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Lorda Mercy, It Was Good Times, Wasn't It?

NEW HAVEN, CONN. ( — The End, so they claim, has finally come. The Bubble has burst, the Great Gold Rush is tapped out, and the New Economy's New Clothes have been exposed for what they aren't. And no one seems more pleased about this than the Media.

Media Meanies

But they should not be pleased. They should be ashamed. They should be contrite. And if they have any sense of decency, they should do the right thing: bring back our beloved Bubble.

The truth is, we all rather enjoyed living in the Bubble. Our stocks were always going up. Jobs were readily available. And every time we so much as sneezed, somebody could make a business model out of it. But now all that is gone, and I, for one, don't want to look back at age 60 and explain to my grandchildren that I lost their inheritance when the Great Bubble burst back in '00. I want to be 60 and know that my investment in is still doubling every week, and if my grandchildren want any of it, they can damn well wait until I'm dead.

But where was I? Ah yes, the Media. It is the Media that can make this dream a reality because it is the Media that got us into this in the first place.

No doubt this is an unpopular argument. After all, most tend to blame dotcoms and their outlandish projections, or venture capitalists and their transparent greed, or analysts and their insistence on new "metrics" that shunned profit and revenues in favor of "eyeballs" and "market share." But is this fair? Was it the analysts who went door-to-door explaining their new metrics? I don't think so. Did venture capitalists call up Joe Average to tout their stable of startups? Not likely. And as for the companies themselves, have they really changed? After all, firms such as lacked realistic business models before, and it didn't matter a wit. So what's changed to bring about this undeserved evisceration?

Perception. And who are the Lords of Perception? The Media.

It was the Media that regaled us with quixotic plots of unproven dot-trepreneurs, and of dotty investors who struck it rich playing broker in their pajamas. And now the Media, fickle to the core, has turned its back on the tech sector just when the tech sector needs it the most. Oh Fie!

Well, we say, "Enough already. You've had your fun, you've sipped your champagne du schadenfreude. Now show some responsibility. Show some compassion. Bring Back Our Bubble." (Oh, and The Far Side too. We miss that.)

The Media shouldn't really need to be told. After all, it's an act of self-preservation. As the New Economy expanded, so too did Media ranks. Thousands of Media-related jobs were created. New magazines emerged, and extant publications ballooned. Fast Company, Upside, The Industry Standard, Red Herring, Business 2.0, and on and on. But that's over. Now, they are hardly recognizable. Now, there are almost as many articles as advertisements.

Unthinkable? Yes? Irreversible? No. For starters, here is what we suggest:

1) Right now, today, stop using the phrase "once high-flying." In the last month alone, we found 50 news stories that relied on this worn-out descriptor for the stock market or Internet companies. Instead, the Media should do what it did back in 1998: refer to a company using its own corporate description taken straight from press releases, or from analysts, who took it straight from the companies. It worked once, and it can work again.

2) Stop using the word "recession." It has very high negatives. Plus, we're not in a recession. Officially.

3) We hear this one all the time: "Companies aren't meeting revenue and earnings projections. That's a fact. What can we do about it?" Well, how about... Stop making damned projections! And stop writing about them. Use common sense. If you write, "Microsoft earned $6 billion last quarter, well short of analysts' expectations," that stock is going to sink. But if you write, "Microsoft earned $6 billion last quarter. Shit, that's a lot of money," then people are going to be impressed. And really, it is a lot of money.

4) Layoffs, downsizing, please, give it a rest. Yes, companies are letting people go, but instead of writing, "Motorola, Lucent, and Others Cut Staff," how about a little objectivity? How about, "U.S. Building Massive, Untapped Pool of Tech Talent"?

Do these things, and we're on our way. But don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen all at once. Remember, the Internet Bubble wasn't built in a day. It took, like, a week.


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