When the VCs gave $25 million to Adam Curry and Ron Bloom to create a record label and ad agency for podasting talent, and John Markoff wrote in the NY Times that Evan Williams was going to create the eBay of podcasting, I had an instant deja vu moment. I’ve been here before, it seemed.
The last time I had this realization was at a Christmas party in San Francisco at the tail end of the dotcom boom, with people from competing pre-IPO pet food companies, each boasting how rich they would be after their companies went public.
Silicon Valley goes through predictable cycles of boom and bust. I think it’s totally avoidable, that it’s a simple bug that the great minds of the valley could cure, by rethinking and then tweaking how capital works, but in the boom times they’re too lusty for quick returns, instead of funding technology companies, they fund TV sitcoms. They cast their companies with people who could play the mad genius or ruthless marketing exec if it were a weekly series like Heroes or Lost, or sometimes even The Sopranos, and very often Entourgage.
Instead if they hired the math genius from Numb3rs, he might tell them what’s obvious. They eat their seeds, and don’t invest in creating new ones. In the last bust, I had a blog, and documented it here, it’s all in the archives. But I’ve been through a few busts before I had a blog, and as Mike Arrington says in today’s TechCrunch, it’s time for another house-cleaning in Silicon Valley, because the place is clogged with hangers-on, and you can’t find the new ideas among all the pet food companies and me-too social networks.
As they say, you can’t throw a pot sticker into a crowd without hitting a budding entrepreneur with a pitch. The place is crawling with get-rich-quick schemes.
When I moved back to sunny California, I decided to give Berkeley a try. I have a nice guest bedroom, and Mike you can stay at my house any time. 🙂
PS: I think it’s cool that Mike wrote his piece. I think it’s because I write stuff like this that the VCs and BigCo execs tune me out. I can’t imagine what they will say to him. Should get an interesting discussion going.
We need to keep beating the drum for OPML reading lists.
Movie: I arrived at my hotel, to a lovely room, so I made a movie to show it off, and the surroundings, and a cameo appearance (near the end) by one of the pioneers of the Mac software world (not me). Hint: His company was called Farallon. Remember them?
It seems that Copenhagen is to Amsterdam as Berkeley is to Palo Alto. Funny how things work out like that. (My flight goes through Amsterdam. And I’m headed south after the conference, destination Milano.)
I spent a few hours yesterday updating the XP laptop with the broken keyboard with four years of Windows updates. As it was rebooting for the last of six times a DOS screen flashes by too quickly to read saying something about a registry error, and when I try to boot using the last good configuration it fails, and loops, flashes the same message, and never boots. I pulled the power cord and let it do this overnight until the battery ran out, hoping that maybe a power recycle might cure the problem, but this seems desperate and very unlikely to work.
So despite my best efforts and dozens of hours invested, I still haven’t managed to get one song or podcast onto my Zune. In the meantime, of course the iPod is still serving my audio listening needs, with no extra effort.
There’s no hope of it working with the the other laptop, since it requires XP Service Pack 2, and it has Windows 2000 installed. I suppose I could buy a new copy of Windows XP for the laptop with the broken keyboard, but that seems ridiculous. I’ve paid for a copy of the OS for that machine, and I also have a working copy of XP running in Parallels on my Mac. And it would just be yet another experiment, because after all this michegas (including lugging a couple of heavy laptops through the NYC subway, JFK, SFO, and BART) there’s no reason to suspect that more effort would result in success.
Postscript 1: I took a movie of the machine rebooting, and froze playback on the error screen. It’s hard to read, but maybe you’ve seen it before and have an idea how to fix it?