Review: Startup.com

So you remember that whole dot-com thing, right? You know, investors funding companies with millions to sell dog-food over the ‘net?
Well, not all the ideas were so outrageous. Some, such as working with local government to make online parking-ticket payment possible, actually seemed somewhat feasible.
Startup.com is a film about a company taking a realistic vision of how the net could help people and following it through the dot-com boom. There’s a definite element of dramatic irony playing here, because as the viewer, you are fully aware of the company’s eventual demise, but the characters you are watching have no idea.
Usually, I find movies about the technology industry are waaay out to lunch. But with Startup, I actually found myself saying “whoa” out loud several times while watching it because I was amazed at how many details occurred exactly the way I expected them to.
It wasn’t until the film ended and I had listened part of the commentary on the DVD that it became clear why this film was head and shoulders above the other tech representations I’d seen so far on celluloid. All this stuff actually happened.
What makes this film so interesting is that, so far as I know, it’s the only one to completely document the rise and fall of a dot-com from start to finish. GovWorks — the company followed in the film — is just one of the thousands of companies out there that went through the same thing during the period.
Everything’s there, from the founders leaving their day jobs, to raising stupid amounts of capital in short periods of time, to stressed-out friendships, to rapid company expansion, to even more rapid dissolution. I know people who went through everything I saw in this film.
If you’re at all interested in or were part of the dot-com era, go check out Startup.com. It’s unlikely you’re going see anything that comes so close to portraying the heady and often-chaotic atmosphere of the time.

4 thoughts on “Review: Startup.com”

  1. julie, yeah, it’s great. you already know the plot going in — no surprises there. i found it a very interesting snapshot of what’s probably going to be a pretty unique period. what’s so amazing is that they were able to capture so much of it. the videoographers really got in at ground zero. definitely try and rent the dvd if you can, the commentary is very interesting.
    neil: move all zig!

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