Tag: hype

Around the world in nine paragraphs flat – 03/30/09

World MapTechnology

– Jeff Bezos spent a week working in one of his own warehouses. When I first heard about it, I thought he was making a shift from strategic to operational, with an eye to cutting some costs. I was right. But I admire the man and the company enough that I can only believe those that were cut were treated right. If they weren’t, I’m assuming those cut couldn’t cut it themselves. I have a couple of friends working their, and have, on occasion, wished I could join the fun.

– Google layed off some sales folks in the past few weeks, and I imagine it’s all for the better. Their top dog of sales, Tim Armstrong, is gone. New blood replaces, and cohesion will be key to Google’s finding their next growth spurt. Will the next chapter in Google’s story be charging full steam into the enterprise? They don’t want to suffer the curse of eBay, but I hope they don’t listen to BusinessWeek either – those guys suggest they first buy Twitter and then get better at acquisitions.

– On that note, Twitter and Facebook are capturing so gosh darn much attention I’d usually be willing to bet that they’ll fizzle out in the blink of an info tech eye. But I don’t actually think that’s going to be the case.

twitsearch

I’m bullish on Twitter and Facebook – just wholeheartedly bearish on all the media who can’t find another story.

facesearch

And, I’m feeling sorry for the folks on the job hunt after they get their master’s degrees in social networking, as well as those businesses that try hitching a ride based solely on advertising. This is one godawful hype brawl, and plenty of folks are going to get knocked out.

Finance

– The S&P has been on a tear the last few weeks, but now it has the Quadruple Confirmed Evil Knievel Formation to contend with. If that technical analysis wizardry isn’t enough for you, there’s another economic bubble about to rear it’s ugly head. It’s called the budget deficit.

– In the luxury goods department, modern art prices are getting slashed and burned as collectors run to the masters. I’m not surprised – tossing a couple of cans of paint on a 20′ X 20′ canvas and calling it a million bucks was bound to fizzle on the business model front. The art world is certainly not without it’s scammers. Top shelf wine lovers are getting a bit more cautious now too – cult wine lists, space on which once sold to the highest bidder (yes, before you got your first bottle), are now looking for the last sucker too. Once the lists start including grape juice in a box, I’m in.

– This morning’s Asian markets were closing on an ugly note, with the Nikkei and Hang Seng off over 4.5%. Meanwhile, some commodities prices are on the skid as well. US markets have been on a tear as of late, but Nouriel Roubini was also saying a few weeks back to expect a bear market rally. I thought he might just be a little tired from all the media attention, and yet things are shaping up for him to be right. Again.

Fly Fishing

– There’s a recession in fly fishing – interest is down and nobody seems to have a solution yet. Still, there are a few folks keen on catching a big trout on the fly – my only suggestion is that instead of putting that goal on a list of things to do before dying, why not try making a habit of it. Easier said than done, and probably a significant part of the reason fly fishing is taking a hit – it’s less instant gratification than constant aggravation. Neverthless, I am, and shall remain, a glutton for punishment.

– Thomas McGuane wrote what is easily my favorite book on fly fishing, The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing. And this last weekend he took aim at shotguns, dogs, and dinner. I’m all for dogs and dinner, as long as the dogs aren’t begging for mine. As for the shooting, I’m pretty sure I’ll be spending more time at the clays course this summer, and I’ll credit the story as well. As for my dog, he’s a herder. Anyone have some spare sheep?

And finally…

– Speaking of the Wall Street Journal, there’s been a lot of hype about ‘brownlining’ over the past few weeks, and with Denver’s urban South Platte on center stage. Fly fishing history is being rewritten, and there’s even a new ‘nation’ for those who’ve been busted scratching rocks with their cleats and are now banished from the clear stuff. Even wholly unprofessional (at fly fishing) jokers such as myself have been fielding inquiries as to how it’s done, as well as a few more that say “great going Gracie…now the the joint is going to be packed all summer.” I don’t know how it’s done (I’m just lucky), and as for the crowds, well the flows looked docile in that WSJ video, but said water level won’t be a crowd pleaser for much longer…

South Platte Flow

MG signing off (to get some more coffee)

Web 2.0 – Hype v. Innovation

There’s an interesting conversation that’s been taking place over the last twelve hours regarding recent innovations in the Web 2.0 space, or the lack thereof.

It started with John Heileman of New York Magazine taking a few swipes at the hype, which was quickly picked up after Fred Wilson made it clear some of the article got his goat. Steve Rubel followed up, and despite the fact that I’ve had a tough time following Mr. Rubel’s ramblings about Google Reader/Gmail as groundbreaking “research tools” yada yada, I have to give a general thumbs up to his prognosis – there is a lot of Kool-Aid hitting the gullet, and a dearth of “wow.” The few bright lights in the bunch are hardly world changing either – Twitter, for example, may be nifty, but as Richard McManus put it:

“Twitter, which Steve mentioned, is one – albeit it is still extremely niche and no mainstream people I know use it.”

My personal opinion: Twitter is a great platform, but Richard is spot on. I was skeptical at first, and then got an explanation. I embraced it, installing plugins for this blog, applets for my Blackberry, and Twitterific for the desktop. But Twitter is a social app, meaning you need your friends on it for it to be either fun or even remotely effective as a communications platform. Unfortunately, all my friends are those same mainstream kind of folks, and despite prodding some to join none saw any long-term value. Throw in the fact that I’m no groupie (meaning I quickly dumped my follow list as I personally knew none of the people I was following), and the rest is history.

Outrageous

This is classic hype: a article in VentureBeat this morning that exclaims in the most recent blown-out headline that Facebook may now be worth $100 billion (go look for it…I just couldnt bear to link). It was worth just $15 billion a few days ago, and only a billion a year ago. And nothing has changed for this enterprise other than the fact that they have many more users who either a) are too poor to turn advertising dollars spent into consumer purchases made or b) spend so much time on the internet that they are completely oblivious to any and all web advertising. That, or they’re like me…they have money to spend, but clean out their cookies with ever increasing frequency. The really sad part about this – nobody but the digeratti will ever even read it, and even if a major publication does pick up on it (like so many do nowadays), the general populous doesn’t care one iota. All it’s going to do is make them aware that they need to clean out their cookies more often!

I know why it was written – the author wanted some traffic – that traffic begets ad dollars. A ridiculous headline is a sure fire way to get there – write some complete bull about a system wholly dependent on advertising so you can get some advertising revenue yourself. Doesn’t seem like there is much value add to me.

I guess it’s fun for some, but…

I was bored with Facebook in about a day – to me it was AOL on steroids. I tired of Twitter in a few months – it’s useful but extremely distracting. MySpace…a bid childish. Meebo – neat, but isn’t “everywhere” IM access what phone-based apps are for? Tumblr – clean and simple, but so is a WordPress install. I could go on and on, but I don’t have much in the way of ads on this site.

How about showing me something that actually helps me get work done, makes me money, for goodness sakes…catches me more fish. Take some of these information technologies and point out how they apply to an industry sector I’m interested in – securities arbitrage, corporate-owned life insurance, distressed and/or hard-to-price assets, composites and extrusion, far-east import/export, or the promise of nuclear fusion reactors the size of air conditioning compressors. That would be innovation.

Gotta go…I’ve got a phone call (remember those?).

How much hype is too much hype?

According to the WSJ:

“The market for high-technology start-up businesses is so intense in Silicon Valley that some companies are being showered with millions of dollars from investors — without even asking for it.”

I don’t see a problem with all the liquidity here. The IPO market is not wide open, therefore exits are based on M&A instead of someone’s IRA. In other words, the right people are buying into the investments. Private equity overhang has been part and parcel low startup costs, so it is nice to see the capital finally being deployed. It is going to lead to job creation, and a few blockbuster products.

There is no question that some hype is good – all we need to ask now is where we are in the hype cycle, and how much hype is too much.

But no matter, Aunty Belle’s retirement money likely won’t get burned this time.
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