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Future Focus

The question is, Is the epidemic over? Will we no longer regularly see headlines reporting the death of yet more dotcoms? Don't bet on that, says Ron Harris, 47-year-old founder and CEO of database company Pervasive Software Inc. in Austin, Texas. "We still have a lot of shaking out to do," predicts Harris. "We haven't reached a steady state yet. Many dotcoms are simply doomed, to be quite honest. A lot of these entrepreneurs lack an understanding of how to make a business model work."

There's an irony, though, says Harris: "For every dotcom that closes, 10 new ones will launch." Why? Unquestionably, the Web is changing how business gets done, and it's an exciting frontier for entrepreneurs eager to make their mark. And these entrepreneurs will surely find businesses worth diving into.

"There definitely are addressable niches open to dotcom start-ups," says Shukla. "The Internet remains an efficient conduit, and dotcoms with real strategies will find ways to succeed."

Adds Haig, "Watch and you'll see many dotcoms with revenues survive. In the early days of the Net, many entrepreneurs ignored the importance of revenues. They had none, or very little, and when the investment cash ran out, their businesses died. Now more companies are newly focused on revenues. The Internet isn't going away, and there will be more success stories."

Robert McGarvey is Entrepreneur's "Web Smarts" columnist.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ding!.

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