Usenet gems: the ‘WorldWideWeb app’ launch and a 1984 Microsoft job posting

Usenet gems: the ‘WorldWideWeb app’ launch and a 1984 Microsoft job posting

This is the second time this week Hacker News pointed out an old Usenet posting archived on Google Groups that we thought was worth sharing more broadly.

The first one was Tim Berners-Lee announcing the WorldWideWeb application as an alpha release in source and binary form. Back in August 1991.

The best part:

This project is experimental and of course comes without any warranty whatsoever. However, it could start a revolution in information access. We are currently using WWW for user support at CERN. We would be very interested in comments from anyone trying WWW, and especially those making other data available, as part of a truly world-wide web.

The second one is this February 1984 Microsoft job opening posted on the online bulletin board and penned by one of their engineers.

It’s a great read, but here are the parts that stand out for me:

its (sic) a great place to work. The company is owned (a key issue) and operated by software wizards: Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

This means :

– private offices (as many with windows as topology permits)
– informal lounges for design/discussion/rap sessions
– whatever hardware facilities are needed for the job
– Microwave ovens, refrigerators, free soda, etc. throughout the buildings

Sounds like it was essentially Google, way before Google!

Since the development people report strictly to software engineers, who report directly to chairman/CEO Gates, we never do anything stupid because some manager/MBA/suit-type has power without knowledge. (When we do something stupid, its our own fault!) Likewise, there are no “politics”, just engineering.

So there you have it. Back then Microsofties never did anything stupid because there were no business people standing in the way, and it was all about the engineering.

Like the variety of small startups, Microsoft offers its key technical people stock options. We can offer technical challenges as good as or better than startups, financial packages ditto, and, since we’re 90% owned by ourselves, we have no outside investors to restrict or direct our development efforts.

Sounds like a really cool small startup to work for back in the day. Seriously.

Like these gems? Click here and scroll down. There goes your day.

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