e-dreams

Last night while taking a break from grading I watched a Netflix DVD that had been gathering dust on the top of my DVD player for a while — e-dreams — which tracked the rise and fall of the internet delivery service Kozmo.com. Kozmo promised delivery of items such as videos and pints of Hagan-Daz ice-cream in an hour or less in New York and eventually 13 other urban markets. On the consumer's side, it was a great idea — the type of business that would have been inconceivable in the pre-dot-com era (and, as it turns out, in the post-dot-com era). The movie brought back a lot of memories — when we first started ELO, our initial funding came from dot.coms and I spent quite a bit of time around young internet execs (all of whom thought the ELO would be a cool idea if only it had a profit motive). It's amazing to think that that insanely optimistic (irrationally exuberant) time was only three/four years ago. Of course in retrospect, the era was one of foolish decisions and hubris (at one point in the film, the company's founder, Joseph Park, is chanting “IPO” at a party while smoking a cigar with a few cosmo martinis in him). Capital was seemingly mating with itself, in an endless shell game. Still, there was something exciting about a time when all those orange bags were flying around Manhattan on the backs of bicycle messengers, carrying latenight Snickers and porn, during that couple of years when 28 year-old millionaires fueled on pizza and caffiene were taking over the world. After watching the film, I googled Kozmo. Though the domain name no longer yields the ghost of the business model past, you can still purchase a Kozmo messenger bag for $60. And perhaps there's still hope for cool dot.com ideas — after all, the DVD I was watching was delivered to me through the mail by Netflix, the internet video store that's giving Blockbuster a run for its money.

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