Digital Babylon: How the Greeks, the Suits and the Ponytails Tried to Bring .....

John Geirland, Author, Eva Sonesh Kedar, Author, Eva Sonesh Kedar, Joint Author Arcade Publishing $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-55970-483-0
On the Web, where art, entertainment and commerce commingle, developing fresh content that is both successful and compelling can be a daunting job. Here are the stories of those who undertook the challenge in the mid-to-late '90s, told from the perspectives of the creative types (whom the authors dub ""ponytails""), the techies and a number of executives sprinkled in for good measure. In sharp, lucid prose, the coauthors spin a tale as dramatic as any Web serial, as the players and their companies angle for advantage in ways that only the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood could engender. It begins in 1995 with the launching of The Spot, a Web soap opera and sleeper hit that served as the archetype of future projects. As the Web develops, new media companies like Digital Planet and Entertainment Asylum, AOL`s Greenhouse division and Microsoft all try their hand at the form, independently and sometimes together, with various degrees of success. The growing pains of these startups are described in meticulous detail, from the financial troubles and skittish IPO market that doomed the company American Cybercast, to the narrow bandwidth and glacial downloads that plagued the early years of the Web. The authors draw few conclusions from these examples, and they tend to overplay the significance of such ventures, while underplaying the vast cacophony of the Web. Their story is told with panache and accuracy, but ultimately proves to be as flashy and lightweight as the programs they chronicle. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 999 pages - 978-1-62872-042-6
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