In 1983, a man named Bill Von Meister started a company called Control Video Corporation. CVC sold one product for $50 a pop. It was called Gameline and it allowed Atari 2600 video game console owners to buy new games over their phone lines for $1 each.
A year or so later, the thing went bust. But the investors and founders stayed together to launch another company called Quantum Computer Services, which utilized many of CVC’s over-the-phone-line technologies.
(The new company re-hired one of CVC’s marketing execs, Steve Case.)
20-five years and countless corporate iterations later, Von Meister’s company is now known by a different name: AOL.