Are you thirsty for signs that the global Internet craze has reached its high-water mark? Are you eager to be part of the splash that hotshot Net companies are making? Then buy a five-pack or two of their water.
HQ2O is a Web startup that sells — believe it or not — "natural spring waters from the fountains of cyberspace." Insiders from well-known high-tech outfits — including Yahoo!, Tripod, Apple Computer, and Xerox PARC — collect water from their company's coolers for HQ2O. Then the company bottles the water, labels it, and sells it. Five four-ounce flasks of this nectar from the techno gods go for $125. "No book, no seminar, no email address will bring you closer to the wellspring of the wealthiest companies of this millennium than HQ20," gushes the marketing propaganda.
Sound absurd? Well, it's authentic — sort of. Like any self-respecting Web startup, HQ2O has a founding mythology. But, in this case, that mythology is actually a myth. The mythmakers (and founders of the company) won't reveal their actual names. Instead, they call themselves Sam Taylor and Faye Mulholland — and they've concocted a "we sketched it on a napkin" story about HQ2O's creation. The reality is that real people from real companies are really supplying the water, that real people are really buying the stuff — and that all of HQ2O's profits are really going to charity.
Are you desperate to quench you thirst by drinking from the font of Silicon Valley? Then head to the Web (www.HQ2O.com)!
A version of this article appeared in the May 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.