Dotcom=Railway? - (26.08.03)

There have been several articles and books written recently about parallels that can be drawn between dot com companies and early railway pioneers (e.g. see Whilst there are obvious parallels in terms of share price inflation, technical standards and how price mechanisms beat engineering logic, there is one obvious difference. Railways still exist. 150 years later the early market bubble is just a side issue in what proved to be a key component of the industrial revolution. For many of the dot coms however there was no real market or product for a price mechanism to establish any other value than zero. Some of this is down to the economic value of information, which disappears as soon as the customer knows what it is, but cannot be valued until they know what the information is. This problem is something most knowledge based companies will struggle to resolve. Value is often only added by providing easier access to knowledge that already exists.