What will we see return from the first .com boom?

May 2, 2006

Everyone remembers the hey day, or have read about it. Daily massages, in office happy hour specials, boat cruises, pool tables, TV Rooms with every cable channel immagineable, Play Stations (the PS2 and XBox were still on the drawing board). Work was a forest of toys and playthings. It hardly resemebled a place where money was actually made. But, for someone spending 70+ hours a week at work, what was 5-10 spent around a ping pong table. It just made sense.

In light of the recent fever sorrounding Internet Development again, I can't help but wonder what we have learned this time around. Certainly we have learned that the companay in order to be successful, needs to have some customers. They can not just be some idea that makes sense. Additionally, the "prototype" needs to be as close to production as possible before large amounts of funding are turned over. But what about the working environment. Did we learn something there? Was our open attitude towards "distractions" a misstep or was their some value there?

Working environments will change and are changing. I think that motivation to spend "extra" hours at work will still be driven internally, instead of the top down approach of typical brick and motor companies. While we will not see a full return to the early days of Interent development you will see an occasional fosball table here an there and early Friday cocktail hour will make a comeback.

People work a lot here in America especially in a time of growth like we are seeing here. During that time of growth you need to produce a working environment that is enticing. If you are not ready to give up equity or do profit sharing inside your company then you should at least set up (or designate some as your) entertainment committee. Get the husbands, wives and families of your workers involved. Spouses that compete with the company for precious time like to be involved.

In any case, like I stated before, I am ready for the next wave!


3 Responses to “What will we see return from the first .com boom?”

  1. mikull Says:

    Rapid price deflation is a constant when it comes to technology. It’s a curse for suppliers and a blessing for large buyers. One of the big differences, we’re told, between today’s startups and those of the last boom is how much cheaper it is to run a company now.

    But lower technology costs aren’t being enjoyed by everyone. Some are noticing that a few of the major tech bellwethers are forecasting sharply higher capital expenditures in the coming year.

    Most notable is Microsoft, which announced that it’s going to plow billions more into its fight with Google. It’s not just a matter of wanting to win the search wars; key to both of these companies’ ambitions seems to be along the lines hardware as a service. Both want to be able to offer huge grids for crunching data and online storage.

    Needless to say, this is going to cost these companies a lot of money. By combining hardware costs with an expected increase in hiring, and the end of bandwidth overcapacity, it’s easy to see how costs might add up. Meanwhile, those startups, whose business models are predicated on low fixed costs, may need to do some new calculations.

  2. notronwest Says:

    I guess I wasn’t really trying to focus on costs, although you bring up some concrete points surrounding the cost of doing business.

    I believe that what you are adressing is that things are different now from a cost perspective then it was before the .dot com boom. I think that one might say that it is even cheaper now to start a business and most start ups are probably more virtually organized then in the past. I would agree with you.

    What I am really trying to say is that there is an underlying mini-society within the walls of work environment. Traditionally that society has been rigid with hard set rules about the way in which we conduct ourselves. The .dot com boom started to break down some of those rules and produced what I believe to be “fun” environments to work in (yes, I said “fun” and “work” in the same sentence). For someone that does not need a ton of motiviation to work hard, it was nice to have an avenue to vent while at work.

    For so many years we have ignored the “stress” surrounding our daily interactions with customers, co-wokers and management. During the .dot com era and specifically in technology laden work environments we saw a change in attitude. Yeah it’s ok to play a half hour of Quake, yeah during your lunch break if you want to whack a ping pong ball around thats fine.

    Then the .dot com bust happened. People evaluated the work environment and from my experience revereted back to pre .dot com days and wiped that all out. It wasn’t cool to wear t-shirts and flip-flops to work, the foosbal table was not appropriate at mid morning break time. The first thing to go was the Quake server. You didn’t have “time” to do those things because management was in a tizzy trying to make ends meet.

    What we failed to realize (and I think we are realizing now) is that some of that was not only good but was necessary. We need to relieve stress, we need to interact on a personal level. As long as it was controlled and remained unabused it works.

    That’s what I hope will return. That’s what I want to see.

  3. mikull Says:

    well, i just stole that from some article- but the point i had shadowed in jibber jabber was just this: with the business world as it is, i wouldn’t expect to see much of anything return from the first dot-com boom- it may be more efficient and perhaps cheaper, but in the long run i wouldn’t expect it to help any company. i would prefer it, but people don’t take it seriously any more- at least imo.

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