Friday, December 11, 2009

Time, again and again

In the past couple of weeks, while having a number of meetings with bankers and financial folk discussing the environment for Company exits, Fund fundraising, and valuation dynamics, I have also committed to a new investment in the commerce arena (more about this in a later post). Of course, the tenor of these meetings is quite different, but a common thread runs through them 'what's the prospects for future company performance' and its close sibling, 'what's the dynamics within the industry segment'?

The software and internet industries are known for shifting paradigms, false prophets and explosive adoption that create wonderful opportunities that, when they hit, truly are globe changing.

Marking a new decade is an arbitrary reference to the passage of ten consecutive years, with little significance beyond noting ten years passage from the previous arbitrary point in time. Yet, there is a perspective gained by the look back, if nothing else as My smart friend Larry says 'pattern recognition is one of the important things a VC brings to the table'. He's right.

Ten years ago, billions of dollars were (mis)spent around the Year 2000 'bug', Microsoft was touting Window 2000, the U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft to be split in two, Apple was pushing iTools and iCards, and AOL was skewered by reviewers for it's latest 'upgrade'...'AOL: You've got bugs'. While we were busy debating all these issues, from nowhere came Facebook, Google, the iPod/phone, and the Wii. Disruptive Black Swans all.

Courtesy of the Internet Archive, here's a number of links, taken from Year 2000, that highlight the shifting sands that make our industry so 'interesting':

Apple's home page

AOL's home page

Amazon's home page

Computerworld's top 100 Companies to watch

Here's my favorite

All welcome to add your favorites too.

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