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Dotcom CEOs vapid ... but greedy

Forrester chief shoots the breeze with CEOs of Internet companies - and doesn't like what he hears

What are greedy and lacking in depth, experience and common business sense? -- Dotcom CEOs.

That's the scathing conclusion a leading analyst, Forrester Research CEO and Chairman George F. Colony, came to following a series of interviews with chief executives from both traditional and dotcom firms about how the Internet will change their businesses over the next decade.

In a column posted on Forrester's site, Colony said the biggest revelation to come out of those interviews "was the low quality of the dotcom CEOs when compared with the traditionalists."

According to Colony, rather than trying to build the next Microsoft, Sun or Cisco, dotcom CEOs are creating "hollow.com" companies that lack "some of the fundamental ingredients of long-term success."

"These companies are not built to withstand competition, they're not built to deliver sustained value, and they're not built to last," he said. "The idiocy of the Hollow.Coms was embarrassingly revealed during this year's Super Bowl. By the third quarter the advertisements for Dot Coms had become the running joke of the game."

Colony said the business thinking of the dotcom CEOs he spoke to centered on "simplistic and clichéd" models: "Be like Amazon!" "Advertise, advertise, advertise!" "It's a land grab!" "We don't want to be profitable too fast." "B2B is the place to be."

"There was a fanatical focus on valuation -- getting public and liquid -- while value -- what the customer eventually gets -- was a back-seat discussion," he said.

Colony predicts that "Darwinian forces" will take a "brutal toll" on dotcom CEOs and their "hollow.com" firms.

"The Internet economy companies with dedicated, wise management will obliterate the hollow.coms," he said. "Jay Walker, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, and other high-quality, long-haul players will end up with a disproportionate share of their marketplaces, as the hollow companies disintegrate.

"It's going to take years; blood, sweat, and tears; developed wisdom; and enlightened business decisions to construct the truly stellar Internet companies. The hollow.coms will get trashed -- along with a sinful amount of venture and day trader capital," Colony said.

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