Where Are They Now?
Click here to let us know which once-prominent business leaders and innovators you want to catch up on, and the Fast Company team will do its best to get the goods on those long gone.
Who have readers asked Fast Company to track down? Learn Where They Are.
1. The Pets.com Sock Puppet
Then: He put Pets.com on the map in a $2 million spot during the 2000 Super Bowl–aired right around the time the company said it had lost $61.8 million on sales of $5.8 million.
Now: The Sock Puppet was sold for $125,000 in the Pets.com liquidation. Most recently, he has been shilling for 1-800-Bar- None, which provides car loans to people with bad credit.
2. Henry Blodget, former Merrill Lynch stock analyst
Then: In 1998, Blodget predicted Amazon.com’s stock would hit $400. For the next three years, the inexperienced onetime fact checker for Harper’s slapped aggressive price targets on any old dotcom dog, earning more than $18 million.
Now: After paying a $4 million fine and agreeing to leave the securities biz, Blodget returned to journalism. In November, he wrote the first in a series for Slate.com on the trial of Martha Stewart and her broker (another Merrill embarrassment).
3. Todd Krizelman and Stephan Paternot, cofounders of TheGlobe.com
Then: Two twentysomethings, not yet finished with college, started a company called The Globe.com (though no one’s quite sure what it did). In 1998, it shattered IPO records, rising 606%. Yes, we have a bubble!
Now: Krizelman went to Harvard Business School and last fall started in the management program at Bertelsmann (parent of Fast Company). Paternot has turned to the cinema, starring in a film called Shutter and trying to adapt a book he wrote into a screenplay.
4. George Gilder, “Gilder Technology Report”
Then: At the height of his power between 1999 and 2000, guru Gilder, with his newsletter and its 65,000 devoted followers, could move markets. A nod to Avanex in April 2000, for example, sent the stock up 155%.
Now: After nearly all of Gilder’s darlings famously tanked, his reputation plummeted faster than the Nasdaq. He has just 8,500 subscribers left, and a business associate holds a lien on his house in the Berkshires.
5. Marc Andreessen and 6. Jim Clark, Netscape cofounders
Then: It was the IPO that launched a million dreams. In 1995, Netscape (started only 16 months before by 22-year-old whiz kid Andreessen and Silicon Valley insider Clark) soared 154% at the opening bell.
Now: Andreessen is chairman of a company called Opsware, which delivers some sort of solution to some sort of enterprise. Clark and Tom Jermoluk, former chief of Excite@Home, started a real-estate firm.
7. Kim Polese, cofounder and former chairman of Marimba
Then: To put it crudely, Polese was one hot chick in a room full of nerds. Never mind that a clump of highly talented engineers left Sun along with her in 1996 to start what has become a successful multimillion-dollar software firm.
Now: Personally worth at least $40 million at one point in 2000, Polese stepped down from the company at the end of 2003, saying she wished to pursue new venture interests.
8. Al Gore, former vice president of the United States
Then: “Created the Internet.”
Now: Endorsing Howard Dean and serving as vice chairman for investment firm MetWest.
9. Candice Carpenter, cofounder and former CEO of iVillage
Then: Brought the first major “women’s only” site to the Web in 1995. The 1999 IPO reportedly made her worth $32 million. By 2001, the year she resigned, her take was slashed to $200,000.
Now: Wrote a self-help book called Chapters: Create a Life of Exhilaration and Accomplishment in the Face of Change (McGraw-Hill, 2002). Also married Random House CEO and all-around mover-and-shaker Peter Olson. (Bertelsmann owns Random House, too.)
10. Stephen M. Case and Gerald Levin, former AOL Time Warner chiefs
Then: At the moment Steve Case, the head of AOL, embraced Gerald Levin onstage after announcing that AOL was buying Time Warner on January 10, 2000, the world collapsed in on itself. Forget the market drops of 2000. It was that damn hug that doomed us!
Now: After the newly named–and then recently unnamed–AOL Time Warner lost $200 billion in shareholder value in less than three years, both guys are out. Levin abandoned his wife of 32 years for a youngish-looking clinical psychologist and headed for California. Case got the boot from his old-world media cronies. To top it off, both men were personally named in a suit filed by California’s state pension fund to recover more than $250 million in stock losses.
11. Stuart (Michael C. Maronna)
Then: “Believe in yourself!” That’s what Stuart, Ameritrade’s mohawked slacker-spokesman told his buttoned-down, disbelieving boss as part of a $200 million ad campaign, circa 1999, as the crusty old guy threw the investment dice into the Internet ether.
Now: Stuart, actually the actor Michael C. Maronna, is wrapping up production on a movie due out this year called, we kid you not, Men Without Jobs.