Party like it’s 1999

The ‘90s was a great time for all dotcom companies. When the first internet browser arrived in 1992, more and more people started their companies based only on the internet. Such companies as Amazon, Yahoo!, Paypal, and more. However, most of them failed together with the dotcom crash at the beginning of 2000.

This revealed some lessons to startup founders and investors that have become dogma in the silicon valley. The lessons are:

  • Make incremental advances - Big visions are dangerous. Small steps are the only safe path forward.
  • Stay lean and flexible - Beware of big plans. Planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead, make experiments and slowly iterate.
  • Improve the competition - Instead of creating a new market prematurely, build a product on a market that already has competitors.
  • Focus on product, not sales - Viral growth is the only sustainable growth. If your product needs ads or a sales team, it’s not good enough.

However, the opposite of these lessons might be truer.

  • It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
  • A bad plan is better than no plan.
  • Competitive markets destroy profits.
  • Sales matter just as much as the product.

Before the bubble, people believed in 0 to 1. After it, they started to believe that 1 to n is safer, so it’s better. But, is it?