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Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

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Strongly agree
  3306 votes / 16%
Agree
  5971 votes / 29%
Undecided
  3389 votes / 16%
Disagree
  3421 votes / 16%
Strongly disagree
  612 votes / 3%
Ask me in 5 years
  3596 votes / 17%
20295 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

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  • by mlts (1038732) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @02:26PM (#47058427)

    Right now, we may not have a tech bubble in general like the late 1990s, but we do have the bubble of advertising dollars will pay for everything. However, as time goes on, companies dependent on ad revenue have to keep becoming more intrusive, either changing their TOS/EULA to allow for more parties to look at data, forcing interstitial or other annoying ads, redirecting every click on a link through a maze of redirects, as well as browser fingerprinting.

    There will come a time where a company demands users install software on their machines and send every single key tap, mouse click, and any other item they can get access to as individualized ad data. When this time comes (or perhaps earlier when users start revolting), the bubble will pop quite painfully.

    • In other words, Google is DOOMED.

      • by F34nor (321515) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @09:01PM (#47062261)

        I think it means paying billions for a fucking messenger app is over. Google is infrastructure now, not speculative circle jerking.

        • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @05:33PM (#47084477)

          Not a bubble, but maybe a froth, lot of little bubbles. We're not seeing the entire tech sector inflated, but we're seeing inflated prices in individual companies and within particular areas of the sector. At the height of the 1990's tech bubble, price/earnings ratios were about twice what they are now. Right now, buying $1 worth of earnings in a company costs about $19 worth of stock (Price/Earnings, or P/E, = 19). So if you buy $1 worth of a company, it will pay for itself in 19 years, assuming the earnings stay the same. At the peak of the dot com bubble in the late 1990s, buying $1 worth of earnings cost about $40 (P/E =40). So we'd have to see the prices of companies double to get back to where we were during the peak of the dot com bubble.

          That being said, there are individual companies that are massively overvalued. Facebook is trading at 77 times earnings, Netflix is trading at 151 P/E, Amazon is trading at 489 P/E, which means that one dollar invested in Amazon will pay for itself if half a millennium at current earnings levels. That's pretty much the way stocks traded during the dot-com bubble. Tesla doesn't even have a P/E ratio since they can't actually turn a profit, but their stock soars none the less, which is again classic bubble behavior. So yes, these individual companies show bubble-level valuations of the sort we saw during the dot com bubble. But this isn't the case for all companies. Google is trading at a P/E of 30, Microsoft at a P/E of 15, Apple at a P/E of 14.67. Google is probably fairly priced given its rapid growth, Microsoft is underpriced assuming they ever manage to get their shit together (debatable), Apple is a bargain even if they manage to grow modestly in the next few years.

          So yes, there are individual companies that are showing bubble-like behavior but it's not spread across the entire sector the way it was in the dot-com bubble. There are pockets of madness but it's not yet systemic. And even the companies that are wildly overvalued are solid companies. Maybe they're overpriced, but I don't think anyone doubts that Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook will continue to be important companies, we're not talking about Pets.com here.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        No, Google is fine. As is Facebook. You have 1B+ users, you're probably ok, advertising isn't going away - but there's only so much needed. And mobile advertising is much less useful than web advertising. Everyone *else* is pretty much doomed.

        • No, Google is fine. As is Facebook. You have 1B+ users, you're probably ok, advertising isn't going away - but there's only so much needed. And mobile advertising is much less useful than web advertising. Everyone *else* is pretty much doomed.

          The first word shouldn't be "no". Bubbles don't imply all the companies are worthless, only that they're overvalued. The company being "fine" doesn't mean they won't lose value. If social media investors suddenly realize they've been over valuing them all along it would create a market stampede for the doors. Even when bubbles "pop" most companies survive just fine but they're no where near previous valuations. Sometimes for years, sometimes forever.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Bubble simply the market is over inflated, not specific business.
            Also, not bubble are impossible to recognize until it's too late.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Another way to state this question is: When are people going to start paying for the software that they use? Google and Facebook have made a lot of money off of ads, but that's because nobody was willing to pay to use a search engine or a social networking web site. The IBM/Microsoft method of selling is still going strong if you look at software as a service to businesses. Microsoft isn't making as much money now, but it is still making a lot of money. Amazon is the converse of IBM/Microsoft. Instead

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mlts (1038732)

        Right now we have had two pricing models. The first was simple -- the clients were the customers and one paid a subscription fee.

        Then came ads, separating the customers from the product.

        However, it might be that we may end up with a third model after the advertising model as run its course, and that would be governments paying for services such as search engines, and taking the money that is used for that from taxes. I wouldn't be surprised to see a business model whose goal it is to be as government-frie

        • by orasio (188021)

          Of course, in general, governments want to keep tabs on things, so don't expect intrusive behavior to stop. The collected data just goes to a nation, not an ad company.

          Very insightful. The good thing about governments being visibly a part of infrastructure is that we know they are powerful, and the problem with them looking into our life is very visible. Also, we have a chance for transparency.

        • Ads didn't separate customers from the product they made customers the product. Now rather than pay a fixed known price for things you pay in terms of privacy and an unknown number of annoyances.

          Ad based software won't work long time IMO because there is only so much non-software stuff to sell and so only a fixed amount of ad dollars to go around. As tech becomes more and more of the economy those dollars will get spread out more. Eventually iOS developers in Estonia will stop being available for $10 a mont

        • by Sique (173459)
          If your service is paid for by advertisement, you are not the customer, you are the product. Your attention gets sold to the highest bidder.
    • by kwiecmmm (1527631)

      There will come a time where a company demands users install software on their machines and send every single key tap, mouse click, and any other item they can get access to as individualized ad data. When this time comes (or perhaps earlier when users start revolting), the bubble will pop quite painfully.

      The issue here is that most folks who use the internet don't realize how much data they give away from what they do online. People really need to understand how much data with or without identifying information (even though the lack of this doesn't really stop anything from identifying the originator of the information), they give up.

      Hopefully this changes, but I don't see any push toward this anytime soon.

      • by Verdatum (1257828) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @03:36PM (#47059203)
        Do they really need to understand? I figured that the people who don't realize it also don't particularly care. How much does it really directly affect their lives?
        • by NoKaOi (1415755)

          Do they really need to understand? I figured that the people who don't realize it also don't particularly care. How much does it really directly affect their lives?

          Exactly, most people don't care because they don't understand, and they don't want to understand because they don't care. That's why this won't be what bursts the bubble. What bursts the bubble will be advertising dollars drying up. The dollars come from companies who are selling something (sites that rely on advertising are just ad middlemen). A company who is selling something is only willing to pay as much for advertising as they are confident they will get back. As advertising gets more expensive t

      • by Altanar (56809)
        Sure give them that information. Then ask them this question: Would they rather see advertising and have that information tracked, or would they rather pay a monthly fee to use Google services? I have a feeling you'll be severely disappointed in the number of people who would rather have their information tracked.
    • by Moof123 (1292134)

      I don't disagree with you. I think that a lot of the advertising is far less effective than what it must be costing. How often do people *actually* click on banner ads? How much traffic is just bots?

      Maybe I'm an atypical consumer, but I doubt my spending comes close to being good ROI for the ad sales targeting me.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Do you know how much ad costs? How much they pay?
        Until you know that the rest of you opinion is worthless.

    • by NapalmV (1934294) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @08:02AM (#47064591)

      There will come a time where a company demands users install software on their machines and send every single key tap, mouse click, and any other item they can get access to as individualized ad data.

      It's already happening. It's called "Cloud computing".

      • by geekoid (135745)

        No, it's called advertising. Yes it can rise along with cloud computing, but they are not the same thing.

    • ...ahh but what you're forgetting is that Google already does that, and the catch...users do it willingly (Chrome, Docs, gmail...etc. etc. etc). They've really done a great job of positioning themselves such that their value-added services seem like a fair tradeoff to their users giving up their data.
    • When this time comes (or perhaps earlier when users start revolting), the bubble will pop quite painfully.

      I agree with everything you said except for this.

      Just because YOU would revolt, why do you think most other people will?

      Your biggest fear (and I think the reality) is that most people really do not care.

    • We are in an advertising bubble, but it will only burst if people point out the illusion.

      Just like gold: there's no reason for gold to have the value that it has, except people think it's worth a lot of money. It's usage as an industrial has been waning for years. Gold really doesn't do anything except look pretty and feel really cool. Just like if everyone sees the advertisers for what they are, if everyone sees that gold really doesn't do anything, the price will bottom out. But, this could be a while:
      • Gold is actually useful in circuitry, until they finish developing that 2-D tin or carbon nanotubes or whatever the next generation will be. Look at the contacts on an HDMI or USB cable of decent quality, you'll see that familiar shine.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      There is a silent war already between AdBlockers and Ad providers. What it will come to is still undecided, but the Ad companies have brought this upon themselves by being overly intrusive, misleading and annoying.

      So far AdBlock Plus have done some relaxing for Non-intrusive ads, but I haven't seen any yet, which either means that all ads are intrusive or that it hasn't been recognizable as an Ad.

      So far my opinion is that the Ad companies are running an uphill battle, and the content providers that bloat th

  • Bigger concern (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @02:59PM (#47058795)

    A far larger bubble and one with further reaching consequences is the education bubble. That is the big one to watch because it is ripe for a popping.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not really. People are wising up to the fact that they have debt for the rest of their lives, and still are not employable, so hopefully the skyrocketing tuition games will end soon.

      In the past, one could work through school, then be OK. Then, go into debt, but have some type of work. However these days, you might as well compete for the barista job without $50,000 of student loan debt.

      I'm hoping this bubble bursts. Used to be there was an agreement of dealing with college to get a paper that was a key

      • It is only the US that hamstrings its students.

        Over here in england they have also massively increased the amount students pay in tutition fees from just over £1K/year when I started (~10 years ago) to nearly £10K/year now.

        • Well, kind-of. The fees are more, but there's also a rate-of-inflation loan available (backed by the government) with repayments fixed based on your income. It doesn't affect your ability to take out other loans. If the degree increases your earning potential enough that you can repay them (repayments start once you're making around 50% above minimum wage) then you just make a bit less than normal for a bit. If it doesn't, then the loan is written off.
      • The ironic thing is that in virtually all other civilized nations, the government pays the tuition.

        We almost have that in the form of heavily subsidized colleges: state and community. At least here in NY they're fairly affordable (provided you do not dorm there). The idiots who are 80k in debt working at Burger King are the ones who went to NYU, Cornell, etc and chose a major that does not deliver clear "marketable skills" while also failing to "network" with more successful people which is the main benefit of going to a pricy school. It takes a combination of bad decisions and bad luck (expensive sch

      • by istartedi (132515)

        Not really. People are wising up to the fact that they have debt for the rest of their lives, and still are not employable, so hopefully the skyrocketing tuition games will end soon.

        That sounds like the beginning of a bubble popping. Fewer students means fewer professors and less demand for services in college towns. In particular, the housing market in college towns would get depressed.

        The ironic thing is that in virtually all other civilized nations, the government pays the tuition. The guy from Indi

  • Tech bubble? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CurryCamel (2265886) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @03:26PM (#47059081) Journal

    Umm, could someone who voted agreeingly to this explain to us who wanted to vote "WTF??" (but couldn't, because the poll lacked options!) were such a notion comes from? What are the signs you see? All I can see is semi-depression that is artificially kept from sliding into a complete crash by our very own super Mario & his minions.

    • Re:Tech bubble? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gibgezr (2025238) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @03:43PM (#47059287)

      People spending billions buying tech companies that do not generate a profit.

      • by Drethon (1445051)
        Yes but it seems like those companies have billions to waste. It isn't like investors throwing everything they have at the next big thing. Or am I completely missing something?
        • **tech** bubble (Score:5, Insightful)

          by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @04:09PM (#47059531) Homepage Journal

          Yes but it seems like those companies have billions to waste. It isn't like investors throwing everything they have at the next big thing. Or am I completely missing something?

          You're missing the 'tech' part of it...I see what you mean though.

          First, there is no company that has "billions to waste"...

          **that mindset gave us the tech bubble in the first place**

          The "tech bubble" of the 90s was a convergence of the natural progression of technology (which had evolved to give us a worldwide computer network that did dynamicly displayed images, text, and audio and was well on its way to full motion video)....and a global evolution of government monetary policy which allowed for financial mechanisms to enable such high valuations of companies.

          or you might say, the tech bubble was like silicon valley & wall street blowing each other in an alley behind a techno club

          hype or no hype, technology is progressing at breakneck speed...to know if we are in a "bubble", examine what the *function* and *profit model* of the companies receiving the largest investments...if they do not have an identifiable product/service/profit model other than selling personal data (like Google Nest) or it's a repackaging of a basic internet function with alot of hype/money connections (Brit Morin of "www.brit.co").

          1. selling personal data
          2. repackaged tech w/ money connections

          those are two consistent things present in all "bubble" companies

          but first and foremost, look at **how they make a profit**

          • by Drethon (1445051)
            Your first part of the comment (supported by the rest) made me think a level deeper, Facebook may have billions more than I think they need to operate but where is their money coming from? The stock market.

            So if my thought process isn't totally borked, the issue is people are throwing money at these tech companies, who are then throwing money at smaller companies with some flashy idea. Then the result of all this money being tossed around is what? I guess more popularity and ad revenue, until someone p
            • Possibly fallout from QE 1-2-3?
              It pumped a lot of imaginary money into the stock market did it not?

              • by wvmarle (1070040)

                It definitely helps. There is a lot of money sloshing around the market, looking for a place to go.

                For more dramatic examples, look at China. There is a lot of money in that market, locked up in yuan, and capital restrictions prevent it from leaving the country (yes, there are plenty of leaks, but the restrictions are overall quite effective). This money is looking for a way out, somewhere to be put to use, somewhere to be invested and increase in value.

                The banks are not it with their minimal interst rates.

            • yeah that's how I see it more or less

              "tech" is cool...it's hard to deny

              what is difficult is to put yourself in a mindframe of an ignorant rich person...if you can manage to enter that headspace then the tech bubble makes more sense on paper

              and yes, Facebook.com was always an IPO play...that's the insider/outsider knowledge point for me...if you can think through the permutations of these 'tech companies" likely one of three futures emerges:

              1. get purchased (youtube, instagram, snapchat?)
              2. IPO (google, yaho

              • by mlts (1038732)

                The problem is that #2 and #3 can be perilous paths. All it takes is another company to file IP lawsuits, and what happens is that a victory might be at best Pyrrhic similar to Diamond winning against the RIAA, but collapsing under its own weight afterwards, or the lawsuit lost and the company toppled (such as MP3.com.)

                I've seen a lot of focus when I go to small business meetings, in people wanting to start firms with a prototype idea. They likely won't be able to get much in market, but their goal is to

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I'm not sure where the economy is going, but my office sure does look like a hand basket!

          • by ShakaUVM (157947)

            >a global evolution of government monetary policy which allowed for financial mechanisms to enable such high valuations of companies.

            It had more to do with how the private sector chose to valuate internet sites. They were developed by people who had no understanding of what an internet was, or did, or how it was expected to make money. The internet had only permeated the public consciousness in 1995, and so these idiots, who probably didn't get online until 1997 or 1998, were somehow experts on how to va

            • yeah i could have done a better job describing that point

              what you say is correct, and I wanted to include something about "globalism" or "neo-liberalism" in economic terms because all we heard all the time was that "its a global economy now" which...when wasn't it? but I think you know what I mean

              people forget how every part of the world was changing or at least talking as if it was because of internet technology...that includes the financial sector...online trading, the NYSE going full digital, Goldman Sac

          • First, there is no company that has "billions to waste"...

            You clearly don't have a clue what you're talking about. Apple has $160 billion in cash. Microsoft has $85 billion. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and offered $3 billion for Snapchat, so Zuckerberg isn't exactly poor either. These companies do have tens of billions of dollars available, and can afford to take a risk in buying a company that may or may not be the Next Big Thing. So Apple buys Beats for $3 billion and it's a total waste... they're left with what, $157 billion dollars? They make $10 billion in net income per quarter. Basically they can pay that purchase off in a month, and if it turns into something that makes a few hundred million per year, it pays for itself in a decade.

            The cost of missing the Next Big Thing is huge, however. Back when FaceBook first started, the idea of paying a billion dollars for a company that does social media and allows college students to check each other out probably would have sounded insane. These days the company is valued at $157 billion dollars and does $8 billion in business a year. Zuckerberg realizes that paying several billion dollars for some dorm-room startup operation might seem crazy now, but he's been that overvalued dorm-room startup. He realizes that an early buyout of the next big thing could be a bargain. Perhaps more importantly, Zuckerberg fears that by allowing them to thrive he's letting a potential competitor get a foothold. So that $19 billion for Snapchat isn't just to get a piece of the Next Big Thing, it's to prevent anyone else from getting ahold of it, and to prevent them from challenging his control of the social media sphere. He's like some powerful king, buying the loyalty of upstart knights and lords to prevent them from challenging him.

            • by HuguesT (84078)

              There is no guarantee that someone who's been very smart *and* lucky at starting a Next Big Thing company will be any good at picking out a winner among all the overvalued internet companies coming out now.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Investors do throw a lot at those companies - but mostly to cover running expenses.

          The billions they use to buy up other companies come mostly by using shares, valued at a certain amount. E.g. a smallish company issues say 10,000 shares, sells 100 of them at $100 each, raising $10,000 cash. The rest of the stock, those 9,900 shares, are booked at $990,000 total.

          Next thing you hear, company A buys up company B. They use 5,000 of their shares to pay for it, valued at $500,000. So they buy the company for $500

        • Exactly; in fact there is a savings glut and inadequate demand along with it.
      • by Zocalo (252965)
        You could also add the market valuations of tech companies that do not generate a profit, or at least not enough of one to justify their stock price. Just like last time, it's all a big dare. As long as no one blinks everyone gets very rich on paper, but you don't want to be left holding the bag when someone does (inevitably) blink and everyone rushes for the exit.
    • by edxwelch (600979)

      the explaination is quite easy: this poll was from 2001, but was caught in a time wormhole and catapulted 13 years into the future

  • We're certainly, with Arduino / XBee / Raspberry Pi and the like, in a "Maker" DIY Bull Market. Even the video/text Blog sites like GeekBeat are finally "coming into their own."
    But that seems more like a "we've finally made it" than a "we've over-promised and overshot".
    YMMV
    • Exactly my thoughts. In addition, I really don't know how the notion of "tech bubble" could possibly apply to a situation in which people are increasingly applying cheap powerful computers to practical problems. That's like saying that, say, the continuous improvements in metallurgy over the past centuries were "a bubble".
  • We're not in a bubble, but it looks that way to us commoners because we're essentially living in a fantasy world economy, with copper, silver and gold coins. Most of the stuff the middle class buys you can pay for in copper. But, because we make almost a silver per year, this is fine. We're not going hungry, we can rent houses (or own cheap ones, or ones that are passed down) and things are generally ok.

    What we cannot do is afford shit that costs gold coins. Only the big silicon valley tech companies have g

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @06:43PM (#47061321) Journal

    In terms of "technical" companies being sold for billions of dollars, it looks like we are in a bubble. Once you take a couple of steps back, you can realize that it is all imaginary money.

    The money is being "spent" to acquire other companies because that is really all that it is good for. Could any of those companies afford to pay their current employees those billions of dollars? No, inflation would go through the roof. Could they go out and buy physical goods (land, food, etc.) with those billions? No, again, inflation would go crazy.

    So instead they just shuffle the "money" around among themselves to make it look like there is economic activity happening. They are simply maintaining monetary velocity at this point.

    2015 is going to be ugly.

  • by melchoir55 (218842) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:40PM (#47061727)

    What about the current situation is bubble like? The wages of engineers? Certainly not. The fact that companies are being purchased? That has been the silicon valley model for decades; avoid the R&D costs for your large company by doing hardly any R&D and instead purchase whatever tech you think you need from the near-infinite number of startups clamoring for a payoff.

    Are housing prices in a bubble? If so, that isn't exactly tech, and I don't think anyone could point to anything like this except maybe in San Francisco and Austin. Even so, the reason prices in those areas are high is due more to foreign investment than it is to geeks.

    If any economic categorizations other than "normal" are appropriate than they are "depression" or "recession" rather than "bubble". I haven't perceived any significant change since 2008. Companies remain stingy. Unwilling to train. Unwilling to pay for the talent they need. Commonly using outsourced labor (which blows up in their face almost without fail). We work in an industry with extensive collusion among the major employers not to compete for employees (yes, this is still happening) and where no one is willing to form a union.

    By what metric are we experiencing a bubble? Do we mean a negative bubble?

    • by erice (13380) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @08:44PM (#47062163) Homepage

      If any economic categorizations other than "normal" are appropriate than they are "depression" or "recession" rather than "bubble". I haven't perceived any significant change since 2008. Companies remain stingy. Unwilling to train. Unwilling to pay for the talent they need. Commonly using outsourced labor (which blows up in their face almost without fail). We work in an industry with extensive collusion among the major employers not to compete for employees (yes, this is still happening) and where no one is willing to form a union.

      By what metric are we experiencing a bubble? Do we mean a negative bubble?

      Technically we can't be in a recession because that is a macro economic term and the economy is growing. However, we can and are in situation where much of the economy is dragging. That is perfectly compatible with a tech bubble. Here in Silicon Valley (or, more properly the Bay Area since the focus has shifted toward San Francisco), there a many many startups raising large amounts amounts of money and chasing big ticket buyouts or IPO's with questionable business plans. Very frothy. However, it is only party time in the space of Internet and mobile services.

      Network infrastructure? No. Telecom? No. Semiconductors? Are you serious? The only "hardware" startups that get funded are those that apply the absolute bare minimum of hardware and wrap a service around it. Outside the bubble, a few companies are doing well (like Apple) but, as you have observed, they haven't passed much down to the rank and file. I don't think it is as terrible as 2008 but it looks a lot more like 2008 than 1998.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Bubble in the sense that a company is given a valuation, and regardless of any 'fundamentals', a given company can expect to earn significantly higher valuation based on recent high value aquisitions. Not to equate fundamentals with an equity, you'll inveitably receive critisism and for good reason. There's alsmost always a disconnect in terms on what one believes is reasonable, and something that people thinks was reasonable 5-10 years into the past.

      Is an instant messanger with 125 million users and little

    • It's (maybe) in a bubble in a sense that we have numerous high-profile companies with market valuations that seem to outsize their actual physical worth/ability to produce profit/whatever. Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.
      • What metric are you using to call their market valuations outsized?

        Facebook's market cap is 155B, and last year their revenue was 8B (EBIDTA 4B).
        Google's market cap is 371B, and last year their revenue was 60B (EBIDTA 18B).
        Apple's market cap is 523B, and last year their revenue was 170B (EBIDTA 55B).

  • We're seeing an upswing in the tech economy because the world economy has been depressed since it was shot in the chest by Wall Street in 2008. Enough time has now passed (6 years) that the need to replenish neglected IT infrastructure has finally overcome the blind dumb fear of robotic C suiters. That and they're tired of listening to the shrieks of B suiters that they're sick of struggling along with only half the tech staff they really need.

    (On a related note, last year's upswing in US stock values was

    • Just agreeing with you on the IT investment driving job demand observation. Had a contract end abruptly and have been getting several contacts a day from "recruiters" looking to place me at several different jobs in the area. Not as bad as the .com bubble of the late 1990s when anyone who could say "computer" could get a job but the job market has definitely a lot better than it was a few years ago.

      Not saying you're totally wrong on your stock market observation but the Fed holding interest rates to near

  • ... its an anthropogenic tech bubble.

  • not a bubble (Score:4, Informative)

    by confused one (671304) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @09:16PM (#47062347)
    I was around to see the bubble in the 90's. This is not at all like that. We're recovering from a recession. Yes, a few companies are being bought for crazy sums; but, that's a continuous thing that only goes away occasionally. In general, industry, including tech, is still struggling to recover from the crash in the 2008-2011 time frame.
  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:59PM (#47062977) Homepage

    Yes, there are crazy amounts being paid for certain lucky tech companies. SnapChat turning down $3 billion, for example. Sorry, the company simply isn't worth more than half of the S&P 500. So in the sense that some social media-related companies are being bought by the giants for huge dollar amounts, there is a bubble.

    But the bubble isn't extending to the bottom of the food chain. In the 90's, anybody who could say "Java" could get six figures, and any guy with a hair-brained idea and a few programmers, could get VC money from rich guys who did random things to choose where to sink their money. It's not like that now. These days, you have to actually be able to write software, to get a good job, and you have to have a viable business, to get VC dollars.

  • Outside the tech industry looking in, anyone can see the classic signs of a bubble. Massive P/E ratios means everyone and their grandma is gambling on growth that isn't happening. Multi-billion (!!) dollar acquisitions for companies that make no revenue. The entire concept of the acqui-hire. IPOs making C-levels rich and employees work just hard enough to not get fired: "rest and vest." Entire ecosystems of companies running entirely on venture capital, devoted to only serving New York and San Francisco. An

  • .......stocks/companies do not a bubble make. If you have money in those overvalued companies then YOU might be in a bubble but not over all for tech.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With real unemployment [nowandfutures.com] somewhere around 20%, inflation at 6%, how could anyone call this a bubble? This implies that the economy is doing well... better than normal... which clearly we are not, lies from the media notwithstanding.

  • How often do you hear / read something like this:

    " Company XYZ bleh bleh Cloud bleh bleh revenue bleh bleh billion dolloars bleh bleh."

    Reeks of bubble.

  • Strongly disagree.

    Show me something, anything new in the tech consumer space in the last 5 years. It seems that nothing coming out now is actually innovative any more. Its all just small improvements on pre-existing tech.

  • Robert Schiller (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:58PM (#47068583)

    ...is a Nobel Prize winning economist at Yale University. He coined the term 'irrational exuberance' and predicted both the Real Estate bubble and the Tech bubbles by comparing current asset prices to historical asset values.

    http://www.moneynews.com/Stree... [moneynews.com]

    His metrics show a cyclic adjusted P/E ratio of 25 right now, compared to 46 in 2000. This is bubbly but not as extreme like 2000 was.

    So be careful out there.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:30PM (#47068909) Homepage
    The Egyptians were in a chariot technology bubble 4,000 years ago. And I bet 4,000 years from now we will be in an anti-matter tech bubble. (assuming we are still alive and the anti-matter bubble has collapsed already). The nature of humankind is to start out excessively skeptical and then become excessively obsessed with stuff.
  • We're not in a tech bubble.

    But we do have way too many lawyers who will soon be replaced by H1-B contractors from India and way too much money in ads for the actual sales.

    Both of those bubbles will pop.

  • I think the reason for bubble is not the unexpected sky high stock price but because the companies that go public are reporting losses and not generating growth in revenue. I think a lot of tech companies that have gone through IPOs are reporting growing revenues and increasing their net profit every quarter.

    The bubble might be for some such as companies that are not able to make a profit or make consistent profit such as Twitter and Zynga after they have made their IPOs.

    However, if the definition of bubbl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As long as these are valued at billions we are in a tech bubble. Neither have a viable business model and venture capital is being soaked up by imitators who will either crash and burn or find themselves in the same revenue void.

    Rob H

  • I have a different take on this.
    AS the 20th century dawned, we had some machines, and some theories. Or machine making was limited by our knowledge of science.
    Then came stuff like understanding the physical world. Our world. The science beneath it.

    For example, how do people get sick. How does a semiconductor work. This went on till the late 1970s or so, and after that came the engineering boom. The ideas from the last 50 years were put into practice, and we are witnessing the results today.

    A combination of advertising, marketing and engineering meant, there is a lot of money to be made, so our efforts to go "fundamental" have weakened. In todays world of MBA and business, every decision is based on "How will it impact our financial quarter".

    In the past this mentality was seen mostly in private corporations, but now this is being seen also in universities and research institutions. Often, instead of research, engineering is done because it can reap quicker rewards.

    If you look at our sciences, eg metallurgy, chemistry etc., they are languishing because not enough talent is going into them now. It requires a lot less effort(no disrespect to programmers here) to create an android game which can real good rewards.

    OTOH, in basic science you may have to slog for 15-20 years before any tangible results. As a result, we are creating a bigger and bigger castle on the same foundation. its going to hold, but one day its going to get to the breaking point.

    Human civilization, has reached a point where short term reward reaping has become the primary focus right from the point we get into formal education. In most countries people choose their college major based on job opportunities. It used to happen earlier, but it happens a lot more.

    One day our house of cards will grow too big to stand on its on. The higher we go, the faster we fall. Its time to build up the foundation again.

  • by neurovish (315867) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:48AM (#47073859)

    It only feels like a tech bubble similar to what we had 15 years ago because all of the tech workers are still paid what they were 15 years ago. I don't see VCs running around throwing money at every startup they can find, product be damned. At least the companies getting the money these days have *something*.

  • but it's a bubble.
  • by JoshWurzel (320371) on Friday May 23, 2014 @06:32PM (#47079391) Homepage

    I was listening to NPR a few weeks ago and the guest speaker brought up an interesting point:

    The last bubble was characterized by *everyone* thinking that everything tech-related was awesome (Pets.com is a perfect example). We were all heavily invested in these stupid companies that lacked profits, revenues, or even business models. When they turned out to be worthless, we all suffered.

    WhatsApp/Nest/Occulus, on the other hand, are being purchased by other companies, regardless of public opinion. The impact if those purchases turn out to be worthless is negligible, comparing to the entire public investing in those worthless companies through our 401k's & mutual funds tracking various indices.

    We expect that the companies who spend their money unwisely will get punished by sell-offs and dropping stock prices while companies who invest wisely will be rewarded with bullish behavior, as it should be.

    CEO's make stupid decisions all the time. Their flights of fancy, though newsworthy, do not reflect the attitude of the world.

    • I think this is an excellent point. The current state of affairs lacks the massive public exuberance of the tech bubble or the real estate bubble. Remember what Joe Kennedy (Sr.) said about knowing it was time to cash out when the shoeshine boy had hot stock tips? I'm not hearing hot stock tips from the modern equivalent of shoeshine boys right now, not like I was about real estate ca. 2004 or tech ca. 1999. Plus, gold is too high. How can we have a proper bubble if a lot of the "air" is still elsewher
  • When you have a freaking coupon web site have an IPO and is now worth over $1 billion in market cap, you know it's a bubble.
  • This whole concept of giving large corporations enormous amounts of information for free, which they in turn sell to advertisers, is batshit, and it's wonderful to think that in ten years, we'll all look back on this period and wonder, "What the Hell were we thinking?" but the truth is that social media works because it's essentially "hacked" various reward centers of our brain (related to gamification). So while it's likely that the specific social media sites will come and go, the phenomenon is probably h

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

 



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