Jack Yan talks about realising the power of online publishing.
In 1993, the web was still a patchy affair at best… but some local pioneers were already declaring the printed word out-of-date as updates of the world's big events, and everyday minutiae, streamed down to early-adopters in real time via the Internet.View 1993 › or Start at 1989
“Law School, ‘93. They hooked up to the World Wide Web. Netscape 1.0. Black and white on PowerMacs. Well, actually they had some Macintosh SEs running as well, so that was hooked up to the Internet. I thought, “This is it”. I looked at it and I instantly fell in love with it. “Here’s the way a 21-year-old kid with no money can publish worldwide” – that was the first thing that came into my head. I thought, “I’ve got to learn how to do this”. I’d learned HTML coding – pretty easy – HTML 1.0 didn’t need an awful lot of knowledge. I don’t think we had tables. That came a couple of iterations of HTML later. I was doing graphic design as a young man in the late ‘80s – doing cut and paste and that meant scalpel and ball gum. So I thought, “Hey, I can use and adapt the knowledge I have from print magazines on to the Web and I saw this wonderful opportunity to publish internationally using the World Wide Web. There weren’t that many websites at that point either. I don’t think Ford had one, I don’t think Chevrolet had one. Saturn had one because that was the GM brand and that was meant to be trendy and Mercury I think had one. But very, very few companies had one. So we started launching Web magazines in 1993, including CAP Online which was an HTML-designed business magazine that we did. If you like, it was sort of a precursor to Lucire, the fashion magazine that we ended up doing in 1997. I spent my honours year at Uni in ’96 using it as a research project which was great – I got a good grade for it especially since it was from the real world. I learnt how to do the HTML, I did it all in Notepad and I did apply that knowledge of ‘you must not have a line wider than about 60 characters’. And people like Berners-Lee, they didn’t care – it was just the technical medium to them. For me, it was a design medium. ‘Ok, we’re going to find a way to limit the table cell widths to roughly about 60 characters. We’ll find a way to position the graphics for when your browser widths change’ – pre-CSS of course. The photos would still fall at a certain place that the page looked ok. And all of that was quite fun because it was uncharted waters. Very few people were putting a print mindset onto the Web in 1993-’94 and that’s what I really loved about it.”