Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 14:15:08 -0800


From: justin <>
Subject: good lyrics

(we're mostly returned to our original email addresses.)

howdy -

abbe reminded me that i collected advance predictions for electric minds (as i did when i was at hotwired). as i agreed originally, these are being sent back to a collective without names (of course styles may still permeate).

a year later, it's appropriate to read these dreams from then now. anyways, this timing lends itself to sentimentality.

another anniversary, for which i was equally unprepared, i celebrated a year with amy, my girlfriend, yesterday, with six hours on the phone. our sentimentality was tempered by our arguing who could make the lengthiest bowel movement. you guys will have mark's viscosity and howard. and stimulating new ventures i hope!

i am trying to graduate from college still. i have had "meaning, context and media" approved as my special major here at swarthmore; i hope to finish in june, and then likely move to the bay area to be with my baby.

of course updates on most things are available on my site, i update it less often than i did when i was at minds - my hands still hurt some and i have a more balanced existence (a girl-thing to engage, and a course of study to indulge).

somebody send me a group jpeg from this gathering.
hilarie, y'all, thank you for your spirit.

i think the safest thing i can say is that we were ahead of our time (more abstract than our burnrate/overhead was too high - maybe we were ahead of our money too). ahead of time is okay when howard writes books about concepts to come, but a little different when a group of people signs on to make the future happen. maybe we have. is durand invited to this gathering? they made a oddly personal web site about the moving of minds. is randy invited? jane howard? who was there 11/11,11:11? a federal express delivery man. arnold. was arnold there?

party people, in the house,


(i have 7 people responded to this - please let me know if your reply didn't make it in.)

Date: Sun, 1 Sep 1996 22:26:10 -0800
From: justin <>
Subject: sooth

before the outcome is come clear,

I would like to collect from you all your sooth - sense of what is to come

guess, gander, take a stab poke in writing at the future of this brave enterprise

how many employees? how many hits? how much money? which countries? which drugs? how long will the jail sentences be?

send back yer replies, and put a time stamp on them if you would (in six months, electric minds will, by two years from launch, eminds has,

take a stab, send yours to justin, I'll compile them and redistribute them anonymously back to the group.

anything you find suitable, any structure, any reply - please do your own thing, futureward.

ten minutes.


September 2, 1996

Looking ahead, I see us giving real meaning to the notion of providing a place for those who should talk together to talk together. Also, in giving real meaning to the message that Goethe offered, "Science and art belong to the whole world and before them vanish the barriers of nationality." It is in such a necessarily expansive spirit that I see us reaching not only the minds of the world, but their hearts, as well.

It may well be said of us that we hastened the coming of that ol' fashioned one world religion. But before then, we will be humbled in this assessment because we will come to see that our users were its true prophets, and we were just its mules, driven by the Lokas of the new day.

Such new roads are rarely smooth. It could well be that we will be ridiculed, and scorned, and made unwelcome even among our own tribe. But then it will be seen that those who live to scorn are those same who have little regard for the truth. And we will take heart in that, and so better become true believers. In what? In our course, of purpose. In who? In each other, no doubt.

Beyond that, I see Justin getting arrested once again. (Don't worry Justin, it'll be a minor infraction.) I see political candidates jockeying to be in on our conversations. I see Howard on a game show, and Randy
addressing large audiences.

By January,1997 Electric Minds will have 15 employees. We'll have 30,000 subscribers who return at least once a week, and we'll have 60,000 registered users. We'll get 1,000,000 hits our first week. Our ZDTV television show will be a hit by early 1997. The first title in our line of books will appear in Spring, 1998. The first title in our video series will hit the market at the end of 1997, and we'll have 5 titles out by the Spring of 1998.

We'll break even by March, 1998, with revenues of $5 million annually by August 1998.

--> I envision that Electric Minds will be part of a larger organization, and will be one brand of many that Howard and his team are being asked to grow. I believe that Howard will be overseeing 100 people and then will call it quits at that point to focus back on his creative work. I think that Electric Minds will lead to several other brands with the world Minds.

I think the company, as we know it today, will be worth $30 million in 3 years and will be acquired by an "aggregator"

I think that we'll all view eMinds as the same kinda shop as Apple Media Lab or early days of Atari -- many well-known individuals in the futureworld will come from the roots of this initial team.

electric minds has potential to educate citizens
toward that end, given that bent
the scholarly tones of howard's tomes
the unmitigated enthusisiasm of the production crew for something beyond the bottom line

we could well see electric minds evolve into something scholarly

at least selectric,

so I predict that electric minds will not have more than 150k cultured, heeled subscribers,
unless the notion of what is electric minds changes drastically -

and unfolds into electric business, electric health, electric travel or electric partnerships

in which case the company will be more run and determined by the personality and direction of randy than rheingold

and some of howard's dreams of returning to the lawn to write will be fulfilled

but that's a path with some divergeance ahead - at some point howard will be inclined to sell his stake in those parts of the business that ask him to care beyond writing and hanging out online

unless those satellites are subserved to the web site core
or howard decides to master the zen of buck

this balance crucial could create electric minds as a slower to rise but ultimately more stable of the electric brand names.

I predict that electric minds will have good street cred, good marketing cred, good school cred. a great reputation all around

I just hope that does not mean financial insolvency

so that will be what shapes electric minds -

I predict the virtual office struggle for the company will become a major issue as it develops - how many people to hire in office, where it is, who has to show up there
versus wrestling with some new way to manage disparate employees and contractors
or some balance thereof

mark petrakis will do theatrical/performative/real time improvisational web work joined with live storytelling and performance, under the auspices of electric minds

one of these shows will be very expensive, and if howard is on his way out by then, so will be mark.

john mccoy will successfully play all three sides of the fence, until the time for him to run his own division, or create his own company, at which time he will focus, and fly, real high. and his energy will be missed.

justin will continue to correspond through electric minds as long as management can deal with him, or howard.

the acrimonious parting of either abbe, mark or howard will spell dire consequences for the future soul and membership roll of the enterprise.

jim will hire enough interns to allow him to fool around with tech jam, and brew electric beer.

this will be a great place to intern, and so the present office will overflow and overfill by spring or summer 1997,

this site will be seminal. as to whether it survives, in the current imagined form, with the current personelle,

each of jill and jim will be appropriately staffed to eventually allow them to their own thing do
jill could well end up an electric mind lifer, if she makes a home of it here. if she does, she could be a real community momma
along with thaisa, but her own writing career keeps her more distant

suffice to say that some thousands will call electric conversations home,
but the numbers could disappoint the investors

they'll be enough to pay for the site to continue on some smaller scale,
but videos and merchandising and cross promotions and partnerships will allow more expanse

some of which could be the Xerox PARC of computer community, where electric minds becomes the clearing ground, the test bed, the laboratory for new communications technology and strategy

and vagabond jim will either have hit the road, or he'll be in there tweaking higher level stuff and affirming the beautiful obvious

trina will be full time staff, and she will be an electric minds lifer.

world wide jam will require marks full time time and either it will get it, and he will start coming to the office more often or it will become something mellower.

virtual community center will evolve into the educational component of the site.


1. Within a year of launch, Abbe Don's "Bubbe's Back Porch", Justin Hall's "Vita", Mark Petrakis' "Telecircus/Mystery Train", and Dana Atchley's "Next Exit" form the core of the Digital Storytelling section, the most popular section on the site for raw hits and for encouraging reader generated content and sharing of media.

2. The Electric Minds Palace becomes the showcase for a new kind of improvisational interaction spawning 100s of imitators but none with the same verve and flair.

3. World Wide Jams are held weekly on the site and in real spaces around the world with new people joining in the fun all the time. The first World Wide Jam group wedding/commitment ceremony is held on the one year anniversary of the Eminds Launch.

4. After 3 years as Executive Producer of the entire company, Abbe takes maternity leave and gives birth to a beautiful baby girl.

5. Electric Minds invents a new genre of television--part Ernie Kovacs meets Spoonman; part MTV Real Life meets Justin's VITA; part Galloping Gourmet of cyberculture. Millions of viewers tune in and the site grows exponentially to meet the insatiable audience deman.


1. A CEO who appears to get it on the surface but fundamentally at the core doesn't "get it' takes over and most of the core team (Abbe, Justin, Vagabond, Spoon) leave to pursue careers as independent interactive media artists with lucrative consulting fees.

Electric Minds will become the lightning rod for a lot of free-floating bad vibes out there about the ability of the Internet to facilitate human communication. And we will channel and focus those vibes, and once and for all resolve the question about whether many to many on-line connections fragment our lives and decrease our humanity (answer: communication is communication, telephone, post card, or ascii, it is the flow of life itself).

First month: euphoria and steeling ourselves to stay on course amidst criticism both valid and clueless. Second month: fine tuning. Third month: a downer (partially the timing, during the holidays, partially b/c of exhaustion). And after that, in 1997, that is when Electric Minds will really take off.

And it will. I have a strong solid feeling that we around for the long run, no matter what that may be.


I've had a hard time coming up with a response to your email about the future of the company.

It's a combination of two things:

1) Time spent wondering about the present of this company 2) No idea about what the future holds for me.

I tend to look at long-term life things in terms of whether I will be happy doing them when I'm 30. For example, if I'm still living in this house/still dating this person/still working at this company when I'm 30, will I be satisfied?

For the first time in my life, I have a job where I'll be satisfied if I'm still here when I'm 30. That assumes growth, both personal and professional - and it looks like this company gives me both of those.

So the answer to the question "what is your future vision for Electric Minds" is a selfish one for me. My future vision for Electric Minds is one where we have carved out some specific but as-yet-undefined niche for ourselves, and I am still a major part of making sure that the company is continuing to evolve and grow.

i ching:
how should we consider the launch of electric minds?

13. T'ung Jen - Fellowship with Men
2 and 6 changes to
43. Kuai - Break-through (Resoluteness)

eminds | life

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