Firmage Reacts To Reuters Story
- From Joe Firmage <firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hello everyone,
- Some of you may have heard the news that
I have chosen to step aside from my position as Chief Strategist at USWeb.
- First off, I'd like to say that there
have been wild exaggerations of my assertions by the press. I expected
this (this whole bit of "reverse engineered technology" as one
example has been wildly exaggerated, as anyone who actually has read my
book knows, meanwhile the important parts of the book that I've truly stressed
to reporters go unreported). Thus reality is transformed into caricature.
Anticipating this inability on the part of the press to think and report
in shades of gray rather than simply black and white led me to propose
to my associates several days ago that I step aside.
- This is a long process and it has just
begun. I love the company we've created far too much to see it take any
collateral flack from my publishing.
- I will be releasing on the Internet an
official synopsis of my book shortly which, among other things, will clarify
what I have actually said and what I actually believe, as opposed to the
"X-Files" sensationalizations reported. In comparing the two
versions of the story, many of you may see for the first time a real-time
living example of the ways in which remarkable ideas can be and have been
trivialized and discredited.
- The wonderful thing about the Internet
is that irresponsible journalism can be circumvented through direct broadcast
- Very best,
- Joseph Firmage
In a bizarre twist, USWeb founder Joe Firmage has quit his executive post
even as a San Francisco newspaper was trumpeting his view that aliens are
behind many of today's technological advances.
- Firmage, 28, told the newspaper he was
resigning to deflect publicity from the Santa Clara Web consulting firm,
which recently merged with CKS. The story quoted company CEO Robert Shaw
as agreeing with the decision.
- "Given the market exposure associated
with his outside interests, Joe suggested that we would all be better served
if he didn't have an official role with the company," Shaw was quoted
- The company could not be reached early
this morning. No announcements about the resignation were on the USWeb/CKS
- Firmage, who was CEO of USWeb (Nasdaq:USWB),became
chief strategist of the combined companies.
- ZDNN broke the story about some of Firmage's
eyebrow-raising beliefs and controversial book published on the Web last
- Firmage told the newspaper he wants to
further publicize his beliefs, which include that many of today's high-tech
advancements including computer chips and lasers can be traced back to
a UFO crash in Roswell, N.M.
- The paper characterized Firmage "the
Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley," perhaps foreshadowing the kind of publicity
Firmage is expecting.
- Softbank Corp., the parent company of
Ziff-Davis Inc., which publishes ZDNN, holds an investment stake in USWeb/CKS.
- Real-life X-File? Computer Pioneer Quits To
- By Andrew Quinn 1-10-99
- SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -
In the X-Files it would be called the case of the CEO and the UFO.
- Joe Firmage, who at the age of 28 has made not one but
two mega-fortunes as a computer pioneer in California's Silicon Valley,
has quit the $2 billion company he helped found to promote what he calls
"the most important news event in 2000 years" -- his belief that
many of today's scientific advances came from space aliens.
- "Why would a young, successful CEO risk his reputation
on something this fantastic?" Firmage told Saturday's San Francisco
Chronicle in announcing his departure from USWeb/CKS (Nasdaq:USWB - news),
an Internet marketing and consulting company based in Santa Clara, California.
- "Because I believe so much in this theory. And I
am in a unique position to communicate an extremely important message.
I have the money, credibility, scientific grounding, and faith."
- Firmage has been dubbed the "Fox Mulder of Silicon
Valley" after the hero of the "X-Files" television series,
and his own beliefs seem strangely parallel to the dark mix of UFO contact
and government conspiracy that lie at the show's core.
- Backed by his immense resources, Firmage has sought to
prove a variety of theories regarding UFOs, including one which holds that
many recent scientific advances including semiconductors, fiber optics
and lasers can be traced to a purported alien spaceship crash in Roswell,
New Mexico, in 1947 that was covered up by the government.
- "Outright rejection of the evidence without comprehensive
review of the research in print across hundreds of books is close-minded,
unscientific and indeed irresponsible in the extreme," Firmage wrote
in one recent essay.
- "It is also quite understandable given decades of
government disinformation which, right or wrong in its genesis and continuation,
was specifically designed to create a 'giggle factor' surrounding the subject."
- Firmage's credentials as a UFO buff are matched by his
track record as a computer industry entrepreneur.
- A physics major at the University of Utah, Firmage was
18 when he formed his first company, Serius, which specialized in writing
computer operating system codes. That was sold to Novell in 1993 for $24
million, and Firmage served as Novell's vice president of networking strategy
until 1995 when he left to form USWeb.
- That company, which helped companies to develop Internet
strategies, completed a merger with CKS Group Inc. last month to form a
$2.1 billion powerhouse that employs 1,950 people.
- During the merger, however, Firmage was edged out as
CEO by a board of directors who did not see eye to eye with him on the
UFO issue. Now, Firmage says, he is leaving the company for good to pursue
- "I want to ensure that the company is not impacted
in any negative way," Firmage told the Chronicle, adding that he was
not pressured to give up his job as chief strategist.
- Robert Shaw, who took over as CEO of USWeb/CKS, said
Firmage himself had suggested the move "given the market exposure
associated with his outside interests."
- "Joe is a visionary and he should be quite proud
of what he accomplished. This move should demonstrate to the public and
the employees that he's always put the interests of the company first,"
Shaw told the newspaper.
- Firmage has already laid the groundwork for a campaign
to publicize his UFO beliefs. He has set up the International Space Science
Organization to promote his views, sunk $3 million into an endeavor dubbed
'Project Kairos' aimed at preparing humanity for alien contact, and posted
a 600-page manifesto, entitled 'The Truth', on his website (www.thewordistruth.org).
- Included in 'The Truth' are new documents from a source
Firmage calls the 'Deep Throat of Cyberspace' which he claims back up his
space alien theories.
- One of the documents is a purported 1947 memo from President
Harry Truman to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal that sets up a secret
U.S. government operation dubbed 'Majestic Twelve' to investigate extraterrestrials.
- Another is an alleged June 1947 letter from Albert Einstein
and Robert Oppenheimer to scientist Vannevar Bush giving advice on how
to deal with alien visitors.
- Firmage's departure from USWeb/CKS was greeted with a
shrug by many of his Silicon Valley contemporaries, who have long scoffed
at his otherworldly beliefs.
- "I've met a bunch of the valley's pioneers, and
none of them I know are aliens," said John McLaughlin, a Silicon Valley
historian. "The valley was built on ingenuity and hard work."
- Even Silicon Valley's 'official' UFO organization, the
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute which is partly
financed by high-tech heavyweights from Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and
Intel, is not lining up behind Firmage.
- "Roswell has repeatedly been discounted as nothing
more than a military experiment," SETI Institute President Frank Drake
told the Chronicle. "It is constantly exploited by obsessive types
who want to believe. If it's not Santa Claus, then it's aliens."
- Firmage, however, was unperturbed by the lack of support
from the high-tech world.
- "It's the Flat-Earth society mentality all over
again, and I'm here to prove my theory is real," he told the newspaper.