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Friday, October 07, 2005

dotcom 2.0

AOL is going to buy out WebBlogs, Inc for $25 million.

This feels very much like deja vu to me. I hitched my ride to the Internet a very, very long time ago and worked for a somewhat major web boutique when the bubble really started to expand. I still remember standing outside with the smokers and having someone do the math on how we'd all be millionaires.

Needless to say, I'm not typing this on my golden supercomputer and I still have to balance a checkbook. In fact, after the crash I came very close to living in a parent's basement (wasn't sure which one, was considering a lottery to determine).

So when I see stock-rich companies buying up small, concept based shops with occasionally little more than a good idea ... I get that odd shiver in one shoulder. Like I'm staring at something familiar. Not that WebBlogs is little more than a good idea ... both them and Gawker have shown a business model that can turn a profit.

And there's another major difference this time around. Most of the people helming these little studios and shops are veterans of these here wars. They're survivors of the first bubble and by all Darwinian principles are better equipped to avoid another. I actually have a few friends working for a company that when last I asked what their business strategy was ... it was to simply get bought out by someone bigger. The goal now is to find a utility, a niche, a problem to solve that someone is worth paying for.

That's a much smaller and more reasonable goal than trying to revolutionize business with nothing more than a browser. And usually these shops are, if anything, undermanned. Stories of webdev shops having months of downtime are many before the crash.

So the wheel has turned and we've gotten back to this point already. If I had a chance or an idea to go on, I'd probably jump back on. Just once again, for old time's sake.

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