The Rise and Fall of Multimedia Gulch
Between 1994 and 1999 San Francisco's rundown South of Market district became the frontier of digital interactivity and the Internet. Warehouses traditionally filled with low-rent apparel factories were being pushed out by over-financed start ups run by 20-year olds. The area soon became known as Multimedia Gulch because it was home to over 500 digital media companies creating software and content for the web. Commercial rents skyrocketed, doubling and doubling again, as 40,000 new jobs were created to support the $8 billion industry that seemed to spring up overnight. It was a crazy don't-sweat-the-expense era with extravagant launch parties, incredible vaporware, and paper multimillionaires being created daily.

But like everything else too good to last, the high living was racing to an end. By the fall of 2000 a number of flashy startups had burned through their VC millions and collapsed. Soon every company in the Gulch was finding that it took more than a wacky dot-com name to sustain a company and the boom became a bust. A number of companies such as Macromedia (recently purchased by Adobe) did survive the bust and graduated down south to the sprawling office parks of Silicon Valley. But the legacy of those others that failed laid the foundation of today's multimedia, game, and digital entertainment industries.
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