• The World Wide Web was created in the early-90’s, but has drastically changed from its original format and experience.
  • Alan Meckler has published ‘The Internet’s First Entrepreneur: Lessons and Wisdom for the Business Journey’ to explore the history of the early days of the internet, and to offer guidance to the entrepreneurs of now.
  • The internet is set to continue to change and evolve as Web 3.0 looms from around the corner.

Since its inception, the internet has evolved and changed to meet contemporary demands, which require an ever increasing amount of applications, services, and capabilities. As a result, it is somewhat difficult to imagine a time where the internet was in its infancy. Developers and engineers are now focused on the creation and utilization of Web 3.0, but in the 90’s, Web 1.0 was both revolutionary, and somewhat limited from our contemporary perspective.

The World Wide Web was introduced to the public in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. This creation was a dynamic step towards the internet as it is understood today. According to Elon University, “the hyper-text format available through his Web made the internet much easier to use because all documents could be seen easily on-screen without downloading.” This accessibility was reflected in the number of internet users by the mid-90’s, which had escalated to approximately 45 million. This number would more than double by the turn of the century.

In the dawn of the era of the World Wide Web, some entrepreneurs were quick and erudite enough to recognize its enormous potential. One such entrepreneur is Alan Meckler, who has subsequently been dubbed as an ‘internet pioneer.’ Meckler began his career by forming a publishing business. However, Meckler is widely known for his creation of the trade show, which was named ‘Internet World.’ Now, Meckler has published ‘ The Internet’s First Entrepreneur: Lessons and Wisdom for the Business Journey ;’ a book that serves as both a memoir and a guide for hopeful entrepreneurs.

The Internet: 1990 to Now

The introduction of the World Wide Web presented bountiful implications for the business world. Many groups were adamant that the internet would not amount to much, but there were also groups that saw significant economic potential. Most entrepreneurs were slow to dip their toes into the internet’s waters in the early 90’s. However, by the mid-90’s, venture capitalist and financing groups were inundated with business proposals ready to capitalize off of the growth of the internet.

By the early-2000’s, hundreds of millions of users were utilizing the internet in their daily lives. Many businesses had begun to incorporate the internet into their economic structure, and the accessibility of it was amplified. Now, the internet is extraordinarily commonplace. Innumerable businesses operate almost exclusively online, and the internet is almost vital to any one person’s life.

Alan Meckler
Alan Meckler Alan Meckler

The Internet’s First Entrepreneur

Meckler, within the book, creates over 100 vignettes in an interesting and evocative way to explore storytelling. The entrepreneur joins the ranks of other life writers, who navigate the often murky territory of recounting and retelling memories. As a result, the book, which many may pick up as a guide, reads as an artful memoir or historical text. This literary technique is all the more impressive when it is taken into account that Meckler is, also, dyslexic.

Through his vignettes, the author recounts his early experiences with the internet, and how he came to pioneer it with his entrepreneurial pursuits - even before the mass adoption of the World Wide Web. Meckler argues that, before he began writing, there was not an ample array of documents that explored the history behind the early days of the internet. More than that, there are not many documents that present a history of this period from the perspective of a person that both experienced it, and pioneered it when, “people were still doubting if it (the internet) was here to stay.”

The other point of the book, and the reason why many will read it, is that it is a space where Meckler offers many kernels of wisdom that he has gained from his decades of experience as an entrepreneur. In an interview with a Newstrail Journalist, Meckler states that if hopeful entrepreneurs are to take one piece of advice from the book, it is that they, “have to believe in what they are doing.” He continues to say that, “I had a lot of rejections…you are most likely going to be rejected when you attempt to raise money for a new idea. So, it takes a lot of persistence.”

The author also details many occasions where he has met with, or encountered, very influential people - the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Robert F. Kennedy. Meckler is candid when he speaks of these entrepreneurial giants and leaders. He does not shy away from detailing his own perception of them, nor what they created or pursued. When asked if he had any hesitation with including these accounts in his book, Meckler responded, “Oh, not at all. It made it very interesting. My career has taken me in different directions, and I thought that some people would find it very interesting beyond the topic of the start of the commercial internet.”

In the 90’s, Meckler encountered many naysayers when he stood firm that the internet would be the next great thing for the world of business. Meckler persisted, founded the trade show ‘Internet World’ and grew it until it amassed nearly 100,000 attendees. Meckler knew that the internet would be huge. He may not have known that it would be everything that it is today, but he was on the frontline as an internet entrepreneur. Because of this, the book reads as an authentic piece of history, and is substantiated by entrepreneurial knowledge.

Alan Meckler Media Interview

Alan Meckler spoke to a Newstrail Journalist:

Final Thoughts

The internet has come a long way since the early-90’s. Most young adults have little to no memory of a life without it. Yet, the history of the internet’s infancy goes largely unspoken or unnoticed. This is but one of the reasons why Alan Meckler wrote ‘The Internet’s First Entrepreneur: Lessons and Wisdom for the Business Journey.’ Meckler was there for the inception of the internet, recognized its future, and created a path for future entrepreneurs.