Internet Commerce

Lina Trivedi is an Indian American whose parents were very entrepreneurial. They encouraged her computer skills, and in the second grade, she was writing simple computer programs. She majored in Sociology at DePaul University.

While in college, Lina started working for Ty, Inc. She was their 12th employee. Ty was making a series of plush dolls called Beanie Babies. The dolls had a tag attached saying Ty. Lina convinced the founder of the company, Ty Warner, that the tags could add value if there were a poem printed on the other side of the tag. Warner agreed and Lina composed 100 poems for the tags.

The internet was in its infancy when Lina convinced Warner to create a website for Ty. At the time only 14% of Americans were using the internet. The website that Lina created was the first business-to-consumer application of the internet. The popularity of the Beanie Babies became the first viral marketing campaign. Ty Warner became a billionaire from the sales generated by the Beanie Babies.

Lina also saw the dangers of the internet and worked to create voluntary regulations for websites that children are likely to access.

When Lina left Ty, she started her own web design business. She developed websites for celebrities and prominent businesses. She also developed the first credit card processing applications.

Lina’s entrepreneurship skills have now been focused on her special needs daughter. Nikhita has Goltz Syndrome, a very rare birth defect. Before she was three, Nikhita created a company which produces designer bows. She is also a published author using a patent-pending artificial intelligence technology her mother created.

Beginnings are often forgotten when they become so woven into our daily lives. Do we ever wonder who had the idea for a website we can use to buy things? Think of the impact of what Lina did on our national economy. The term viral marketing is familiar to everyone, but do we know the first product that went viral? As we go through our daily lives, we need to stop and ask ourselves: “I wonder how that began.”

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“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates

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