Hello again, 1999
I'm surprised daily reading the tech press and seeing story after story about revenue-free companies generating huge valuations and IPOs of companies that have no long term business plan. I feel like I went back in time 15 years and that we've learned nothing. I know interest rates are low, and there was bound to be a stock bubble after the real estate mess, but technology AGAIN? Pick something else next time, like tulips!
It's the dotcom bubble all over again, but with phones and social media this time. It's interesting because the Apple/Android smartphone ecosystem allows for lots of cool useful things to be built. It also allows for dotcom era startups to pop up out of the woodwork again and easily build user data-collecting apps that don't actually have much technical merit. And this time it's beyond easy -- the phone platforms practically give you every functionality you would have to build yourself through APIs.
Let's look at some of the parallels...
- Outsized startup founder/CEO personalities and puff piece journalism about them?....Check.
- Companies with no revenue model beyond ads?....Check.
- Buzzwords then: Eyeballs, Sticky, Web. Buzzwords now: Big Data, Mobile, Social, Cloud.
- Huge infrastructure spend....Physical then, virtual/cloud now. (Too bad, no dotcom bankruptcy sales this time....)
- Sky high real estate?...Check, in NYC and SF, just like last time.
- Insane employment market? Not as bad as then, but anyone who can say "Hadoop" has a job now.
It's funny, I've been over in my little corner of tech (systems/infrastructure) through both bubbles, and watched people get filthy rich, all while mostly ignoring it. Maybe if there's a third one I'll ditch the actual knowledge and go work for a cloud-based social frictionless mobile infotainment monetizer as a Big Data Specialist or something.
All I know is this -- all the coders cranking out phone apps now are going to be just like all the HTML developers back in 1999 when the music stopped. Hopefully this tech recession won't be as bad...