Are we in another bubble? Yes. How bad is it? Dunno! Maybe terrible, maybe not. The amounts of money in play are just as disorienting, and some of the company valuations are just as untethered to reality. It’s all very familiar, especially to someone who lived through the last one.
One thing that’s surely different, though, is the commercials: new startups don’t have ‘em. In the year 2000, companies with literally thousands of users were spending millions of dollars on TV ads. Say what you will about the current crop of startups, but they’re not doing that. The only tech companies doing any TV advertising are the ones actually making money.
It’s hard to pinpoint a tipping point on something like the dot-com bubble — the tippy-top of the Dow’s chart was thrust upward and pulled back down by more than just tech stocks — but Super Bowl XXXIV, which had over a dozen ads for startups, many of which the broader public had never heard of, might be it. Things were as ridiculous as they were ever going to get, and on the biggest possible stage. If you don’t remember what that time was like, or never knew, these ads tell the story better than any one person could.
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Funny stuff. But I have been seeing plenty of TV commercials for bad startups, like this one for MyLife.com, which is apparently for people who still haven’t heard of Facebook, and this one for Angieslist.com which is apparently for people who don’t know how to use the Internet.
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