Will we manage to get back in the fast lane of growth? We asked for directions from two people with experience and insights on the Internet economy.

MARIA BARTIROMO
Anchor; CNBC; Fort Lee, New Jersey

Two years ago, I believed, as did a lot of other people, that massive investment in information technology was based on long-term strategic needs. Some of it was, of course. But the vast majority of IT spending was artificial and unsustainable, driven more by the moment we were living through than anything else.

I recently had dinner with the CEO of a financial-services company. He said, "Maria, my company purchased 25,000 PCs in 1999. Is there any reason to purchase anything near that number anytime soon?" The answer, of course, was no. He bought all those computers because of Y2K. Once they were installed, that one-time problem was solved.

So dot-com hype wasn't the only factor behind the surge in technology spending. And getting beyond Internet mania, which we have, won't, by itself, get IT spending back on track.

That said, there is no shortage of things to be excited about. We are living in a period of unprecedented technological advancement.

Maria Bartiromo reports from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. She also anchors segments of CNBC's Street Signs and Market Wrap and co-produces Market Week With Maria Bartiromo. She recently published her first book, Use the News: How to Separate the Noise From the Investment Nuggets and Make Money in Any Economy (HarperBusiness).

ANDREW ROSS
Professor and Director; Graduate Program in American Studies, New York University; New York, New York


It's rare in history for workers to romanticize the workplace. But that's what many people did during the dot-com glory days. There was a new mentality largely destined by what I call the "industrialization of bohemia." The office was re-imagined as a giant, multipurpose playroom for an ever-shifting team of workers.