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Dinner Party

I walked out into my dinning room where I had been mulling over the table all day. I wanted everything to be just so. I glanced at the place settings for the hundredth time, trying to decide if I should sit Alfred Zingale and Matthias Arndt next to each other. It wasn’t that I was worried about conflicting views, actually it was quiet the contrary, and I didn’t want them to be able to double team the other guests. Finally I decided that just because they have essentially the same opinions, I wouldn’t separate them. In my mind they come as a unit because they had co-authored a book. The place cards had been set and I made up my mind that I would do no more rearranging. I bent over the table in my grey sleeveless dress and lit the deep red candles that were extending upward out of the floral arrangement. The guests would be arriving soon and I began to think over the whole situation. Each person has written a book about the dot com industry, how they can be successful as well as how to invest wisely in one. I was hoping to learn a lot of information so I could make a good decision on whether my company would benefit from being online. These thoughts drifted through my head until the doorbell rang.
I opened the door to a short plump woman with reddish brown hair in her late 40’s was standing on my stoop. She wore a pale green dress suit, but looked quite attractive. She extended her arm, shook my hand and introduced herself as Anita Rosen. As the only woman who was attending the dinner party that night, it was a given who she was, but all the same she was quite pleasant.

John Cassidy was next to arrive. He looked like the typical “guy next door” type. I bet he could have been pulled straight from a magazine. He wore a blue knit sweater vest. As soon as he was in the door, the bell rang for the final time. Zingale and Arndt stood at the door. Zingale was thin with a moustache, black hair parted on the side. Arndt wore glasses, was shorter and much plumper. They looked like complete opposites as they stood outside my door. I invited them in; as they walked through the threshold they gave me a bottle of wine. They said it was just a “thanks so much” gift. It dismissed the doubts I had had earlier as to whether everyone would get along and be civil. I had been afraid that Cassidy would be very much against dot coms, after writing a book entitled Dot Con. The evening looked promising.

Eventually everyone made it to their seats. I carried the dishes of food from the kitchen. Roasted chicken, along with garlic mashed potatoes, warm rolls, and a large bowl of salad for anyone to take at their own leisure. I sat at the head of the table, Zingale and Arndt to my right, and Rosen and Cassidy to my left.

Anita Rosen began the conversation by saying, “You have to decide what you are selling and what service you are providing. If this product is already available in the marketplace, you need to have a good reason for the consumer to purchase off of your web site.” Between bites Rosen added, “Don’t think it doesn’t work…it just has to be right.”
“The problem though,” stated Cassidy, “is that no one does it right. People jump on the band wagon creating these dot coms just because they think they can make an easy profit.”
“Does it really not work?” I asked. “I mean are successful dot coms none existant?”
“Good services can be provided through these online companies…” stated Rosen.
“I just think that many times, the company is not given the chance to become stable and to honestly make money through selling their product. Honestly I blame it on the investors they just think…oh another dot com, this could be worth money. So they dumbly invest so much money in the companies stock,” said Cassidy. His information was very helpful and critical which can be very important. I was pleased how the conversation was going.

Arndt had been intently listening to the conversation between Cassidy and Rosen. He swallowed a piece of chicken, whipped his mouth, placed the napkin in his lap, and began to speak. “You know, I don’t think that you can rightfully make this statement and hold it as being too valid, you know some companies do make it, have a chance to settle. It’s all in how they plan. I mean I think that if a company lies out its strategy before doing anything they can be ok. They just have to look at all aspects, the pros and the cons. If the company is ready to be successful I think it has a much better chance.” Alfredo Zingale sat at Matthias Arndt’s elbow shaking his head in agreement. He was eating the potatoes and looked very concerned and concentrated on what Matthias was saying.

Anita Rosen jumped back into the conversation stating that, “Yeah, I mean I pretty much feel the same way. If a company is prepared and knows what the customer needs, then I think that is a huge part of it. The company has to make sure that their online service is providing what the consumer wants, like you said, it’s about preparation.”
“I think that is really true in anything you do,” I said trying to get a word in before Cassidy began.

“That’s the problem though, I mean I really do agree with you, but take for instance Travelocity. They knew that they weren’t prepared. Essentially there was a warning on each on of its proposal pieces. The company received a false sense of security, and then finally realized they were worth a lot of money, but it wasn’t because they had done so well with their product, it was just because stock was going up so people bought it.”
Zingale interjected, “But why would people buy if it was obvious the product wasn’t selling, I mean people must have known.” This is exactly what I had been thinking.
“Well my friend, they did know. They just figured that there was always a sucker out there who didn’t know, who would buy the stock off of them at a higher rate.”
“But this doesn’t happen all the time. “ Rosen statement seemed almost like a question, she seemed a little stunned at Cassidy’s response to Zingale. All three men nodded their heads as Cassidy continued, “I mean I am not saying it can’t work, just that is hasn’t been really working.”

Zingale continued, “True, I mean it really has been more of people just buying up the dot com stocks, just for a quick buck, but it creates short lived companies, but I figure that if a company is going to put so little time in their planning so that their product doesn’t sell than I am not sure that I think they deserve to survive.”
Rosen, finally after absorbing all that had been said introduces a good point, “Well it isn’t exactly the fault of the company. It’s the people who buy up the stock, knowing good and well that the product they are selling isn’t going to be doing that well.”
“Very good point,” states Cassidy. “And when people start realizing what is happening the boom ends, and the company, like Travelocity, is left being worth a lot of money, but still being in debt.” Rosen repeated her point about preparation and then conversation died down.

I think that Cassidy had some of the best arguments. In his favor he had the Travelocity example and he seems to know a lot about economics. I feel that if the rest of the people had had this kind of information to back up what they were saying they would have been much better. I mean they did make good comments; they were just very general instead of directly related like Cassidy’s comments. Essentially the group was in agreement, it was more of a debate about the responsibility of companies. I think that Cassidy was trying to point out that the investors need to be more responsible and not just buy stock in a company because it is a dot com, while the other guests at the dinner said more along the lines that the company should be much more prepared when going out into the market. Zingale a good question about why would people buy stock from a company that they knew was not stable, which helped the conversation along.

I think Zingale’s question was partially an attempt to see if Cassidy really knew what he was talking about, and could defend all that he was saying with a logical explanation. As it turned out, Cassidy did know what he was talking about. I think that Rosen had one of the less powerful arguments. It did make sense what she was saying; however, sometimes it seemed that she was stating the obvious. Of course a company should know what the customer wants and needs. The fact that she said, “If they do it right it can work out” bothers me a little, in that this is something that should go without saying. The problem really is that many companies aren’t doing it right. But maybe Rosen feels that the situation is not as bad as Cassidy makes it out to be. True that Cassidy seems to emphasize all the bad, but it is true that there have been many successful dot coms that have provided efficient and much needed services to their customers.

Zingale was used more as a back up character to Arndt, I wish that since Arndt had all this support with him the he would have talked more. He made good points though. Cassidy had the strongest argument because he used the Travelocity story to back up what he was saying. I really think that if Arndt had used specific examples to illustrate his point it would have been a much better conversation.

Initially my topic was going to be about being plane tickets online. After going on the computer and trying to find sources I went to the library where I found many sources, including the ones I had looked up online, about how dot com corporations survive. Initially I was just going to use this information in talking about being able to purchase tickets online, but as I began to write I realized that my topic of my paper was changing before my eyes. Now I was using the airfare company as an example to support the fact that dot com companies don’t plan carefully for the market.

When I was first considering this project I tried not to hold a bias, however, I think it is normal to think of an idea that you expect to see. I intended on finding people talk about the convenience and how buying tickets online saves money. Some sources I found did give this opinion, but it just seemed that there wasn’t enough information there for me. In all honesty I did not go looking for another topic, it just happened to fall in my lap I suppose. The sources that I picked up in the library were very helpful, but they were not the ones I had initially come for. Actually I had walked there with a list of a few books and as I was looking for one I found a whole section on dot com companies. I picked them up, still thinking that I would be doing my original idea. I flipped through the books to see if there was any mention of travel, or a company that was involved in selling cheap tickets. My topic did not actually change until I began writing my paper. All of my sources ended up being books out of the library that had been intended for another topic.

After researching my topic I have become more aware of the importance of planning a company. I was also taught about economics and how to buy stock wisely. The biggest lesson that I learned was that you should not follow the crowd with these dot com companies. True many are making good money, but one should research and make sure that they are making a good decision. There is no need to blindly spend money on a company that you know nothing about. The big issue with these companies is that they end up surviving, even while no one is buying much of their products, because people have put so much money into their stock. The company looks as though it is worth a lot of money on the outside, but in actuality the company is in debt. From the authors of the books I learned that the best thing a company like this can do to avoid this situation is to plan ahead and make sure they know what they are selling and that is can be successful. Also to make sure they are not introduced into the market prematurely.

I feel that with time the problem will slow, and even now I think that it has slowed as compared to when dot coms first came out on the market. It was such a new concept that seemed to be an easy money maker, but people can not expect that just because a few companies succeeded do not mean that there is a cookie cutter recipe to finding the money making company. The example about Travelocity bothered me because people knew that this company was not ready to go onto the market, yet they were put out there anyway. In the end companies as well as investors need to take more responsibility and make informed decisions.

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