Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Ironic Name

Back in January 2007, writer Nicholas Carr described me on his "Rough Type" blog as the "ironically named" Sunshine Mugrabi because, according to him, I was just one of several reporters falling into a trap he was calling "The Cassandra Meme." The silly idea I was floating back then? In light of early evidence that there were not enough exits to justify the mass investment in Web 2.0, there was a good chance that we could be heading for another fall--one not all that dissimilar to the dot com bubble.

As my Red Herring article at the time read: "Layoffs and debt-ridden companies abound in a dire sign of another dot-com bust." Well, here's hoping he was right to mock me, and further, here's hoping that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I don't think I was. TechCrunch has been posting a Layoff Tracker, with companies being added each day. Yahoo's 10 percent cut is the least of it--a lot of the companies that are hitting this list are the ones we were assured had rock solid business plans. In any case, Carr was wrong about my name being ironic--I'm as sunny and optimistic as you can get. The difference is, I don't see a correction as a bad thing. The dot com meltdown didn't hurt Amazon and it positively made Google. I have no doubt that this time around, the companies that will make it will be the ones that have something truly innovative to offer. I personally gained a great deal during the dot com crash--I got out of tech for a while and went to work for a daily paper in a small town. That was the best education I could've imagined, as I had editors who had been doing the same thing for decades. They'd seen enough stuff come and go that they were rarely if ever fooled by something that looked too good to be true.

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