The Letter "e" Grants an Interview to Bidness Week

In its first interview since dotbomb , the crash, the bubble burst, etc., the letter “e” has re-emerged to grant an exclusive interview to Bidness Week. Very funny… kudos to Cerado.

Web 2.0 and The Letter “e”: The Interviewafter hitting it big during the dot-com boom of the 90’s, the tech world’s best-known letter comes out of seclusion for a rare conversation with BidnessWeek’s Steve Rosenblush.

The flurry of activity in “Web 2.0” has unleashed a number of rising stars. Perhaps the best known is photo-sharing site Flickr, but others such as 37Signals and have also ascended to prominence over the past eighteen months. However, the darling of the dot-com bubble — the letter “e” — is conspicuously missing and has decided to take a wait and see attitude this time around.

In an exclusive e-mail exchange with our editors, the reclusive vowel talks about what he’s been doing since the year 2000, his investment strategy, and his thoughts on whether we’ve entered a new technology bubble. He joins us from his yacht just outside of Antibes on the French Riviera (recently purchased from legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins).

In the late 90’s you were everywhere: e-commerce, e-business, e-tailing, e-payments, e-procurement, e-government…the list was almost endless. Then you disappeared. What happened?
Well, as you know, the dot-com era was very, very good to me. After the licensing gold rush, I had to take a step back. I realized that I was horribly overextended and needed to re-evaluate a lot of things about my life. So, I bought a boat and decided to get off the grid for a while. It was definitely the right decision. After that craziness, I needed to recharge.

Your absence has really thrown a spanner into the trademark and IP strategy of a lot of Web 2.0 firms. Where do you think you’re missed the most?

There definitely are companies that may be showing signs of having issues. In addition to Flickr, there are companies like Beggr, Coastr, Colrpickr, Fastr, Frappr, Gabbr, Mappr, Nabbr, Phrasr, Soonr, Talkr, Zooomr and probably a metric ton of other ones. A few individuals have flamed me for “stifling innovation,” but I prefer to think of it as an opportunity to help those organizations out of a creative rut. Unfortunately, few seem to have risen to the challenge.
What about Meebo; did you make an exception for them?

No. The folks over at CMP were nice enough to give me a heads-up about them, and are actually helping me to prepare a cease-and-desist letter.

You dropped out of sight for a while in 2000. There were stories of all night raves and substance abuse. Are the rumors true?

I’ve been advised by counsel not to comment.

Here’s the question that many of our readers are wondering about…are we in a new technology bubble?

It’s tough to say. From what I’m seeing, there is a fair amount of innovation occurring. On the other hand, the letter “o” seems to be a bit oversubscribed right now. I’d be wary there.
Your instincts are legendary. What do you think is next big thing?

That one’s easy. The next big thing is going to be p-mail (pneumatic mail, which is also sometimes called “pneumail”). As we all know, the Internet is a series of tubes. That’s where the opportunity lies.

Tags: web2.0, web 2.0, bubble, internet



Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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