The Truth about Excite\\@Home


Recently, there has been much confusion about my previous occupation to the extent that I'm thinking getting my birth certificate changed to Phil Windley, former owner of now defunct Excite\\@Home. Some, including the press, have started to question why the State is taking advice from someone who "ran his company into the ground."  For the record, here's a brief synopsis of the facts:

In 1994, I and a partner started a company called Electronic Marketing Services and started an online shopping mall called imall.com.  In 1995 we sold EMS to a company which eventually became iMALL, Inc. 

In 1997, Richard Rosenblatt took over as CEO of iMALL, Inc., determined to turn it into an ecommerce company.  He raised $20 million in private placement capital on the basis of a business plan that Steve Fulling and I drafted in my basement.  As a result, he asked me to leave BYU and come on board as Chief Technology Officer.  Steve was Vice President of Engineering.

Starting in January of 1998 with 3 technical employees, Steve Fulling and I built a technical team that within 18 months numbered nearly 150 people.  We had the money and options to hire the best people available and we did.   We designed, built and operated large n-tier ecommerce applications and learned just what it takes to make these things operate reliably.  

In October 1999, largely on the basis of the technology that iMALL had developed, iMALL, Inc. was bought by Excite\\@Home, a large public company, for $425 million. 

Our division, now part of Excite\\@Home, went from $4 million in revenue in 1999 to $20 million in revenue in 2000 and was EBIT positive to the tune of $3 million, one of the few profitable divisions in Excite\\@Home. In 2000, our team built a full featured ecommerce application in less than three months (on time and under budget) that was reliably serving 50,000 merchants within 6 months.

As part of my activities as a high tech executive in the state, I became acquainted with Governor Leavitt during the year 2000, and in November 2000, he asked me if I was interested in serving as Chief Information Officer.  After many conversations with Rich McKeown, the Governor, and others, I left Excite\\@Home in March 2001 to become Chief Information Officer of the State of Utah.  Excite\\@Home filed for bankruptcy in September 2001.

So, I wasn't owner, president, or even a little bit in control over Excite\\@Home's fate. I wasn't even there when it all ended.   I just worried about our division hitting its numbers and---with the help of a lot of people---we did.  Everytime. Sometime, if you're interested, I'd be happy to fill you in on my take of why Excite\\@Home went bankrupt.  Its got plenty of intrigue.