Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Brief History of Search - A play for 3 ages!

[Any resemblance to real persons entities, living or dead is purely coincidental. Certain events may seem overly dramatized - after all, this is a play...]

A Brief History of Time Search [Abridged version]

Cast: 6 characters - A, I, G, M, O, Y
Guest Appearances: B, V, T
Location: Idyllic Silicon Valley (+ a rainy Seattle)
Time Period: 3 ages - Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Lights: All colors of the rainbow, lots of blue and purple...
Sound effects: [a yodel sound, the ka-ching money sound, a bell-like sound, and a bird tweet...inline]

Curtains: Y enters, adjusting his glasses...

Y : Who'd have imagined - I wrote this directory of a few sites, and thousands of people want to crash my servers. Let's make a company ... we're Stanford!

1996: Circa Web 1.0

Lights fade out and fade back on. A appears, fluffing her hair on her shoulders...

A : Ya know - we're Digital! I'm this really fast engine that gives millions of results for each search really quickly. The more the merrier ... and faster faster faster... my head is spinning...need some cold mountain air...

Y : Crap! This directory is getting larger everyday and I don't have any time for parties! Let's try this search thing that we've heard about. Hmm! It seems to work. Party time!

I enters. He has large sideburns, and powerful glasses ...

I : We're Cal! We're the spider trickster! We have the ability to defeat larger adversaries through wit and cunning! We're a hot Bot too.

Y : Yup! Pretty hot! Look at the funky tri-color logo! I like it!

I : Wow, I've been found(ed) at the right time! This search thing rocks! Let's try to crawl and index more stuff ...

Y : Hey this I search thing works quite well, let's use it ... and slap on some ads while we're at it

I : People click on those ads? That's better than those blinking banners I tried last week

Y : Wow! Lets put more ads on these search pages and make real money ... real fast! Let's put a little knob on how many ads go on top - we can turn that up higher or lower even higher ...we'll try banners on search later :-)

B lumbers in. He's big, and wears blue overalls with suspenders

B : Hey! I'm the big BB gun! I'm not feeling so Blue right now - we make a billion bucks from patents every year, and we have a really cool patent on this really Clever idea! And, BTW, we're BB so we're not really interested in making money of this really really Clever idea, since, you know, we're research and, you know, we luv tech, and, you know, that paper deadline is fast approaching, and we've gotta go...

G enters from the other side, sporting blue T-shirt, red shorts and lime green rubber slippers

G : Hey - this Blue algorithm is quite Clever! Hubs and Authorities, huh? Neat! What? Deadline? Gotta write a project paper? Give it a few neat researchy twists and publish or something...

G : What? We have traffic? We're actually better than A? Wow! ..Hmm... Let's make a company - we're Stanford after all...

Lights fade...

2000: DOT COM implosion ... beginning of Circa Web 2.0

A wild fire rages in California (read ... viral adoption)

G : What the ****? Everyone's at our doorstep - they feel lucky to find a useful first result more frequently....we're actually ....useful! Hey....stop knocking at my doors...I didn't even market the damn thing yet!

Y : Hey - let's give this G thing a shot - they're apparently very lucky - so maybe we can make some more money... and don't forget to slap those ads on!

I : Hey! What just happened here? I miss you! Can't I assume you'll go out with me tonight?

Y : Sorry! Shit happens! I've just found this cute new friend, who's trendier! I'm feeling lucky...

G : Hi! Can we please get some recognition here? After all I went to Stanford like you...pretty please!

Y : Sure - slap that colorful ballsy logo on those results - folks seem to like you anyway...kinda cute!

G : Are you sure you want those RPM numbers too - we'll send them over next week?

Y : Yeah! Thanks - they look pretty darn...WTF!? This is a shitload of money... this search thing is actually ... mandatory!! These geeks really built some magic pixie dust here... We've got to build this or something....

Enter O:

O is wearing a suit and tie and is carrying an expensive leather briefcase

O : Hi! I'm O. BTW - I know how to make you more money - more more more! We are bad! Downright evil ... but buy me and we'll make you money... and ...we've got some cool patents too, including a few search ones. Remember A? That really fast chick? She's in my harem now...

Y : Money! Hotel California! I don't want to ever leave! This may just be a gr8 idea!

Meanwhile, I is twiddling his thumbs ...

I : I've nothing to do - taking a bus around town! Wait - let me paint a banner on the bus so when I pass Y's offices, they'll remember I exist. Since Y seems to be in a daze, subliminal may work better ... and then ... they have a ... choice ... (pick me! me ... pick me!)

Y : Hey. What's that flashing banner?...Oh! our old friend's still around. Hmmm! Let's buy them and turn things harder for G, now that they're doing mail and finance and stuff ...

I : The DOT com's imploded, but V's bought our U-seek, and Y has our web search - we're outta here! (our bet of cache-ing out sure paid off in a funny way ...)

A : Hi I! How 'bout we make friends. We do live in the same big house now! I do know a few tricks. Be careful, I used to be really fast! Maybe we can do this together!

Y : What? This patent on making money on search is OURS?? Sue the twits! 300 Million? 300 Million Blue Blistering Barnacles! Take it before they change their mind!

G : Are those bozos not looking at the RPM and growth numbers? Well...they're grown ups and ... we're growing need to point it out to them...

Y : Okay, now! We're now as good as G. Well ... not exactly, but almost there ... and we are #2 and we do have 30% market share.


It's a rainy day. M, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, sleeves folded up to the elbows, i
s looking out the Windows

M : You know...we're all the rage with our software the world over! I'm just about ready to retire, go off and save the world and deal with HIV and malaria and stuff, but I'm surprised with this G phenomenon! Looks like I'll have to deal with a delay in my plans. Put a few billion on researching that, will ya?

G : Let's shore up the core! Let's focus on quality - people should always feel lucky - like we are, for finding this pixie dust. And we're making good money (not evil) - let's go public! We can do a whole lot of things with that money!

M : Money's still pouring in through every window, but we should probably keep an eye on this new advertising-based free-ak-oconomy thingy! It's all the rage!

G : Wow! That IPO was a fun ride! Who'd have thought we'd all be millbillionaires!! Sweet! Silicon Valley rocks!

Audio Effect: The ka-ching sound of money repeats over and over for a while.

M : What? 23B market cap? Who's smoking dope? This fad will surely pass...

G : Let's see now... how do I spend the money? I'll build a few toys ... a couple of apps, a shiny new phone, ... and I'd like a new TV too please - that Tube thing is quite cool...

M : Ok! That's it! We're not missing this boat! Put a few more barnacles on it!

Y is relaxing in a Sunny Vale, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a Panama hat, sipping Margarita

Y : OK! we've figured out this thing! We have all the ingredients! It's all about execution! (Execute or be executed!) There's money to be made and we're a search company now...and a media company...and a portal...yeah! that's it! we're a "media search portal mail social network" - let's spread the love like peanut butter.

Audio Effect: A yodel sound is heard in the background!

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. Put some more money into this! That'll fix it!

G : Man! Am I glad this is lawsuit is behind me now...onward! forward!

Y : Wow! Look at these numbers!! Who was that lawyer who settled for 300M? Fire him! Every damn percentage point of market share is worth a chunk of change!

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. Put some more money into this. That'll fix it!

B is seen in a dark bar, Beer in hand, listening to Blues music

B : M is into search now? Darn! Now I'm Blue! Maybe we should have sued when we had the chance ... Now it'll be sour grapes! Well ... we're research and we make a billion blistering blue barnacles licensing our patent portfolio - so we'll make it up in .... say... a million years! (we'll still be around)

Y : Let's get all of online America ! What?!!! G paid a billion green ones for that traffic? Who else is there besides the Fiery Fox out there, who we can't catch?

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. put some more money into this. That'll fix it! Wait! Let's give our users some money while we're at it - cash back...sounds fun

Y : Okay! we're almost there...almost as good as G.... we'll kinda sorta. That ought to be good enough! You want to do a new feature? Why? We're sitting pretty at 28% market share - and we have half the online world coming to our doorstep every day - no fear... O, A and I are here ... we've been doing this for a long long time...we know...

M : OK! We've done a lot of stuff, but this is not working. Let's buy Y ... and I'm ready to save the world, so you fellas - take care of this - can't be that hard! Should be a done deal in a couple of days ... simple MBA stuff

G : Whoa!

Y : Whoa!

M : OK then - easy fella! time to play nice now...

Y : (kicking and screaming) NO NO NO!

G : Don't worry...I'll help you. Remember we were always friends? We went to Stanford!

Y : I'm good enough! I'm smart enough! And doggone it...people like me...

M : Come now....

Y : I don't like the same beer as you do! We have different weather! This won't work! We're on our own, and we have 20% market there! Take your 33 and shove it... I'd like a 44 at least...

M : (prim and proper) Well then ... be that way! We'll just go back to our labs then...we have live labs, search labs, labs with windows. We'll wait for you to calm down! I cahn wait, you know!

Y : Go! That'll teach you for not coming in at at least 42! You'll come back at 40 - hah! Surely! Surely? ...

Some commotion is heard in the Valley

Y Friends : What - are you crazy?? Unite now...

Y Stockholders : What - are you crazy?? At least go on a damn date, will you?

Wall Street: What - are you ****ing crazy??

News: what the ...

Me: do it do it do it...please! My ESP(P) says that it's the right thing to do!

G : What - are you crazy?? (don't do it tho' ... I'm your friend and I endorse this message!)

M : Yup! You are crazy!!

Y : Surely you're coming back? At 35? Maybe? ...

There is no answer. A door is heard shutting. There's a muffled shout and the sound of a chair being thrown against the floor. Lights fade!

Lights fade in. Some time has passed. A few gray hairs are seen on some of the characters

2009 - Circa Web 3.0

M : Hello all you disgruntled fellas - come join us! We're building a new search thing that rhymes with "sing" - it should make a sweet sound when it lands ...

Y : Stop making any more noise, will you? You're distracting my users! We're at 18%...

Audio Effect: A dulcet bell-like sound is heard in the background!

M : Ding Dong! Here's something new to try out - decide if you like this better! Hmm - people seem to like us now! We've gained some share, it looks like...

Y : Okay then! Where are we? 17% - that's not too bad a drop for monkeying around!

M : That's it - you wanted 44? 33? Here you go! Pull the damn trigger. Hi Y Search! Ding! Decide!

G : Bye! Y Search

Y Friends : Bye! Y Search

M : Bye! Y Search

ENTER T: T enters, happy and skipping like a bird.

T : Tweet tweet! Bye! Y Search. We've just arrived ...just-in-(real)-time!

Audio Effect: A bird tweets in the background!

T freezes in the spotlight in the middle of the stage!



Unknown said...

awesome history. so much of it is tied to our careers, it is almost depressing. at least you landed at the right place.

Unknown said...

oh by the way, this is pradeep j. that was the anonymous google account i use, and frankly the world cannot afford to use too many things from G! it is too dangerous.

Unknown said...

A "Screen"-play in 3 pages too! The first 3 characters.. A.I.G... no freudian slip I hope..

Good stuff!

- Sri Thirumala

Unknown said...

A great history of search! Can you extend the play to show us the future?

rajat.mukherjee said...

yes :-) and there's an alternate ending as well (free on the dvd)!

Anonymous said...

Heya Rajat!

Love the stage fright of the tweeting bird at the end!! This was just hilarious!!!


Alex VanScoy said...

Now we know how it really happened!

The Jack said...
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mkoswell said...
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