Of Bubbles and Tech

The Real Tech Bubble: Without a doubt, there’s a bubble in Silicon Valley. That bubble is the number of tech publications debating whether there’s a bubble. Fortune is the latest to get its licks in — better late than never! — with a splashy cover story that comes to a wishy-washy, maybe-maybe-not conclusion. The bubble talk is about as tiring as the debate over whether Google is a media company. In other words, the answer is in some ways yes, in other ways no. There’s a fair amount of irrationality in some investment activity, for sure, but that’s about all. The rest is just a parlor game. Fortune

Google+ Bubble: Speaking of bubbles, there seems to be one going on around Google+. After its many social media false starts, Google now faces a different problem: unrealistic expectations. It released Google+ just over a week ago, and already people are heralding it as a Facebook killer and the Second Coming. Bill Gross, founder of Overture and CEO of Ubermedia, predicted it would get to 100 million users “faster than any other service in history.” Whoa, Bill, easy. TechCrunch ascribed $20 billion in market capitalization to Google+, although its financial analysis skills might be called into question with that calculation. The truth is, while everyone wants a quick judgment on the service’s long-term fate, it will take time. It isn’t even widely available just yet. Yes, early adopters love it, but early adopters aren’t necessarily the population at large, which might just be tired of starting new social network accounts. TechCrunch

Tweet of the Day: Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff thinks Twitter should stop pussyfooting around and just start running some serious ads. This is a prime example of the reticence Silicon Valley tech platforms have when it comes to acting like typical media companies.

Burned by Curation: There’s a fine line between curation and theft. New-style publications like The Huffington Post and Business Insider regularly come in for criticism over their penchant to liberally excerpt and summarize the reporting work of others. Simon Dumeneco at Ad Age has an interesting take on this, noting the paltry numbers he got from a story of his “curated” by HuffPo. The story gets more interesting when a HuffPo editor writes Dumeneco admitting fault, noting the writer was admonished. Since this is an aggregation of a piece decrying aggregation, I highly encourage going to the original piece that set this all off. Ad Age

The End of Mass Media: The Economist sees the end of the mass media era, which it rightly notes was a historical anomaly. The hue and cry over the news business generally comes from the point of view of the legacy organizations, namely newspapers, that built structures utterly dependent on mass media distribution and economics. The digital era has irrevocably changed all that. It’s telling that a snooty, fairly hidebound organization like The Economist (168 years old) is preaching that news organizations need to get off their high horse and stop acting like journalism is some special art practiced by a priestly caste. The Economist 


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