PlaNetwork 8, ManyOne

Joe Firmage gave the opening keynote Sunday morning.

Previously I knew Joe Firmage only by reputation. He founded and ran a high-flying Internet company named U.S. Web. BIG bucks. If memory serves, and that is questionable, Joe was drummed out when he began talking about extraterrestials. Little green men do not play very well on Wall Street. I figured he was an interesting flake. I was wrong.

This guy gives great, inspiring presentation. His ideas are lofty but well thought through. This morning Joe opened the kimono for the first time on his awesome new venture, ManyOne.

ManyOne is a brilliantly conceived project to create what Isaac Asimov called the Encyclopedia Galatica — all the knowledge we have, available through your browser. ManyOne will play X-box class animations over a 22.8 modem connection(!). A reusable portal infrastructure will enable ManyOne to offer custom 3D portals to groups as small as 1,000. Joe’s looking to create a 3D mirror of reality. After all, we’re moving from a world of 2D pages & links to a 3D environment of spaces & objects. Joe gave a knock-your-socks-off demo. Imagine an image-driven browser with these modes: discover (education), inform (news), trade (barter goods & services), community (chat, place to hang out) and (coming soon) play. You can see all this at the ManyOne site. (If you’re okay with a 100 MB download and use a PC, not a Mac.)

Pipe dream? I think not. Joe has a compelling business plan. In shorthand, the plan is to “disintermediate AOL.” For less money than either AOL or MSN charge, ManyOne will offer a connection, email, and wonderful content. (Joe’s aim is to be seen as the PBS of cyberspace.) Convincing? I was one of the early ones in what became a full standing ovation.

If you’re into UI, you owe it to yourself to check out the ManyOne browser.

Posted by Jay Cross at June 9, 2003 08:16 PM | TrackBack

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