- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In April 1999, J. David Kuo was desperately trying to buy shares of Value America, a company that many well-regarded people were touting as an Internet pioneer and a guaranteed winner. More than just another cog in Wall Street's IPO factory, VUSA seemed to have both a compelling vision and a workable plan: It would use the Internet to sell goods direct from a manufacturer's warehouses, thereby becoming the first retail store without physical inventory as well as a leading source of information about consumer behavior. FedEx founder Fred Smith called it the best business model he'd ever seen and invested $10 million. As articulated by Craig Winn, Value America's charismatic founder, the company's plan attracted not only investors but talented employees. A month after his stock purchase, Kuo was on his way to becoming the company's senior vice president of communications.
Kuo -- who worked as a journalist and speechwriter before joining the dot-com frenzy -- uses all his experience to his, and our, advantage as he paints an unflinching picture of a company driven by obsession, pride, greed, blind faith, and anxiety. His book is also, of course, a portrait of Craig Winn, the man who rose from selling flyswatters to heading the Next Big Thing, only to have the ocean of investor cash floating the company evaporate before his eyes.
Part tell-all memoir and part cautionary tale, Dot.Bomb manages to convey the exhilaration of the dream, the intensity of the execution, and the ultimate despair of the failure better than any account of the dot-com world has done before: It's a capsule history of a moment in American culture that will probably remain unique and intriguing for many years to come. (Magdalen Powers)