Lived Fast, Died Young, Left a Tired Corpse

It's easy to forget just how crazy things got during the Web 1.0 bubble in 2000. That was over ten years ago. For context, Mark Zuckerberg was all of sixteen when the original web bubble popped.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

What will Code Rush tell me that I don’t already know from having read Zawinski’s various commentaries on the demise of Netscape and the birth of Mozilla?

I dont think a 2nd tech bubble can ever be as big as the first one. Very interesting post, I think a lot of the younger generation (myself included) dont realise how much Netscape did for the modern internet.

The .com boom & bust is not represented well on film but I did enjoy August ( ) Josh Hartnett gets it pretty spot-on with his portrayal of a buzzword spouting young gun talking absolute garbage to the suits while his younger brother gets on with the coding. The portentous 9/11 foreshadowing may have put some off, but is very accurate - funding disappeared after that day and put a full stop on some that may have weathered it out. Well worth a watch.

@Aaron yes, it does. Jamie spoke only briefly about the demise of netscape on his site and it serves as cliffs notes to what code rush focuses on in more detail.

That said, I’m confused about the “brilliant careers” sentence. Jamie didn’t go on to a brilliant programming career, he quit the business entirely to run a night club. As as startup programmer myself, that option is looking more tempting by the day…

Did Netscape charge for the browser? I was in school 91-96 and never paid for netscape (of course this was on various flavors of unix). As I remember, but can’t seem to confirm, they were charging for server software and had some deluxe versions of Netscape. I do know I asked the Netscape recruiter (sent to MIT) in fall '95 how they planned on making money. His answers are precisely why I didn’t go work for them: 1. “You’d be surprised how many people pay us for the browser.” and 2. “We can sell advertisements based on where people browse”. I didn’t want to work for a place that 1. I’d be surprised we were making money, or 2. Did something I thought was creepy and would therefore fail. or 3. Sent someone dumb to recruit at MIT. Before I interviewed I actually couldn’t imagine Netscape failing, after that interview I had a tough time imagining that they could succeed.

I don’t think you’re being fair to govworks though (the guys)… I’ve seen the movie and the idea has some merit.
I don’t know how it’s in the US, but here in Israel people pay their taxes/fine online all the time. The online-enabled anyway, I suspect not all grandmothers do that :wink:
If anything, the movie taught me how poisonous relationships between co-founders can ruin a startup no matter what the success prospects of the idea are.

Another film in the same vein is eDreams which portrays the startup, which burned through $250 million over a similar time span. eDreams is in some ways less personal with regards to its perspective on the relationship between the founders than, but still worthwhile to get a sense of the gold rush that occurred during that first bubble.

@Aaron Em

Who says it is for you?


Here here. I remember using the internet back then, but I was largely oblivious to the browser wars. As to my memory of Netscape’s going open – I recall feeling (to paraphrase) that this was not “the first act of Henry V”, but that’s about it. I did not realize how titanic a struggle or how paramount an issue was at hand. And, while Netscape may have, for all intents and purposes, failed, we are fortunate that in the death of Netscape, they seeded, not a tired corpse, but something which has stood up to the behemoth.

“Lived Fast, Died Young, Left a Tired Corpse”

I think that’s what it said on my headstone the last time I played Nethack.

In 2003 I produced a short mockumentary called “Pie in the Sky” for the 48 film project— loosely inspired by, as well as my own experiences at tech startups.

Ironically, between Kozmo, GovWorks, and online pizza ordering, the online ordering is probably the most lucrative area now.

The film is online here:

Heh, when I read the title, I thought this was about Quora…

@SteveSteiner If I remember it correctly, Netscape made the browser free to download, and free “for educational” use. This covered all us students in college at the time. The most succinct summing up of the rise and fall of the Netscape business model comes from a Rands article (

At the time, the money was coming from enterprises who a) “got” web browsers and b) purchased site licenses for the browsers. Netscape sales folks would comb download logs, see what companies had employees downloading the browser, call ‘em up, and sell ‘em site license. Nice model. Too bad about that whole Microsoft screwing.

@Alanstorm Thanks for the pointer. Oddly the link in your comment hits a 404, but a search found the page at that exact link.

@Steve, @Alanstorm: The actual link is – Alan’s link has the trailing ‘)’ attached.

Bubble? Which bubble? I think you are taking Facebook’s meteoric rise as a trend for the global market. The software development market is running quite slowly (at least in Europe). Companies are not investing in new IT projects as they were some years ago. Some IT service providers are struggling for survival.

Bubble? I don’t think so…


I believe Jeff is referring to a future bubble, to appear in about a year.

Thanks for amazing movie. I’m watching it now at late night.

I was in Canada at the time, along with a Canadian friend trying to launch our startup. We weren’t affected by the bubble in the sense we saw our stock devalue. We were instead starting to launch our hunt for VCs. So our business didn’t even got a change to start because everyone was backing out. In retrospect, we were just another “all talk, no substance” buzz-riddled business of the time, and given we were getting ready to not put personal protection plans on the table (relying exclusively on our wages), it’s good we came late and didn’t get a chance to start.

As for the issue itself, I like to think that bubbles serve the good purpose of restructuring the market around realistic concepts. It’s in the aftermath of these events that the market becomes sane and healthy. Before that it is governed by hunches and a great dose of smart-talk.

Finally, I don’t think that graph reveals a bubble in the works. It looks a lot like business-as-usual. If anything there’s a steep climb from the 2008 stock market decline back to the values that preceded it.