Social Networks and Communities of today are the B2B Exchanges of 1999


“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”—George Santayana

I worked at Ariba for a during 1998-99, followed by Asera (a Kleiner Perkins startup that raised over $175 Million in venture funding, but showed no traction). The big thing during those days was every industry wanted to build a “Vertical B2B Exchange”. Hundreds were funded – by companies like CMGI, ICG and other venture firms. Many more were funded by large industry consortiums – Covisint, E2Open.

There were 3 dominant themes:
1. Networks of B2B with multiple vertical industries – Chemdex, Vertical Net etc.
2. Small 3 guys and a dog companies – hundreds of which none remain
3. Large consortium funded companies – eSteel, elemica etc.

Of those, the ONLY ones that still are dead men walking are the #3. Others all failed or burned out or flamed.

So when I see a social network for Pharma or a social network for a building, I find that amusing and really history repeating itself.

Dont need it, never needed it, wont need it. Of course I am going to hear this time’s different. I actually used those words during that time.

Photo credit: Cartoon Stock.

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