Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Halleluya! The bubble is back. Need proof? Take a look at Dogster (www.dogster.com). The company recently raised $1M in VC money. Dogster, for those who haven't seen it, is a social networking site for dogs. The banner reads, "Where every dog has a webpage." Why, do you ask would a dog need a webpage? I dunno, maybe to download cool doggie widgets? Collaborate on a bark-a-thon with their peers? Build a grass-roots movement to outlaw leashes not made from biodegradeable material? If there is any clear sign that the insanity of the late nineties is coming back, this has got to be it. All we need is the sock puppet and you can hang out the ol' shingle.
This morning I spoke with a graphic designer in order to set up a meeting to discuss a project I am starting. Almost the first words out of his mouth were, "How much are you willing to pay?" He doesn't want to waste his time with potential clients who aren't going to fork over the big pesos to pay for his valuable services. A bunch of years ago, a PR agency returned my call with voice mail message telling me that if I didn't have brand name investors, a hot market, and well-known founders, I shouldn't bother calling them back… As Yogi Berra said, "It's de ja vu all over again."
Other signs of the times…
- PR pricing seems to be following oil prices. There has been a stead rise in monthly retainers since last year. Every few months, the "PR pump price" goes up a few notches.
- Local restaurants (in high tech areas) are reducing the distance they are willing to deliver lunches. Two years ago, they would have delivered to Alaska if someone was willing to order. Today, if I am across the street, "you can come over and get it yourself."
- Job candidates are becoming increasingly brazen. It isn't 1999, but it is getting close. Back then, I had a college student demand to see the company business plan during an interview. Another candidate told me he was limited his search to a 5 mile radius, because "he couldn't be bothered."
Don't get me wrong; I am not complaining. This sure beats the depressing market of the last several years. I am just curious whether we learned anything from the last bubble. Many companies that solved real business problems were able to survive the last crash. Most that sold "buzz" did not. There seems to be a lot of "buzz" out there again.
If you are experiencing the same absurdities, feel free to chime in.