Michael Wolff is perhaps the most disillusioned of Silicon Alleys expatriates. The one-time New York entrepreneur — who chronicled his dot-com misadventures in Burn Rate — has written off the Internet for dead. Wolff, now a media columnist for New York magazine, spoke with Senior Writer Max Smetannikov.
Is Silicon Alley, as it was in late 1999, pretty much history?
Yes; it doesnt really exist anymore.
There are those in the Alley who think the Nasdaq decline and the layoffs are for the better.
They are lying. That is just a form of denial, to say that.
Why do you think the Alley happened?
Its easy: This is a business based on easy and efficient access to capital markets. If that goes away, your business goes away.
Is New York any different from other places?
It is happening all over the world. Nobody wants to invest in Internet businesses anymore. This is a literal case of bubble bursting. There was enthusiasm for this period of time, then the enthusiasm went away, and became negative enthusiasm, actually.
Do you see anything good coming out of Silicon Alley?
I never saw anything good there. This was a series of extremely bogus businesses.
What about existing media companies distributing their stuff over the Internet — does that have a future?
No. The technology isnt there — never has been. I doubt it will be.
So what do you see as the next big thing?
Not only is the Internet dead, the notion of “the next big thing” is dead. There is no next big thing. There never was; there never will be.
This is a very different perspective from most anybody I have talked to.
They are apologists trying to hold onto their jobs, or have a fiduciary responsibility to be as optimistic as possible, but they all believe exactly what I believe.