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Alan F. Kay Seeking Legislation and Regulations Better for All

I amAlan F Kay
An old-timer who both observed and played a role in
the forty year history of computers 1969-2010 →  and did much more (see Table of Contents)

You have opened a unique, non-commercial website
that's been active for 9 years, with content older than 20 years

The most important computer developments appeared like clockwork at the beginning of each of the four decades from 1970 to 2010.  Starting-up in 1969, my own company AutEx, offering on-line transaction network systems grew and prospered for a decade.  In 1970, the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) funded a network to serve universities and government agencies and, when opened and available to all, evolved into the most significant computer development of all time, the Internet.

In 1970, large Mainframes, followed by Minicomputers, and then Personal Computers evolved.  As the decade ended, Bill Gates and Microsoft were in a strong position but were ignoring e-mail.  Over a weekend Gates decided an e-mail capability was vital and urgent.  Thus arose “Outlook.”

I found few businesses prior to 1980 wanting to acquire a computer for any purpose.  After 1980, like clockwork, there was an explosion of company interests in having their own computers but not for what interested me, on-line transaction network systems like AutEx.  For a few years after 1980 I tried selling computer systems but found no takers.

I was enticed by payment of $1500 per day for the top people in “On-Line Markets” (OLM), the company I organized to work exclusively for Citibank under Alan MacDonald, one of Citibank’s top executives.  OLM’s work for Citibank was evaluating and recommending large acquisitions (generally over $100M/yr).  In 2 ½ years with Citibank, OLM examined over a hundred potential acquisitions for Citi. Insiders knew that Citi’s deep pockets were consistently filling and, light-heartedly, knew among other things that categories of potential acquisitions examined by OLM were nick-named the three “eyes” –
(1) Insurance, (2) Information-technology, and (3) Individuals with high net worth.

Only commercial banks legally create money (out of thin air, no less).  Aggressive banks over the course of time have led to a gigantic meltdown: more than trillions of dollars passing from duped taxpayers into the hands of a large sector of the financial industry.  Among the largest was Citibank.  I had no ownership in Citi’s corporation and had no idea that such a meltdown was to happen, but the beginning of Citibank’s corruption was clear to me after a couple of years working for MacDonald.  I knew that customers did not share in Citi's financial success.  That was 27 years ago, 20 years earlier than the first few finance/economist experts began to notice the meltdown.

Ten years after I had left AutEx, on-line transaction network systems like AutEx arose again big time beginning in 1990 when websites rapidly proliferated.  Here is the story.

After several years of development, including tapping the assistance and suggestions of helpful associates, in 1990 Tim Berners-Lee completed the creation of his world-wide-web system that by the year 2010 explosively rose to over two billion websites.  How explosive was that?  It was widely noted that if Tim had taken in reasonable royalties from system patents, within less than 20 years multi-billionaire Bill Gates would have slipped to a distant second place in the pantheon of wealth.

When the world-wide-web was new, Tim had a few people open websites and try, test, or play with them.  I happened to see a list of the first 8 or so of these initial users.  To me they looked to be ordinary people.  I didn’t notice any big-name organizations.  It didn’t even occur to me that learning their names and early reactions might have been interesting, perhaps even of historical value.  No one in those early months could reasonably imagine that the web would become such a giant.  By 2010 an enormous, amazing pinnacle arose. In major countries around the world, not only large and small companies but most large, small, and tiny organizations just had to have their own websites.

The last major development, Google and the search engine, started just before 2000 and is on its way to making an enormous splash, possibly the largest of all.

Will this de facto “decade model” continue?  Will a 2010 start-up explode by 2020 into the giant of the fifth decade?  I don’t know.  I went in an entirely different direction.

I opened this website, www.alanfkay.com.  Even in 1992 when significant numbers of companies and organizations were already on the web, my purpose was unusual.  I had written articles and started authoring books. Some people – honestly not very many – were interested in seeing my work.  The advantage to me of a website that contained hundreds of my articles was simple.  I had only to tell interested parties by email where on my website to find articles, inter-related material, notes, etc.  To this day, I never expected to use the website for any commercial purpose.  I used the .com suffix thinking it appropriately stood for “communication.”  Dominant commercial and company URLs had the same suffix.  No resolution of the meaning of .com is required.  Only a tiny fraction of .com users, perhaps none, if asked would say the suffix means “communication.”  I may even be the only one thinking of my website as solely for communication throughout the whole era from 1990 to the present – with content going back over 20 years.

Purpose  /  My Books  /  Table of Contents