Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet

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Michael Wolff was one of the first to see the potential of the Internet and one of the pioneers of new media. As he labored to build his own company, Wolff, a former journalist, knew he had stumbled on the seminal business story of the 1990s. Burn Rate is about the heart-in-your-throat struggles of being an entrepreneur. It is about witnessing an industry being born: the founding of Wired magazine, the launch of Time Warner's much-touted "Pathfinder," the conflict between content centered on the East Coast and ...
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1998 Hardcover New 0684848813. New hardcover. Black remainder mark on top. Page edges starting to yellow. DJ has some light shelf wear. Professional service from a Main Street ... bookstore.; 9.40 X 6.10 X 1 inches; 272 pages. Read more Show Less

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Written with enthusiasm and candor, this wickedly funny tale recounts one man's journey from rags to riches to rags in the Wild West atmosphere of Internet business. Michael Wolff ... got in on the ground floor of the new media business way, way back in 1994 and has seen the comings and goings of industry stars. Burn Rate takes the reader on the wild ride from the birth of this hot new industry, through some of the notable successes and failures along the way, and arriving at the current, maturing state of online businesses. Read more Show Less

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1998-06-24 Hardcover New Mint condition hardcover in also brand new condtion jacket. Very interesting book for those interested in boom and bust, which is where we have gone ... back toMendoPower Employment Services will immediately and carefully pack this book in high-quality bubble lined, envelopes. Then we send you a confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

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1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Shipping upgrade! Order processed within minutes of your purchase! In business since 1975! $25 retail edition! Sewn binding. Cloth over ... boards. With dust jacket. 272 p. Audience: General/trade. In this candid portrayal of Silicon Valley's early players and their rapid-fire negotiations, the author discusses his own experiences in the race to develop a profitable new media business model. Michael Wolff was one of the first to see the potential of the Internet and one of the pioneers of new media. As he labored to build his own company, Wolff, a former journalist, knew he had stumbled on the seminal story of the 90s Read more Show Less

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Overview

Michael Wolff was one of the first to see the potential of the Internet and one of the pioneers of new media. As he labored to build his own company, Wolff, a former journalist, knew he had stumbled on the seminal business story of the 1990s. Burn Rate is about the heart-in-your-throat struggles of being an entrepreneur. It is about witnessing an industry being born: the founding of Wired magazine, the launch of Time Warner's much-touted "Pathfinder," the conflict between content centered on the East Coast and technology on the West Coast, the rise of the search engines, the dominance and dysfunctionality of America Online, and the thud of Microsoft stumbling and falling down on the Net. As Wolff builds his business, you'll get to know the geeks, billionaires, weasels, and, of course, visionaries he meets along the way. Louis Rossetto, the unemployed expat who creates Wired. Walter Isaacson, the prince of Time Warner, who throws the resources of America's largest media company behind the Web. The boy investor, the "dumb money" who backs Wolff's company. Halsey Minor, the executive recruiter who founds a publishing empire on the Net. The CMP boys, the computer magazine publishers who are desperate to get into the Internet game. Robert Maxwell's children, whose high-flying company is one of the first bubbles to burst on the Internet. Even Barry Diller, who advises Wolff that getting in on the ground floor is good only if you're still standing in the end.
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Editorial Reviews

Katie Hafner
. . .Wolff's own, rather vanilla [business] start-up is only the vehicle for telling a larger, far more interesting story about what makes the Internet industry and those who invest in it tick. . . .Wolff, a nimble writer with a knack for spotting colorful details, moves the story along at movie-of-the-week pace. . . .
-- The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After operating a small media company for a number of years in New York City, the author joined the ranks of Internet entrepreneurs in 1994 when he formed Wolff New Media and found himself operating in an industry with few rules, much venture capital money and lots of companies losing that money at a rapid rate. Wolff's own burn rate (the rate at which his company was losing money) was several hundred thousand dollars per month. In an effort to keep afloat, he and his financial backers met with numerous companies about a variety of business combinations ranging from an outright acquisition of Wolff New Media to a partnership arrangement. Wolff failed to reach agreements with such companies as the Washington Post, Ameritech, Magellan and America Online. He describes his negotiations with these firms in a witty fashion that provides readers a glimpse of the operating style of some of America's best-known companies. Wolff's most entertaining account concerns his dealings with AOL, which he calls the most dysfunctional company in the country. Although Wolff (Where We Stand) was an early believer in the ability of the Internet to deliver powerful content to a mass audience, by the time he resigned from his own company in 1997, he had come to see the Net as more of a transactional medium. Combining humor with his firsthand experiences, Wolff has produced a book that fledgling Internet entrepreneurs would be wise to read.
Library Journal
Wolff (Net Love) became the founder and CEO of Wolff New Media in 1990, a profitable company that developed content ideas for books, magazines, and television. After meeting Louis Rosetto and Jane Metcalfe, the founders of Wired magazine, he turned his attention to developing ideas for making money in the Internet industry as a "content provider."

From 1994 to 1996, he changed the focus of his company and expanded his work force. He had to seek capital but could not get enough to keep things afloat owing to negative effects of the "burn rate," the money a company spends each month exceeding its revenue. Wolff's detailed, witty, and very readable work not only chronicles his unsuccessful attempt via relationships with venture capitalists, investors, America Online, and other players and companies to secure revenue but provides a thought-provoking and critical commentary on entrepreneurship in this business.

Library Journal
Wolff (Net Love) became the founder and CEO of Wolff New Media in 1990, a profitable company that developed content ideas for books, magazines, and television. After meeting Louis Rosetto and Jane Metcalfe, the founders of Wired magazine, he turned his attention to developing ideas for making money in the Internet industry as a "content provider."

From 1994 to 1996, he changed the focus of his company and expanded his work force. He had to seek capital but could not get enough to keep things afloat owing to negative effects of the "burn rate," the money a company spends each month exceeding its revenue. Wolff's detailed, witty, and very readable work not only chronicles his unsuccessful attempt via relationships with venture capitalists, investors, America Online, and other players and companies to secure revenue but provides a thought-provoking and critical commentary on entrepreneurship in this business.

Kurt Andersen
An exhilarating insider's chronicle of the new media business — If there's a more honest and entertaining book on the digital revolution, I haven't seen it.
The New Yorker
Peter Martin
Michael Wolff has given us the best account of both the lure and the frustration of the Internet.
Financial Times
Business Week
Fascinating — should be required reading for all would-be Net entrepreneurs.
Ray Duncan
I was impressed at how well Wolff described his ride on a business, financial, ethical, and emotional roller-coaster — from flamboyance and invincibility, to cynicism and moral bankruptcy (at one point, Wolff swindles one of his investors out of $150K to meet payroll), and finally to despair and disillusionment.
Electronic Review of Computer Books
Ray Duncan

The Magic of Three Dogs Barking

"PointCast executives and investors, meanwhile, reject analogies to other Silicon Valley meteors -- General Magic, GO, Catapult, Wolff New Media, Hayes modems -- that once streaked across the sky."
-- Ken Auletta, "The Last Sure Thing," Atlantic, November 9, 1998.

By the standards of the books we usually review on ERCB, Burn Rate is nearly content-free. You can pretty much make your way through to the last page without ever figuring out what exactly it was that Michael Wolff and his company invented, marketed, or delivered if anything. The focus throughout is on building "mind share" with the aid of the "Old Media" who are terrorized and yet fascinated by the "New Media," hoodwinking venture capitalists, selling the company or taking it public, and cashing out.

I didn't like this book much at the outset. Wolff's writing seemed arrogant, pretentious, shallow, even narcissistic. But in the end, I was impressed at how well Wolff described his ride on a business, financial, ethical, and emotional roller-coaster -- from flamboyance and invincibility, to cynicism and moral bankruptcy at one point, Wolff swindles one of his investors out of $150K to meet payroll, and finally to despair and disillusionment.

Today, Wolff is biding his time as a columnist for The Industry Standard. It seems safe to predict that although Wolff flamed out spectacularly once, the venture capitalists will be hearing from him again. Despite the title of his book, the Gold Rush Years on the Internet have barely begun.--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books

Kirkus Reviews
An insider's account of the digital revolution, from its earliest days in the late 1980s to its sudden prominence in the media business.

Wolff, a journalist and the founder and former CEO of Wolff New Media (Where We Stand), here chronicles both the day-to-day struggles of an entrepreneur and the heady early burgeoning of the Internet. Neither a polemic about the Information Age and the increasingly dominant role the Internet plays in it nor a business manual, his account is a business story, a first-person narrative about the difficulties for anyone of starting one's own business. His instincts as a journalist serve him well in the book's conception and in its writing. Realizing the potential of the Internet, Wolff dove in headfirst, only to find himself playing a role in what is perhaps the business story of the 1990s. Like Hollywood moguls of the past, new-media moguls have a flamboyance and verve that Wolff aptly captures. Of one such character he writes, "He had achieved an air of fabulousness, with a kind of hollandaise richness, even Robert Maxwell ripeness." And while Wolff often veers off into rather purple prose, especially when describing players such as Wired founders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, his eye for color and detail keeps this rags-to-riches tale amusing. He is at his best when he provides insights into how the Internet industry began to take shape; his observations about Time Inc. and AOL possess an astuteness that only someone long in the know could possibly have. Moreover, Wolff recreates the sense of excitement—and the attendant chaos—that helped characterize the Internet as the disparate worlds of venture capitalists, college-kid entrepreneurs, and seasoned executives alternately clashed and came together on its behalf.

An intelligent and entertaining account of the business and culture of the Internet that skillfully merges a personal tale with the larger story.

From the Publisher
Deborah Stead The New York Times Burn Rate has a terrific feel for the crazy deals, the characters and the clashing bicoastal cultures of the Internet.

Amy Cortese Business Week Burn Rate is a hilarious and frightening account of the life of an Internet startup.

Kurt Andersen columnist at The New Yorker Burn Rate is the real deal: a smart, thoughtful, funny, knowing, clear-eyed, candid and altogether exhilarating insider's chronicle of the new media business — that is, the new media "business." If there's more honest and entertaining book on the digital revolution, I haven't seen it.

Michael Lewis author of Liar's Poker and Trail Fever Burn Rate is a delight to read. Michael Wolff shows that, in addition to a great deal of junk, the Internet may yet produce literature.

Peter Martin Financial Times Wolff has given us the best account of both the lure and the frustration of the Internet.

Peter McGrath Newsweek ...the alternately hilarious and appalling story of Wolff's efforts to take his small Web publishing company into the big time by courting investors.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684848815
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Wolff writes a weekly column about media for New York magazine and is a founding columnist of the Internet business magazine The Industry Standard. He is the creator of the bestselling NetGuide and the thirty-title series of NetBooks. He is the author of White Kids and the coauthor of Where We Stand, which became a multipart PBS television series. He lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

From Chapter Seven: A Working Relationship

We were on the brink of disaster, just as we stood on the brink of success.

We had rolled out our new and improved state-of-the-art Web "product" just a few weeks before.

It was the culmination of nearly two years' and more than six million dollars' worth of shifts and turns and reversals in the industry.

It was based on a hard-fought analysis, involving many Internet generations and business lives, of how the Internet would organize itself and grow and envelop the mass of consumers.

I was wrong in my analysis only about half of the time.

For a long while I had believed that connectivity -- that is, where your modem dialed to get you onto the Internet -- would be the central organizing principle. If you owned the server, you owned the audience. Therefore, obviously, if you wanted to be somebody in this business, you better start an ISP.

Connectivity, I had presumed through 1994 and early 1995, would be organized at a local level because the consumer would only be willing to make a local call and because the price of entry into the connectivity business was reasonable for small operators at a local level. This would give way, I logically imagined, to a form of regionalization: if you were operating in Manhattan's 212 area code, it was easy enough to put a POP (point of presence) in North Jersey's 201 area code and in Long Island's 516 area code. After a while, of course, we would see a rapid form of consolidation. Major players would begin to emerge -- nationals and regionals.

It would be, I had thought, a service game. Value added. Consumers would choose a provider of Internet service on the basis of the ease and reliability of its connection to the Net, the availability and affability of its service personnel, and on the other ways the ISP could add value -- exclusive arrangements with particular content providers, friendly and compelling guides, contests no doubt, and a range of other helpful features and come-on gimmicks.

I wasn't really wrong about this. My screwup came in thinking that this would take ten years to unfold, whereas in actuality it took just about twelve months.

My notion had been that we would offer connectivity in the New York area -- a flagship locale if there ever was one -- and develop programming ("content") that, in what seemed like a perfectly tried-and-true television model, we would syndicate (that is to say, rent) to other ISP systems, most of which would be run by techies without the skills or interests to develop content of their own.

Rich from our CMP deal and with remarkable optimism and innocence, we set about building an ISP in the fall of 1994. If I had once questioned why Time Warner would so blithely plunge into a technology it knew nothing about, I never once paused to ask myself, as technically disinclined as the next fellow, what I had in mind. The motivation, I now think, was that seeing the future with what appeared to be greater and greater clarity, I just had to go there; anything else seemed like rank cowardice. To be told that you don't have the wherewithal or talent or temperament to deal with the mechanical world is not something that an ambitious American, accustomed to a lifetime of transparent technologies (after all, I can work a computer, and my wife and children can certainly program a VCR, even if I can't), would willingly accept.

Weird Stan said he could build me an Internet provider system. He wasn't happy about it. Nor did he believe that the average American belonged on the Internet. But, technically, he could do it. If that's what I wanted.

Determined that our system would be as technically proficient and as physically stable as possible (when West Coast companies go public, they have to disclose that they sit on top of geological fault lines that could destroy their infrastructure at any moment), we established our servers, after long negotiations, in a secure communications facility run by one of the hottest fiber-optic telephone companies in the country, on top of the New York Stock Exchange overlooking Wall Street in downtown Manhattan. It had the perfect ring to me. I could hear the old radio announcers: "Coming to you from our transmitters atop the Empire State Building..." Now it would be "From our servers at the New York Stock Exchange..."

Anyone who has ever conducted a business that is even remotely dependent on a telecommunications company, a long-distance carrier, or one of the RBOCs (Are-boks, like Reeboks -- Regional Bell Operating Companies) has stories of pain and frustration mounting to murderous rage rivaled only by, well, one's own family. There's no way out of the dysfunction.

The slick, humming, clean, climate-controlled, fire-proofed wonder-of-modern-technology "facility" we had rented at ground zero of efficient, triumphant capitalism turned out, in fact, to be a dusty, hot, garbage-strewn, just slightly oversize closet, with a cage surrounding our servers. The "support personnel," were off-the-waterfront guys blowing smoke (literal and otherwise) all over our Sun stations and Cisco routers.

For four months Weird Stan sat in the "cage," tinkering, storming, cursing, belittling, and then finally producing a system that could do, well, a lot -- but not everything. Like bill our customers. It couldn't exactly tell us how much people owed. But that was okay. As long as we had something. It was okay because the opening of the system was six months overdue and for the last four months our six employees had been fielding calls from people who wanted to sign up for the expansive free offers (15 HOURS FREE!) we were advertising in Wired and in a variety of computer magazines.

Robert, our office assistant, whom we had hired out of a Long Island delicatessen (The Deli Button) because his mother had gotten me on the phone ("He just needs a chance"), had developed a whole new sense of corporate inefficiency and remoteness, which he communicated to our prospective customers. "Yes, I understand your frustration. I'll pass that upstairs. The final date hasn't come down to us yet. No, no, I'm not privy to that information." There was no upstairs. Robert sat directly outside my office, staring in at me all day, waiting for word that we would actually begin to offer Internet service.

In my short, unhappy life in the service business, I quickly came to hate customers.

Copyright © 1998 by Michael Wolff. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Preface
One A Diamond As Big As the Ritz
Two How It Got to Be a Wired World
Three The Board Meeting
Four The Art of the Deal
Five Internet Time
Six Something for Nothing
Seven A Working Relationship
Eight The Twenty-First-Century Corporation
Nine Exit Strategy
Ten Past as Prologue
Acknowledgments

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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, June 17, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Michael Wolff, author of BURN RATE.


Moderator: Good evening, Michael Wolff, and welcome to the barnesandnoble.com live Auditorium! Thank you for joining us this evening. How are you tonight?

Michael Wolff: I am just great.



Peter from Trenton, NJ: Why did you decide to write BURN RATE? And what can we learn from it?

Michael Wolff: I think with any book, there is a lot of reasons you decide to write it. For me with BURN RATE, one of the reasons was to get even. We have all spoken to people who say I wish I could write a book about the horrible experience I just had. Particularly when they have been in a rotten job or business. BURN RATE is bingo! Of course, there are other reasons, too. As a writer, I had found myself having an experience which I thought was not only significant but also unique. Now one of the interesting things to come out of the book is the email I have been getting over the last several weeks in which many readers are telling me that this experience which I thought was really weird and unique is in fact very common. And I have realized that probably never before have so many people been involved in start-up businesses. That is certainly one of the main stories that I am telling -- the really exceptional and dramatic nature of being in this start-up situation.



Greg from Seattle: Tell us what it was like to be one of the Internet players in the beginning. Did you feel like you were part of history in the making?

Michael Wolff: No, I didn't feel that way at all. In the beginning it felt like this was -- I was involved and a few people in my company were involved in almost a private enterprise. The Internet felt like the smallest and most exclusive club. The fact that it became and has become what it has in such a short time was, frankly, the biggest surprise in my life.



Ellen from San Francisco: Do you think your company Wolff New Media was a success? If so, why? How difficult was it to finance a start-up Internet company?

Michael Wolff: I think Wolff New Media achieved a lot of significant things. I think that its book series, NetGuide, and the Net books certainly helped popularized the Internet and explain it and really lent a central metaphor to the medium. Ultimately, on a financial basis the company was not successful at all. But then again, on a financial basis, no company is successful at this point in this business.In terms of financing a start-up company, it is always extremely difficult. We hear now of so many companies getting financed at an early stage, and this makes us think there is money just there for the asking. There cannot be a larger misimpression than that.



Leslie from Denver: Do you still think the Internet can be the fastest way to get rich in the 1990s?

Michael Wolff: That is an interesting question. Because the Internet is such a business of wild extremes -- boom or bust. It is one way that you can still potentially strike it rich. But there are many more reliable ways, if that is your primary goal.



Dale from Williamsburg: What attracted you to the Internet in the beginning? Did you think it was a sure bet, or did you like the risk factor?

Michael Wolff: I think that in the beginning I was not thinking of it as a bet. In the beginning, it was a matter of just being interested in the medium and the technology. It never occurred to me that there was much money to be made off of this.



Cathy from Los Angeles: What is the meaning of the title BURN RATE?

Michael Wolff: A burn rate is the difference between the amount of money you take in and spend every month. This is largely a term used by venture capitalists, and in start-up businesses, we are all trying to stay ahead of our burn rate. In many cases, and in mine, you run out of money and your burn rate consumes you.



Colleen from Brooklyn, NY: Do you think that content can ever work on the Web? What about publications like Salon, which have attained print-media notoriety and respect?

Michael Wolff: I think that content has certainly not found a model for working on the Web. I do think, however, that there is enormous potential for selling information or selling content online. I think, however, that the free model is one that undermines our ability to be writers and publishers.



Ron Sheridan from Marina Del Rey, CA: Where is the evidence for your dire predictions of the World Wide Web and Internet companies' stock values?

Michael Wolff: My dire predictions are primarily based on my belief that advertising is not a sustainable revenue source, and that a significant drop in the valuation of Internet companies will occur as more and more people start to question the viability of online advertising.



Reagan from Miami, FL: Do you see any similarities between the net and TV?

Michael Wolff: I have seen great similarities between the net and television, but on a closer, longer second look, I in fact see significantly more differences than similarities. If I had to make a comparison, I would say that the net will move much more in the direction of the telephone than the TV.



Reed from Boston: What was that infamous month like when Wired magazine failed to launch its stock? What was your reaction?

Michael Wolff: Pure, utter panic!



Richard Rowe from rowe.com: Michael, with all of this electronic publishing and access to content, what do you see as the future of paper?

Michael Wolff: I am a sentimental person, so I hate to say this, but I see a bleak future for paper.



gilbertgrape from Boston, MA: Two years ago it was "push." Last year it was "community." This year it's "portals." What do you think of the latest fad online?

Michael Wolff: I think that it will pass into the next fad. I am not a believer in portals.



Jeremy from Texas: The only truism I think we speak about this whole digital/cyber/online industry is "Email is the killer app." What do you think?

Michael Wolff: I think email is the killer app.



OS3 from White Plains, NY: Do you have a sense of what the rest of the world thinks about Microsoft and Bill Gates? Is Europe or Asia or Australia as worried about his trade practices?

Michael Wolff: In general I find that the rest of the world is running a good 24 to 48 months [behind] where we are now with regard to digital sophistication. I think the rest of the world is basically thinking two to four years ago what we did.



Lynn from Seattle: Did you write this book to warn people of the dangers of investing on the Internet? How safe do think investing online is now opposed to when you first started?

Michael Wolff: No, I actually wrote it more to entertain them of the perils of the Internet. I certainly would be extremely careful about Internet investments at that time. I have always been very suspicious of the valuation in these companies. When you have been involved and understand the precarious nature of these companies, you tend to say to yourself, "I will wait and see."



Scott from Portland, ME: What do you think of America Online and its power on the Internet? Do you think this company will always be a key player because it jumped on the Internet bandwagon early?

Michael Wolff:



MW: In fact, they jumped on the Internet bandwagon late. I don't know the answer to what will happen to AOL, but I have in fact been wrong all along about my prediction about where AOL was going. I have had lots of dealings with the company, which I describe at some length in BURN RATE, and I have always found it to be the most dysfunctional organization I have ever dealt with. Nevertheless, it has had remarkable success in coming from behind to lead this industry. I think that in many ways AOL sums up the current state of the business dysfunction and success.

Michael Wolff:



Paul from San Francisco: Do you think Web TV will take off? If so, how long will it take?

Michael Wolff: I think that it is a question a lot of people are thinking about, but the answer that no one has really come up with is how you use the Web on your TV. And until we arrive at some more subtle and natural adaptation of the Web into TV programming terms, I don't think Web TV will be more than just a curiosity.



Elise from Brooklyn: Who are some of the key players that you cover in this book? In your opinion, are these companies still dominating the Internet?

Michael Wolff: The key players that I describe in the book are companies like CNET, Time Warner, AOL, computer magazines, publishing companies like Ziff and CMP, other media companies like The Washington Post, telephone operating companies like Ameritech, venture capital firms like Kliner Perkins and Sequoia and, of course, Microsoft. Many continue to be the dominate players, but some clearly less so. Time Warner, for instance -- which with its development of Pathfinder in many ways set the business of the Web in motion -- has clearly taken a step back. Another company I discuss at some length is Wired. With the recent sale of Wired to Condé Nast, many people are wondering if it can sustain its position of influence and authority in this business. That is to be seen.



Sarah from Atlanta: What time period does this book cover?

Michael Wolff: This book covers the time frame 1993 through March 1997. The book begins with the initial commercialization of the Internet and the development of web browser software -- and for me, the beginning of my company's interest in the Internet -- and it ends in 1997, when in the face of insurmountable differences with the investors in my company, I resigned.



vespaboy from Toronto: It seems to me that there is a steady stream of online companies making huge amounts of money from investors but not really proving their worth. When do you think the industry will calm down and rational business plans will be required?

Michael Wolff: I think that we will see the first big busting of the bubble during the next 12 months.



Larry from Washington, D.C.: How do you think your book stands out as an Internet business book? What do you tell us that we may not know?

Michael Wolff: I think that it stands out because the book is a personal story. It is told from as close to the inside of this business as any writer has ever been. And it stands out because it is funny. I tell you what it feels like to be at the absolute epicenter of such frantic change and such big dreams.



Simon from New York City: What advice would you give someone wanting to start an Internet company or get involve in e-commerce? Any major pitfalls one should avoid?

Michael Wolff: The advice I would give is to try to figure out where this business will be 12 to 18 months from now. If you can imagine that, and if you are more or less right, then the business will come to you.



Moderator: Thank you so much for chatting with us tonight, Michael Wolff. It has truly been a pleasure! Before you go, do you have any last words for the online audience?

Michael Wolff: I don't think you should ever ask a writer for his last words. Thanks for having me.


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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2007

    He Flys Through The Air With The Greatest of Ease...

    The high-tension, business niche content of this book has a deceivingly airy, emotionally impassive, yet aesthetic affect on the reader. In it, the author firmly nails down his 'content savvi,' while ushering the reader into the wave of 21st century business. Although one must scale frequently rousing semantic acrobatics, it can be especially enjoyed by other writers, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and business financiers. This is true as long as they are not averse to some personal bloodletting as they ride the roller coaster, razor-sharp edge of Michael Wolff's cynicistic humor. One is left expecting to plunge into full suicidal hemorrage at each new chapter, but in particular, during the chapter entitled, 'The Art Of The Deal.' To the reader, this passage is at first mildly irritating, then interesting, then horrifyingly intriguing, then finally, fully addicting. Yet, overall,the book is written less in challenging semantics, as much as in dynamic business concepts and ideas. Michael Wolff's humor, in the end becomes a pin prick compared to the dynamic of the 'brave new world' ideas he imparts, making it worth the jump into his crisp, cyberspace analysis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    Unbelievable whining

    Wolff has presented an interesting tale of the gold-rush years of the internet. Published in 1998, the book precedes but foreshadows the dotcom crash. It's a fun tale and a fun read but I was left with a feeling of contempt for the author. Wolff is a CEO in spite of himself, and he should have been relieved of his duties sooner than he was. His business blunders and missteps are faithfully recorded here. He does seem to be making an honest 'mea culpa' but is apparently unable to recognize his biggest mistakes. After accepting funding from some shady people he finds that they're !surprise! out to screw him. And, inexplicably, at the end of the book he refuses a bailout by two men who, judging from what they say, have a much better grasp of Internet business than Wolff can dream of. One man tells him he's ready to write a check for three million dollars, ready to bring in people who are actually good at running the business and offers him a role as 'the visionary.' Wolff turns them down. It's an interesting look at watching someone bitterly shoot himself in the foot. Read this book as a cautionary tale. He may have survived but he has egg all over his face.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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