I went back to school at New York University in the early 90s to get my degree in multimedia. My first job out of school... authoring an educational CD ROM for a start-up. Those days were wild.
Nobody had a clue how to make money on the internet back in those days. The internet was completely new territory. But, the Gold Rush was on and everybody was hoping to hit the jackpot. If you were a smooth talker and you had an idea, a venture capitalist would throw 100 million bucks at you in the hope that you might be a winner.
My start-up was typical. We burned through 80 million bucks in six months before the company went bankrupt. We produced a great CD ROM to back up a world history textbook. We won a Mac CD ROM of the Year award for a product that never made it to market.
Why? Well, somebody forgot to do their basic market research. Microsoft brought a similar product to market at just about the same time, and that company had overwhelming clout in terms of distribution and marketing. Our 80 million dollar budget was no match in a one-on-one war with the industry giant.
I learned a hell of a lot on the project. In the early 90s, the multimedia job market had not segmented out into discreet roles, like developer and designer. My client threw the entire project at me and told me to dig in and go for it. And, I did. In the years that followed, as people found out that I was a competent coder, I was consigned to the job of developer.
I had to look for another job once my start-up collapsed. That wasn't a problem. Multimedia was a hustler's dream. And there weren't many tech people around who knew the business and the applications. Development applications for multimedia changed dramatically every two or three years. In the beginning, most projects had to be coded directly in C++. By the late 90s, Adobe had cornered the application market with more user friendly applications.
The end of the story for my start-up was classic for the dotcom era. Six months before my company went belly-up, it issued its IPO. The founders of the company raked in a fortune and probably retired for life. And, the new shareholders took a bath and a big tax write-off in the bankrupcy.
Those were the days. Myrna was still here with me. Apartment in Manhattan and house in Woodstock. The living was easy.