Elegy for Kozmo

We come to bury the defunct dot-com delivery service, not to praise it.

By Damien Cave
Published April 13, 2001 7:30PM (EDT)

Friends, yuppies, Kozmo fans, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Kozmo, not to sing its praises.
The stupidities of e-commerce do live after the companies die,
the good is oft buried, gone or auctioned off;
So let it be with Kozmo. The noble Wall Street
hath told you that Kozmo was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Kozmo answered it.
Here, under rule of financial markets and their schizophrenia,
for Wall Street is an honorable market;
So are they all honorable markets.
Come I to speak in Kozmo's funeral.
It was my friend, able to bring movies and ice cream at 2 a.m.,
Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, gifts to friends in other cities.
But Wall Street says Kozmo was ambitious;
And Wall Street is always honorable.

Kozmo brought one-hour delivery to eight cities while losing money on every order:
Did this in Kozmo seem ambitious?
When the lazy cried for instant gratification of each and every urge,
Kozmo hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet the venture capitalists say Kozmo was ambitious;
And venture capitalists are honorable men.
You all did hear me at parties;
I thrice presented Kozmo with a crown of "It's so wicked cool,"
Which the company -- faced with discrimination claims and a burn rate rivaling Boo.com's -- it did thrice refuse to acknowledge: Was this ambition?

Yet Internet analysts, hype-mongers turned crash-addicts, say Kozmo was ambitious;
And, sure, the talking heads and market makers are always right.
I speak not to disapprove of what they, the venture capitalists and Wall Street, spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
We all did love Kozmo once, not without cause:
What cause withholds us then to mourn for it?
O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And couch potatoes have lost their best friend. Bear with me;
My heart and stomach are in the bankruptcy filing there with Kozmo,
And I must pause till they come back to me.

Damien Cave

Damien Cave is an associate editor at Rolling Stone and a contributing writer at Salon.

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