TechCrunch & the Bubble-Less Bubble

I’m as fond of world-weary, fin-de-siècle Gallic shrugs as the next nihilist, but I don’t get this comment from my friend Mike at TechCrunch. Sure, there is lots of enthusiasm about starting all sorts of frivolous things on the web, which gets wearying sometimes, but how do you have a tech bubble worth whinging about with countably few centi-million dollar (let alone billion dollar) exits?

A bubble-less bubble hardly seems worth the complaint candle.


  1. You’re defining “bubble” to be only like The Big Bubble, which was a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’ve seen a lot of commentary which has the premise, that nothing of lesser size than Bubble 1.0 is worth discussing.
    There’s definitely a “local” bubble in the sense of FAR more people chasing ideas than what the market can rationally support. If we had a Bubble Scale, this isn’t as big as the late 90’s, but it’s still significantly elevated.
    There’s “raining”, “Nor’easter” and “Hurricane Katrina”. We aren’t at Katrina-level bubbledom, and probably won’t be in our lifetimes again, but there’s definitely many people who will get soaked.

  2. Sure, but, to stretch the analogy, you need this kind of stormy weather to make going outside worthwhile. I mean, the only time you can make money in tech — at least at the early stage — is when people are excited about something. Turning a regional storm into Katrina, however, strikes me as alarmist.

  3. Que Sera says:

    I wonder if Mike pitched Heather Harde using the tone of that post?

  4. Yes, I’ve seen your theory that VC is a bubble-business.
    From my view, being that I’m one of the little people on the ground, bubbles mean people being *hurt*.
    Purely a perspective difference, between “How many billions am I going to make?” vs. “How badly are the ordinary employees going to get worked-over?” – but the same answer can apply to both, in terms of the order of magnitude of the event.
    OK, the stormy weather hasn’t been bad enough for you to notice, because you’re on a yacht. For the kayak’ers, it’s gotten pretty choppy.

  5. I’d say the word “bubble” is experiencing a usage bubble.
    It’s always stormy somewhere, ordinary employees wear state provided raincoats called Unemployment Insurance.
    People working for start-ups typically understand the risks better than those working in rusty old industries.

  6. Paul,
    From Mike’s perspective though, it’s not surprising. He’s basically made a name for himself profiling Web 2.0 startups. For a small window, he was “onto something” that most were not. He was considered an important hub of innovation; even if it wasn’t really deserved.
    Now there are well funded me-too startups cropping up each and every day. That’s a lot for Techcrunch to write about and, frankly, a lot less interesting.
    As a reader I can say that I used to consume Techcrunch (and Crunchnotes) voraciously but now barely pay it any mind.

  7. There is a “bubble” but it probably is not what MA is talking about. In my opinion the bubble is made up of the web 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) type of companies launched by hundreds every month.
    Some are features that should not be stand alone companies, some me too + 1 or 2 extra features, others are mashups that somebody dreamed up and coded over a weekend. It maybe is only time lost rather than a lot of $$ investment and probably better compared to the California gold rush. Only a few succeeded and most failed.