A reunion of grey hairs

A reunion of grey hairs

I’m old enough to remember the pioneering days of the internet and the growth in the use of internet technologies in the B2B landscape and about 18 months ago, I caught up with an old friend and erstwhile colleague, Mike Zealley, who I worked with during those exciting times. We spent a lunch time recalling the predictions we made in the late 1990s about what could be done, what was possible and how different the world would be. The disillusionment of the dot com crash may have taken the sparkle off but today, many of the things that we predicted have come to fruition – some in an uncannily accurate way.

So it was it was uncanny last week when I went to visit Oxygen Finance in London that the first thing Roberto Moretti, their European CEO, said to me was “Mike Zealley sends his regards.” The second thing he said to me was “Pete, let me introduce you to Mark Hoffman”.

I first met Mark Hoffman in Berlin in 2000. At the time, he was CEO of CommerceOne the e-procurement vendor and pioneer of the “supplier network”. He may have a few more grey hairs, as have I, but his close involvement with Oxygen confirms that his instincts for spotting leading edge business solutions remains as sharp as ever.

It made for a pleasant day to catch up, if fleetingly, on old times but it was far from nostalgic. I’ve noticed this before about the internet entrepreneurs and innovators. Unlike other walks of life in which the onset of grey hair heralds a time to slow down, the internet veterans just keep on going but with an even greater, added sense of confidence and enthusiasm. There’s a kind of spirit of wanting to finish what we started as well as an continued excitement and appreciation of the applications that the new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators are developing. That eagerness, together with the depth of knowledge that only experience brings, creates a remarkably powerful combination.

More of Oxygen Finance in the coming weeks.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin