NAME: CHARLES WALKER
POSITION: MANAGING DIRECTOR, LYCOS UK & IRELAND
WEB SITE: WWW.LYCOS.CO.UK
Charles Walker is MD of Lycos UK & Ireland, the net portal that advertises itself with the friendly black labrador which is told to 'Go get it!'. Before joining lycos in 1998, Walker worked as an internet consultant and, before that, as a technology journalist. He has been involved in the net long enough to remember when web pages were text only.
Q: When did you become interested in the internet?
A: I have been involved with the internet since the early 1990s, when I wrote about it as a technology journalist. Back then, the internet meant e-mail and a way for academic researchers to share information. The big change was in spring '94 when Marc Andreesson - later one of Netscape's co-founders - suggested a standard to put graphics and images onto web pages. Before they were just text. I think you could say this was the beginning of the web as we know it now. I can remember the excitement of buying a modem and, from my living room, going into web sites in Moscow, California - all over the world!
Q: How much time do you spend surfing each day?
A: The web is a fascinating medium because it includes every form of communication that can be processed by a computer - voice, sound, pictures, video, text, databases, real-time data. I used to spend hours looking at web sites to pick up new ideas but with the current rapid rate of growth of Lycos sadly I no longer have the time. However, I use the internet throughout the day every working day to send e-mail and check new enhancements on our sites and those of our competitors and clients.
Q: Which sites do you use each week?
A: Lycos UK & Ireland - we have more than 100,000 pages of UK content (and 11 million UK web pages listed) - is my first port of call to find information. The London street maps are especially useful. Also UK-iNvest (www.ukinvest.com) for UK share information and Lycos.com for the latest on US stocks. IPO.com is also worth checking out.
Q: Who are your advisers?
A: All the development of our products is done in-house. The Lycos Network globally has a team of around 200 engineers and developers who are constantly working to keep us at the forefront.
Q: What is your company's web strategy?
A: We are very focused on two core competencies - growing a mass audience and selling advertising and sponsorship. We are now one of the market leaders in the UK in terms of audience and have attracted advertising from more than 100 blue-chip companies.
Q: What is the most significant change the internet will bring about?
A: We are at the start of a fundamental change in the way that businesses and society operate. The online world makes distance meaningless and enables cost-effective one-to-one relationships with consumers. Within five years, interactive TV and internet-enabled mobile phones will dominate the consumer space as TV and mobile phones have higher penetration. The huge potential for business-to-business e-commerce on the internet has not been tapped yet - this is where the long-term growth potential is for the internet accessed via PCs, especially for procurement