F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot-com Flameouts
Philip J. Kaplan
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Not long ago, the world was awash with venture capital in search of the next Yahoo! or Amazon.com. No product, no experience, no technology, no business plan -- no problem. You could still get $40 million from investors to start up your dot-com. And you could get people to work around the clock for stock options and the promise of millions. Then, around April 2000, it all came crashing down.
Smart investors, esteemed analysts, and the business press found themselves asking:
- Who knew people wouldn't rush out to trade in their U.S. dollars for a virtual currency called Flooz?
- Who knew people wouldn't blow all their Flooz on a used car from the guys at iMotors.com?
- And who needed a used car from iMotors.com when they could just sit at home and have 40-lb. bags of dog food delivered to them by a sock puppet?
F'd Companies captures the waste, greed, and human stupidity of more than 100 dot-com companies. Written in Philip J. Kaplan's popular, cynical style, these profiles are filled with colorful anecdotes, factoids, and information unavailable anywhere else. Together they form a gleeful encyclopedia of how not to run a business. They also capture a truly remarkable period of history.
F'd Companies is required reading for everyone involved in the "new economy" -- assuming your severance check can cover the cost.
HTTP for web browsing and FTP for transferring files. Wapit was both a portal for wireless Internet devices (a.k.a. cell phones) but gained more notoriety as a maker of WAP-related software. In particular, Wapit developed Kannel, a WAP gateway (Apache for WAP, for the dorks in the house). Wapit also created imbedded software—software that’s built into your wireless device that works with wireless Internet services. They even scored a distribution deal with Nokia at one point. The problem is
beginning in more ways than they probably knew. First off, the hobby business already had a thriving mail-order component. For hardcore enthusiasts, it wasn’t difficult to find retailers with better selections and lower prices. As for beginner hobbyists, the products are so complex and configurable that they require a level of hand-holding and customer support that eHobbies just couldn’t provide. Compounding eHobbies’ troubles was the larger issue of the demise of “hobbies” altogether. Kids have
Dash. Dash.com terminated their service in June 2001, and as of this writing are apparently still sseeaarrcchhiinngg for a buyer. EPOD.COM With $18 million in funding, most notably from Macromedia, ePod.com sought to change the world of online marketing—specifically, the evil banner ad. Their idea was to make banner ads with their own e-commerce backend.For example, let’s say you were on RollingStone.com,reading about a band you like. A banner ad for CDNow.com, one of ePod’s affiliates, would
company. SETI has yet to find intelligent life. And so on. CAPACITYWEB.COM Funded with $4.5 million from incubator Devine Interventures, CapacityWeb.com attempted to create a system for manufacturing companies to lease their downtime in order to remain at full capacity.The idea is that, if you’re a manufacturer and your factory isn’t making anything, even for a minute, you’re losing potential revenue. Manufacturers work to align supply anddemand between their suppliers and customers, striving
I’m an idiot and even I managed to build Fuckedcompany in a weekend. MERCATA.COM This was yet another dot-com set to ROCK THE WORLD OF RETAIL and put all the old-fashioned guys out of business. The thing is, even the press bought into this one. Maybe it’s because it was backed and cofounded by Microsoft cofounder (and Seattle SuperSonics owner and Jimi Hendrix museum proprietor, among other things) Paul Allen.Mercata was one of many “group buying” sites that were oh so popular. The idea behind