With the recent rise of Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, it's hard to believe that just a few years ago, the tech industry, along with many investors, were taken for a loop when the dot-com bubble burst and many companies went under.
Sarah Lacy, author of "Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0," columnist for BusinessWeek and also host of Yahoo Finance's Tech Ticker, writes in her new book, which was published earlier this year, about the rise and fall of the Web both before and after the dot-com bubble burst.
The Internet, which Lacy says was once feared by many, is now being embraced by everyone, businesses included. Perhaps the biggest challenge now, she says, is getting companies and other institutions to embrace and utilize Web 2.0 technologies and Web sites to their advantage.
We had the opportunity to speak with Lacy about her new book, her bi-weekly column for BusinessWeek titled "Valley Girl," and her thoughts on Web 2.0 and the presence of women (or lack thereof) in the tech industry, in addition to obtaining her advice to start-up tech companies hoping to make waves in today's market.
Tell me about your book and what you call in the book's title, "The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0."
I started the book taking people back to the dot-com burst to show just how scarring as it was for everyone involved. To put things into perspective, at that time in San Francisco, we lost as many jobs in Silicon Valley as there currently are working people in San Francisco today. It was a time that really was a social and cultural phenomenon. When I started writing this book years later, people were remembering what happened during the burst, wrong. I wanted to set the stage to really portray what happened and what it was like, because Web 2.0 really reacted and grew out of the burst. After the burst, no one was producing Web companies because they were so brutally scarred from what had happened during the years before. No one wanted to take that risk. The book's about how these guys started believing again and showing how they were able to create new Web companies.
What are two or three of the main key take-aways from your book?
It's a great story any one can relate too. It's written for people out of the Valley and also for people who live and breathe in it. You get the best very-American, struggling-to-succeed story with natural heroes and villains. I couldn't have written a better fiction book. It's a fascinating narrative of some of the people who are driving our economy. The second thing I want is for people to come out with a better understanding of what Web 2.0 is. The US has a fear-based culture and so much fear-mongering is present with social networks. In reality, these social networking sites are amazing productivity, social and potentially useful tools for businesses. I felt the more I could tell the story about why these sites were changing society and how they came about, people would see that they're not evil as some of them may be made out to be.