The Technology Business Is Far From Dead

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2001-03-12 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

First, let me say I don't own a single share in any technology company. That's part of being a real journalist; you don't profit from investing in what you cover.

First, let me say I dont own a single share in any technology company. Thats part of being a real journalist; you dont profit from investing in what you cover. Now, with that out of the way, let me just say this: Would you idiots insisting on treating all technology stocks like they have hoof-and-mouth disease please get over it?!

Yes, the technology and Internet boom of the late 90s is over. Yes, those who invested in the Nasdaq are getting to see what a bear market looks like up close and personal. It was a bubble, it burst. Welcome to life in the real economy instead of Fast Companys New Economy wet dreams.

And you know what, folks? Life isnt that bad. Oh, trust me, I know some of you who thought stock options would see you into lifestyles of the rich and famous are hurting now. I also know investors who bought Exodus at $88 and shake every time they look at the ticker to see EXDS trading in the low teens. And lets not forget the people whove lost their jobs. Dont think for one second that I dont know how painful all of that is. But—and heres the important part—its not that bad. This isnt the Great Depression, this is the great technology hangover.

First, as I think everyone knows now, stock options were not a golden shortcut to wealth, except for the lucky few at the right companies at the right time. It was the high-technology industry version of a lottery, and even before the bust, for every secretary that made a mint, there are a hundred programmers who thought themselves lucky to make enough for a down payment on a Ford Explorer.

And no doubt about it, a lot of stocks were overvalued. But take a closer look at the industry. The demand of computing resources, bandwidth and services is bigger than ever. Sure, your customers arent pounding on the doors they once did, but they are still knocking.

The businesses that are failing are the ones that were built without sane business plans on the speculative idea that growth was all and profit a distant second. Some, like Amazon, are turning themselves around. Well-built B2C designs will beat sock puppets every time.

Other companies, like Cisco, simply never deserved the market abuse theyve taken. The bottom line is that the Internet is still growing and Cisco is still what most people want to grow it on.

And those people whove lost jobs? Of the several dozen Ive spoken to, all, I repeat, all of them were reemployed in the technology business within weeks. Some of them had new jobs the same day they were fired.

Put it all together and you know what it says to me? It says that smart technology businesses and people that kept their eyes on profitability and not fads are going to do just fine. And, as soon as investors get over their hangover shakes from being cut off from the liqueur of quick riches, the rest of the economy will be just fine, too.

 
 
 
 
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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