Paper of the week: history’s view of the dot com boom

History’s view of the dot com boom of the late 90’s may be substantially different than ours.

According to David Kirsch and Brent Goldfarb’s 2006 paper:

The Icarian arcs of a handful of high-flying internet companies occupied the bulk of public attention both on the way up and on the way down. In the public eye, these stories came to represent the totality of internet entrepreneurship in the 1990s, even as thousands of successful, if less spectacular, internet companies followed a more traditional growth trajectory, survived and even thrived…

Exploiting a unique database of Dot Com Era business planning documents, we have estimated the scale of entrepreneurial activity during the period. Approximately 50,000 startups were founded in the United States between 1998 and 2002 to exploit the commercialization of the Internet. The survival rate of Dot Com ventures founded during the height of the bubble in late 1998, 1999, and 2000 was a surprisingly high 48%, in line with if not higher than that observed in prior instances of industry emergence…

Technology entrepreneurship in the Dot Com Era was more successful than people imagine today, and there was more of it than originally reported…

Many Dot Com entrepreneurs can share the sentiment expressed in Mark Twain’s famous quip, “the report of my death was an exaggeration.”