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<nettime> from the dotcom observatory (part III)
geert lovink on Tue, 9 Oct 2001 06:21:30 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> from the dotcom observatory (part III)


(Obviously since the posting of the last dotcom observatory report two
months a lot has happened. Wall Street crashed--but in a way no one could
have anticipated. The dotcom closures wave continues but its significance
is minimal compared to the massive jobs losses in the broader technology
and aviation industry. The recession (already on its way since 1 1/2
years) is now becoming a fact, accelerated by the 911 events.  
www.fuckedcompany.com still gives the most acurate picture of the
crumbling dotcom sector but even there the mood shifted and has become
more cautious, serious, even positive at times. The amount of reporting on
day-to-day affairs in the IT-sector has greatly diminished. What remains
are the somewhat dry and dull newswire services such as CNET and Digital
Wire. Perhaps it is time to fold up the observatory and set up tents
elsewhere. As always, thanks to David Hudson for valuable support. Geert).

PS. The fundamentalist long boomers at metamarkets.com which was featured
last time closed in August.

1.   Industry Standard's Top Grok: Goodbye ... Really
2.   biztravel.com closed down
3.   UpsideToday not dead yet!
4.   high finance
5.   Greetings From Recession Camp
6.   MetaMarkets.com: A Requiem
7.   John Eliis: What is the New Economics?
8.   shareholders subsidizing consumers
9.   The Sun Sets on the Bohemian Workplace
10. Ross Out at SFMoMA
11. Boo.com: The Book, The Movie, maybe even The Web Site
12.  {AT} HOME SHOPPING NETWORK

---

1. From: "The Industry Standard" <TheStandard {AT} boing.email-publisher.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 10:44 PM

TOP GROK
~~~~~~~~
Goodbye ... Really

It might be exciting to have a lover who says goodbye, disappears for
several weeks, returns without any promises, and then disappears
again. But an e-mail newsletter that engages in the same sort of
behavior would be merely annoying. We don't want to annoy you any more
than we have already, so you're reading the final Media Grok.

When Media Grok went away in late August and reappeared in early
September, many of you (OK, it was 3,801 of you) wrote to me, and all but
three notes were supportive. Some of you (687, precisely) wrote that you'd
be willing to pay for Media Grok if the advertising climate remained
frosty, but a smaller number of you (well, 0, to be exact) actually sent
me any money. If each Media Grok subscriber had sent me a $10 bill, I
could have outbid IDG in the bankruptcy auction, and ...

The members of Media Grok will continue writing and editing all over the
place. If you send an e-mail to mediagrok {AT} guterman.com, we'll keep you
posted on our whereabouts and whether anyone has coaxed us to put the band
back together. But don't order any "Media Grok Reunion Tour" T-shirts just
yet. - Jimmy Guterman

---------------------------------------------------------------------

STAFF
~~~~~
Written by Deborah Asbrand (dasbrand {AT} world.std.com), Michaela
Cavallaro (mcavalla {AT} maine.rr.com), Keith Dawson (dawson {AT} world.std.com),
Jen Muehlbauer (jen {AT} englishmajor.com) and David Sims
(davesims {AT} sonic.net).

Copyedited and produced by Jim Duffy (jimduffy86 {AT} yahoo.com).

Edited by Jimmy Guterman (guterman {AT} vineyard.com).

Media Grok has been produced by The Vineyard Group Inc., for Standard Media
International. For more information on the future of Media Grok and its
staff, please visit
http://guterman.com.

&

From: "Kedrosky, Paul" <paul.kedrosky {AT} commerce.ubc.ca>
To: "Rewired {AT} Rewired.Com
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 5:59 AM
Subject: Putting The Industry Standard in context

Nice article about the history of business magazines in The New Yorker.

http://www.newyorker.com/THE_TALK_OF_THE_TOWN/THE_FINANCIAL_PAGE/

---

2. Tuesday, September 25, 2001 5:37 PM

www.biztravel.com

Dear biztravel Customer:

Over the last several years, biztravel.com has proudly delivered the best
customer service on the web, introduced the ground-breaking Biztravel
Guarantee, pioneered on-line small business travel solutions -
biztravel {AT} myCompany, and developed leading-edge mobile travel services -
biztravel unwired.

Despite such accomplishments, biztravel has been unable to overcome the
challenges of the economic downturn, the ever-increasing economic pressures
of the travel industry, and ultimately the further-reduced demand for travel
resulting from the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Biztravel therefore ceased
all operations on September 21, 2001.

For those biztravel customers who have questions or issues regarding
outstanding travel arrangements booked through biztravel.com, please contact
the airlines, rental car companies or hotels directly.

The entire team at biztravel.com would like to thank you for the opportunity
to have served your online travel needs. We wish you continued success in
your online and offline ventures in the future.

Note that if the suppliers cannot answer your questions regarding
outstanding biztravel arrangements, you may email us at
customerservice {AT} biztravel.com.

---

3. UpsideToday not dead yet!
September 24, 2001 12:00 AM ET

http://www.upside.com/texis/mvm/story?id=3bab6cd51

Due to the current business climate, it is no longer viable for us to
provide daily stock market coverage as we have in the past. We will however
continue to provide the inside story on technology companies and will
continue to publish our On Trial weekly feature which over the past few
months has accounted for 40% of our traffic.

Upside magazine, our sister publication, has survived a tough summer and
will continue to be published on a monthly basis. We expect to see the
magazine start growing again and as the business climate improves we'll be
able to add back more and more features to UpsideToday as well. So stay
tuned and we'll help you stay on top of the technology stories and issues
that matter most.

Sincerely,

David Bunnell

Editorial Director

Upside Inc.

---

4. From: <dclaxton {AT} fdbl.com>
To: <rewired {AT} rewired.com>
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2001 4:16 AM
Subject: high finance

If you bought $1000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be
worth $72.

If you bought $1000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year
ago, drank all the beer, and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you
would have $79.

http://nuance.dhs.org/lbo-talk/current/2011.html

---

5. Greetings From Recession Camp

http://www.fastcompany.com/launch/launch_feature/reccamp.html

Even downsized dotcommers need a little work-life balance. That's why Andrew
Brenner and Michael Feldman founded Recession Camp -- a refuge for Bay Area
job hunters who'd rather bicycle Skyline Drive than wait by the phone with
Oprah.

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Andrew Brenner might be the only person in the world struck by an epiphany
while waiting in line for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. That was back in late
June, and Brenner and his friend Michael Feldman -- both recently laid off
from Silicon Valley jobs -- were attending a matinee. "I was lamenting the
fact that there weren't many people to hang around with during the day,"
remembers Brenner, formerly vice president of business development at the
wireless infrastructure company Mspect Inc. "I said to Michael, 'There's got
to be tons of people out there right now who are out of work and going
through the same issues we are.' "

Then the epiphany hit: What if, Brenner and Feldman wondered, they created a
way for casualties of the economic downturn to meet and spend time together?
Thus, Recession Camp was born -- a weekly series of inexpensive, casual
events, such as bike rides and picnics, publicized via recessioncamp.com and
an email newsletter that targets just about anyone wanting a break from the
monotony. "You look for a job several hours a day, and then you need
something to do with your time," Brenner explains.

Brenner, 32, and Feldman, 33, were proud of their brainchild. "We high-fived
each other and were pretty excited," says Feldman, whose job as CEO of Tools
Inc., an Internet marketing startup, ended in February. But the head
counselors of Recession Camp didn't know how their scheme would be received
by others. The answer? More enthusiastically than they ever imagined. The
first event, a hike held in early July, attracted 6 people. A similar event
in late August attracted 25. The mailing list now boasts 600 subscribers,
with about 50 more signing on every week. And Brenner and Feldman have
received inquiries from the similarly unemployed about starting chapters in
Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

"It's a great idea," says Christina Mueller, 32, product manager at
AltaVista until six months ago. "It's a way to get people out of their
solitary lives looking for a job, which is something you pretty much do on
your own." Mueller heard about Recession Camp through word of mouth and has
attended a baseball game and happy-hour event with the group. Though she
didn't know anybody affiliated with Recession Camp before joining, she says,
"Everyone is really social. It's just a good crowd."

To be sure, the circumstances that prompted the creation of Recession Camp
aren't very funny, especially since the recent pattern of layoffs shows no
sign of slowing down. But both Brenner and Feldman believe that it's
important to maintain a sense of humor -- and a sense of perspective. As
Brenner says, "You really need something to keep you active and happy while
you're looking for a job. You're not going to sound very good in interviews
after sitting and watching Oprah for four weeks."

Brenner and Feldman didn't start Recession Camp to make money -- a fact that
some in Silicon Valley find difficult to grasp. "Even though we're in a
recession, everybody's still focused on startups and money and stock,"
Feldman says. "We tell people about Recession Camp, and they say, 'How do
you make money?' We say, 'We're not even trying.' And they're like, 'I don't
get it. What's your revenue model?' When we say, 'We're doing this for fun,'
they're like, 'No, no, there's got to be some other reason.' "

But the reason really is just to have fun -- many of the camp outings are
activities Brenner and Feldman say that they always wanted to participate in
but couldn't because they were so busy working. So far, Feldman says that he
has most enjoyed Recession Camp's outing to the San Francisco Food Bank. "We
had pallets of frozen peas that we had to break up and put in plastic bags,"
 he says. "We built a little assembly line where one person opened the
baggie, another person broke the peas apart, a third person scooped up the
food, and finally someone put it in the bags. We were doing a good thing,
and the work was actually fun." The most popular events have been the group
hikes; the least popular was a matinee of Rush Hour 2, though, as Brenner
points out, "You don't say, 'Boy, that movie sucked' as much when it was
only six bucks instead of nine."

Of course, the camaraderie offered through Recession Camp is often as
appealing as its actual events. "This is a support group without the
support-group label," Brenner says. "People talk about how they got laid
off, what kind of severance -- if any -- they got, how to apply for
unemployment, what they're looking for in a job, and whether they'll change
careers or move out of the area to find work."

Because conducting a job search can be so isolating, Brenner says, "it's
reassuring to talk about things. You say, 'Okay, I'm not off-base' or
'There's someone else like me out there, and I'm doing the right things to
find a job.' When we're hiking around or waiting for a movie to start, I
step back and hear people talking with each other -- meeting for the first
time and getting some reassurance and having fun. That makes me feel as if
I've done something valuable."

Not that being a counselor is an entirely altruistic act. No summer camp
would be complete without a little romance, and Brenner admits that he's
been on several dates with campers ( which isn't as taboo as it sounds,
given that those campers are his own age ). But Brenner is eager to make one
thing clear: "We didn't start Recession Camp to meet women."

Both Brenner and Feldman say that Recession Camp has reminded them of the
importance of leading a balanced life. Camp will end when they find jobs --
which means it may or may not last beyond the summer -- but they both hope
to continue pursuing extracurricular activities purely for fun. "Now that
I've taken some time off, gotten some perspective, and met a lot of diverse
people, I have been able think about how I like working at a startup, how
I'm very entrepreneurial, and how I want to build a company. At the same
time, I want to make sure that I keep perspective and keep my priorities in
order," Feldman says. "And I think a lot of other people are figuring that
out too. We'll see if it holds true as the economy starts to turn around."

Echoes Brenner, "For the past few years, people in the Bay Area were in such
a go-go-go frenzy that they didn't look out the window and enjoy the view.
Recession Camp is an acknowledgement that we need to get a little more
balance in our lives. It's hearkening back to the feeling I had at summer
camp." But Brenner adds with a laugh, "Of course, it's not the same. I'm not
in a bunk bed in a cabin with 10 other teenagers."

Curtis Sittenfeld ( csitten {AT} soli.inav.net ), a former Fast Company staff
writer, lives in Iowa. Learn more about Recession Camp on the Web.

---

6. MetaMarkets.com: A Requiem

Don & Dave sum up what we've all achieved together on MetaMarkets.com

"My soul would be an outlaw." Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman,
Harlan Ellison

"Trust thyself: Every heart vibrates to that iron string." Self Reliance,
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and
looks like work." Thomas Edison

"Rules serve best when broken." Time Enough For Love, Robert Heinlein

Nearly two years ago to the day, we embarked on a great adventure. On August
31st, 1999, the first fund managed by the MetaMarkets.com investment team
was started: OpenFund. Today we mark the end of the journey.

Our goal was not modest - to revolutionize the way mutual funds deal with
their customers - completely in the open, and in real time. At the same
time, we set out to pioneer a new kind of investment journalism - coming
from the heart of a real investment management process. We vowed to expose
every part of the process, warts and all. Those of you who've been with us
from the beginning watched as we invested those first dollars in the fund
(largely from friends and family to whom we will be forever grateful). A few
weeks ago, you had the dubious privilege of seeing the fund's final
unwinding trades.

Along the way, we kept our heads up, stuck to our principles, and kept lit
the torch of mutual fund transparency. We stirred the pot, so much so that
the Investment Company Institute felt it necessary to dedicate its entire
research effort to proving that mutual fund transparency is hazardous to
your health - yet on the horizon are new SEC rules moving the entire
industry closer to the standards we have pioneered.

But we are not an immovable object in the wake of what has been a nearly
irresistible force, in the form of a savage bear market. And so, we find
ourselves - as a company - faced with the task of winding up our affairs.

One of the biggest and best surprises in this process has been you - the
MetaMarkets.com community. This is a community of which there have never
been leaders, as such - only many, many enthusiastic partners. Around our
grand vision, a group of investors - novice and professional alike -
coalesced. For every article we wrote (each and every day for over 500
market days), we learned something from the community. Through the
contributions of the MetaMarkets Think Tank, our compatriots on the
investment team, and total strangers, we leave enriched. And for that, we
thank you.

But every ending is a beginning. While this site may fade, our interest in
the markets won't. Nor can the muse that brings us to the keyboard each
morning be easily muted. Many of those you've come to rely on for
commentary - or just a good laugh - will be carrying on at The Luskin
Report. Others of us will surely move on to different paths. We hope you'll
track us down - we'd love to hear from you.

The best is yet to be.

Don Luskin & Dave Nadig
August 17, 2001

---

7. What Is the New Economics?

What Is the New Economics? by John Ellis

http://robin.fastcompany.com/cgi-bin/nph-t.pl?U=1258&M=89354&MS=1791

Yale economist Robert J. Shiller wrote the defining book on the Internet
bubble. Now he's busy rewriting the laws of economics, where emotion and
psychology dominate data and numbers. And in his spare time, he's busy
worrying about his own dotcom.

The thing is, it's supposed to be the other way around. Academics are
supposed to be the impractical ones: the theorists. Practitioners -- those
hard-bitten, steely-eyed professionals, as they imagine themselves -- are
supposed to be the realists.

Except that two years ago, the whole world was turned upside down. Two years
ago, analysts and bonus babies on Wall Street were head over heels in love
with every technology and dotcom company that could generate any kind of an
offering document. Venture capitalists were throwing money -- hundreds of
millions of dollars -- at business plans that were hardly more than pipe
dreams. Reporters and editors were churning out reams of copy about
high-flying stocks that were destined, they told us, only to fly higher. It
was a time, in Alan Greenspan's memorable phrase, of irrational exuberance.

And during that time, in the most delirious fever of the feverish delirium,
Yale University economist Robert J. Shiller -- nothing less than the Stanley
B. Resor Professor of Economics -- was holed up in his modest office on
Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut, banging away on a Gateway
computer. He was writing a book. More than that, he was working against a
deadline that, in his mind, was always one day away. Shiller knew in his
bones that a major stock-market "correction" was imminent. He had learned
from harsh experience that his book would be irrelevant if he didn't get it
done in time ( he had been halfway through a book on risk management when
the stock market crashed in October 1987 ). So he just kept firing away at
his new book, writing day and night, until it was finished.

The book he wrote, archly entitled Irrational Exuberance, said that the
great roaring bull market of the late 1990s was a speculative binge: an
irrational, self-propelled, self-inflated bubble. Of course, many people
described the run-up in the markets as speculative. But no one built the
case, point by point, with anything approaching Shiller's thoroughness. And
only Shiller found a way to make economics and business accessible,
compelling, understandable -- human. Shiller's writing and analysis made the
book a tour de force. Timing made it a best-seller. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index peaked at 1527 on almost the exact day that Irrational Exuberance
appeared in bookstores.

After the fever broke and the markets began their slide, it was Shiller, not
the Wall Street professionals, who emerged as the E.F. Hutton of the new
economy. When Shiller spoke, people listened. Although, as Shiller is the
first to point out, when people and economics intersect, listening,
learning, and acting differently don't automatically follow -- largely
because, contrary to conventional wisdom, economics isn't about data and
numbers. In Shiller's view, economics is about emotion and psychology. In
fact, for the past 10 years or so, Shiller has been at the forefront of what
has come to be called "behavioral economics" -- the real new economics of
the real new economy.

Irrational Exuberance is perhaps Shiller's clearest explication of what
behavioral economics implies: What drove the astonishing run-up in stock
prices in the latter half of the 1990s had little to do with earnings or
dividend growth. Instead, it was a reflection of human psychology -- a kind
of collective belief that almost anything was possible and that financial
gravity did not necessarily apply. ( And by the way, Shiller notes, the same
forces of human psychology can drive the economy into a downward spiral,
with equal disregard for economic data. )

The way Shiller sees it, there is such a thing as the zeitgeist -- the
spirit of the times -- and it is an enormously powerful force in the
markets. Shiller can lay out an ironclad case for why the stock market is
overpriced. Everyone in the room will nod in agreement and know that on some
profound level, Shiller is correct in his analysis of the situation. But no
one will change their behavior. The pension-fund manager will not lighten up
his client's holdings. Endowment heads will not sell or short a single
stock. The behavioral power of human forces that compel people to do what
they do will triumph. If the basic force is optimism or greed, then markets
will remain exuberant. If the basic force is pessimism or fear, then no
earnings or dividend increase will assuage it. This is lesson number one in
Professor Shiller's class in new economics.

Lesson number two is that the efficient-markets theory is, well, bullshit.
The efficient-markets theory asserts that all financial prices accurately
reflect all public information at all times. "In other words," Shiller
explains, "given what is publicly known, financial assets are priced
correctly at all times. Prices may appear to be too high or too low at
times, but, according to the efficient-markets theory, this appearance must
be an illusion."

The efficient-markets theory is to the economics profession and its
benefactors on Wall Street what belief in God is to the Catholic Church: an
article of faith. "It never sounded right to me," Shiller says. "So I
proposed a statistical test that compared the volatility of stock prices
with the volatility of dividends. And what I found was that the stock-price
volatility is way beyond anything that has ever been justified by the
subsequent dividends. This got me into a statistical controversy, and
there's no end to the criticism that I've received. The profession doesn't
want to hear that the efficient-markets theory is wrong."

For anyone who's looking for evidence in this ongoing debate, the popping of
the dotcom bubble and the NASDAQ crash of April 14, 2000 proved Shiller's
point beyond any reasonable doubt. On that date, no new public information
suddenly surfaced to cause the stock market to rocket downward. It was
nothing more than the day before tax day. Tax selling became a rout, the
news spread, the zeitgeist changed, and before long, companies such as Yahoo
and Sun Microsystems had lost more than half of their value. Nothing at
those companies had changed. No new critical economic data was added to the
market. What had changed was the context in which those companies were
understood. And when the context shifted, the psychology shifted, and when
the psychology shifted, well, you know the rest.

This leads to Shiller's third lesson: The economic profession has to do a
much better job of explaining economic behavior and events. "We don't want
to rely on the statistics alone," he argues. "They're too narrow in their
focus. The biggest puzzle about stock markets -- or about any historical
event -- is trying to figure out the contributing factors and their relative
weight. Why did World War II happen? Why did the Roman Empire fall? History
has very complicated answers that tend to look like a list of factors. I
think that's how human history works: When something major happens, it's
because a lot of the factors are moving in one direction. One of the
criticisms that I have of economics departments is that they like to
emphasize rigor to the point where they feel they can't rigorously handle so
many different factors at once, and so they just focus in on one. Then those
departments lose their vitality, because what's actually happening is driven
by many things."

A large section of Irrational Exuberance is devoted to Shiller's attempt to
identify the key factors that moved the market to such unprecedented
heights. "I came up with a list," he says. "The idea is that the market has
behaved exceptionally, and that's not necessarily true for one simple
reason -- there are many reasons. Some economists would say, 'I want to know
which reason is right.' But it's never that only one reason is right.
They're all right to varying degrees."

Shiller's fourth lesson is that there is such a thing as the new economy --
notwithstanding the Internet bubble. And there's a corollary: The new
economy will soon have too many old people. The emblem of change in the new
economy, Shiller notes, is the Internet. "The Internet continues to be an
incredible focal point, and public attention is what drives the market. I
don't know what your house is like, but when I walk home, I can see that
people aren't sitting in front of the TV, they're sitting in front of the
Internet."

But, says Shiller, if the new economy has growth potential, it's the
soon-to-increase number of old fogies who will slow things down:
Counterbalancing the new economy's potential is the aging of the baby-boom
generation. "The baby boomers are a reason for pessimism over the long run,
because those people are going to get old," Shiller says. "And the next
generation of middle-aged people -- the baby busters -- are going to be
involved in nursing-home management and in other things that won't feed as
much back into economic growth. Two things are conspiring: the baby boom and
medical research, which is extending life in costly ways. It's a truth that
we'll have to come to grips with. And it's going to transform our society."

Lesson number five: Think of the Internet -- and the technology that enables
the Internet -- as more of a social force than a market force. For example,
the Web ultimately might not substantially increase productivity, but it may
dramatically reduce tax evasion. This is the subject of Shiller's next book,
and he gets animated as he warms to the topic. "In this book, I want to
think about how the new technologies provide an opportunity to improve our
society," Shiller says. "I'm worried about a deterioration of income
distribution. I want to see how we might improve the way that we share in
our society."

Robert Shiller's sixth lesson is that there is a next big thing. "Robotics,"
he says. "Maybe 10 or 20 years down the road, robotics will be a really big
deal. A lot of things will be automated. I think that automation should be a
real national concern because of the potential for disruption of income
distribution. Common-labor wages will be harmed by the invention of robots
that can do simple tasks." To underscore the seriousness of his point,
Shiller brings up . . . RoboSoccer.

RoboSoccer? "They had it on TV," he says, genuinely excited. "It's an annual
event. You have to design a robot that plays soccer, and then there's an
indoor soccer arena, and your robot can't be radio controlled. The robots
have to play entirely on their own, and they have to know how to follow the
rules somehow. I saw segments of the soccer game, and it actually looked
like a soccer game. You could see them playing."

Shiller chuckles at the inanity of the idea of robotic soccer -- do robots
really need exercise? But then he turns to the larger point. "The program
quoted someone who said that RoboSoccer today is what computer chess was 20
years ago, when the games were laughable. The computers were easily
defeated. But, the show said, within 50 years, no human soccer team will be
able to defeat a robot team. I don't know whether that's true or not, but I
can see advantages that computer robots might have as a team compared with
humans. I can easily believe that a robot team could beat any human team."

Shiller then draws a picture of your new neighborhood. "In the near future,
half of the 'people' you encounter will be robots. They'll be out on errands
for somebody. Every now and then, a robot will stop you and ask you for
directions. Robots have already taken over a substantial part of the world.
It's computer technology that, I think, is a really big thing."

Shiller's seventh lesson is experiential: If you really want to understand
something -- really understand it -- don't just analyze it, do it. According
to Shiller, there's no substitute for experience. And so, although this
academic is best known as the man whose prose helped puncture the Internet
bubble, he is himself a partner in a dotcom company. "In 1991 we founded
Case Shiller Weiss Inc.," Shiller says. "At that time, Allan Weiss was the
president and only employee. The company has grown to about 20 employees
now. We wanted to create futures markets or some kind of derivative market
in real estate. And we wanted to provide indexes for contract settlement.
That was the initial idea -- which, unfortunately, still hasn't happened."
In other words, Shiller's company sounds exactly like any other startup
dotcom.

"But I'm still hopeful that it will happen," Shiller continues. "So we
constructed what we call 'by-zip-code real-estate price indexes.' Then we
got this idea to create an automated valuation model using our indexes for
individual houses. We created a Web site where you can type in the address
of any home, and, for a price, we'll tell you an estimated value of the
house. So we're a dotcom company with the same issues that other dotcom
companies have -- competitors can steal your list."

Overall, Shiller says, the dotcom experience has deepened his appreciation
for life in the new economy -- and added to his criticisms of life in the
university. "I view the world through the eyes of a dotcom entrepreneur," he
says. "We don't know who is going to set up a competing Web site within the
next few days. And if our competitors are giving it away on their Web sites,
what does that mean for us? In the past, universities have not exactly been
thrilled when professors got involved with business. But I think it's been a
great thing for me, because it changes my perspective on the world. I get
shaken out of my overly academic perspective. I can talk with Allan Weiss on
the phone, and then I can go to some seminar right afterward where there's a
professor giving a talk about the mathematics of the economics of infinity
( if I explained the topic to you, you wouldn't believe me )."

And the eighth and final lesson that Professor Shiller has to offer? "Well,"
he says, thinking like a teacher again, "one thing that I believe is that
people exaggerate the speed with which things will happen. I like to use the
example of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's based in exactly this year.
The movie came out in 1968. When I watch it, it still looks like the future
to me. It doesn't look like 2001. People are traveling to Jupiter, after
all, and that computer, HAL, has abilities that no computer has today. At
the time, there was a lot of talk about spin-offs from NASA technology,
things such as communications satellites. It happened -- but not as fast and
not as dramatically as people thought it would. So the reasonable assumption
is that robotics, as I said, is coming. It is coming. And maybe in 30 years,
robots will be beating us in soccer. But then again, it might take a good
100 years."

And then Shiller adds, "Incidentally, 2001 came out during another peak in
the market."

John Ellis ( jellis {AT} fastcompany.com ), a regular Fast Company columnist on
digital matters, is a writer and consultant based in New York. Find out more
about Robert Shiller on the Web ( http://www.robertshiller.com ).

---

8. From: "Jonathan Prince" <jonathan {AT} killyourtv.com>
To: <rewired {AT} rewired.com>
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2001 3:36 AM
Subject: shareholders subsidizing consumers

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_35/b3746630.htm

Q: Why did managers so seriously misread the actual demand for online
commerce?

Michael Porter: The way this technology was deployed in the first
stage, virtually all the value went to the customer. In fact, 150% of
the value went to the customer. Value was extracted from the
corporate sector and passed to the consumer sector because people
were able to buy things at [prices] much lower than their true cost.
So shareholders basically subsidized consumers. It's wonderful to get
things for free or for much less than they're worth. But technology
has to deliver value that people are willing to pay for. The problem
with the Internet was that many of the things it did were not
sufficiently valuable for people to pay for.

---

9. Fast Company's Fast Take newsletter
August 22, 2001

The Sun Sets on the Bohemian Workplace
by Christine Canabou
The freewheeling culture of the dotcom workplace is
rapidly disappearing, a victim of the harsh, new
economic reality. Andrew Ross hopes to chronicle its
glory days before it's gone.
http://robin.fastcompany.com/cgi-bin/nph-t.pl?U=1196&M=89354&MS=1658

---

10. From: "Peter von Brandenburg" <blackhawk {AT} thing.net>
To: "Thingist" <thingist {AT} bbs.thing.net>
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2001 5:47 AM
Subject: <thingist> Ross Out at SFMoMA

All:  SF made more than NYC in the dot-com bubble, yet as anyone who
knows the city u/stands all too well, SF is also a monoculture; or a
concentration of monocultures.  When the Mass Extinction hit, there was
no redress & no alternative available.  If the old quote from DR about
capital (& by extension culture?) moving to the Pacific Rim was more
than just spin (& we all know why he really left the Whiney...) then it
was remarkably short-sighted of him.  The "dragnet" facts can be found
in the link below but the bottom line seems to be that the museum
slashed his operating budget to nothing, perhaps expecting he wouldn't
care as long as his salary was not involved.  Well, he did, & he's
gone.  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/18/arts/design/18ROSS.html  Who
knows, maybe they'll promote Benjy to fill his slot?  (jk)  best, -- B.

---

11. From: "David Hudson" <dwh {AT} snafu.de>
To: <rewired {AT} rewired.com>
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 5:43 AM
Subject: Boo.com: The Book, The Movie, maybe even The Web Site.

Cameron Diaz as "willowy" Kajsa Leander! Ed Norton as Ernst "meet beautiful
women and go to parties" Malmsten! Those *other* three C's: "caviar,
champagne and Concorde (although some say a fourth C was cocaine)"!

Ah, but it's good to return from a week offline to find that the world
hasn't turned itself upright while you were away.

Yes, folks, just as we've all grown oh-so terribly, terribly weary of all
those "dotcom goes up, dotcom goes down" stories, along comes Random House
with _BooHoo.Com: A dotcom story from concept to catastrophe_, "written" by
Boo.com founders Leander and Malmsten, complete with a "lavish" launch
party, etc., and rumors running rampant that a major studio, "thought to be
Vivendi Universal, is close to securing the film rights for a six-figure
sum."

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,542576,00.html

Nice bit here:

In true rock star style the pair are now banned from several hotels on the
South Coast as a result of their predilection for defenestrating
televisions.

But the greatest sign of excess, which hasn't been disclosed until now, was
the extraordinary steps boo took to protect Leander and Malmsten from the
threat of kidnapping. With its backers telling it the company was worth
1bn, boo decided it was important to protect its most valuable assets -
with no fewer than 40 Gurkhas to escort the founders wherever they went.
Fiercely loyal, the Gurkhas prevented accountants KPMG from entering the
company's offices after it went into liquidation.

---

13. From: "Owen Thomas" <owen {AT} ditherati.com>
To: <ditherati {AT} lists.ditherati.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 4:56 PM
Subject: D I T H E R A T I for 2 October 2001

        {AT} HOME SHOPPING NETWORK

     "There was a notion that a company could be built
     that would serve the complex technology and backbone
     systems to a group of cable operators and participate
     in the economics.... But there's no real reward."

         Will Hearst, venture capitalist and  {AT} Home's founding
         CEO, on the company's penniless demise after selling
         its network to AT&T, News.com, 28 September 2001

      http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1014-201-7340505-0.html

Ditherati appears daily on weekdays. An archive is
online at http://www.ditherati.com/archive/




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