Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Blue Mountain Arts' Polis of Web 1.0 and His First Year as a Congressman in Web 2.0

While in Washington, D.C., last week, one of BoomTown’s last stops was at the office of Colorado Democratic Congressman Jared Polis on Capitol Hill.

Although I usually try to avoid politicians at all costs, it was terrific to check in with Polis, who was one of the more interesting players in the Web 1.0 scene.

His family–the Schutzs–created a pioneering and unusually fast-growing online greeting cards site in 1996, Blue Mountain Arts, inspired by their independent analog company.

In 1999, they sold it to Excite@Home for $780 million, a little less than half in cash, in what turned out to be one of the final bubble deals of that era.

Proof of that: American Greetings (AM) snapped up Blue Mountain Arts for just $35 million in cash in 2001.

By that time, Polis–who decided to use his mother’s maiden name–had involved himself in educational issues in his home state and finally won a seat in Congress in 2008.

Polis, 34, whose entrepreneurial ventures in tech preceded and followed Blue Mountain, talked with me about his first full year in office, which includes a lot less tech focus than you might imagine.

Here’s the video, which includes a tour of Polis’s Congressional office in the Cannon House Office Building:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik