New York Times says we're in a 'tech bubble': everyone agree?

Summary:Tech deals approach levels last seen in the year 2000, many driven by social media and mobile companies. Is this dot-com redux or something new?

The New York Times' Heidi Moore took note of the rise of deals and mergers flourishing across the tech industry landscape, and opines that we're entering a "tech bubble" similar to that of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s:

"Is the world ready for another Internet bubble? Ready or not, it appears to be coming. In fact, it may already be here. And it seems to look, not surprisingly, like the last Internet bubble. (Well, maybe with fewer sock puppets.)"

This looks like a bubble because of all the technology deals out there, she says -- 5,100 so far this year, compared to 7,007 at the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000. (Based on Dealogic data.)

Readers, do you see evidence of a "tech bubble" from where you sit?

NYT's Moore also quotes venture capitalists John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. Doerr said at the recent Web 2.0 Summit that the emerging boom (he refused to call it a "bubble") is being driven by innovations in smartphones and social networking. Doerr calls this the "third wave of innovation" -- the first two were PCs in the 1980s and the Internet in the 1990s.

Doerr didn't mention cloud computing by name, which I consider just as revolutionary as the PC and Internet revolutions, and is the enabler of the third wave. IT infrastructure costs low and cheap -- with other resources such as the collaborative and production sites -- is paving the way for an explosion in entrepreneurial activity. Unemployment is high right now, and there are many, many, many professionals who see the startup route as a more sustainable alternative to seeking full-time employment. With this confluence of underutilized skills and cheap resources -- the DIY economy -- we may be on the verge of an explosion in entrepreneurial activity in the decade ahead that will rival anything we've seen before.

There's opportunity everywhere you look -- not just in the sexy social graph startups. - Consider a response to a recent post by venture capitalist Fred Wilson:

"There is a huge opportunity in America today to acquire “old school”, low tech businesses and retool them with modern management, modern marketing including social media, a well crafted financial structure and a dab of leadership to make an otherwise boring business into a highly scalable and expanding enterprise in which the growing size provides an enormous financial operating leverage.

In effect, this approach takes the cutting edge of the evolving technology (including the basic impatient thinking and genius of the entrepreneurs in that space) and cycles it backwards to apply it to other opportunities."

Thanks to cloud and social networking services, there never has been a better time to take well-worn, tired ideas and apply new thinking to them. Think about what Amazon did to bookshops, and Expedia to travel agencies.

Is this an impending shift in the way technology enables us to do business, or is it another "bubble"?

(Photo credit: Mila Zinkova, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Topics: Start-Ups, Amazon, Cloud, Hardware, PCs

About

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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