By Jessica Shambora
October 2, 2008

“The price of inaction is much higher than the price of making a mistake.”

— Meg Whitman, who was CEO of eBay

from 1998 until she retired this past March. Whitman said this at the 1999 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit while speaking on a panel about the future of the Internet with Morgan Stanley

tech analyst Mary Meeker and Joy Covey, then CFO of Amazon.com

. The panel will be reprised at this year’s summit, with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, replacing Covey. Back in 1999, social networking sites like Facebook weren’t part of the discussion–they didn’t even exist.

Clearly Whitman’s words also resonate outside the tech world as the U.S. government navigates its role in shoring up the financial markets.

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