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lucid thoughts

The Wild 80s Sep 27, 2009

The Wild 80s and 90s

...just reminiscing.

Some Wild Party
The 80s is reminiscent of the New Wave era, but I have a different wave in mind. The once staid and complacent corporate world was jolted violently from its rut in the heyday of the mergers and acquisition mania of the time. That was ground zero for the wildest party on the planet.

Corporate Raiders
With the new breed of corporate raiders, a new universe was opened up and intrepid adventurers laid out to map the unchartered waters of this new landscape. In their arsenal were newly invented (or rehashed to meet modern times) weapons wreaking corporate havoc - poison pill, golden parachute, green mail, leveraged buy-out, etc.

David and Goliath
It was a surreal environment where minnows swallow whales. Never before in corporate history have such things happen. DotCom upstarts like AOL, offering new ways of doing business on the web, even though drowning in red ink, had their share prices shoot through the roof. Conversely, iconic companies with impressive pedigrees like Time-Warner were regarded as dinosaurs and their share prices reflected that public sentiment. These new raiders used their artificially inflated shares to buy out the big boys...and they did! They were the new swashbuckling pirates whose names spelled terror in board meetings - Carl Icahn, T. Boone Pickens, Saul Steinberg etc. These Davids don't only conquer the Goliaths, they chop him up too, not unlike the way Carl Icahn took over an airline company and then chopped the divisions for piece-meal-sale, laying off thousands of workers. Mayhem lay in their wake.

A New World Order
On the technology scene, the internet was the biggest buzzword...the fabled information super-highway. When someone uttered, "I've just been on the internet", the listeners' jaws dropped. "What's it like? Tell us about it!", were the common response. Yes, during those heady days, going on the internet was as enigmatic as taking a trip to Jupiter and coming back alive...and people crowd to ask how it was. The web designers were deferred to as the alchemists of a new world order.

Sky's the Limit
Coming out fresh from HTML school, I commanded my outrageous price: $30/hour (a paltry amount compared to online shopping cart programmers taking in $350/hour), and I had work coming out of my ears! That would have been unimaginable just years before, but the industry was flushed with money from IPOs. It didn't matter if they weren't making money. For as long as they were a dotcom company with promise of doing things through this new medium, the internet, the investing public ignored the traditional metrics, threw down their charts, thrashed out fundamental thinking and instead, took out their checkbooks.

Overnight Millionaires
In the dotcom company I was working with then, Chapters Online (which was eventually taken over by Indigo), everyone was flushed with money and everyone became a self-styled online trader, putting our monies on dotcom stocks with grand visions of a 100% ROI in a single quarter! We were all deluded with dreams of life on easy street, riding the crest of a raging stunami...the maverick pioneers of this new cyberworld. With all my money on Nortel stocks, I was simply counting the days when I buy my Lamborghini Diablo VT yellow convertible!

Bubble Burst
In early 2000, just when the good times seemed like an unstoppable locomotive, the internet bubble burst. The industry realized the public wasn't that ready to put all their faith and confidence in the online world. Technological spending and growth came to a screeching halt. Money dried up. Stock prices took on a free fall. Yesterday's high-end dreamers woke up pounding the pavement for work. All my Lamborghini money could buy me was a Big Mac. I lost my job and sunk into debt, surviving on 3 credit cards. I fought the urge to stand on a street corner with a sign, "will HTML for food".

Ending Thoughts
The Internet Bubble was the biggest and wildest party while it happened. Every tech savvy Boomer and GenXer was intoxicated. From a surfer parlance, it was a massive wave of biblical proportion...and I was there at that particular place and time to catch it. Of course, when the bubble burst, everyone was left nursing a massive hangover. But while it lasted, what a ride!

--- TheLoneRider

Comments? Email

Alex de Moscoso
(Oct 3, 2009) ...first-hand experience well said. thanks for sharing!:)

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