Ahhh, it's good not to be living in Manhattan right about now. Not exactly the hotbed of business dynamism. The only start-ups seem to be flowers and delis, though those are nice. I spent much of my time while wandering through Lower/Downtown thinking about what almost was. I remember being in the WTC in Feb of '01 and then seeing the difference in Mnhtn. in Feb '02, and not much has changed. We still have this box-sized void where destruction was not limited to people, planes, and buildings. It is very easy to say that the economy was over-spent, and was burning out, but as my old friend says, its better to burn out than to fade away. I also believed the .com thing was ridiculous, but it was so because it diverted funds from real business, and made consumer-oriented college ideas seem o.k. because of pedigree not because of value proposition. For those in the enterprise software market in 1999-'02, we knew that there simply was not enough money to throw at the problems. Today, the scene is even worse with all of the money tied up in Chuck Phillips and Steve Ballmer's hands, and not a scent of innovation abounds. Consolidation and proprietary platforms dominate, in a market where only expansion and standards bring solutions. What can be done? Well the most unlikely of collaborations between MSFT and SUNW are proving to be the only two creators, in an industry of destroyers. It all started with a proprietary move by a certain Java vendor (BEA), that opened the door for a start-up (JBoss) that will probably change the category landscape over the next ten years. The aptly named Wall Street on Java (as opposed to Java on Wall St.) may no longer be in existence (maybe it is somewhere), but the energy lives on in the form of this start-up. The solution will come in the form of applications, and not these ERP suites, but rather the composite apps. long proposed by modular componentry. There are a few out there, but not enough. Soon the VCs will see that as Biotech has proven, the large software vendors (see the Pharma industry) will be a vital source of intellectual capital to sustain the needed advances toward interoperability. Look for the day the start-up goes public as an indication that money is starting to flow. Until then, remain in the trenches.