The United States experienced an enormous jump in economic growth in the late 1990s, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “the dot-com bubble.” The internet became widely available in the early 1990s, and soon people were using it not just to communicate but also to buy things.
The mid-1990s brought a flood of new web-based businesses, often called “dot-coms” in reference to the “.com” in their URLs. Investors were eager to put money into the new enterprises, and many company founders and early employees profited handsomely when their businesses became publicly traded on the stock market.
However, not all dot-coms turned out to be good investments. Whether they were online stores or websites providing news or other services, many never managed to turn a profit. In mid-2000, the bubble popped. Many dot-coms went bankrupt. Some people lost the money they had invested, while others lost their jobs.
After the bubble burst, people relied on their agility skill and the ability to learn new skills to weather the ensuing economic downturn. Those who were able to go back to school or develop new skills were more likely to get their careers back on track.
Another important factor in being able to withstand the crisis was the ability to save. This was a time of great expansion, but the companies that thrived balanced expansion with savings. Those that could maintain their balance during this often chaotic time were able to stay afloat. As such, the story of the dot-com bubble and its aftermath holds many lessons for those interested in starting their own business today.
These factors applied to individuals as well. People who had savings and backup plans were less negatively affected than those who did not, as they were able to withstand a period of unemployment and invest in learning new skills to find a new career path.
Agility: Skill in Action
Source: Strategic Education, Inc. 2020. Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future.