In the last decade of the twentieth century, the World Wide Web caught the fancy of the world and everyone was sure that the Internet represented an entire world of commerce. Enterprises and investors put their hope and their money into dreams and the public was happy to jump on the innovation bandwagon. The rate at which dot-com companies and investors grew was unbelievable, which ultimately led to the dot-com crash of 2001. Billions of dollars were lost and people who quit their jobs to float business ideas found themselves once again in interview queues but jobs were scarce. The world is now seeing a similar trend and experts predict that a second dot com bubble might be just around the corner.
We are now experiencing a second age of technology driven startups focused on services delivered online powered by the popularity of mobile internet enabled devices. Some people are of the opinion that the World Wide Web has only recently become what was predicted long ago as the business models behind it have evolved and matured. In the past decade we have seen some of the greatest developments in consumer technology including social networking, the tremendous increase in use of personal laptops, mobile phones and other electronic access devices, new e-commerce models and an insatiable consumer appetite for information. Some of the big names of last century have multiplied in values but numerous small players have also made their mark and several more are expected to follow.
No doubt, there are similarities between the dot-com bubble of 1990s and early 2000s and today’s euphoric technical uprising. In both, innovators, investors and pundits became overly excited and expected change to happen too quickly. Market sentiments overrule logic and investors pour money into what they believe will be the next biggest innovation. But are we moving too aggressively? Are we setting ourselves up for another crash?
There are two major differences between the two dot com booms. First, in the late 90s, people invested in any business which looked like a good idea, without determining if their operating model was set up for long-term success. This was a major cause of the dot com bust as the companies were not able to offer proportionate return on investment. But investors and start ups have learned their lesson. Companies are now investing in making sure they have the right “back office technology” and sustainable business models are being implemented, administered and delivered.
Secondly, the Internet has become a real business tool. In the first dot-com boom, investment was done based on concepts that had yet to be proven. Ideas like e-commerce and online services were premature as the technological infrastructure could not support the vision. But it was this vision that laid the foundation of the technical advancements we see today. As the number of internet users has multiplied, so has the demand for new services and information management that accompanies it. IT is not looked as a support instrument anymore but has taken the center stage with new avenues being opened for emerging technologies.
As the experts and market watchers grow speculative of the growing online craze, there is good news for people looking to join the industry as it spells opportunity for thinkers and doers alike. It is the right time to implement new ideas and technologies for making the workplace more efficient.