By Published on .

Bill Rollinson


Title:VP-marketing and co-founder, Internet Shopping Network, Palo Alto, Calif.

Bio:Born in Morristown, N.J. Bachelor of fine arts in design, University of California-Los Angeles, 1981.

Work history:Gopher and art production assistant, CBS, 1981-84; principal, Rollinson Design, 1984-90; sold Rollinson Design to Paracomp Co. and became director of marketing and multimedia, 1990-92; founder/president, Storybook Software, 1992; current post, 1993-.

Before he became an Internet frontiersman, Bill Rollinson used to play a supporting role in the field of technology.

Rollinson Design serviced the marketing and advertising needs for many of the small startup software companies that were sprouting up in and near his hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., in the mid-1980s.

"Working with those companies, it kind of rubs off on you," said Mr. Rollinson. "I decided that while it was fun to be a service company, I would rather try to do it myself."

He's been doing it himself off and on ever since. He founded Storybook Software to create CD-ROM titles for children and also created several multimedia software titles, including the Vroombook series, now published by T/Maker Co. Later, sensing just before the rest of the world the Internet's vast potential, Mr. Rollinson co-founded Internet Shopping Network ( in fall 1993 with President Randy Adams.

ISN started as an online shopping service mainly for computer-oriented products, meshing nicely with the demographics of online users. After seeing ISN in action at a trade show, Home Shopping Network bought the company in September 1994, keeping Messrs. Rollinson and Adams in their posts.

ISN now sells 22,000 products from companies such as Lotus, Symantec and Microsoft, as well as products from FTD, Omaha Steaks International and Hammacher-Schlemmer and others.

For consumers who want to hear a live human voice when ordering from home, ISN provides an 800-number that also can be used to provide sensitive information such as credit card number and home address.

But Mr. Rollinson envisions the day when consumers will be able to shop without ever having to deal with salespeople.

"Our goal is to put the customer in control. The customer gets to actually choose where to go, when they want to go there, without having to rely on someone else."

Betcha didn't know:Mr. Rollinson surfs. As in the ocean, not the Internet.

Most Popular
In this article: