Happy 25th Birthday NCSA Mosaic

On November 11, 1993, I was working at Adobe Systems in tech support for Photoshop. It was the afternoon and I took a break to walk down to the mailroom and check my mail. There waiting for me was the weekly MacWeek magazine, an industry trade everyone looked forward to. As I was walking back to my desk, I looked over the cover and there at the bottom right-hand side was an article about a new program, NCSA Mosaic. A web browser but the first of its kind because it incorporated graphics and text and layout. Before this, browsing the web was limited to the text-based Lynx browser.

I instantly knew this was huge and I was excited. When I got back to my desk, I looked up downloading the program but soon discovered it wouldn’t work at Adobe because of our security firewall. It took me another day to find a version on our internal network that had been modified to work with the firewall and off I went. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Nobody had ever experienced the Internet in this way.

I started to teach myself HTML and was soon able to build my own web pages. I saw it so clearly. I always thought my niche was in the combination of business/marketing and technology and this was the platform that would do just that. The combination of text, graphics, audio, and video. Even with the rudimentary formatting, we had back then, you could see where it was going. I became not very interested in Adobe things and consumed with the Web. When Adobe bought Aldus in August of 1994, they moved the entire technical support department to Seattle, WA. This was pre-grunge and Seattle wasn’t as cool as it is today, not to mention our salaries would be frozen for a year. Nobody went but it turned out to be fortuitous for me because Quantum Corporation was looking for a Webmaster and all that self-teaching was about to pay off.

I was one of the first Webmasters working for a large corporation in the world. I was even featured in a magazine article about Webmasters. Me in a magazine! They even sent a photographer for a photo shoot. I felt like a star. It was fun and crazy and confusing. I was hired into an engineering department because they ran the servers and nobody knew where this kind of position belonged anyway. I ended up working with marketing most of the time and even moved to sit with them.

From there my career progressed and the rest flowed from that. That was the day, 25 years ago that changed my life.

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