Looking back in tech time

imgresFred wrote about the life cycle of tech companies earlier this week.  It was a conversation we were all talking about over the weekend.  It was not surprising to see Yahoo become part of another company vs. a stand-alone business.  It is part of the cycle.

There is a point where a bunch of companies begin their lives in the same space and although each are slightly different they are competitors of one another.  Over the course of growth some get funding to move forward while others just die.  The really strong ideas that prove that they are worthy businesses by filling voids or needs in the market grow and survive.  At one point a few might join forces through a buy out or others remain stand-alone entities and perhaps go public but in the end there is usually one company through that cycle left standing.

We are seeing it in several verticals right now.  Sometimes it happen super quick and other times it takes a long time.  The one that is really interesting to track right now is transportation such as Uber, Lyft and others and to prove my point this week Hailo and My Taxi combined forces.

Going back to the 90’s there was Geocities.  Geocities was the first social network.  The competitors at that time were Tripod and Angelfire.  That was a time when there were ISP’s such as  Lycos, Alta Vista, Netscape (which began as Mosaic) and AOL.  Geocities was purchased by Yahoo for $3b at the peak of the dotcom bubble in the late 90’s.

Flatiron Partners was an investor in Geocities.  Flatiron Partners, that no longer exists today, began as a VC partnership between Fred and Jerry Colonna.  When Geocities sold it changed our lives in so many ways.

Not sure what companies will survive the next 20 years and what companies will change the lives of many people but what is to be noted is that Geocities for all its glory no longer exists today (except as a web hosting service in Japan).

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Yup, I remember well.I was deeply involved in the wave before that which can be argued as the first platforms for social avatar based interaction.Electric Communities was the company in the mid 90s. We bought The Palace and OnLive then well….the world changed.

    1. Gotham Gal

      the end of the 90’s when everything imploded.

      1. awaldstein

        Yup–when every spreadsheet that was going up and to the right, hit reality.

        1. pointsnfigures

          The toughest short in stock market history.

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I was working at a competitor (XOOM) at that time, and we had just hired someone away from Geocities. She didn’t last long, as she became a multi-millionaire shortly after we hired her. She spent her days with us going back and forth with Stanford over the plans for the polo field she was going to donate to them…There were so many company names on the tip of everyone’s tongue at that time, and most people I work with now have never heard of them (AngelFire, Snap, etc.). A potent lesson in the impermanence of things.

    1. Gotham Gal

      They all seem like such dinosaurs but truly not that long ago.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Facebook, Google feel like they have staying power. Maybe Slack?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Maybe Slack.

      1. awaldstein

        Maybe….We forget being in the startup world that for larger–$200m and up size companies-they are still dealing with digital transformation, still address how to make everyone communicate internally and externally cross departments as one marketing face to the world.There is a ton of group and community innovation that is yet to come here.

  4. leeschneider

    I remember reading your personal story of the Geocities sale, maybe on your blog or maybe on avc, I can’t remember. Something about going to buy groceries and there wasn’t enough cash in the bank and Fred saying it’ll be OK because of the Geocities sale. Always loved that.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I wrote about that years ago. Memorable is an understatement

      1. leeschneider

        Years ago?!?! Wow. I guess time flies in the blogosphere!

  5. ellensing

    The number of tee shirts and swag I have, from companies no longer in existence, is memorable. My husband has been in tech for almost 45 years. When I saw key chains for kosmoz.com in an ocean state job lot jar for $1.00 I thought about buried companies.

    1. Gotham Gal

      we have tons of hats too!