Looking Back On 1999

The Deal launched in September of 1999 and they are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year by looking back on the years they’ve been in business. They asked me to talk about 1999 last week and they published the video of that talk today. If you see some white space at the bottom of the video player, scroll down a bit and it will go away. I’m not sure what’s causing that.

My favorite part of this video is the rummaging around my office bookshelf. Lot’s of good memories are housed there. My one regret is the line about Geocities being the “best deal I ever did”. I owe that deal to my partner at Flatiron, Jerry Colonna. We did the deal together but he brought it in and it would not have happened without him.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Andrew Badr

    In 1999, what did you look for in a potential investment? How does that differ from today?

    1. fredwilson

      there’s a lot that’s different, but i think the biggest change is back then we wanted to get big fast. now we want to get big slowly.

  2. ErikSchwartz

    1999 was a crazy time. My then fiance (now wife) were at Alban Berg’s Lulu at the SF Opera. Act 3 of the opera takes place at a party where everyone’s talking about shares in the Jungfrau Railway company. Everyone owns or wants them, as they’re going up and up. There’s an exchange between a bank director and a mother at the party.Mutter: “Meine samtlichen Ersparnisse bestehn jetzt aus Jungfrau- Aktien. Wenn das nicht gluckt, Herr Generaldirektor, dann kratze ich Ihnen die Augen aus,” It means: “My entire savings are in Jungfrau shares now. If this doesn’t succeed, Mr. Bank Director, then I’ll scratch your eyes out!”Generaldirektor: “Ich bin meiner Sache vollkommen sicher, meiner Teurste.” Translates as: “We bankers know our business, dear lady.”At the end of the scene word comes that the shares have all crashed.I turned to Katy and said, “that’s going to happen to Yahoo! too, there’s just not enough there”. I just didn’t think it was going happen as hard or as fast as it did. The YHOO graph between November 1999 and March 2000 is amazing.http://finance.google.com/f

    1. fredwilson

      great comment and great link to the YHOO chart. wow.

      1. jpayne8

        my wife bought yahoo somewhere in that $100 range in late ’99. Index funds from then on for us.

  3. daryn

    nice video, love the bookshelf of memories!

  4. Dervala Hanley

    Fred, you bring back memories of Vindigo. Thanks for all that you helped create. http://dervala.net/2002/05/

    1. fredwilson

      Thank you for what you helped create

  5. bfeld

    Boy we all looked so young. I guess it was a decade ago!

  6. Chris LaBossiere

    Hah. Remember those days. Made a boatoad on DrKoop.com IPO. What a joke.

  7. Jerry Colonna

    Your partner at Flatiron, Jerry Colonna, was a genius…and he forgives you.

    1. fredwilson

      Phew 🙂

  8. Jerry Colonna

    Oh and that Colonna guy…I think he worked on Gamesville too…didn’t he?Actually it’s ironic that you randomly spoke about Geocities and Gamesville because it proves a point you often make in this blog: It’s all about relationships. My personal relationship brought in Geocities and with your brilliant negotiating skills we overcome the sturm und drang of making that investment (will you ever forget those epic phone calls?). That was late ’96. But remember that it was David Bohnett, the founder and former CEO of Geocities who introduced me to Steve Kane of Gamesville and it was on the strength of that relationship that we first started working to make that investment. Then of course we brought into that deal Charley Lax and Dan Nova from Highland. Pre-exisiting relationships all.That’s the real key to successful investing, isn’t it?

    1. fredwilson

      it’s pretty much everything when it comes to getting the best deals. did you like that showcasing of Annie’s work?

      1. Jerry Colonna

        I loved the reference…wish you had shown the mugs. I still get compliments on those.

        1. JayR

          I still have my Flatiron mug and tea kettle. I still use the mug (it’s really big). The tea kettle goes up on eBay someday.

    2. Steven Kane

      yep, that is the way we all met. i met david b purely by chance though – we sat on a panel together (at the very first digital hollywood, i think)any case, that period was utterly insane and ridiculous and bizarre and fantastic… and i am so damned glad i got to experience it