What We Learned In The New Economy: A Brief History of a Brief Era

August 9, 1995: The Big Bang

Netscape, just 16 months old, goes public on the Nasdaq. Shares, first priced at $28, open at $71. Founders Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark end up centimillionaires. The New Economy is born.


April 1997: The Biggest Little Startup in History

Storied venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (also an investor in Netscape) arranges a $48 million private placement for fledgling Internet service provider @Home, giving the company a record-breaking value of more than $1 billion.

September 1997: The Virtues of Narcissism

In a double issue of Fast Company, management guru Tom Peters says your most important job is head marketer of the Brand Called You.

November 13, 1998: Money Really Does Grow on Trees!, a little-known Web portal–whatever that was–shatters IPO records with a 606% first-day rise.


January 1999: Eyeballs by the Truckload

Job sites and pay $2 million and $4 million, respectively, to run five ads during the Super Bowl.

May 28, 1999: Spending Funny Money

With its shares trading near $100, @Home completes a $7.2 billion buyout of Internet portal Excite, another Kleiner Perkins startup, to create “the new media network for the 21st century.” It is expected to compete with AOL.

August 1999: Spending More Funny Money

Cisco pays $7.4 billion in stock for Cerent Communications and Monterey Networks, the largest startup purchase of the New Economy.


November 1999: Bonfire of the Inanities

Web retailer invites 2,000 Valleyites to its launch party, and 10,000 RSVP. Guests at the $200,000 shindig get individual bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

January 25, 2000: Uh-Oh. Did You Hear Something?

Goldman Sachs files for a $58 million IPO of 18-month-old Noosh Inc., a zero-revenue company that says its key business strategy will be to “exploit our first-mover advantage.” The deal is withdrawn May 22.

April 17, 2000: I Definitely Heard Something!

We suddenly run out of greater fools: The stock market crumbles. In just six-and-a-half hours, the Dow plunges 617 points, or 6%; the Nasdaq ends up 34% below its all-time high of a month earlier.


May 2000: Speed…Kills

Fast Company urges being fast in all things. Fast to hire! Fast to partner! Fast to spend. We leave out “Fast to go bust!”

January 2001: So Much for 21st Century New Media Networks

Excite@Home takes a staggering $4.6 billion write-off on its media properties, and files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.

March 9, 2001: IPO Now Stands for “It’s Probably Over”

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen’s second startup, Loudcloud, rises just 15 cents on its first day of trading.


October 2001: The Biggest Bankruptcy in History…

Enron, an Old Economy gas-pipeline company turned New Economy market-maker and mystery, goes belly-up.

2002: …Until Somebody Does Bernie Ebbers’s Books

Between January and August of 2002, ongoing accounting scandals at MCI/WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia, Tyco, and others bring the stock market and many formerly vaunted executives to their knees.

April 23, 2003: And Now the Profile, Mr. Quattrone

Famed tech investment banker Frank Quattrone is arrested in Manhattan by federal prosecutors and charged with obstructing justice. His case ends in a mistrial.


2004: The Big Hope

Investors awaiting the expected IPO of Internet search behemoth Google are still holding their breath. The deal is expected to generate a market cap for Google of as much as $25 billion.