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That and the kind of homespun frugality on display at , a New York start-up that provides online information for doctors. Directions to the half-finished office are scrawled on sheets of paper taped to the elevator bank. The conference room is also the bottled-water room. The CEO shares his office."I took a salary cut last week because of the funding situation," boasts Erin Meek, a former consultant. "But it doesn't bother me because of the experience I'm getting."
While no one's taking vows of poverty, working for love more than money is clearly hip with online employers. "I'm not sure the message has got out to the masses, but the gold rush is over," says Lesley Workman, CEO of Urbanite Networks in San Francisco. "If you hire someone who's in it for the money, you can be sure they're going to get calls from 700 headhunters a week. That's not the basis of a good relationship."
In other words, Eldorado just closed its gates. That bright shining myth we became so accustomed to over the past two years, the idea that you can make your millions simply by being at the right junction of Silicon Valley's Route 101 at the right time, no longer applies. Says Tony Perkins, editor of Red Herring magazine: "No one is going to become a billionaire in the Internet era without deserving it anymore." Or earning, through decades of turn and burn, an inescapable engineer gravity. The revolution is dead; long live the evolution.