PowWow Chat Program - Created & Published by Tribal Voice Software in 1998

Some say that John McAfee's PowWow live chat program was one of the Internet's first true social networks. Created on the picturesque slopes of Pikes Peak Colorado, by a small group of independent developers, PowWow Chat was a uniquely early-Internet/beta experience. PowWow chat underwent rapid growth in the mid-90's, connecting its worldwide userbase in real time. Given away to users for free, the prolific releases of PowWow Chat Software pushed the boundaries of the early dial-up Internet era, with its true VOIP features, online presence detection, and other unique features helped create a dedicated fan base of users around the world. In some core ways, eg. live character-by-ccharacter text transmitted as its typed, including backspaces, PowWow Chat's features remain unduplicated, even today. Tribal Voice Software was acquired by CMGIon in the late 1990s and ceased development shortly thereafter.

Here's an example of some of the original Tribal Voice Software website, from the mind of John McAfee and other kindred spirits:

The HEYOKA - the "Backwards People" 

PowWow Chat ProgramA man becomes Heyoka through an encounter with Wakinyan, the Thunder Being. This being is terrible to behold, and lightning shoots from his eye. An encounter with Wakinyan invariably drives a man into a state that the white man calls "insane". We, of course, call it something else. A man who becomes Heyoka lives backwards. He will go naked in the dead of Winter, and smother himself with bear furs in the heat of summer. He may build half of a lodge, and live in it. He may wash with dirt. He may dry himself before entering water. Whatever he does, will be done with the intent of bringing the absurd into the Tribe. Of shocking people into an awareness of the fine balance between extremes that creates the energy tension of life. Heyoka may encounter Wakinyan a second time. In the second encounter, Wakinyan appears as the hugely exaggerated, archetype Heyoka. This encounter shocks the Heyoka into an awareness of the Truth, and the Heyoka is restored to "sanity". After restoration, the man is blessed by the spirits with the true humility of Knowledge. A "sane" Heyoka is capable of almost any behavior. The boundaries and limits of social intercourse disappear.
We question daily whether our Heyoka has indeed been visited a second time by the Thunder Being. He travels everywhere with a strange, drooling black dog that has the same name as himself. He insists we pay money to everyone who wants to buy a T-shirt from us. He makes deals with the strangest and scariest people on the Net. He actually talks to Aryeh Goretsky. And he has a real house on the slopes of the Peak, yet spends nearly all of his time living in a remote cabin without electricity, heat or running water. So, you tell us. In any case, our Heyoka, in honor of the true spirit of our endeavors here at TV, brings you the: PowWow Chat Archive - where hopefully we can once again spread the glory that was the PowWow chat experience.

Get PowWow Now!

  1. Grab a copy of the Installer for PowWow 3.5.0 Get PowWow now!here.
  2. Download an updated .exe zip file here, and copy it into your Program Files/Tribal Voice/PowWow32 folder.

The updated executable's filename is 20030514.exe - just copy that file into your PowWow32 folder and run it, instead of running the usual executable "PowWow32.exe"

The updated executable file has the following properties:

Filename: 20030514.exe

date: 05/15/2003  01:14 PM

size:  1,716,736 bytes  


A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file is here.