As valuations soar for Internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter and some such as LinkedIn, launch successful IPOs even though they are still unprofitable, pundits warn of another Internet “bubble.” Not so, says Marc Andreesen, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists. In an interview with the New York Times, Andreesen says that tech companies are actually undervalued.
“On a 30-year basis, these things are cheap,” he told Times reporter Andrew Goldman.
The “bubble” talk, he says, is about everyone being “psychologically scarred from 10 years ago.”
For those of us who lived through the bursting of that bubble, losing jobs, income, companies, savings, it is hard to forget.
He suggests that one warning that a bubble is forming is when all the newly graduating M.B.A.s go into tech.
In the interview, Andreesen also agrees with Mark Zuckerberg that the film “The Social Network,” did not get the idea that someone might build something just because they like building things.
In makes some predictions, too, saying that wearable computing devices and self-driving cars, via Google, are on the way.
Personally, we suspect that tech volatility, particularly with firms that are Internet centric, has a lot to do with how rapidly the web changes and a firm’s ability to adapt to change. MySpace went from social network leader to dead-in-the-electron-sea as fast as Facebook emerged and became a traffic hub.
Digital games come and go, today’s blockbuster becoming yesterday’s. Firms focus products on Twitter or Facebook and then those services change what third-party apps can do. Facebook rockets to 700 million users, but then its growth suddenly slows and rivals such as Google+ take aim at its perceived weaknesses.
So even revenues and profits may not tell you which company will dominate a web space next year or even next month. So my advice to Internet firms comes straight from a Nursery Rhyme: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Otherwise you”ll get burned trying to jump over that electron candlestick.