The next trend: B2R
Sunday, March 4, 2001 by Dave Winer.
Strange experience going to a lunch in Palo Alto on Friday. I passed a small office building that my longtime friend Marney Morris used to run a company out of. "I remember that place," I said to myself. Here's what was so strange. There was a FOR LEASE sign out front. Hmmm I thought to myself. "That would be an interesting office for UserLand."
Craig Barrett, the CEO of Intel gave a speech on Tuesday last week in San Jose. He said Intel was going to spend its way through the recession. What a great idea. A dollar goes a lot further today than it did a year ago. The competition has been dramatically reduced. You can actually rent office space in Silicon Valley, and you can hire good people. It's turned into a buyer's market. If you believe the tech industry is coming back, the only rational choice is to invest now in new products, while people and facilities are available and relatively cheap.
In the Industry Standard, Bruce Chizen, the new CEO of Adobe is taking his exec team on a retreat in April to learn Adobe's products. What a concept. Users should run software companies. If one day you wake up and find that your execs don't use the products, stop everything and train them. Fix the bug before it fixes you.
In Red Herring, a story about a seminar at Stanford Business School run by Charles Holloway, with venture capitalist panelists.
"He cracked that the big trend this year is B2R, as in Back to Reality. He got big laughs for this, but they were the knowing kind, as if MBA candidates in the audience really do think B2C means back to consulting and B2B means back to banking."
The VCs say it's a bad year for entrepreneurs, worse than 1989. Hmm, to me this is very strange. Cash is king now, so the VCs should be pretty happy, but as George Bush the First learned, if you don't spend your capital you lose your bid for re-election.
In my humble opinion, it's a great year for entrepreneurs. The problem is that VCs haven't been investing in entrepreneurs, they've been investing in figureheads with no technology. This is so far from the roots of Silicon Valley, of course it went bust. If we have nothing to offer we'll get nothing back.
Entrepreneurs, people who love to make cool products, will finally get a chance, again. Back to Reality indeed. Silicon Valley completely lost its mind in the last few years. There may be a few VCs who understand this and are ready to rebuild.
We don't do retailing here, or publishing. Our leaders are not celebrities, they make software and routers and servers. We do technology that enables retailing and publishing (and lots of other stuff). We're still climbing Moore's Curve. Bet on that and you can't lose. The people love technology. Get a clue. That's what we sell.
We're now in final candidate mode on Radio. The first one released to testers didn't pass the test. But we'll get there in the next few days and then it's party time.
It may be an excellent time to release new software, it's so quiet in the Valley you might be able to hear a product ship.