reliving 1999

This year in particular, I have been thinking about 1999. Because it has been seven years since I moved to Amarillo. But while I sometimes feel I do need to reflect on 1999, that’s personal. Today’s Mediapost Search Insider is professional, and I do not want to re-live 1999 in that way at all.

Search: Partying Like It’s 1999
by Sara Holoubek, Monday, March 20, 2006
AS YOU READ THIS, I am sitting on a beach in a foreign land, listening to some amazing beats. While curating the ultimate playlist, I rediscovered many good albums from the late 1990s. I’m not sure why I stopped listening to them. Did the “bad years” of interactive leave me so depressed that I subconsciously pushed all cultural references to that time to the bottom of the pile?

Whatever the reason, I’m bringing back those albums, along with my top 10 reasons why living in the search industry today is oh-so-reminiscent of 1999 (in a good way).

1. The Sunday Styles section of The New York Times has declared that Silicon Alley is hip again.

2. On the topic of clothes, dressing for work is a lot more fun that it was during dot-bomb. Suddenly it is very smart to demonstrate personal style and wear fabulous shoes. I say, if you can pull it off and still respect the client, do it.

3. Hiring for SEM is a nightmare. The crunch we feel today is reminiscent of the old days, when anyone with a pulse could get hired in interactive advertising. A quick search on shows almost 7,000 jobs with “search engine” in the description and well over 300 with “search engine” in the title.

4. And because of the squeeze, consulting rocks once more. Suddenly, the word “consultant” no longer means “person who cannot get a real job” but “in-demand resource to get this job done.”

5. Everyone is all antsy to push the tech envelope. While there is a slight tinge of “if we build it, they will come,” we get all geeked-out over new technologies and business models.

6. Everyone in the know has a list of “hot companies.”

7. Raising cash is a breeze.

8. Selling big is back in style.

9. Equity just might matter again.

10. And finally, the party atmosphere is back in fine form. While I haven’t seen anything along the lines of the half-million-dollar affairs we used to attend, the venues, eats and drinks have definitely improved. The invite-only thing is actually working this time around, as evidenced in the request from a Search Insider reader that I get him a job as a professional Search Engine Strategies party crasher.

While each of the above is not dangerous in and of itself, what the industry chooses to do with these forces will determine how the first decade of the century will go down in history. I personally am hoping for a very Great Gatsby-esque legacy to justify my vintage shopping habit.

As Martin Kahn, a Venture Partner with RHO, recently told me, “I won’t worry until MBA students start dropping out of the program to join start-ups again.”

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