After the tech bubble burst (but not long after), I was talking to my boss at a company party. We were drinking. Voices and songs and laughs ricocheted around the hotel ballroom. But something was missing.
“These parties feel fake when you haven’t done anything worth celebrating,” he said.
The man I was talking with had launched, operated, and sold several companies in a short a mount of time. He recognized success when he saw it.
I looked around the room. Felt like I was surveying the ballroom on the Titanic the night before the iceberg.
That company is gone, now. Some other company on some other continent owns and updates the software we created. Even at that (inwardly) sad Christmas Party in 2001, we knew that our days were numbered. That day of reckoning absorbed energy the way a block of ice absorbs heat.
I get the feeling that there are a lot of companies today operating like that company did. Companies that have enough money to stay afloat, but no real direction or purpose. Companies whose business model once built new building but now feel like anchors. People walk around, keep busy, hope the anchor chain doesn’t ensnare a leg.
In the midst of economic recovery, weak business models reveal themselves. The pent-up demand senior managers prayed for goes toward some start-up’s new ideas. People who put off buynig for three years, don’t want your New and Improved model—they want something completely different and exciting.
What was the name of the Titanic’s house band? And what were they playing the night before the iceberg?