Monday 2011-11-14

Arnold Kling tries building his own startup.

I had no business plan. Even if I had known what an "elevator speech" was, I could not have given one. I simply had a concept of providing articles about buying a home and engaging in some form of disintermediation in the real estate and mortgage business.

If I was vague about my entrepreneurial strategy, at least I was clear about my fallback position. I did not burn my bridges with my former employer. Moreover, I thought that even should my business fail, I would enhance my human capital by learning about the Internet. My willingness to launch The Homebuyer?s Fair was based more on my confidence in these fallback positions than on my belief in the venture itself.

One of the first things I needed to do was obtain a connection to the Internet that would enable me to use a graphical browser called Mosaic. This in turn meant that I needed to install a software "socket" for my Windows computer. Configuration of this "Trumpet Winsock" taxed my technical acumen beyond the limit. Eventually, Dave Stoddard, the President and founder of, drove to my office and installed the software.

The Netscape server turned out to be a disaster. The server-side Javascript applications that Dirk and I developed resulted in stress to the server that was way beyond what it was built to handle. Our server was crashing every few minutes, and taking a minute or so to restart. Apart from our site, no other company, including Netscape itself, attempted to make extensive use of server-side Javascript.