Kathy Howes

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

AOL & The Genius of Jan Brandt By Denny Hatch In 1993, Internet access was essentially a three-horse race. The text-heavy CompuServe was owned by the tax accounting people H&R Block and had about a million members. So did the cartoon-oriented Prodigy, a joint venture among CBS, Sears and IBM. The longshot was America Online (AOL), with its elegant Graphical User Interface (GUI), chat rooms and exclusive community-building techniques, that had been taken public the prior year by founder Steve Case; he had just under 250,000 members and was doing about $40 million a year in revenue. One advantage Case had over the

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