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Observations From The Heart Of Silicon Valley

The calm before the storm?
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 8:11 PM

Yesterday I made the 2-hour drive back to Silicon Valley, where I lived for 15 years before moving out to the country.

I rarely go back, as I miss very little about the hyper-elite scene there. When I do, though, I feel I have a useful 'insider-now-outsider' perspective that allows me to see things there more accurately than those who live in that fishbowl 24/7.

What hit me most strongly upon arriving back in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area, is how little of the craziness has changed since I left 4 years ago. I don't mean 'unchanged' though; rather that the same craziness is there, just more extreme than ever. » Read more

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mentalfloss.com

The Death Of Hopium

Tech Bubble 3.0 is in the process of bursting
Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 4:48 PM

I got my MBA at Stanford in 1999 when the dot-com bubble was at its zenith, worked for a VC-funded start-up as well as one of the biggest Internet juggernauts (Yahoo!). I lived in Palo Alto, the central core of the tech scene.

As a result, I have a pretty good read on how Silicon Valley works. Many of the folks I worked and went to school with are now in leadership positions at the big operating companies, VC firms and hedge funds in that ecosystem now -- so I have personal knowledge of who's making the decisions.

And it's no secret that I think it's degenerated into a steaming pile of hucksterism. » Read more

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Oleksii Sergieiev, Dreamstime

For Heaven's Sake: Hedge!

If you're not positioned defensively by now, you're nuts
Thursday, April 30, 2015, 10:58 PM

Last fall, I wrote an article titled Defying Gravity that warned of the absurd price levels that stocks and bonds had risen to. Less than a month later, the stock market abruptly dropped by 7%. Those who didn't seek safety in advance were left licking their wounds, panicked not knowing if the painful down-draft was over.

So here we are roughly six months later, and the same warning bells are ringing -- just louder this time. » Read more

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Returning to the 'Real'

The virtual is not an adequate substitute for the authentic
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 11:34 AM

A paradox of life in these times is the inverse relationship between technological wizardry and the satisfactions of being a live organism in a real place (i.e., on the planet Earth).  It probably boils down to a proposition that the American public is not ready to entertain: that the virtual is not an adequate substitute for the authentic. Eventually it will be a hard lesson to learn. » Read more