Acknowledgments and Thank You from Eric Ward
 
Below are several individuals who may not realize how much they helped me over the years

Dr. José-Marie Griffiths
In 1992 she convinced me I had a future in the information industry, she helped me get into LIS grad school, then she was asked to be the interim VC/CIO for The University of Tennessee, and she hired me as her Research Associate.  She gave me the green light to be UTK's first "unofficial" web evangelist, and she then supported my entrepreneurial efforts as my business grew. 
Dr. Carol Tenopir
In 1993, Carol was the instructor of a LIS grad school night course I took which I think was titled Information Industry.  My semester project was to create a business plan for a fictional information based business.  My fictional business plan became real, and the rest is history.
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David Everhart
When I drove down to the offices of US Internet in Knoxville in 1993, I met him for the first time and asked him if my idea for an online public relations and linking business made sense.  He told me yes and asked me what I was going to call it.  I had no idea.  He said "how about NetPOST?" Bingo. He then gave me my very first paying gig, submitting the URL for a local company's new web site to Yahoo, NCSA What's New, WWWworm and wherever else it could be submitted.  The fee? $195.
Aaron Newton
I had the good fortune to meet him back when he was still in college.  He's one of the few people who saw the web's real potential while others fought it.  He created my first logos, and has made fun of them ever since because I have yet to change them all these years later.
Glenn Fleishman
Founder of one of the very fist Internet Marketing Discussion Lists.  He was the chairman/moderator of the Adobe Internet Conference series, and part of his role was to find speakers.  He invited me to speak at the San Francisco Adobe conference even though he had never met me in person.  The impact of that show on my career cannot be overstated.
Jeff Bezos
So one night in 1994 I get an email from a guy who had read my post on a discussion list.  He had a crazy idea to create an online bookstore and wanted to talk by phone.  I remember covering the phone and whispering to my girlfriend (now my wife) that an online bookstore seemed like a stupid idea.  But, this Jeff guy was really excited and wanted me to be the publicist/promoter/link builder for the launch.  He was willing to pay me my whopping fee of $400, so what the hell, I said sure. The rest is web history, and I cannot say thank you enough, Jeff. 
Jim Sterne heard me speak at a conference and told me I had some talent.  I didn't believe him.  But over the years we'd see each other at various shows and he convinced me I actually was a pretty good speaker, and he ordered me to raise my rates so I'd be taken seriously or else he'd never speak to me again.
Danny Sullivan recognized and legitimized the entire field of search engine marketing.  He made it easy for all of us to learn what we needed to learn in order to sound smart when talking to clients.  Thank God for his generosity. I was his first paid subscriber.  Also, thank you for the continued speaker invites.
Dr. Bill Rosener
Wrote me my first email management script in perl.  It was probably the first email merge program ever created.  I ran URLwire using that script for five years.

Cliff Kurtzman and Richard Hoy, who started the industry's very first awards, the Tenagras, and then in a moment of utter lunacy, awarded me one.

Steve Broback, Steve Roth, Toby Malina, Jim Heid and the entire Thunder Lizard team.  Thank you for the awesome conferences, the great venues, the warmth, and the lite-brite.

Larry Chase, thank you for the skull sessions, advice, and for WDFM.

Rich Ord, who was writing and editing a news headline link feed long before anyone had a clue what they were and would become. Thank you for the links to URLwire!

Ralph Wilson, who is too humble to ever say it, but is an online marketing legend.

Chris Locke, who wrote The Cluetrain Manifesto and who recognized a geek on a 14.4 modem in his kitchen was actually on to something.

Melissa Ward, who had confidence in my ideas and encouraged me to pursue them. 

I humbly say thank you.


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