From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Fire and Fury and Siege: Trump Under Fire—Michael Wolff's wickedly funny chronicle of his rags-to-riches-to-rags adventure as a fledgling Internet entrepreneur exposes an industry powered by hype, celebrity, and billions of investment dollars, and notably devoid of profit-making enterprises.
As he describes his efforts to control his company's burn rate—the amount of money the company consumes in excess of its income—Wolff offers a no-holds-barred portrait of unaccountable successes and major disasters, including the story behind Wired magazine and its fanatical founder, Louis Rossetto; the rise of America Online, perhaps the most dysfunctional successful company in history, and the humiliating inability of people such as Bill Gates to untangle the intricacies of the Web.
After operating a small media company for a number of years in New York City, the author joined the ranks of Internet entrepreneurs in 1994 when he formed Wolff New Media and found himself operating in an industry with few rules, much venture capital money and lots of companies losing that money at a rapid rate. Wolff's own burn rate (the rate at which his company was losing money) was several hundred thousand dollars per month. In an effort to keep afloat, he and his financial backers met with numerous companies about a variety of business combinations ranging from an outright acquisition of Wolff New Media to a partnership arrangement. Wolff failed to reach agreements with such companies as the Washington Post, Ameritech, Magellan and America Online. He describes his negotiations with these firms in a witty fashion that provides readers a glimpse of the operating style of some of America's best-known companies. Wolff's most entertaining account concerns his dealings with AOL, which he calls the most dysfunctional company in the country. Although Wolff (Where We Stand) was an early believer in the ability of the Internet to deliver powerful content to a mass audience, by the time he resigned from his own company in 1997, he had come to see the Net as more of a transactional medium. Combining humor with his firsthand experiences, Wolff has produced a book that fledgling Internet entrepreneurs would be wise to read.