To own a company like AOL," a portfolio manager recently advised The Wall Street Journal, "you had to throw out traditional measures of valuing companies. We had to say we have to own what we think is the dominant franchise in the Internet. It was a space that as a money manager you simply have to be in.
Who would have predicted that only 10 years later AOL would be a cast-off -- not many people in 1999. It's hard to identify durable competitive advantages.