When asked "What can't you live without?" how many people would answer “the internet”? This answer is understandable. The internet is how we communicate, receive information, shop and find directions. But have you ever wondered how these internet features we seem to not be able to live without came to be? If origin stories, entrepreneurship and the internet fascinate you, listen to ‘Web Masters.’ ‘Web Masters’ weaves these themes together to form an entertaining podcast. 

Aaron Dinin is the host and teaches innovation and entrepreneurship at Duke University. He also studies the history of the internet. In his podcast, ‘Web Masters,’ he explores a behind-the-scenes look at the internet. Each episode focuses on a different innovative entrepreneur. Through interviews, listeners learn about people who paved the way for our internet today. Dinin uses an engaging and conversational style to bring to life their stories. They are motivating and inspiring to not only entrepreneurs, but anyone. 

With great success comes a fair share of challenges, and Dinin does not disregard that. He does not solely focus on success. Dinin also discusses the challenges entrepreneurs face. He emphasizes how to overcome them and how they can encourage one to keep moving forward. 

What I found to be the most interesting part of each episode was how ordinary each interviewee was. These groundbreaking people weren't all millionaires and famous. In fact, many of the names, the common person may not even recognize. They are people who used their resources and worked hard. As a result, a new and pivotal idea was brought to light that helped shape the internet into what it is today. 

Here is a sneak peek into three ‘Web Masters’ episodes:

Linda Lightman: The Woman Who Wants to Help Sell Your Stuff on eBay

Everyone has experienced being underbought when selling to consignment stores. Linda Lightman experienced this and turned to eBay to sell her no-longer-needed items. She turned reselling clothes into a profitable business. Lightman is the proud founder of "Linda's Stuff." Today it is "the world's largest seller of designer and luxury goods on eBay." "Linda's Stuff" began selling clothes out of Lightman's home. Today, the business runs out of a 93,000-square-foot warehouse with full-time employees. Lightman created a business out of something she loves, and listeners can tell simply by the way she talks. Dinin and Lightman discuss what made her business so successful as well as how she overcame entrepreneurial challenges. 

Louis Monier: The Man Who Could Have Bought Google for $1 Million

Louis Monier, aka "Father of Search," is the founder of AltaVista. AltaVista was the first reliable and widely used search engine. Dinin and Monier examine what the internet was like before the invention of the World Wide Web. Monier also recounts the time he had the chance to buy Google in its startup stage for only $1 million. Throughout the conversation, Monier emphasizes the importance of drive. He also advises to take advantage of the resources available around you to make your idea come to life. 

Chris Heivly: The Map Geek Who Gave Everyone Better Directions

Back in the day, if one wanted to travel to a new place, he/she hopped onto his/her computer and went on MapQuest. From there, one would print out written instructions. Then, take the papers with you in your car and follow the directions. MapQuest was one of the earliest websites to achieve broad consumer popularity. When MapQuest first started, brand name companies, like Starbucks, reached out for services. Since, it took off with great success. MapQuest was an essential aspect of forming the World Wide Web as we know it today. Oh, and we can’t forget it definitely made going places a lot easier. 

Listen to ‘Web Masters’ now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. 

@juliana.colant 

jc079419@ohio.edu