Quoted: How about a bottle of tech bubbly?

“I think we are absolutely in a condition that you would qualify as bubbly by any stretch of the imagination. This is hubris, chest-bumping behavior: Bigger. Better. Wider. Me.”

Vikram Mansharamani, a Yale lecturer and author of the book “Boombustology,” on today’s tech climate. Nick Bilton, writing for Vanity Fair, says that according to Mansharamani, “virtually every great bubble bursting has been preceded by an attempt to build the tallest buildings.” And what do you know, construction is underway on a very tall Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. (Also according to Mansharamani: The art market is inflated, another sign of a bubble.)

Mansharamani is far from the only one sounding the alarm. Venture capitalist Bill Gurley, for example, has been the voice of doom and gloom for a while. He has warned about startups spending too much money and predicted the death of some unicorns — startups valued at more than $1 billion, of which there are many — this year. Adam Valkin, a partner at VC firm General Catalyst Partners, earlier this year predicted that “we still have one, two or three very good years ahead,” and urged caution.

But others in the industry say this time is different from tech’s first dot-com boom and bust: Marc Andreessen said earlier this year that “stuff works now” — meaning that the ubiquity of the Internet and smartphones can support the boatloads of startups making apps, products and services for this day and age. And angel investor Dave McClure in April wrote a spirited defense of unicorns vs. big, public tech companies, which he called dinosaurs. To answer the charges that unicorns are overvalued, he said some dinosaurs are also overvalued and have stopped innovating besides. His missive’s title: “Bubble, My Ass: Some Unicorns Might Be Overvalued, But All Dinosaurs Gonna Die.”


Photo illustration from Tribune News Services archives


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