After they were (startup) famous

Yahoo! and Bebo are faded giants who are desperately pitching for attention this week. Which hot startups will be in the same position in a few years?

Where will today’s startups be in 10 years? How about in 20?

Start-up culture is very focused on the now, and on the next few months, and bar a few exceptions – like Evernote’s Phil Libin – few people seem to have a sense of what their business might look like years into the future.

The last week has been a sobering one for long-term watchers of the tech business. Yahoo! is trying to trade off the cool it bought with Tumblr to launch a new logo. Rather than just unveiling it, they’re spending a month showing us new Yahoo! logos – that aren’t going to be THE new logo:

The new logo will be a modern redesign that’s more reflective of our reimagined design and new experiences. To get everyone warmed up, we are kicking off 30 days of change. Beginning now, we will display a variation of the logo on our homepage and throughout our network in the U.S. for the next month. It’s our way of having some fun while honoring the legacy of our present logo.

You can see the latest offering at the top of this post. It’s certainly one way to drum up enthusiasm for a faded web brand.

Another fallen star is Bebo, which was once the dominant social networking brand for schoolchildren in particular in the UK, beating MyPSace, before being beaten in turmn by Facebook. After a fairly inglorious history over the last few years, its original founder has just bought it back for $1million – five years after it was sold for – wait for it – $850 million. That’s one hell of a lot of lost value right there.

The original founder, Michael Birch, stirred up interest in a site many thought dead by publishing a rather risqué video earlier in the week, that might not be safe for many workplaces (there’s a reason I’m publishing this post at the weekend):

I’m not sure how much chance he has against the might of Facebook, but admitting the failings of your old service is certainly one way of shining the light on your all-but-forgotten product.

I wonder which of today’s hot start-ups will be desperately trying to drum up attention in a decade’s time. Anyone care to take a guess?