Just read a piece by someone anonymous (which I don’t actually have a problem with) about how we are in a bubble. The money quote from my perspective is:
We’re in a bubble and the market is overheated. That’s not disputable. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a few good years left before lean times set in. Fools tend to call peaks early and often.
I’m sorry, but this is a poor argument for “we’re in a bubble”. Regardless of your belief of the statement, having rationales of “I’m older than you”, “markets have downturns”, and “capital mgmt is heavily investing in tech” is insufficient to support a bubble (or not) theory.
For us to be in a bubble means there’s some underlying fundamental that’s incorrect. For example, in dot-com it was “anyone can IPO – wheee this is fun!” and in ’08 it was “houses will soon be worth infinite money, buy now!”. I’m paraphrasing of course. But I have yet to hear a single convincing argument of “the thing” that the bubble is built on.
Today, I can look at signs of VC investment into, say the sharing economy, or drones, or VR, or some sector I’m not personally a believer in and conclude: “VCs are overly banking on XXX.” If I’m correct, many VCs will lose money on those investments – but that’s actually part of the model there, so not a bubble. Further, a specific sector, ex Sharing Economy, could turn out to be bogus – which will cause a boatload of fail, but not a collapsing bubble.
Or I can say “the tech sector of the public market is overvalued” and therefore there’s a bubble. Well, there could be a correction, and tech companies may lose value – or the entire market – but this still has nothing to do with bubbles.
I could point to all sorts of other “signals”, like bloggers becoming VCs, or theories about robot world domination, or millions of dollars poured into building a SmartCup. But what are they signal of? That a smart individual is changing careers, or that a prominent technologist has a theory about something, or that someone really wants to know if they are drinking apple juice or… not apple juice? Not bubbles (unless it’s sparkling apple juice, that is).
Fundamentally, as another guy who was here through the entire dot-com cycle through to today, the current state of the tech industry seems to be full of companies that, gasp, actually make a bunch of money. And it’s full of many many companies who will fail, taking smart people and smart money down with them. Such is life. But this too, does not a bubble make.
On a related note – I do want my Kozmo back.