Visionary entrepreneur Marc Andreeeessssen did a Churchill Club interview on Sept. 4 with Kevin Maney of Portfolio magazine. The transcript is here (along with a very unkind PhotoShop picture of Andreeeeeessssssen where they made him look like Beldar.) Money quote comes on Page 3 of the interview:
Does that create the danger of a new tech bubble?
If there’s been a crisis in a market, you don’t tend to have a new crisis in that market until the people who went through the last crisis aren’t in the system anymore. It was only eight years ago. So here we are in 2008, and there’s still no sign of a bubble in technology, which I can encapsulate in two words: no I.P.O.’s.
I’m wondering if anything has happened between Sept. 4 and today that might suggest there is a bit of a tech bubble. Okay, fair enough. I get Marc’s point. There’s no bubble in the public market. That’s because this the time VCs weren’t able to flog their money-losing POS companies off onto a gullible public. Instead they’re going to have to mop up the mess themselves. So if you characterize a bubble as something that can only take place in public markets, fine, there is no bubble. If you characterize it more broadly as a phenomenon in which companies with no profits and unworkable business models are able to raise millions of dollars in venture money, and then when each unworkable company leads to six or eight copycat companies that also get funding, and when a company like Facebook is valued at $15 billion — um, in the broader sense of the term bubble, I’d say that would be one.