Po Bronson’s 1999 article about Epinions, then a nascent startup, is a neat little time capsule of the period just before almost everything in Silicon Valley went poof.
Everything is faster. Zero drag is optimal. For a while, new applicants would jokingly be asked about their “drag coefficient.” Since the office is a full hour’s commute from San Francisco, an apartment in the city was a full unit of drag. A spouse? Drag coefficient of one. Kids? A half point per. Then they recognized that such talk, even in jest, could be taken as discriminatory in a hiring situation.
Epinions is still going and is now owned by eBay. (via sippey, who is somewhat of an internet time capsule himself)
There’s evidence that the dot com bubble wasn’t all that bad. A study found that “the attrition rate for dot-com companies was roughly 20% a year, which is no different from what occurred during many other industries, such as automobiles, during their early boom periods” and that the market could have supported more smaller niche companies during that time. Also of note: the Business Plan Archive “collects and preserves business plans and related planning documents from the Birth of the Dot Com Era so that future generations will be able to learn from this remarkable episode in the history of technology and entrepreneurship”.
The lively pulse of New York’s new media scene. There’s something about the companies that started during the bust. They’re healthier, more efficient, the ideas behind them are more solid…they had to be to survive.
A grid of logos of Web 2.0 companies. These names sound like a bunch of companies that make children’s toys (which when you think about it, isn’t too far from the truth).
Update: Original here.
If you want to sell your web startup, don’t take that much money from VCs or bootstrap the whole thing yourself. Too much money invested means that no one wants to buy your company for what your VCs require you to sell it for…especially if your business has limited prospects to begin with.
Boy, the scent of money is in the air these days. The latest report is that Dave Winer has sold weblogs.com to Verisign (
~$5 million is the figure being bandied about for $2.3 million). This is an interesting one because it seemed crazy (see below) when I first heard about it, but now that I’ve heard it from multiple sources, who knows?
Verisign is interested in blogs and RSS (another of their acquisitions in this space will be announced soon) and it’s not hard to see why Dave would sell weblogs.com (the site needs some firm financial backing to keep from buckling under the ever-increasing strain of all those pings), but to Verisign? To me, Verisign embodies the idiocy and ineptitude of the BigCos Dave often rails against…the BigCo to end all BigCos. If true, those are some odd bedfellows indeed.
Update: Silicon Beat says they have confirmation that Verisign bought weblogs.com:
We’re getting confirmation that the rumors about Verisign buying Dave Winer’s Weblogs.com are true. The price is $2 million. What Verisign wants with Weblogs is another matter. Weblogs was one of the first, if not the first, centralized ping servers that blogs could use to alert the world to new content.
I like how when a weblog has two independent sources on something, it’s a “rumor”…
Update #2: Verisign confirms the purchase.
Scott Rosenberg on the Web 2.0 conference and the new bubble: “it seems likely that a certain number of people will get rich, a certain amount of money will be wasted, several important new companies and technologies will emerge and some indeterminate number of investors will be fleeced”.
Moreover to be purchased by “much larger multi-national company”. I worked at Moreover as a web designer for 10 months back in 2000-1.
CNET rounds up their top 10 dot-com flops and in the process blames everyone but the technology media (*cough*) for the excess of the times. Webvan, Pets.com, and Kozmo top the list.
Goin’ Dot Com! - The Musical. Back in the day, some friends of mine and I used to joke about doing “Dot Com, the Musical”. I believe someone even wrote a song.
Great list of seven internet companies that should have been big or bigger, but screwed up somehow. I’ve got the comments open, so add your own thoughts. My pick: Moreover. They were into RSS before almost anyone, wanted to get into blog search in early 2001 but instead veered into the safe waters of enterprise software.
Venture capital is flowing back into Internet companies. “It is too early to say whether the flush environment heralds another tech investment bubble, but there are echoes of the dotcom boom.”
From Requiem for a Cheerleader: Silicon Alley Magazine Is Dead: “You can’t have a magazine about unemployed people. You can’t have a magazine about people who are taking time off.” May I suggest to Mr. Calacanis that his magazine, along with most of the other Internet-oriented magazines published in past 3-4 years that have now — or are in the process of — going down the tubes, completely missed the point about the Internet.
The business and financial aspects of the Internet boom were interesting, but there was so much more there. The NY Times, Wired Magazine, and Wired News (among others) understood that and offered more (and continue to offer more) than just IPO news and stories on how much dot com executives make. Maybe now that the financial side of things isn’t that interesting anymore, the remaining publications will focus more on the aspects of the Internet that are still interesting**.
** Just so I don’t get a ton of email saying, “Well Mr. Smartypants, what is so damn interesting about the Internet then?”, there’s a whole lot to be said about how the Internet (and more generally, technology) is affecting the people who use it and how, in turn, that’s affecting society at large. Michael Lewis, author of Next: The Future Just Happened, has written several articles for the NY Times in this vein:
- Boom Box: “The new technology from Tivo and replay provides the ultimate in television convenience. It will also spy on you, destroy prime time and shatter the power of the mass market.”
- Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis — and 15: The Internet and the increased power of the individual.
- Faking It: The Internet Revolution Has Nothing to Do With the Nasdaq: “If the Internet was giving the world a shove in a certain direction, it was probably because the world already felt inclined to move in that direction. The Internet was telling us what we wanted to become.”