"WEC popularized the idea that having access to computers would be
important to the counterculture - this brought many people into the Homebrew Club and other outposts of personal computing."
- LEE FELSENSTEIN
"In the early 70s, during my teens, it showed me that the boundary between science and the arts that I'd drawn in my mind was neither necessary nor useful. That has shaped my thinking (and career) ever since. It also inspired me to a career in self-publishing, from mimeograph zines to websites and blogs."
- SCOTT ROSENBERG
"It introduced me to the novel idea that you could do something yourself instead of hiring someone to do it for you. It was like hacking without code."
- JANE METCALFE
"In innumerable ways, but most notably, the 'Whole Earth' vision of 'accelerating access' was very much in my mind when I decided to become the founding technical person at Amazon."
- SHEL KAPHAN
"Provided me with the road map to actualize my vision for being a steward of the Earth within a global community who still share core values and aspirations. The whole earth flag is the only one we fly to this day."
- HARVEY STONE
"My father subscribed to the WEC in 1968. I read the 'Urge' story in its original serial form, and it led to an 18 year relationship with a red and white microbus named 'Salinger'. I joined the WELL in 1991 (buzz click connect) and became part of a wonderful, supportive and extremely knowledgeable community. Finally, I had the privilege of working with Gail at the WELL for a year, which helped me make the transition from the corporate world to another more or less higher plane. I use my @well.com address proudly. Thanks for a great ride!"
- BRIAN BATTUELLO
"The WELL was a gravity sling that increased my velocity and sent me in a new direction with great new adventures and opportunities. The course of my life would have been very different without it."
- JOHN HOAG
"In 1995, Jay Baldwin brought me to work with him so I could see what he did. Kevin Kelly, in his article about publishing, taught me how my book could support me for ten years (Rocket Mass Heaters, with Ianto Evans). I still work in magazines (Home Energy). Empowering is what WER was: the Well, being Telnet/unix savvy? Hell yeah! It goes on and on. I stole KK's html code for years!"
- LESLIE JACKSON
"As a discovered artifact decades after the actual event that preserved the moment and the inspiration of the systems counterculture in which cybernetics was detoxified of its military roots in control theory and redeployed for ecological thought and practice."
- BRUNO CLARKE
"A keener engagement in inter-disciplinary learning and applications - a hunger that keeps me foolish."
- RICHARD AUSTIN
"It helped me stay on the edge . . . the only place to be."
- JOHN HAGEL
"Shopped at the Berkeley and SF stores for years. They were my go-to when in need of a retail fix or need. I loved the vibe, purpose, mission, etc. Let's bring it back and make the retail experience more human/social/political."
- JAIME MICHAELS
"As a budding environmentalist, the Catalog was an amazing complement to my academic studies at UCSC. The content was eye-opening, inspiring and educational. Possibilities for lifestyles and practices beneficial to the planet and its inhabitants were myriad. It was an encyclopedia of how to make ideas real."
- ADRIENNE KLEIN
"Inspiration, education, taught me how to research, use a computer (my first Mac experience), introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever known, improved my volleyball game, introduced me to virtual reality. I still own all of my Whole Earth Reviews and Catalogs, use them as bragging rights and reference tools to this day."
- SUSAN ROSBERG JASON
"WER showed me that my cyber-interested young self could be compatible with the more hardcore, back-to-the-land mentality I grew up around. Kevin Kelly's 'hive minds' issue, combined with several issues of Boing Boing and Going Gaga 'zines, convinced me I should go online. Then I fell in with Mondo 2000 and SFNet... the Well was my obvious next step. I was at a particularly disaffected point in my life: post college, at the height of a bad case of PTSD (which I had no words like 'PTSD' to help deal with it), taking more drugs than was probably wise, working at Annapurna, the fabled headshop in Berkeley. There were smarts and education still burbling underneath my shaved head and tattoos and piercings, and I had no one to really connect with that way, especially no elders to look up to! The Well provided all that, quickly and in a welcoming way. Yes, I was kind of a jerk about some things—I was pretty convinced that Buddhism was just a way for rich Marin folks to justify their privilege and success—but most wellpern were tolerant of my young punk judginess. Howard Rheingold asked if he could publish some of my snarky Gen X blather from Well posts directly into WER. I was breathlessly pleased, and then became an actual, real reviewer for a few issues. Simultaneously, people I admired at Boing Boing and Mondo 2000 started up Fringe Ware Review, inviting me to be part of it. This was all fantastic. Working at The Well changed my life in ways weird, big, and small. I eventually left due to the job disabling me, as it had done the person who previously had my job, and the one who had the job before her. And as the person who brought in the news to management that Mitnick had root, I was disenchanted with how the Kevin Mitnick affair had been handled. But anyway. Topic drift is my specialty... I still host at The Well. I now think I was full of shit about Marin Buddhists, and I'm now the middle-aged one looking for security and a contemplative life. I get it, I think."
- TIFFANY LEE MAGDALEN BROWN
"The Whole Earth Catalog, which I bought around 1972, taught me to read the margins and the tiny print. The WELL, for whom I've served as co-host (in Travel and Pacific Rim) for decades, taught me how to connect with people with words, present an argument, disagree in a productive way, how to really hurt people, how to write, how to commiserate, how to plan ahead. I can't measure what I've gotten from the WELL, since it's been such a big part of my life for 24 years. Even back in the late 1980s Tod Booth (tboot) was raving about it and trying to get me to join. One major benefit of the WELL was being able to stay in touch with American culture while I was living in Japan (1990-1998). When I returned to the US, members of the WELL were living in the Berkeley neighborhood where I landed. My online and physical communities merged."
- FRAKO LODEN
"Taught me how to do things myself, taught me how things work, exposed me to new things and contributed to my philosophy."
"WER taught me life skills that enabled me to survive my lowest point ever. The Well introduced me to people who are still my best friends and most valuable teammates decades later."
- CHUCK CHARLTON
"I’m now a psychonaut prepper who grows ghost peppers, but before my life lacked spice."
- LESSLEY ANDERSON
"It made me think and see the world differently when I was a young teenager. Conflicted with much of what I believed and saw before it. It was fun and cool too!"
- KEITH DIERKX
"Wrote 'Events are the Teacher, a significant first-person article (for me) about abuses of power and money in American Buddhist communities. Helped me find my voice as a writer, when I was a newspaper reporter without one. Felt part of an exciting intellectual community. Introduced me to people, ideas and tools that have nurtured and inspired me for the rest of my life."
- KATY BUTLER
"I wrote some reviews, mostly for CQ. More importantly it was a significant component of the Portola context that helped connect me in concrete ways to other major interests in my life, most notably the computing world."
- MARC LEBRUN
"As a reader of the Catalog and subscriber to both the journals, and as a WELL participant, this community's effect on my life has been beyond measure."
- JANE HIRSHFIELD
"It was how I learned about everything from childbirth to planting trees. It was everything."
- DAVID WOODBURY
"As a young off-grid back-to-the-lander in the 70s, my tattered Whole Earth catalog helped me feel connected to fellow settlers. In the early 80s, I rejoiced as each Co Ev Quarterly emerged from my post office box, connecting me to the naissance of community forming around personal computers. In the late 80s the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link connected me to my fellow tech entrepreneurs as I breathlessly awaited a 'Reply'. And in the 90s & beyond, the Long Now Foundation is connecting me to the millennia of human communities yet to come.
Bravo Whole Earth! Happy half a century of solar orbits!!"
- ROBERT MAY
"In every way conceivable. I wouldn't be where I am sitting right now, with the friends I have, with the home I have, or the life or the knowledge I have. It's quite a legacy to be grateful to."
- CYNSA BONORRIS
"Too early to tell."
- JD SMITH