PointCast, Pets.com, Kozmo, Urban Fetch ... are to the current tech boom as ... ?
There are so many smart startups happening; and so many, well -- here are some pieces of 20th century history for comparison:
Pointcast: When they turned down $450 million for a push-driven screensaver, the consensus around the lunch table at Yoyodyne was, dude, they had the hubris to spurn that much money for something sysadmins routinely blocked as a broken bandwidth hog?
Pets.com: Despite being an early "It doesn't matter if we're losing money: look how many customers we have" startup, not even its mascot could save it. "Because pets can't drive" is still one of the best taglines ever, and the commercials were awesome. But it wasn't just the free shipping on the 50-lb bags of dry dog food that killed them; it was pretty much everything they did.
Kozmo.com and Urbanfetch were the two failed dot.com startups I loved most and still miss. They would gladly bring CDs (this was before MP3s) and ice cream to the office, really quickly; they also threw in insane amounts of swag with your order, from t-shirts to mugs, key chains, pens, etc. I still have some. Today, FreshDirect is a smarter, more focused, more solely urban -- and successful -- reinterpretation.