Silicon Valley Sitcoms
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 by Dave Winer.
When the VCs gave $25 million to Adam Curry and Ron Bloom to create a record label and ad agency for podasting talent, and John Markoff wrote in the NY Times that Evan Williams was going to create the eBay of podcasting, I had an instant deja vu moment. I've been here before, it seemed.
The last time I had this realization was at a Christmas party in San Francisco at the tail end of the dotcom boom, with people from competing pre-IPO pet food companies, each boasting how rich they would be after their companies went public.
Silicon Valley goes through predictable cycles of boom and bust. I think it's totally avoidable, that it's a simple bug that the great minds of the valley could cure, by rethinking and then tweaking how capital works, but in the boom times they're too lusty for quick returns, instead of funding technology companies, they fund TV sitcoms. They cast their companies with people who could play the mad genius or ruthless marketing exec if it were a weekly series like Heroes or Lost, or sometimes even The Sopranos, and very often Entourgage.
Instead if they hired the math genius from Numb3rs, he might tell them what's obvious. They eat their seeds, and don't invest in creating new ones. In the last bust, I had a blog, and documented it here, it's all in the archives. But I've been through a few busts before I had a blog, and as Mike Arrington says in today's TechCrunch, it's time for another house-cleaning in Silicon Valley, because the place is clogged with hangers-on, and you can't find the new ideas among all the pet food companies and me-too social networks.
PS: I think it's cool that Mike wrote his piece. I think it's because I write stuff like this that the VCs and BigCo execs tune me out. I can't imagine what they will say to him. Should get an interesting discussion going.