Three Years Ago, Where Were You?

Last night at the Webby Business Awards dinner (caveat, I was a judge), while having a lively conversation about the future of technology and business online, it struck me that it might be interesting to ask the folks at the table not what they thought was coming, but rather…


Last night at the Webby Business Awards dinner (caveat, I was a judge), while having a lively conversation about the future of technology and business online, it struck me that it might be interesting to ask the folks at the table not what they thought was coming, but rather where they were three years ago. Because, as it happens, three years ago this month was pretty much when the worm turned in the internet industry. Late 2000, the money ran out, the businesses started to fall apart, the media coverage got bitter and angry, and a lot of people started losing their jobs. Not surprisingly, most of the folks at my table had entirely different jobs three years ago, as did I (there were folks from Google and Salesforce present, and as you might expect, they were in fine fettle).
Three years ago I was running the Standard, facing the first layoffs in the company’s history, and dealing with a dramatic reversal in our advertising forecasts: a drop of about 75%. So where were you, and what were you doing? And…more importantly, how are you doing now? Are you happier? Interestingly, every single person I asked that question last night said they were. Worms keep turning, and eventually the soil again bears fruit.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

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