Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Signs: It's Not A Bubble Until...

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 2, 2011

I say Silicon Valley is in a boom period rather than a bubble. Others might disagree but everyone has some kind of warning sign to look for.

For example: Mike Butcher, from Techcrunch Europe, Tweeted earlier today:

Signs of tech bubbles: Journos leaving for Startups; investment bankers in tech; Startups which try to change user behavior. #mikeswisdom

That's a pretty good indicator, or should I say precursor...?

My sign of a tech bubble comes from going through the Big One in the late 1990s. When K-Tel, the record company that released cheesy compilations of top hits, (we call them playlists today), said it would launch a web site allowing people to buy its records online.

Its shares jumped from $7 to $49.50 over a two week period. That was April 1998.

If we see this kind of behavior, in a more modern format, then we are in a bubble. But a bubble doesn't pop immediately, the K-Tel example above, was a blip on a run that lasted at least another two years.

Signs are just signs -- no one knows when the music stops and you have to find your seat...

What are the signs you are looking for?

Also, what year is it? Compared with dotcom bomb years. I say late 1996 maybe early 1997...

Updated: Dan Scheinman, who heads Cisco's Media Solutions Group responded in a tweet:

I am going with 1997. We have 2 huge years. To be clear, I am investing and I too want to be a seller during this time

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What Year Is It? Try 1996... - SVW


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