VeriSign Celebrates dot-com in Style

17 March 2010

I was fortunate enough to score an invite to VeriSign’s impressive 25th anniversary bash of the .com domain at the Ronald Reagan Building yesterday. The event featured an extraordinary line-up of speakers including Bill Clinton, Fareed Zakaria, Reed Hundt, Mo Rocca and tech journo superstars Kevin Maney and Kara Swisher.  While my favorite part of the day was when Kara Swisher jokingly referred to Google in 20 years as the next potential SkyNet – better known as the company that created the Terminators – the topics of the day surely focused on the dot-com boom both past and present.

While the event featured two stellar panels, I found Kevin Maney’s morning panel discussion with Rod Beckstrom (H&K client), Robert Atkinson, Rocca and Hundt particularly interesting. Clinton always steals the show, but for the benefit of tech I thought I’d talk to one of the threads that came out of the panel. Hundt brought up the idea of the Internet as this generation’s “common medium for humanity.” While my parents’ generation had the television, my generation is glued to the Internet. And why not? According to Mark McLaughlin, president and chief executive of VeriSign, today we have close to 85 million dot.com names registered.

But make no mistake of Beckstrom’s role and ability as President and CEO of ICANN to make the Internet work for everyone. His quest to expand the number of top level domain names is central to Hundt’s closing argument: “We haven’t yet wrapped the whole world in the common language of dotcom-ism,” he said. “It’s an important thing to do.”

A classy celebration of dot-com is just the beginning. Here’s looking forward to the next 25 years and a hope that folks like Hundt, Beckstrom and all the other entrepreneurs out there can continue to focus on upholding the values that unite our common humanity.

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