What kind of bubble are we in now? #technology #culture #value
It was interesting to drive into San Francisco this week from the south (hadn't done that in a while) and to see myriad billboards with job postings from the likes of Zynga, Groupon, AOL, Microsoft, et al. It reminded me of the late 90s. After spending time in Palo Alto & Redwood City over the last couple of days - and despite the fact that I come to the valley quite often - it's evident that this is a different kind of bubble.
Valuations aside, on one hand, the start-up culture is fast, furious and dangerously lean. On the other, cheaper (some might argue smarter) institutional money is on offer. In the middle, there is somewhat of a comprise in time and expectation, although ramp-up and ramp-out times for investment are still quite frenetic.
What's indecipherable is whether or not we are still running blind on scarcity, or whether we are building towards a stronger, more malleable, more collectively aligned system of Internet economics. Even more confounding is the prospect that the values we hope to build at the intersection of art and commerce are at the mercy of quick switches; we can only adapt to what we see several yards ahead, and at this point in the evolutionary cycle (a veritable race), humanity’s bid to not only understand but harness technology seems to constantly come undone... For good and for worse.
Fingers crossed that, ultimately, good intentions win out in the pursuit of profitability.
Perhaps this time around, and given what we undeniably face as a civilization, we'll have no choice.