Silicon Valley: From Rarified Air To Exhaust Fumes

That was in 2014 and the reaction to such heresy was like showing the cross to a vampire. Or said differently – I was not going to be on any “list” to speak at any of the hipster inspired tech conferences. The issue? It’s precisely what happened and the great IPO drought began in earnest to the dismay of the entire tech vis-à-vis “The Valley” complex.

Another was made a year later in the article, “Crying Towels”: Silicon Valley’s Next Big Investment Op” Again, to wit:

“Twitter is (again, in my opinion) a real-time microcosm of what’s about to hit the whole Valley. i.e., A real shite storm, and here’s my reasoning…


There are two issues that are very different for both a company as well as the narrative of a whole industry supported by the wings of such a “canary.” And both of these go a little more than unrealized by those not familiar with them. For it hits right at the heart of how a meme or, a presumptive “It’s different here” attitude takes hold when true business principles, disciplines and more get lost on those desperate to not see their world view crushed. But business in its purest form has a way of doing just that – crushing naive or wishful assumptions.”

The idea of publicly arguing the above was met with derision and scorn by many across the mainstream financial/business media, along with those emanating via the tech press with its own cadre of talking-head “Valley” aficionados.

The issue that many were trying to uphold (and pleading for) revolved around the argument that “It’s hard to tell when you’re in a bubble when you are in one.” And followed that up with – “And we don’t believe we’re in one.”

I took and argued the direct opposite view. Here’s how I describe it:

“No. It is easy to spot when you’re in a bubble. The requisite for that spotting is the willingness to actually look. For when fundamental business reasoning are not only circumvented with “fairytale logic” but the argument for even greater tales are needed ever-the-more? You know – it’s a bubble. The real question after that realization is this:


Do you have the wherewithal to overcome the FOMO (fear of missing out) urges that will surely end in tears as the bubble may inflate further? For the argument has moved from anything resembling business, directly to psychological argumentsonly, where emotions are the rule, not the fundamental rules of business. And the resulting frenzy can last far longer than anyone can contemplate. For you’ve moved from fundamental reasoning to pure psychological, emotional, groupthink.


The compounding issue is this: Those who believe they can “get out” when needed before-hand fail to realize it’s that same thinking (an emotional one) that will keep them in, rather than get them out in time. There’s a reason the term “Ride the tiger” persists to this day. Getting on “its back” to begin with has proven over the centuries to be precisely the wrong move.”

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