Rare Medium Incorporated

One of the pioneers in providing web-based applications during the dot-com boom...

Internet Services
United States
Steve Klinenberg, General Manager, RM-Los Angeles
Kevin Steinfeld, General Manager, RM-Los Angeles
Relationship Summary: 

Systematic Computer Science was employed by Rare Medium to lead their engineering group in Los Angeles.

Rare Medium Corporation was one of the many Internet services and "new media" companies that thrived with the "dot-com" boom of the late 1990's. When the market spiked in March 2000, and then teetered over the edge into oblivion... it took Rare Medium with it, and the company closed its doors within a year. In its short life span, Rare Medium dealt with projects ranging from a few thousand dollars to a few million dollars.

Rare Medium's core business at first was building highly interactive web sites in the mid-1990's. As businesses slowly began to pour into the World Wide Web, Rare Medium grew by a series of acquisitions - Digital Facades in Los Angeles is one example. By 1999-2000, Rare Medium had multiple offices in the United States and Europe. The core business had expanded to include a variety of services:

  • highly interactive web sites
  • digital marketing
  • customer relationship management
  • media buying
  • strategic counsel
  • content management

Projects at Rare Medium were eclectic and very fast paced. Due to the rapid evolution of the business model and technologies of that time, Rare Medium developed a standard methodology to address client projects. The phases were broadly defined: Exploration, Prototyping, Creation, Transfer, and Evolution. It is fascinating - from a software engineering perspective - to recognize an attempt at discipline in the interactive services world, and how the phases were necessarily broad enough to cover the needs of diverse companies seeking to "go digital." Using this methodology, Rare Medium fielded projects with radically different clients such as Dr. Drew, Friskies (Nestle), Furniture Brands, Body Shop, and the StarBright Foundation.

Rare Medium was part of a pioneering wave of companies that made interactive web site development more structured. Sites that were previously done by "jack-of-all-trades" generalists were instead developed by teams of specialists who coordinated the development of dynamic pages:

  • graphics designers for look and feel
  • information architects for presentation page design and dissection, as well as web page or navigational flow
  • "back end" engineers for persistence and business logic and other server-side services

A great deal of modern web development best practices originated from this time period, from Rare Medium and other companies like it (Sapient, iXL, Razorfish, Viant, marchFIRST, ...).

As the Director of Engineering of Rare Medium - Los Angeles, Systematic Computer Science's General Manager was responsible for meeting with clients to discuss technical requirements, overseeing the design and development of quality technical solutions, and managing the technical team's ability to perform their duties.

Systematic Computer Science's GM worked as Director of Engineering for Rare Medium, LA