On October 29, 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, Wired.com’s lead story read “Akamai Steals IPO Thunder.” The then-14-month-old technology company had just booked the fourth-largest IPO in history and seen its stock soar five-fold on the first day of trading. Months later, the dot-com bubble would burst. By October 2002, the stock of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai Technologies had plunged to less than a dollar and subsequently was delisted.
The man who was at the wheel through those giddy beginnings, the spectacular bust, and the painful but solid recovery that transformed Akamai into a billion-dollar company, is George Conrades, ’71 (XP-28). Akamai is the stunning capper to the enviable 53-year career of a man who reveled in the thrill ride of technology from early mainframes through internet start-ups to billion-dollar success. Conrades, who started out as an enthusiastic salesman at IBM in love with technology, synopsizes the entire journey in one sentence: “I’m fortunate to have lived in the world of the next big thing.”