November 23, 2000
6:49 AM   Subscribe

"They appear to have been skilled workers capable of stupendous productivity under harsh circumstances. When they failed, it was not from lack of inventiveness, but because of poor leadership, bad luck or the inherent instability of all-male commercial ventures."

It sounds like the writer is describing the typical failed dot-com. Actually, he's writing about 17th Century commercial colonization of North America. The similarities are quite amusing. Read on...
posted by ratbastard (1 comment total)

For those interested in the history, Edmund Morgan's 1971 article "The Labor Problem at Jamestown, 1607-18" from the American Historical Review, is a good place to start. You'll need to do the dot-com compare-and-contrast yourself, but the article is a fascinating read.

One example: the English generally took overly-specialized workforces to new colonies. If your carpenter got sick and died, it would often take months before they figured out that the joiner would need to take up the slack, even though he was trained in putting boards together, rather than sawing them up.
posted by grimmelm at 11:26 AM on November 23, 2000

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