This is my last column that will mention failed dot-com companies. The rise of dot-coms was a topic trumpeted mercilessly by venture capitalists, stock analysts, forecasters and, yes, the press. All that backslapping led to a gigantic run-up in unreachable expectations that will have our grandchildren looking back at us as if we were a bunch of tulip investors from the 17th century.
Once the run-up turned into a run-down, those same venture capitalists, stock analysts, forecasters and, yes, the press fell over one another castigating dot-com execs. Once the general flogging was completed, it was time to revisit the whipping post for specific punishments. So, The Wall Street Journal carried a piece on busted dot-commers returning home to live with Mom and Dad, and f—kedcompany.com has turned into a boring litany of closures and cutbacks—offering the same story with different characters.
So Im done writing about dot-coms. And as a contrarian, I think it is time to look deeply again at Net technologies. As Ive said, the decline of dot-coms was a failure of business plans, not a failure of technology. I think the winning companies will be those that sift through the technologies and are able to pick products and services that will give them the best bottom line.
A couple of points to support my position. Amid the economic doom reports was the U.S. Labor Departments report, released last week, that productivity continues to improve. The 2.4 percent rise for the fourth quarter was slower than in the past, but the rise continues. Im in the camp that claims intelligent use of IT is still the greatest productivity driver. And I believe growth continues, despite the whims of the stock market.
The second item is my experience with our upcoming eXcellence Awards for products and services. Ive been tremendously impressed with the quality of these technologies, which hold the potential to keep driving productivity upward.