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Young Titans Build Web Empire

The CEO is just 30. The vice president is 27. The director is 29.

But this trio of Web titans presides over one of the hottest companies on the Internet, reports CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason.

It was only five years ago that brothers Jack and Murray Hidery and their friend Nova Spivack came together.

"At that time it was unclear exactly what would happen with the Internet," says Jack Hidery. "But we knew it was going to be big. And we had to start something. And we had to start it then."

They started an Internet consulting company that evolved into Earthweb, a Web site for professionals trying to set up Web sites. "The idea is to be the online service that every computer professional uses everyday to get their job done," says Spivack.

About 1.5 million people sign on to Earthweb every month. The company now has some 70 employees and it's still growing.

But back in the summer of 1996, Earthweb's three musketeers were sharing a one-bedroom apartment, and a single desk. In the beginning, a cubicle in the middle of the Hidery family's clothing company was Earthweb's corporate headquarters.

The Hidery's father, David, remembers that while his company's employees were home asleep, the Earthweb trio worked through the night. "They really love what they're doing," he says, "and that's why they're so successful."

But does Dad understand what they do? "It took awhile," he says, "but it finally sunk in."

It sunk in deep last November when Earthweb stock went public. In two days, the stock soared from 14 to 85. It's come back to Earth since then, settling in around $40 a share, but that still leaves Jack, Murray and Nova worth about $100 million combined.

"We try not to think about it," says Murray Hidery. His brother Jack adds, "But the fact is now we have to make it real."

While Earthweb had $3 million in revenues last year, the company still lost money. But the CEO insists profits aren't important -- yet.

"Right now it s like the Western land grab, okay?" says Jack Hidery. "The West has just been opened. And whoever can grab the most land will win in the end. And the more of those people we have, the more profit there'll be down the line.

You can see the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers from Earthweb's new boardroom. But on the stock market, their company's already a skyscraper. Earthweb's founders know, though, that it could all collapse if they can't build a profit center on the Internet.

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