For Shikhar Ghosh, three years is a long time. It took him that long to articulate a vision for electronic commerce, form a company to execute it, and turn it from a basement operation with a dozen workers to a public company with 350 employees in an elegant office suite in Cambridge, Mass.

The company, Open Market Inc., was one of the first to offer software that let merchants, banks, and others do business on the Internet. Mr. Ghosh, a Harvard Business School graduate who cut his high-tech teeth studying interactive technology at Boston Consulting Group, was one of the first in the business world to get credit for recognizing the economic potential of the World Wide Web.

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