The world of the dotcom crash is ripe for material for a great documentary, however, “E-Dreams” misses the boat by essentially acting as a positive press release for the now-defunct Kozmo.com. The doc follows the rise and fall of the internet start-up through the eyes of its visionary co-founders Joseph Park and Yong Kang. For those who only vaguely remember Kozmo, they took e-commerce to the next level by offering products for sale in one hour or less. So, unlike Amazon.com, who services its customer base by sending products through traditional shipping methods, Kozmo delivered products to your door using bike messengers like pizza delivery guys. Get a book, CD, DVD, whatever, delivered to your door in minutes after placing an order online. Like most internet companies, the idea sounds good on paper, however in practice, it was doomed to fail. The companies’ bottom line did not end in stellar profits which ended Kozmo just as quickly. Hilarity and bankruptcy ensued.
Documentary filmmaker Wonshuk Chin, follows the CEO and his minions on a bumpy one year journey from a company of 10 employees to over 3,000. Kozmo is courted by Amazon.com and even makes a big stock swap deal with Starbucks that is revealed in great detail. Part of the problem with this doc may be Chin’s unwillingness to challenge the charismatic players from Kozmo. Everything, even the bad stuff, has a good spin. The biggest disappointment is that the entire movie feels like a commercial for Kozmo.com, which is weird since, what’s the point now that the company is bankrupt? Chin would have been better off going a few layers deeper to reveal what drives Kang toward attempting such high aspirations. We see glimpses of it when his family comes to visit one day and he shows off the operation to them. But this storyline is quickly dropped.
Startup.com is a much more revealing documentary exploring the same subject matter and I would recommend that film first. However, I’d actually love to see both films on a double bill. These cautionary tales about the internet business are great reminders that it’s important to have a plan – and even better – a plan that ends in a way to make real money. Me, I’m still working on that one myself here at Film Threat, but we never have tried to outgrow ourselves, which I guess might be the secret of our success. We still run this little dotcom like a mom and pop operation. Hey, now that might make a great idea for a… NAH!