Not the IPO They'd Been Thinking About

Back before the tech bubble burst like a variant of the Hindenburg in a steampunk story, the guys in Detroit, who were really more like Robert Fulton than Shawn Fanning, had an idea about how they would generate all kinds of cash in a way that had little to do—directly, anyway—with making cars.

Back before the tech bubble burst like a variant of the Hindenburg in a steampunk story, the guys in Detroit, who were really more like Robert Fulton than Shawn Fanning, had an idea about how they would generate all kinds of cash in a way that had little to do—directly, anyway—with making cars.

They, too, would climb on board the Silicon Shinkansen, heavy on the gravy.

Destination: Incredible Valuation.

Obviously, it didn't work out quite as planned, probably worse than the sock puppet pitchman on the Superbowl ad for the former Pets.com.

As some of you may recall, the guys in Detroit were more than infatuated with Internet auctions. Their zeal trumped eBay-hunting Beanie Baby addicts from back in the day.

They set about to create their own uber-auction site. Any supplier that wanted to do business with any of these companies would have to sign on (and watch their margins get hammered through the reverse auction process).

It was called “Covisint.”*

The plan was that once the site was firing on all cylinders (to use an admittedly mechanical metaphor), they'd have an IPO. Ca-ching!

Well, it didn't quite work out that way.

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And now the IPO that's out there is the one being put together to help repay the American and Canadian taxpayers who invested tech-bubble like quantities in General Motors.

At least they didn't run any sock-puppet ads. . .although Tiger Woods and a Buick Rendezvous certainly was an example of irrational exuberance.  As they said back then “It’s all good.”

Right.

 

*Covisint still exists. It is owned by Compuware.