There were plenty of predictions at the New York e-commerce Association Panel, "2001: An Internet Odyssey" on Wednesday, January 31 at the Marriott Marquis. Before the panel began I chatted with Diann Eisnor and Sam Ewan of Eisnor Interactive about continuing business as usual. Met Framfab's President Staffan Ekholm and McKinsey & Company's James Costantini, who were waiting for Framfab's client development and marketing SVP, and James' sister, Giulia Costantini. Webclippings' Noah Silverman and Barbara Shapiro were chatting it up as the crab cakes were passed around. I was in the last row of a packed room, along with Integrity Office Solutions' Marketing VP Patricia Hildebrandt and Environmental Defense's Director of Web Technology Shane Snipes. I-Hatch Ventures' Managing Principal and Co-founder Chip Austin introduced the night's panels with comments -- 2000 was a year of severe change. While we used to associate ourselves with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," we now associate our business with "Survivor." There was a lot of venture capital, and there's still plenty of it available. But you should run your business as if you don't need it (or won't get it).
Each panelist had a few opening comments that started the evening off on an informative note. Juno Online Services' CEO and Founder Charles Ardai told us that they're doing quite well with their 14 million registered users. Zagat.com's Co-chair and Founder Nina Zagat mentioned that they don't have a dot-com part of the business per se -- the Internet is just another medium through which they reach and interact with their audience. They're also expanding internationally and into travel-related listings. Coming in with a VC-perspective, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham's Managing Partner and Co-founder Daniel Schultz said that what's different from last year's VC mentality is that it went from "how many?" to "which" portfolios can I get?" The herd mentality isn't there anymore. New York Times' e-commerce Reporter Bob Tedeschi said that people should look at the web as a tool, and that thankfully we're back to the basics of business sensibility. The panel ensued for the next hour with equally informative banter, as I made my way to the next forecasting event of the night.