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Once burned, twice shy

A News.com reader writes that "Build it and they will come" may have played nicely in a movie, but in reality it's rarely the case.

     

      
    Once burned, twice shy

    In response to the Sept. 25 column by Tony Fernandes, "It's the people, stupid":

    Some may find it hard to believe, but there were more than a handful of reasonably intelligent people that deplored the "technodebacle" of the '90s as it grew increasingly out of hand. Red flags were waving and many of us were writing about and discussing what we viewed as a near breakdown in decades of proven business and financial wisdom.

    "Build it and they will come" may have played nicely in a movie, but in reality it's rarely the case.

    The generation that learned the lessons of myopic marketing in the '60s was now gone and their progeny were well prepared to repeat the mistakes of the past. Financial types were blinded by the green and blundered into large investments that were the equivalent of lemonade stands operated as a childish escapade by 10-year-olds. Quarterly results took center stage. The proven methods of building a sound business and the wisdom of long-term goals were pushed aside.

    Throughout this debacle, the new generation of "analysts" viewed it all through a tunnel, cheerleading and profiting as they inflated the bubble. Perhaps they believed their own words and expected the gods of prosperity to maintain "the New Economy" despite the fact that it was built on a substrate of sand.

    Now we've nearly come full circle--and in record time--undoubtedly, much too quickly for our devastated markets and the singed egos of the venture capital community still struggling to regain its balance. The events of Sept. 11 have only added more fear and uncertainty to an already sobering set of consequences.

    If this cloud has a silver lining, it's manifesting itself as a bitter pill and a hard lesson for several generations that have begun to assume the responsibilities of leadership in business and elsewhere in America. Well educated, their mettle remained untested through nearly 30 years of virtual peace and financial prosperity.

    Hardship and uncertainty are required courses in the realities of life.

    Dennis Jugan
    Johnstown, Pa.