Lydia Kidwell Sugarman

Why did you first get online?

Mine wasn’t the earliest experience. I saw and sent my first emails in 1992 w/o really understanding how it worked. But, I was so intrigued, blown away really by this new disruptive technology. At the time, I was selling syndicated television programming for a new company called Summit Media that has gone on to great success. Oh, by the way, that’s where I also started using Apple products. I had my own Mac in my office.

I bought my own first Mac, a 520 laptop with an internal 14.4 modem in 1994 and discovered all the listservs. Walrus @ $35/month was my Internet provider. I later added an external 56K modem, whoo-hoo!

When did you first get involved with digital and why?
In early ’95 I made the transition to working in “New Media.” It was way more fun and exciting than program sales and I was convinced it would reshape how we received and would eventually interact with content. In ’97 I had the privilege of working under Bruce Judson at Cellularvision. Bruce had been General Manager, Time Inc. New Media, where he was the co-founder of Time Warner’s Internet initiatives, including Pathfinder. We used to discuss how we could leverage the Cellularvision technology to effect convergence of Internet, subscription television programming, and e-commerce.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).
By 1997, I was sending out a monthly newsletter, using Word, Eudora, and (bought by Earthlink, Inc.) to 2,500 women cyclists. This grew into the first online magazine for chick cyclists, and an e-commerce site called

My last “job” was as Managing Editor at quickly defunct where I continued building community, creating content, doing market research into how women use the Internet, and learning what not to do in a start-up.

Along the way, I always maintained my love affair with email and email marketing, the 800-lb. gorilla of the Internet. So, in January, 2001, I officially launched PrivateLabel Interactive, an email marketing consultancy focused on helping SMBs get online and get their messages out. Since May, 2001, we’ve been an Email Solution Provider of PrivateLabel Mail.

This is a particularly exciting time as we are quickly approaching launch of V3.0 of the greatly expanded ESP technology under a new brand, Venntive.

Simultaneously, work on the startup business, Caduces, a consumer-focused health platform progresses. Stay tuned for that later in 2010!

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

After nearly 20 years, I am again blown away. The potential represented by brilliant engineering combined with nearly limitless imaginations of the people who have literally been born into this digital world is frequently beyond my comprehension.

I think we will in the very near future be walking computers of the digital sort. I think we will have the option to have RFID chips inserted under our skin that will hold all our health information, at the very least. Greater use of pill-size cameras, DNA mapping, and finely targeted mapping of the body will make diagnosis and treatment extremely exact and accurate.

Seamless entertainment experiences will a commonplace aspect of our daily lives. It all already exists, it’s just a matter of pulling it together and making it cost-effective.

How nice would it be for our refrigerators to automatically submit an order to replace what’s needed and schedule a delivery when we’re sure to be home? How about downloading our daily calendar to program our vehicles to take the best route to run all our errands or sales calls?

It’s limitless. Isn’t that great?!

So, it’s as easy today as it was 15 years ago to tell you why I moved into digital. I wake up every morning totally excited by the possibilities of what the day will bring.

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