Joe Firmage

Joe Firmage

Salt Lake City Photo Dated 12/11/2012
Born (1970-10-26) October 26, 1970
Salt Lake City, Utah
Occupation Chief Executive Officer of ManyOne
Website Joe Firmage Executive Profile

Joseph Firmage (born October 26, 1970 in Salt Lake City, Utah) is an American Internet entrepreneur and UFO researcher.[1][2][3] He co-founded several business ventures prior to and during the dot-com boom. He is best known for claiming to have been visited by an extra-terrestrial being in his bedroom and his contributions to UFO related organizations and interests.[4][5]

Early business career: Serius, Novell, USWeb

Firmage attended the University of Utah, where his father was a law professor, on a physics scholarship but only stayed through his sophomore year. In 1989 he started his first company, Serius, which grew out of a Macintosh program he had written for his mother's greeting card business. Serius produced developer tools for object-oriented programming. The company received funding from several sources, including Novell, which ultimately bought Serius for $24 million in 1993. Its product then became the basis for AppWare, while Firmage became vice president of strategic planning for Novell's NetWare division.[6]

Firmage left Novell in 1995 when the company decided to focus its business on networking products.[7] (Later, Firmage would explain the departure as a disagreement over Novell's strategy in selling its Unix licensing rights and a failure to compete with Microsoft in the network operating system market.[8]) His brother, Edwin J. Firmage, started a new company, Network Multimedia, to buy the AppWare technology back from Novell.[7] The product was eventually renamed Microbrew, but was not commercially successful, and the company disappeared after a few years.[6]

Meanwhile, Firmage, together with two other former Novell executives, Toby Corey and Sheldon Laube and two other outside executives, Jim Heffernan and Ken Campbell, also founded USWeb during this period.[9] Originally a Web design company, USWeb grew with a series of acquisitions into an Internet consulting firm, following a strategy of buying businesses with expertise in corporate intranets and extranets. USWeb stock became publicly traded in December 1997, as the company sought to achieve critical mass in an atmosphere Firmage acknowledged was an Internet bubble.[10]

With Firmage as CEO, USWeb continued its expansion and ultimately merged with a rival Web consulting firm, CKS Group. Firmage was originally announced as CEO of the merged company, but in November 1998 Firmage was pressured to step down as CEO after claiming to have been visited by extra-terrestrials in his bedroom. Robert Shaw took over as CEO while the merger was under way. Initially Firmage took the title of chief strategist, then left the company in January 1999,.[4]

Extraterrestrial visitation and astrophysics interests

Main articles: Alien visitation and Ufology
External video
"Joe Firmage Alien Visitation Bedroom Encounter and Interview. Joe Firmage describes his encounter with celestial being.", Posted Online March 25, 2012.[11]

Around the time of Firmage's departure from USWeb, extensive publicity was generated by his campaign to prove the existence of UFOs—a campaign that led to him being nicknamed the Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley (a reference to the television show The X Files).[12]

Word began to circulate about his belief in extraterrestrial intelligences, which was the subject of a book he wrote called "The Truth".[13] It contended that extraterrestrials had appeared on Earth periodically to help spur human technological advancement.[14]

In his book, "The Truth" in the chapter titled "My Contact," Firmage recalls an incident one morning in 1997 in his bedroom: "As I snoozed, something amazing happened". "A remarkable being, clothed in brilliant white light, appeared hovering over my bed in my room. He had dark hair and a beard, I believe. He looked rather annoyed, and asked "Why have you called me here?" Firmage then claimed that the extra-terrestrial visitor "zapped" him with a ball of blue glowing energy.[15] Firmage went on to claim the extra-terrestrial visitor revealed to him that important elements of modern technology were derived from an alien spacecraft supposedly recovered from the 1947 Roswell UFO incident. Firmage also related his own contact with an otherworldly figure, shortly before the USWeb IPO, with whom he discussed space travel. “...he has sunk more than $3 million into establishing Project Kairos (after an ancient Greek word meaning "the right or opportune moment") to prepare mankind for aliens.[12] The book was published in 2001.[16]

Tim Sebastian of BBC’s HARDtalk interviewed Joe Firmage about his alien encounter several years after publication of “The Truth”.[17]

Firmage: I still don’t know what it was. It could have been a relatively mundane rare experience in consciousness, it could have been a bad potato… it could have been a nightmare. It's not like I leaped out of bed and said “Well, I’ve had a vision. I’m gonna go, you know, start a science research institute or something like that. All it served to do I’d say, is punctuate a rising appreciation of some of the larger issues that we all confront together as a human family.

Interviewer: It did more than punctuate, it changed your life quite radically didn’t it?

Firmage: This is one of the misperceptions that been circulating in some of the press that have described that event. It wasn’t that event in my opinion, which changed my world view.

Interviewer: …From a very successful entrepreneur, someone who started up two companies, very successfully, made a huge amount of money, there you were, about to change course. If it wasn’t that event that caused you to change course, what was it?

Firmage: A glimpse of a way through many of the deepest challenges that human society faces. And that has a lot to do with the science in science that were hinted at in the paper I read that night. It was in fact the scientific question that I had begun to study again, that I’d left before in school eight--then eight years before--that awakened my attention to new possibilities.

Pursuing these interests, Firmage founded a group called the International Space Sciences Organization. In October 1999, his organization was reportedly sponsoring a private meeting to discuss propulsion technologies in space, which attracted attention from a NASA investigator concerned that proprietary technologies might be discussed there.[18]

Projects after USWeb

After leaving USWeb, Firmage's next business project was known as Intend Change, launched together with USWeb co-founder Toby Corey, and also supported by the investment from USWeb itself. Intend Change also went into the consulting business, this time as an advisor to new Internet businesses seeking venture capital. In exchange for its services, Intend Change would take a ten percent equity stake in the client, which an analyst described as "pretty significant."[19] The company did not plan to contribute any capital for these equity stakes, but Firmage and his partners indicated they might invest personal capital or help arrange funding with Intend Change's own venture capital partners. They also sought commitments from startups to set aside stock and dedicate it to charitable causes, saying they would donate half their equity in Intend Change to unspecified nonprofit agencies.[20]

Prior to the dissolution of Intend Change in 2001, Firmage began working with Carl Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, and her Cosmos Studios organization on a concept known as "Project Voyager," which would develop a web portal focused on science-oriented entertainment.[21] They raised $23 million for the project from the same venture capital firms that supported Intend Change. The site was launched in 2001 at and emphasized the use of three-dimensional navigation over text hyperlinks. The venture planned to draw content from the Sagan-founded Planetary Society while helping to support that organization and the SETI@home project in their other endeavors.[22] However, it struggled to secure funding to remain operational.[23]

Firmage founded ManyOne Networks in 2002 as the successor to OneCosmos with the intention to reshape the content landscape of the Web.

Return to USWeb

In October 2011, USWeb issued a press release saying that Firmage had rejoined the company, now called USWeb Central Worldwide, as the Chairman of its Board of Directors.[24]

Manyone Waterfall Debt Repayment Program

On July 27, 2015 Manyone and Joe Firmage announced a debt repayment program to repay employees who Firmage had employed without paying them salaries since 2014. On September 27, 2015, Manyone announced that it had reached an out of court settlement with Drew Taubman for repayment of monies owed by Manyone and Firmage.[25]

Firmage stated “Based upon renewed understanding of external circumstances and events, from Q2 2014 to today, which caused material harm to members of the Executive Team and Board of ManyOne, and to Drew Taubman, we have reached a renewed and restated settlement with Mr. Taubman. This action acknowledges the forging of pathways both for ManyOne, its Board and Executive Team, as well as the resolution of past issues with Mr. Taubman on a priority basis. We stand united against third party tortious interference against ManyOne, its leadership and its agreements, and jointly reaffirm Mr. Taubman has never been involved in any such action.”[25]

Public Auction of Assets and Bankruptcy

On August 9, 2016, real estate assets belonging to Joe Firmage and his mother, Gloria Paramore Firmage, which had been declared to be in default and foreclosure, were posted as a Utah Legal Notice by a trustee appointed by the 3rd District Court to be auctioned on September 12, 2016 at the 3rd Judicial District Courthouse. The Notice of Trustee sale listed Frank W. Cutler of the Cutler Group, a former executive of Manyone and Firmage's Academy of Science and Arts, as the beneficiary of the sale. On September 12, 2016, Joe Firmage and Gloria Paramore Firmage filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for Utah and obtained a temporary stay halting the sale of their real estate assets which had been declared to be in default.[26][27][28][29][30]

Legal Problems

On December 11, 2012, Joe Firmage was arrested by the Salt Lake City Police on charges of drunk driving and possession of controlled substances.[31] On June 28, 2013 Firmage was arrested for drunk driving, possession of controlled substances, and failing to stop at a yield sign.[32] On November 23, 2013, Firmage was again arrested for drunk driving, driving under the influence of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances, and failure to stop at a stop sign.[33] On March 27, 2014, Firmage was arrested a fourth time for drunk driving.[34]


  1. Extra-Terrestrial Contact - UFO Researcher Joe Firmage
  2. Silicon Valley CEO Turns UFO Evangelist
  3. Truth and Consequences
  4. 1 2 Gray, Douglas F. (January 11, 1999). "Founder of USWeb quits over UFO views". InfoWorld. Archived from the original on September 9, 1999.
  5. Silicon Valley CEO continues alien quest despite skeptics
  6. 1 2 Cox, Ed. A brief history of Microbrew.
  7. 1 2 Cox, John. "Novell's AppWare tools are reborn at start-up company". Network World, 25 March 1996.
  8. Firmage, Joe (October 1, 2003). "Perspective: An open-source letter". CNET Archived from the original on December 7, 2003.
  9. Nerney, Chris (April 21, 1997). "USWeb buys six of its affiliates". NetworkWorld. p. 12.
  10. Mark Gimein. "Playing the Price". The Industry Standard, 1 May 1998.
  11. Joe Firmage Bedroom Alien Encounter
  12. 1 2 Swartz, Jon. "CEO Quits Job Over UFO Views". San Francisco Chronicle, 9 January 1999.
  13. Joe Firmage's "The Truth"
  14. Borland, John (December 18, 1998). "USWeb founder on quest for ET truth". CNET Archived from the original on November 20, 2002.
  15. "Joe Firmage Alien Visitation Bedroom Encounter and Interview.
  16. Firmage, Joseph (2001). The Truth (PDF). Orem, Utah: Granite Publishing. ISBN 1-893183-17-3. (According to Amazon, this book is no longer available.)
  17. Quotations excerpted from BBC video, retrieved March 19, 2008
  18. Beer, Matt. "Feds curious about high-tech conclave on extraterrestrials". San Francisco Chronicle, 8 October 1999.
  19. Kanellos, Michael. "USWeb founder Firmage back in business". CNET, 2 January 2002.
  20. Delevett, Peter. "USWeb co-founders intend to change funding for startups". Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 1 October 1999.
  21. Borland, John (August 18, 2000). "Joe Firmage sheds E.T. aura for science site". CNET Archived from the original on February 4, 2006.
  22. Ratliff, Evan. "The Cosmic Connection". Wired 8.12, December 2000.
  23. Weintraub, Arlene. "From Different Planets: Ann Druyan and Joe Firmage form an unlikely venture into cyberspace and beyond". BusinessWeek, 22 January 2001.
  24. "Joe Firmage To Join Reorganized USWeb Central Worldwide as Chairman". PRWEB.COM Newswire. October 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  25. 1 2 , Manyone Press Releases
  26. Notice of Default and Trustee Sale of Assets
  27. Frank W. Cutler Executive Bio
  28. Frank W. Cutler, Cutler Group
  29. Bloomberg Profile Frank W. Cutler
  30. United States Bankruptcy Court for Utah, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings Joe Firmage and Gloria Paramore Firmage
  31. Joe Firmage December 11, 2012 Arrest
  32. Joe Firmage Jun 28, 2013 Arrest
  33. Joe Firmage November 23, 2013 Arrest
  34. Joe Firmage March 27, 2014 Arrest

External links

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