Scouring dot come era tech magazines in search of product ideas

(pic by Mando Gonzales)

An interesting story from an old issue of Wired that I found on my shelf this morning:

"Morgan had become convinced that there was plenty of gold left behind when the rush ended in 2001. The idea took root in fall 2003, while he was reading The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage's history of the telegraph. Just like the most ardent promoters of the Internet, the telegraph's early boosters claimed that the fledgling technology would do everything from helping save lives to ushering in world peace. Over the half-century between the telegraph's rise to prominence and its eclipse by the telephone, it did change the way people lived and worked, but not in the ways its evangelists had predicted. "The lesson was that while new communications media do change the world," Morgan says, "they do it much slower than the early adopters think they will."

From there, it was a small step to the realization that perhaps some of the ideas from the Internet boom might simply have been a few years ahead of their time. Morgan began to revisit the startups he'd put cash into - those that had failed and those that were still breathing. "I was getting reinterested in consumer Internet plays," Morgan says. "Some of the companies I'd invested in were starting to look like they had made it through the nuclear winter, and I wanted to figure out exactly how they were different from the ones that hadn't made it." He set about systematically distilling the lessons of the recent past and applying those lessons to his evaluation of each startup that he considered funding."

Why do I blog this? Collecting examples for my book about failures and how their analysis is important in the innovation process. Of course, I am less interested in the VC thing than in the process of surfacing ideas from the past as a exercise to see what conditions have changed and how it can be relevant for the future.