In fact, most attendees needed little introduction to Gopher — the software had been out for months. It was the developers they were curious about, the Minnesotans who had created the first popular means of accessing the internet. “People we’d never met were telling us how they were using our stuff and adding things to it,” McCahill says. “We had no idea how big Gopher was going to be until we experienced this firsthand and realized that growth could be exponential for a while.”

In the years that followed, the future seemed obvious. The number of Gopher users expanded at orders of magnitude more than the World Wide Web. Gopher developers held gatherings around the country, called GopherCons, and issued a Gopher T-shirt — worn by MTV veejay Adam Curry when he announced the network’s Gopher site. The White House revealed its Gopher site on Good Morning America. In the race to rule the internet, one observer noted, “Gopher seems to have won out.”