Earlier this month, Jim Clark, the 65-year-old maverick entrepreneur well known for starting companies such as Netscape and Healtheon, tied the knot with 28-year-old Australian supermodel Kristy Hinze. The odd coupling mirrors today’s strange agreed-upon wedding of Clark’s first major company, Silicon Graphics and the little-known server-making upstart Rackable Systems. SGI filed for bankruptcy and
was agreed to be sold to Rackable for $25 million.
As a beat reporter, I covered SGI pretty closely. I remember the company’s foray into the “Information Superhighway” and how its coolest-looking machines helped create Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.” SGI was cool, in an Apple sort of a way. It had some of the smartest engineers and had a feeling of counterculture, which has slowly vanished from the Valley. I remember writing about the company giving up on its own version of UNIX and adopting Windows NT.
A series of management blunders and teutonic tectonic shifts in the technology landscape turned this once proud bastion of engineering into a historical footnote. And, as of today, even that is no more.