Dot-com Deaths Are Not Over
It has become a daily ritual in Silicon Valley to listen for news of the power crisis.It has become a daily ritual in Silicon Valley to listen for news of the power crisis. Those of us who live here are accustomed to earthquakes, fires and mud slides. But worrying about whether my office is scheduled for a rolling blackout feels worse, because it exposes how complex our society has become and how ill-prepared we are to cope with it. Consider last months Upside Showcase for startups. High-tech CEOs love to proclaim that the Internet is a utility, but after seeing some of the companies at Upside, I bet well be watching dot-coms crash and burn for some time.
One thing about the Internet is that it routinely makes even very smart people look not so smart. Portions of the roster of companies that showcased themselves last year at Upside now read like a wartime casualty list. Netpulse (workout equipment that surfs the Web) filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week. A source says Netpulse merged with a bloated competitor while mistakenly expecting to earn substantial revenue from Web advertising. Netpliance (voice and data over IP) may be delisted from the Nasdaq, after its shareholders terminated a management buyout. EFrenzy (finding and marketing local services over the Web) renamed itself NextDoor Networks and had its incubator, iXL Ventures, condemned by iXL chairman Bert Ellis, who doesnt think iXL Ventures "will ever create value for our shareholders." I could go on.