It seems now that I'm older (and arguably more mature) bubbles are far more sinister.
In my new reality, there are the sort of bubbles that politicians build for themselves so they can ignore reality and lead the world into disasters and there are the sort of bubbles that burst and ruin the hopes and dreams of young entrepreneurs.
Everyone is deathly afraid of it happening again. In the streets of Silicon Valley and San Francisco people can't mention the buzzword 'Web 2.0' without quickly apologizing and talking about a bubble.
To an outsider one would think that the IT industry had an unhealthy obsession with soapy liquids.
Most people forget, though, that some (very few) companies actually survived the bubble. Why? I can't promise to have the all the answers but I suspect it involved some hard work, sacrifice and a little thing called a 'business model'.
I however, like Michael, feel a sense of optimism around the latest wave of innovation, enthusiasm and investment. In his post "Bubble, Bubble, Bubble" (which further helps confuse people into thinking the tech community seems to like floating balls of soap) he explains the difference between the Web 1.0 house of cards and the normal ebbs and flows of the current Web 2.0 landscape.
As Michael explains it, the fact that we have had some failures is further indication of a healthy market - not a signpost of doom and gloom - or bubbles.
All that being said however, I do feel a sense of dismay at some of the investments being made in silly ideas - seemingly just because of the names and popularity involved.
The comments on the TechCrunch post "Rumor: Slide's Venture Round was $20 Million" shows a slew people who think that the valuation, if true, is a joke. Slide makes slideshows widgets - primarily for myspace and other social networks.
I commented there saying:
...what happens when myspace shuts them down and does their own widget like they have tended to do in the past?
The point is if you are aiming for 10x return it’s a pipe dream - the points of failure are many and highly probable and the revenue or buyout can’t be that high.
I could never stand every widget on any one of my pages (not that I’d use myspace) having an ad. Is it self-expression or advertising central at that point?
Sponsorship? So themed widgets with coke on them? I thought this was self expression not corporate branding?
Freemium? So what, I have to pay photobucket/flickr for archiving, and I have to pay slide or rockyou for display?
I agree with the sentiments above - perhaps consider the idea as well as the team? Look at the roadmap/beta’s a little closer - you might find some surprises.
Traction only gets you so far - if you want to go on adoption rates then maybe Cigarettes are a great business to get into too.