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Paul Graham

Develops retailing software


Graham and hacker Robert Morris, who know each other from Harvard, begin developing software for retailers.

Netscape was about to do this big IPO, and they had a huge PR campaign. Netscape was saying that people were going to buy and sell a lot of stuff online. So we thought, OK, we’ll write software for people to buy and sell things online.

They borrow $10,000 from lawyer Julian Weber, who is married to one of Graham’s painting teachers, and buy a Web server and started writing code.

It was one scary moment after another. We didn’t know what a term sheet meant or what a valuation was or that companies had boards of directors. All of those things just seemed like words we’d read in a newspaper.