Good Calls and Bad Calls from Our First 10 Years

Here are the predictions we got right and others that turned out to be very wrong.


Good Call:

“At one point, NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw kids Bezos, whose company turned a modest profit one quarter, a while back: ‘Jeff,’ he asks, ‘how do you spell profit?’ Without missing a beat, Bezos says, ‘p-r-o-p-h-e-t.’ ”


Harriet Rubin, “How Will You Fail?” October 1999

“First came the aristocracy, an elite based on bloodline. Then came the meritocracy, an elite based on academic achievement. Next will be what I’d call an ‘artocracy,’ an elite based on mastery of visual arts, music, and drama.”

Daniel H. Pink, “Bobos ‘R’ Us,” September 2000

“Increasingly, though, the new economy is also about economic inequality, rampant opportunism in the marketplace, and a troubling disconnect between unreal financial rewards and any individual’s real contribution and effort.”

“Built to Last,” March 2000

“The most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent: smart, sophisticated businesspeople who are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile.”


Charles Fishman, “The War for Talent,” August 1998

Bad Call:

“[Kinko’s is] the Cheers bar for Free Agent Nation–a place full of quirky and compelling characters, strange stories, and lots of laughs. A place where everybody’s there to help–and everybody knows your name.”

Daniel H. Pink, “I’m a Copy Machine,” December/January 1998

“The whole concept that people will want to interact with their television set is silly. Interactive television happens when your football team loses, and you pitch a beer can at the screen.”

Marc Andreessen, “Marc Andreessen, Act II,” February 2001

“Gore and Doerr in 2004?”


Headline for a story about Al Gore’s ties to Silicon Valley and the mutual-admiration society of him and venture capitalist John Doerr, August/September 1997

“Business is dividing into two proto-parties: Cyber-Libertarians and Techno-Communitarians.”

Ronald Brownstein, “Rage Against the Political Machine,” August/September 1996

“I guarantee you that by the year 2000, Internet banner ads will be gone.”

Seth Godin, “Permission Marketing,” April 1998