Dot-com Nation in the After Shock
When we think of business failure, we might imagine a ship sinking. In the vision, many of us are left standing by the shores watching the last mast go under. We may sigh in disbelief or disappointment. But the fact is that no matter what regret, sobriety or even puzzlement we experience amid the after shock, commerce operates along the lines of Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest." Do we really want to exist within a market that is saturated with weak links? It may work for TV game shows, but such a business model does not create legitimate success in either long- or short-term markets. So, in an age when one dot-com company after another is closing-up shop, it pays to mourn less, optimize more.
Using amusing anecdotes to justify market flaws—everything from cheaper rents in Frisco to William Shatner's short-lived singing career—the following are a few reasons that make the fall from dot-com grace a lot more bearable.
Within the publishing industry, many of us knew our share of dot-com gold rushers who experienced the immediate flux of wealth about a year ago. Much like the panhandlers gone West years ago, these were the associates who, for better or worse, got great kudos for creative marketing—of some less-than-necessary Internet products. They had big ideas and even bigger wallets and bravery. Perhaps most of us remember the TV commercials that bombarded networks during sweeps or during major events in which most of the world was tuned? Perhaps we took a lot of pleasure in those Priceline.com larks? But in the after shock, when many of these companies (and our associates) went belly-up, how might we learn from the industry's foibles? Did the wash-out come better late than never? Or, as the old cliche suggests: If it's too good to be true, it probably is.