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In the mid-90s, with the RCP heading more and more in its new pro-technology, pro-enterprise direction, Teare helped set up a series of internet business ventures, including Cyberia, Easynet, and CScape. These were mostly headed by and employed other RCP-ers. Teare then went on to become a Silicon Valley tycoon, enjoying a roller coaster romp through the boom years of the new economy bubble.
According to a profile in The Independent:
- Teare isn't your typical Valley boy. For starters, he grew up on a council estate in Scarborough in the early Sixties, the only child of six to go to university (Kent, to study political science and sociology). Afterwards he set up the London-based Workers against Racism and rallied against British involvement in Northern Ireland. He published a book critical of the treatment of immigrants in Britain under a pseudonym, so that the National Front wouldn't get him.
Of course the false name was not adopted for the purposes of writing the book but was in fact his 'party' name adopted some years before the book was published. The profile continues:
- Working for a small publishing company in 1981, he was put in charge of the computing system. He had never encountered a computer before. "I got completely obsessed," he says. By 1986 he had translated his obsession into a database and software support company, which he set up with his brother Brian. The Internet service provider Easynet came later, in 1994, shortly followed by the chairmanship of Cyberia, the Internet cafes.
- Centraal grew from Teare's experiences with exporting Easynet services to France. While trying to give Easynet subscribers access to Minitel through the Web, Teare hit on the idea of simplifying the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) system to allow users to type in a simple keyword which would link them to the appropriate Web site without the need for complicated dots and slashes. He e-mailed his idea to Jean Marie Hullot, who at the time was the chief technical officer of Steve Jobs' NeXT Software. "Hullot e-mailed me back with one word, 'Wow,' and I took that to mean that he wanted in," Teare recalls. By the end of 1996, Teare and Hullot were ready to launch Centraal, using some $3m of private finance, much of which Teare raised from the sale of his stake in Easynet. In spite of the fact that Hullot insisted on remaining in Paris, Teare chose to locate his start-up in Silicon Valley.
Changing his tune on Microsoft
During the Microsoft anti-trust trial Teare made a spirited defence of Microsoft and the American way of life - a line that was also peddled in LM. That, however, was before Microsoft pulled the plug on Teare's company, plunging it into liquidation. Since then some have accused Teare of playing the victim. His views on Microsoft certainly appear to have changed radically:
'We believe that Microsoft's investments should be seen for their positive impact not as a sign of monopolistic hidden agendas.' Keith Teare, June 7 2000
'Microsoft killed a whole market. It is a poor business decision made by souless people who clearly have the arrogance that comes from absolute power.' Keith Teare, June 4 2002
In Teare's extraordinary journey there seems to be a kind of metaphor for what happened to the RCP.
Teare's biographical note now read a little differently:
- Keith is the CEO and founder of Edgeio corporation is a silicon valley startup focused on building an online classified advertising network. edgeio has about 6000 listings advertisers submitting listings that appear on edgeio.com and over 1000 additional publisher web sites.
- Mr. Teare was the founder of RealNames, a Palo Alto based company specializing in Internet navigation and search technologies; co-founder of The EasyNet Group, a leading pan-European broadband supplier to businesses; co-founder of CYBERIA, the worlds first Internet Cafe and founder of cScape, a UK based systems integration specialist dating back to 1983. Mr. Teare is an advisor to SnapNames; Spotplex; Snipperoo; AboutUs.Org and Real Time.
Affiliations, Publications, Resources, Notes
- Keith Tompson, Under Siege: Racism and Violence in Britain Today., with a foreword from John Pilger, Penguin, 1988
- Website http://teare.com
- Archive of the site: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://teare.com/
- Twitter: Keith Teare
- Article Success? It's the name of his game Independent website acc 8 Feb 2011