5 years ago the NASDAQ hit it's all time high of 5048.62. I lived through that period in Santa Clara, which is in the center of the Silicon Valley and the heart of the dot-com boom. I lived a few blocks from Netscape's headquarters. It was an exciting time and for me personally it was one of the high points of my life. Electricity seemed to flow from everyone in that area during that period and not everyone was out to rip someone off. The majority of the businesses were trying to make things easier for people and make things more productive.
We've all heard of the scams and the very poor choices of dumping money into anything with a .com on their name and people outside the area see the whole thing as a sham. Having lived through it I can tell you it wasn't all like that.
The NASDAQ closed on Friday at 2041.60, a shadow of its former self. I look back on that time occasionally and it saddens me that I will probably never see such a sight again for my life. Everyone had a dream back then and the majority of the people in the area were excited at the prospect of fulfilling their dreams. In these days of terror a kind of dull depression seems to be on the faces of those around me on a daily basis it's very disappointing. It's not because of the terror it's because of the loss of hope, a loss of a chance and a loss of opportunity.
I no longer see the entrepreneurial spirit around me. It may be where I live now -- up here in Sacramento and not in the Silicon Valley. The people around me are work-a-day Americans. They head to work everyday and then home and when I talk to them they see no other option or have no motivation than to go on working for an employer for the rest of their lives. I see struggling to get by and I can relate -- I am too.
I look around and do see things getting better in places I just haven't seen it in this area yet.
The Guardian sums it up nicely:
Along the way, companies such as Boo.com, Clickmango.com, Ready2Shop.com, Pets.com, Toysmart.com and many more went from being leaders of a revolution to tombstones in dotcom graveyards chronicled by the likes of Fucked Company - and the business pages of a delighted tabloid press.