A Couple Of Yahoos

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David Filo was born in Wisconsin 1966 to Jerry, an architect, and Carol, an accountant, but he was raised in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. There they live in what is called an alternative community. They live semi-communally with six other families, sharing gardening duties and a kitchen. Filo attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He continued his education at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Jerry Yang was born Chih-Yuan Yang in Taiwan in 1968, and was raised by his mother, Lily, an English and drama teacher, after his father died when he was only two. He immigrated to the United States when he was ten years old with his mother, grandmother, and younger brother, Ken, settling in the Berryessa suburb of San Jose. Yang spoke Mandarin Chinese and hardly any English, but soon learned it and became a strait-A student. He was admitted to Stanford University, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1990. It was there that he met David Filo.

Filo and Yang were doctoral students in computer engineering. As one of their assignments they were working on the computer-aided design of computer chip circuitry. For this project they were set up in an “office” which was really a trailer that was filled with computers and equipment. “ I was terribly bored,” Filo stated, “And with our faculty advisor out of town we started to fool around on the World Wide Web.” They soon became very frustrated with the World Wide Web. It seriously lacked any type of organization. The only was to access a page was to know the URL, or the address to the website. At the time there were books being published with lists of different sites and their addresses, however, this proved to not be very useful as website addresses change quite frequently, so that the books were outdated before they even hit the press.

Filo and Yang came up with the idea to provide a kind of roadmap for online users. They designed some software that organized web pages into topics and that could be used immediately to “link”, or go to those pages. In early 1994, “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was born, and the name was later revised to “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” The two provided the service free to all Stanford users.

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