Don Dodge writes about why this bubble will be less severe than the last bubble. I found it an interesting read. It certainly is true that a lot of this bubble is via private institutions and acquisitions.
There is another interesting follow on from Alfred Thompson, lamenting how it’s the employees that get their lives really hurt by way of layoffs when the bubbgle bursts.
I agree with Alfred about who gets hurt. But I don’t feel very bad for folks that get laid off. All of us as employees have a responsibility to choose our employers well. If we fail to do that, we might get burned. Choose wisely. Many of us in Silicon Valley have been chasing startups for a long time. When we choose to work for small companies, there is risk. We know that. While it can be devastating to get laid off, all of us need to assess whether we can take the risk before we accept a job.
For me, personally, I landed at Critical Path by way of acquisition in 2000, and at the time it seemed like a pretty good deal. 9 months later (just after I left), it turned out that Dave Thatcher and Tim Ganley were crooks, and the whole company collapsed. Was it my fault that the executives lied to investors, employees, family, and friends? No. But was it my fault for having invested heavily into a risky company? Absolutely.
So, when the bubbgle bursts, all the folks (including me) that are working for Web 2.0 companies may have a rough time. For some, it will work out just fine. For others, it will work out very badly. That’s Risk. As Warren Buffett says, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” I don’t feel sorry for people that don’t know what they are doing. Bubbgle or not.