Friday, July 08, 2005

"It feels like 1997 again"

Those were words I heard last night.

Remember 1997 here in the Valley: the scent of money permeated the air with everyone goo-goo ga-ga over the Internet (My stock is worth $2.3 million! Yippee!!!); companies were hosting free parties left and right (Which dot-com do you work for? Ummmmm, yeah....I just joined my third new one this year, I don't remember the name of the new one. CHEERS!); everyone had a 2-year BMW lease; and there were whisperings of the dreaded "bubble" word.

Flash forward to 2005: the scent of money permeates the air with everyone goo-goo ga-ga over real estate (My house is worth $2.3 million! Yippee!!!); companies are hosting free parties (okay, not left and right, but I went to two free drinkfests this week alone); everyone has a 2-year Cingular/RAZR contract; and there is constant talk of the dreaded "bubble" word.

Now a confession: I didn't move to the Bay Area until the summer of 2001, roughly 15 months after the peak of the bubble (When was the peak? I say it was the day before Microstrategy stock fell something like 65% in one day. Remember them?), so I didn't experience much of the exuberance, though I did travel here much for work and play (lots of my college friends had found there way here by then).

Sad things I do remember from the go-go days:
  • a 26-year old Internet marketer traumatized by the quandary of whether to buy the million dollar ski house and make the seismic fixes it needed or tear it down and build anew (her stock tanked before it vested, she never had to make the final decision).
  • rental trucks leaving the valley cost 4 times as they did coming in. (I benefited there.)
  • there was no parking anywhere in the city
Anyway, after hearing those words, I thought for a bit on the drive back home. Is it coming back? My gut says no and my hope is also no. Slow, gradual growth is much, much healthier. I never did care for the egos that the boom generated. And if it does come back, I really hope that people will remember that having money doesn't mean you have to act like a prick.

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