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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Way, way back in early 2004, when we just came out with Topix, Rich and I had a "holy shit" meeting with a newspaper executive. What I mean by this is that at that time Topix was really just 5 or 6 of us, working out of a trophy shop in Palo Alto, no VC backing, no superstar advisory board - heck, no conference room even - and we get approached to meet with a very, very senior person from one of the largest and renowned newspaper companies in the world. i.e. holy shit, I can't believe this guy wants to meet with us!

Looking back though, it kind of makes sense. After the dot-com bust, there were no start-ups coming out of the valley (or elsewhere, really). But newspaper companies could read the tea leaves and saw their future. The smart ones were looking to act early. So small companies like ours got to meet lots of folks like this....

Anyway, at that meeting I remember during the obligatory small talk portion, I mention that I moved to the bay area in 2000. Nameless, very senior exec remarks that, in hindsight, that probably was an optimal time to make that move as "It's always better to make those types of changes in during a downturn." I remember thinking that was a pretty interesting observation. Most people I met were telling me how I missed the party of the late nineties, and couldn't have picked a worse time to move out here. But not this guy.

Anyway, fast forward to 2007, with traffic on the 101 snarling regularly, start-ups and VC funding becoming again almost cliche, dead pools and launch parties popping up simultaneously, it almost makes me long for 2003/ 2004 again. My guess is that its a lot harder for your average start-up to score a holy shit meeting these days.


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