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Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman have had a dream since they became friends at age fifteen: get rich by developing their own dot com company, in some aspect of computer technology interface. Now in their late twenties, they have now come up with the idea they believe will make their riches, namely as Tom refers to it, "parking tickets": the company will be the on-line revenue collection interface for municipal governments. GovWorks.com came into existence in May 1999 with only an idea. The process of building the business focuses on obtaining venture capital based solely on the idea, with the actual mechanics of the website seemingly almost an afterthought, or at least one left primarily to the hired help. Regardless of the strength of the idea itself in raising this capital, another initial problem they face is what they see as non-commitment by a third partner, Kaleil's friend Chieh Cheung. In early 2000, they do manage to go live with their product to what seems to be a promising... Written by
This is an excellent, compelling look into a time that seems so alien and so far away now. The days when there was so much money being invested into promises, and how the dot com bubble burst and took so much with it.
Even though we now know where the story ends, the documentary is gripping from start to finish. It charts the venture from the inception through to its demise, although it focuses more on the early stages. I was part of a dot com venture and it really brought back the memories of "everything is impossible, we are unstoppable" that was pushed by those that run the ventures. And in the case of govworks.com, the gorgeous and charismatic CEO even met Clinton. How could it all go wrong? The documentary also charts, in fact in particular charts, the effect of the company on the personal relationships of those involved. Some of the agonies they face are better than stories you see in scripted dramas, and because they are so real they are very involving.
It's a shame that the latter stage's of the company's demise are skipped over, we cut from them having over 200 employees to just 50 with no real explanation on what happened in between. Maybe it wasn't really required, maybe they didn't want to be filmed, but it felt like a bit of a hole. It's the only real complaint about the documentary however.
Overall it accomplished showing us the birth and death of a dot com very well, and how it affects those involved. And anyone who watches the documentary will probably like me go to www.govworks.com and with sadness see that the domain is owned by one of those companies that registers dead domains, and feel such a sadness that all that blood, sweat and tears ended this way.
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