What a time it must have been. I was first in highschool and then a young man as we all approached the coming of a new millennium. I witnessed the birth and rise of the technologies that constituted the birth of the digital age. I cut my teeth on AOL, Google, Ebay and countless others.
Andrew was right there, right in the thick of it with his company Free Range Media. The following quote from a cached news story about his company explains what they were in 1998:
About Free Range Media An expert in Return on Internet Investment (ROI2)(TM), Free Range Media creates comprehensive Internet solutions by combining business strategy, innovative design and technical expertise with professional client partnerships. With a client base including Swedish Medical Center, Dain Rauscher, Blue Shield of California, FreeZone, Raleigh Studios, Mag Instruments, Inc., Guest Informant and Van Waters & Rogers, Free Range Media has established itself as a leader in Internet solutions.
It's pretty amazing to think that if things hadn't gone south for Andrew, maybe today Free Range would be as synonymous as some of the other heavy hitters that spawned in the primordial soup of the birth of the web.
Andrew illustrated the craziness of those 8 years or so that lead up to the bursting of the Dotcom bubble using dinosaurs in a foot race. (quite fitting since most of the companies he discussed are no longer with us). Just like the metaphor of the alley race that I shared earlier, companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Netscape were all chasing the amazing amount of money that the web spawned as more and more people adopted this new paradigm that our species had created, the reality of knowledge and information at your fingertips, available to anyone willing to pay the monthly subscription fee.
Andrew illustrated just how insane and unsustainable it was by just how many companies were getting money and going to market without being vetted. It was so clear that a bubble was growing and was going to pop that authors were able to release best selling books warning of that very pop and still people were spending VC capital like it was water while lining up for signed copies from the prophets of their doom.
Ultimately, Andrew shared a stark and sobering view of just how mercurial the entrepreneurs life may be, but in so doing, failed to reduce its power to seduce.