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Wouldn’t You Be Upset If You Invented The World’s First Search Engine Like Alan Emtage & Never Got Paid For It?

Submitted by on April 3, 2013 – 10:51 am3 Comments
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Alan Emtage changed your life. Back in 1989, waaaaaaay before anyone had ever taken the “Bing challenge” or used Google to search for the closest Chinese restaurant to them, Emtage created “Archie,” the world’s first search engine. It was obviously a very early version of a search engine and didn’t do anything close to what today’s search engines do. But, it laid the foundation for today’s search engines and, in a lot of ways, changed the world.

Think about it: What would you do without search engines today? I will admit that my job would be much, much more difficult—impossible even—without search engines. And, there’s a good chance that you would have a lot of trouble functioning without search engines, too. They’ve become a part of all of our lives.

With that in mind, you would probably assume that Alan Emtage is probably a very rich man today, right? He’s probably living large and banking off of his original search engine concept. Except that, well, he’s not. In fact, he never saw a single dime from his invention. And, that’s because he never got a patent for his original idea. It never occurred to him that, one day, search engines would rule the world. But, somewhat surprisingly, he doesn’t regret making the decision that he made not to get a patent.

“At the time,” he told Huffington Post recently, “no one was making money off of the Internet, and we didn’t patent any of the original ideas behind Archie. So, the patents would have been where I made the money.”

Emtage’s story is probably not unique. As he mentioned, the Internet wasn’t seen as a viable money-making concept back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was something that piqued the interest of those who loved technology. But, no one ever thought it would be a big business one day. And yet, that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

If you were Emtage, would you be upset about the fact that you never cashed in on your big invention? Or, would you be satisfied knowing with simply knowing that you changed the world forever? We would probably revel in the fact that we changed the world. But, that money would be nice, too!

Check out Emtage’s recent interview with Huffington Post over here and let us know where you stand.

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