Content is Still King
Back in 1996, just as the dot.com craze was heating up, Bill Gates of Microsoft fame wrote an essay for shareholders titled “Content is king”. In it, he rightly predicted the rising importance of content accessibility, the struggle publishers will face in transitioning from offline to online modalities, how they might monetize content, and the rise of improved payment methodologies. Looking back on it today, it’s remarkable how prophetic the essay really was, catalyzed by the notion that the technologies of the future will all revolve around ‘content’, in its myriad forms.
One year later, in the spring of 1997, EdGate was founded on the idea that all the educational content being published needed to be properly correlated to education standards, and the burgeoning internet may be of use in this endeavor. At that same time, a startup called BackRub was struggling to compete in the growing field of online search, dominated by upstarts like Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite and Magellan. In an effort to gain more market share, BackRub was renamed ‘Google’ that year. Page and Brin, founders of Google, struggled mightly during those early days, and even (unsuccessfully) tried to sell the company two years later for less than $1M.