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Famous and Infamous Dot-Commers: Where Are They Now?


They graced magazine covers and were worth billions. What happened next?

There are only a few big names from the dot-com heyday still in the same jobs now as they were then. Mary Meeker is still covering Internet stocks for Morgan Stanley (MS). Jeff Bezos is still leading Amazon (AMZN). Larry Page and Sergey Brin are still pretty much running the show at Google (GOOG).

Many of the high-flyers have settled into more humble vocations at more reasonable compensation levels. They've joined venture capital firms, started other companies that may never have a NASDAQ ticker, and consulted, advised, and influenced anyone who will listen to them. A lucky few are still swimming in money earned during the most over-inflated market we've ever witnessed.

Minyanville remembers some of the most memorable names from a decade ago and tracks down their sometimes surprising whereabouts today.

Jim Clark, Netscape

Jim Clark isn't technically the father of the Internet, but plenty of people regarded him as such during the dot-com boom. He was the founder of several companies, most notably Netscape Communications (AOL), which kick-started the Internet craze with its 1995 IPO.

The billionaire entrepreneur was restless during the boom years. Clark founded Healtheon, which was later merged with WebMD. He was the subject of a bestseller by Michael Lewis called The New New Thing. He launched myCFO, a financial management service for wealthy individuals. Clark has been a mentor to other entrepreneurs and a key investor in start-ups such as, which didn't survive the crash, and Shutterfly, which did.

Clark is living the good life these days, relaxing from time to time on one of his extravagant yachts. Last year, he tied the knot for the fourth time -- this time to an Australian model 36 years his junior. He co-produced a 2009 documentary on dolphin killing called The Cove. Clark's entrepreneurial streak will surely live on in his grandchildren: His daughter Kathy has two children with husband Chad Hurley, the co-founder and CEO of YouTube.

Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman,

Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman were 24-year-old Cornell students when, in 1998, they launched, a social networking site that allowed users to create their own web pages, cross post to each other's sites and send email within's network -- in other words, it was an early forerunner to MySpace and Facebook.

Investors were immediately hooked. In November 1998, the company went public, issuing shares at $9 each. The stock price reached $97 that day, then settled at $63.50, making's IPO the most successful offering in history until that date. Paternot and Krizelman became overnight millionaires, worth $60 million each -- at least on paper. The company itself was valued at over $1 billion, employed 300 people and reached 17 million members.

Just over a year later, however, was hemorrhaging money as the online advertising market dried up. In January 2000, the stock price had plummeted, and Paternot and Krizelman resigned. In August that year, the company shut down operations and was later purchased by a shell company.

Since then Paternot and Krizelman have stayed busy. Paternot, who published a memoir about the first quarter century of his life, launched PalmStar Entertainment, a small film production company. His most recent film project is Life 2.0, a documentary about people whose lives have been transformed by an obsession with the virtual world depicted in Second Life. The film, directed by Jason Spingarn-Koff (creator of NOVA's The Great Robot Race) was included in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Paternot is also running a venture capital firm, Actarus Funds, which provides seed money for digital start-ups. He keeps friends and fans informed of his whereabouts via breathless updates on his personal site,

Krizelman's life after has so far included Harvard Business School and a stint in the managing program at Bertelsmann publishing. In 2007, he founded Magazine Radar, a small company that arms magazines with detailed research to help improve advertising sales.

(Magazines? Wow, Krizelman sure knows how to follow the money.)

Shawn Fanning, Napster

When he started Napster, Shawn Fanning became every kid's hero and every recording-industry executive's worst nightmare. Napster burst onto the scene in 1999 with its online file-sharing service, which let people swap digital songs for free. Fanning was just 19 and in college at the launch of the peer-to-peer file-sharing service, which eventually shut down after a series of copyright lawsuits in 2001.

One of the youngest successes during the dot-com boom, Fanning never lost his taste for the fame. Shortly after Napster went dark, he helped start Snocap, a company that provided digital rights management services to artists and labels. It was eventually acquired by Imeem.

In 2006, he started Rupture, which he calls Twitter for gamers. It was sold to Electronic Arts in 2008 for $15 million. Fanning remains a general manager of the product.

Fanning also dabbled in acting. He had a cameo in the 2003 movie The Italian Job, and in 2008 he was interviewed by a Volkswagen Beetle in an ad for the car company.
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