 billion, giving Cuban the seed money he used to launch his own career. Today, Cuban owns the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. He is also a “shark” investor on the television series Shark Tank.
At one time, Geocities, founded by David Bohnett, was the third most-trafficked site on the internet, just behind Yahoo and AOL. The site provided users a way to create and customize their own websites, working from templates. Users could add links, music, text, and images. In many ways, Geocities was the first step towards the site metrics and measurement we have today. In 1999, Geocities was also purchased by Yahoo for $3.57 billion. It was never really clear if Geocities was profitable, but it was everyone’s favorite site.
Today, Bohnett is a tech investor with a stake in Fab.com. He is also the Chairman of the Board at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
The tech industry certainly looks different today than it did twenty or thirty years ago, but founders and innovators like these made it all possible.