EarthLink Network Sponsoring TidBITS -- We're pleased to welcome our latest sponsor, the national Internet provider EarthLink Network. EarthLink is best known for expanding from being a Los Angeles-area provider to offering flat-rate nationwide dialup service in 210 cities and also an inexpensive (as it goes) 800 number for dialup access. EarthLink offers true Internet connections, and their TotalAccess package provides an automated signup process via a customized version of MacPPP, and installs licensed copies of Netscape and Eudora Light.
I've followed EarthLink Network from its beginnings, because in a small way I'm responsible for their existence. Way back in late 1993 or early 1994, EarthLink founder Sky Dayton bought my book, Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, and - after reading it - sent me mail asking what I thought about creating an integrated Internet program. He was ready to find funding and hire programmers, but I talked him out of it over the course of a few messages. Then, in June of 1994, I got mail from Sky again, saying he'd put the integrated Internet program project on the back burner and was starting an Internet service provider in LA. At the time, there were hardly any providers in LA, and none, if I remember right, who knew much about the Mac and PPP connections.
I remember thinking then, as I do now, that being an Internet service provider isn't a job I'd like to have, but Sky and the folks he hired to work with him at EarthLink have done an incredible job of growing the company, so much so that at times they've had troubling training people quickly enough. When I stopped by the EarthLink booth at Macworld SF this year and asked for Sky, the woman I spoke with had only been working with EarthLink for a few days and didn't even realize who Sky was. Such are the problems with growth, and going national opened the floodgates. Once you're caught up in the floodwaters, though, it's best to go all out, and I wish them luck. [ACE]