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Jim Barksdale

James Love Barksdale offers living proof that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aren't cocky young upstarts faking their way to success. This consummate Southern gentleman, known for his folksy sayings and[…]

Description: Allowing mere mortals to use the Web.


What impact has your work had on the world?

Barksdale: Well the effect of my past business life has had is I was involved in the early days of three great, revolutionary changes.  And I was involved in a very deep and meaningful way, and I’m very proud of that.  No one can imagine a world today that didn’t have Federal Express or the overnight express industry.  We invented that business.  Nobody can imagine a world that didn’t have cellular communications. And at McCall Cellular, we were one of the first private – in other worlds, non-bell companies – to grow it and build it, and I’m very proud of that.  That’s a very systems oriented business as well.  And lastly, of course, the Netscape browser changed the world and made it where mere mortals could use the web.  And that was a great source of joy, but it was also a great accomplishment that proved to the world that this new medium was friendly, enjoyable, effective, affordable.  And all of those I was blessed to be in the very early stages of – not only three companies that created their own industries, which is quite unusual, but three industries that changed the world.

Barksdale: Philanthropic investment to me – at least the way we run it at my foundation – is we try to invest in those things that can make a difference, that are important, and that we can muster the resources to do.  We don’t tend to participate in others . . . with others.  We tend to do things that are doable, but are big dreams.  For example, the biggest effort we make is in, as I said, early childhood literacy.  If we can actually prove the model that we’re working on, we will change the lives of millions around the world.

Recorded on: July 5 2007

Description: Allowing mere mortals to use the Web.

 

 

What impact has your work had on the world?

 

Barksdale: Well the effect of my past business life has had is I was involved in the early days of three great, revolutionary changes.  And I was involved in a very deep and meaningful way, and I’m very proud of that.  No one can imagine a world today that didn’t have Federal Express or the overnight express industry.  We invented that business.  Nobody can imagine a world that didn’t have cellular communications. And at McCall Cellular, we were one of the first private – in other worlds, non-bell companies – to grow it and build it, and I’m very proud of that.  That’s a very systems oriented business as well.  And lastly, of course, the Netscape browser changed the world and made it where mere mortals could use the web.  And that was a great source of joy, but it was also a great accomplishment that proved to the world that this new medium was friendly, enjoyable, effective, affordable.  And all of those I was blessed to be in the very early stages of – not only three companies that created their own industries, which is quite unusual, but three industries that changed the world.

 

Barksdale: Philanthropic investment to me – at least the way we run it at my foundation – is we try to invest in those things that can make a difference, that are important, and that we can muster the resources to do.  We don’t tend to participate in others . . . with others.  We tend to do things that are doable, but are big dreams.  For example, the biggest effort we make is in, as I said, early childhood literacy.  If we can actually prove the model that we’re working on, we will change the lives of millions around the world.

 

Recorded on: July 5 2007