Tech Titans 1.0: July 27, 1998
AS A GROUP these 13 newly minted technocrats controlled vast wealth ($5.1 billion) and big businesses ($23 billion in total market value)—sums proportional to the disruption they had caused in almost every industry, from retail to sports, music to media. They had done it all via the then-new World Wide Web, and most of them, including Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, had accomplished it before turning 40.
At the cover shoot “you could overhear them talking about potential business deals,” FORBES’ Eric Nee later recalled. “And kidding about stock prices: ‘How’s your stock doing?’ ‘What’s your market cap now?’ ”
Within two years, of course, the Internet bubble would burst, upending the bestlaid plans of far more than just these Web pioneers. Several featured companies (Broadcom, Yahoo, CNET) survived. One thrived: Amazon, with $107 billion in sales, is today the world’s fourth-most-valuable company; Bezos is its fifth-richest person. Other firms and faces—remember Joseph Firmage’s USWEB or Michael Levy’s Sportsline?—quickly faded.
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