We talk a lot about bubbles in tech because, like real estate executives, we had our world turned upside down by one.
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Bubbles have popped five times in my life.
The 1987 crash and subsequent pullback in consumer spending largely caused my dad to lose his bar when I was 17. In 1990 the recession, driven by the Iraq war, terrorized everyone in college for years. There were literally no jobs for people with five to ten years of experience. With 0 years under your belt your options were to stay in school or be a waiter — if you were lucky.
Those two crashes were modest when compared to the big three.
First, the dotcom crash killed my magazine, Silicon Alley Reporter, and then 9/11 killed thousands of my fellow New Yorkers. As we rebuilt we got the biggest sucker punch ever from the “financial crisis” of 2007, which I refer to as “a-hole bankers fuck everyone in order to get bigger houses in the Hamptons” crisis.
Given these blow-ups, everyone is waiting for the stock market to crash today. Can’t blame ‘em, the movie seems to play out like clockwork. In fact, I keep asking my insiders to give me the top three reasons why things might blow up.
Best they can come up with right now:
- The crazy bear (Putin) does some crazy shit.
- China’s incomprensible economy suddenly becomes understandable — and it ain’t pretty!
- The maniac generals in Pakistan, who thought it wise to house Osama Bin Laden in their West Point, decide to jump the fence… with their nukes!
All of this is so outside of any of our control it’s not worth worrying about. Play a little defense is all we can do, so I’m refusing to pay $8-12m for brand-new startups and moving the majority of my personal net worth out of public stocks (especially in emerging markets).