Here is the fortieth video in a series of computer animations called The Unicorn With An Attitude that I started back in the 1990’s in an ill-fated attempt to show off my abilities as an artist and a computer whiz in the hopes of either 1) get famous or 2) get a higher paying job than the office administrative work that I was frequently offered.

I originally did this back on June 18, 2001 when the dot-com bubble of the late 1990’s-early 2000’s collapsed in a spectacular fashion. When the hype about the “information superhighway” first emerged, so many entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investors, and other Wall Street types wanted in on this potential goldmine that all kinds of websites emerged that, in hindsight, were so poorly planned that they should have never been unleashed online to begin with. The Wikipedia has general information about the dot-com bubble and subsequent collapse.

As the original writeup for this animation puts it:

The Unicorn With An Attitude reminisces over the numerous Internet start-ups that are now dead and buried in their own special graves. Featuring cameos from Mr. Wong (from the now-defunct Icebox.com), the dog sock puppet (from the now-defunct Pets.com), and the red gorrilla (from the now-defunct RedGorrilla.com).

All of the mascots and dot-com companies mentioned in this video were actually real. And, yes, some of them were controversial, such as Icebox.com’s Mr. Wong. You can view a few webpages documenting the most notorious dot-com failures that all went out of business once the dot-com bubble burst right here.

Today there’s a website known as Closed Club that documents the greatest dot-com failure from both the past and the present. It provides a way for potential and current employees to do their own research to see if the company they work for (or would like to work for) is in danger of going out of business soon.

As for the music, I originally did it myself. It was the first soundtrack I had created using a computer. There was a time when most computers came with mainly an operating system and just one or two very simple apps (such as a very basic text tool that had far fewer frills than a typical word processing software would have). The idea of a Mac coming equipped with fully functional applications like GarageBand or iMovie was completely unheard of back in the early 2000’s. So I originally downloaded some MIDI files done by other people and used them as background music for each animation.

Then there was a cheap software package called GrooveMaker for the Mac where one can create music simply by dragging and dropping. It was definitely released long before anyone even thought of GarageBand and making it available for all new Macs. GrooveMaker still exists today but most of its consumer products are now made primarily for mobile and tablets.

I remember that GrooveMaker was relatively easy to use (although the interface was way less elegant than GarageBand) although it was far more buggy than GarageBand. For this animation, I’m leaving the original music in the animation since I created it myself in the first place.

As for the punchline, I was inspired by this classic Saturday Night Live sketch where original cast member John Belushi portrays himself as an old man who visits the graves of his fellow cast members while explaining how each of them died. Then he celebrated being the last surviving cast member by dancing on those graves. That sketch turned out to be ironic because, in real life, John Belushi was the first of the original cast members who died after he overdosed on a combination of heroin and cocaine at the age of 33 in 1982.

So I had my unicorn dancing around on the graves of those failed dot-coms as well while gloating in triumph. Like the Belushi sketch, that animation turned out to be ironic as well because I gave up on the series after working on two more animations because I was frustrated with not being able to improve my career prospects despite my efforts to show the world that I was capable of doing a lot of different things. I’ll rant more on this in a later post. So, without further ado, here’s “The Dot-Bomb Generation.”

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