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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[…]

Barksdale had long been using web precursors.

Question: What did you see in Netscape when it was just a start-up?

Jim Barksdale: Well it’s interesting.  I was reading one . . .  I had been using the precursors of the Internet for some years.  We’d installed it at Federal Express, you know, communications systems.  Networking had always been an interest of mine, and I was familiar with a lot of the problems of networking computer systems and online systems for many years.  And I had read an article in Fortune magazine about “Hot 25 Companies”.  This little company that had gone in business the month prior called Mosaic Communications.  And I remember commenting to my wife at the time, “This is a great idea.”  And on their picture were Jim Clark, and Marc _____ and the early development team.  There were about a dozen people there.  And as luck would have it, not a week went by and I got a phone call from John Doer with Kleiner Perkins and Jim Clark, and asked me if I would come down and be the Chief Executive Officer.  And I figured, “This looks like a real idea.”  And by that time I had made plenty of money and I could have retired.  In fact that’s what I was thinking about doing was retiring.  But I went down there and I was just overtaken with the joy, the excitement, the fact we were doing something significant, and the people.  They were just some of the wonderful, brightest young people I had ever been around

Recorded on: 7/5/07


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