About this issue.
Although the harsh blows of an unforgiving economy have pummeled the industry, tech companies and services are, definitely, here to stay. The sector continues to represent the engine that drives business automation and innovation. From the industrial revolution to today's business environment, the upward surge of commerce has been largely a by-product of technological change. Laptops, cell phones, and the Internet are a few of the devices that have changed the way we conduct business and live our lives this past decade. And for those of you who believe the Web is equivalent to the horse and buggy, check this out: Recent reports showed that online retail spending--including travel-related services--increased an electrifying 72%, to $11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2001, compared to a year earlier. In fact, online sales produced the only bright spot during last year's post September 11, dreary holiday spending spree.
No, we aren't predicting another dot-com boom. But it would be foolhardy to consider tech as yesterday's news. With more skeptical investors--some of who were wounded when the Internet bubble burst--and tighter requirements to demonstrate future profitability, it will be much tougher than it was a few years ago for entrepreneurs to gain financing to introduce new products.
"The whole technology sector is in transition," says Michael Fields, a managing partner of New Vista Capital, a Palo Alto, California, venture firm. "Those companies that know how to size themselves right and build the right kinds of solutions for business and personal use are going to succeed. Having hard times and having to find a way to exist within a difficult environment is not foreign to [black entrepreneurs]. Those of us who are going to succeed through this time are going to be the ones who have the same kind of fortitude and focus that those in the past have had."
This issue is about the marriage of ingenuity and tenacity. On the following pages, our Technology Editor Sonya A. Donaldson, who has covered and participated in the tech revolution, has produced an editorial package devoted to the business of technology. She explores the boundless opportunities in the new tech industry, while offering you the tools needed to turbocharge your company.
To make it in today's tech world, entrepreneurs will need to stick to the basics--a profitable business model, a strong management team, and moxie. By doing so, entrepreneurs can create a powerful wealth-building tool. Just ask Donna Auguste, a black digerati we featured during the height of the dotcom explosion (see "She's Fresh," Techwatch, November 2000). Between 1996 and 2001, Auguste transformed Freshwater Software, which received $1.25 million in venture financing, into a $20 million powerhouse. Last May, she sold the company for a staggering $147 million (see Techwatch, this issue),
The message is simple: Get wired into tech now. It still pays. --The Editors
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|Date:||Mar 1, 2002|
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