"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer." - Hans Gruber (Or Plutarch, take your pick.)
Are there stupid ideas out there? Sure.
Are there great ideas out there? Absolutely.
Most of the time, you can hardly tell the difference.
Twitter? At first, I didn't get it. Now, I'd pay for the service.
Flock? Why the hell would I need a new browser? Turns out I did... and it has changed how I work on the web.
I still don't get Tumblr, but everytime I recommend it to a non-techie friend, they eat it up, so I won't go all Bogatin on it and dismiss it out of hand without some additional thought.
Steve Rubel thinks we're in a bubble.
Of course he does. Look at what he does for a living. He's a PR guy for a big fancy PR firm. By the nature of his position, he sees two kinds of companies:
- Companies that have way too much money to spend and can afford to hire big fancy PR firms, show up at conferences, and throw big parties.
- Companies that have no clue how to do marketing, so they just mindlessly throw themselves at the inboxes of popular, but completely irrelevant bloggers.
Not only that, but smart companies are realizing that they're better off spending time in their niche than out in the blogosphere circle jerk. Phillip from Snooth, the wine recommendation service told me that he doesn't go to tech events. He goes to wine events. Unless Steve's a wine connoisseur, there's another company he's likely never to meet.
If we're in a bubble, why aren't these guys fully funded yet? Oh... wait.. .that's because they're not anti-stealth. They're not stealth either... They're just a bit lax in telling the the world about their cool app. Impact Games is taking their award winning concept from a game about the middle east they built called Peace Maker to the web, and turning the news intro an interactive, community driven game experience. Imagine fantasy baseball meets CNN. They're not looking for ridiculous amounts of money either, and Asi and Eric are great guys... so someone go fund them.
There are lots of cool, innovative companies that are completely under the radar of big tech/pr bloggers who only collect press releases instead of getting out there in the community--the real community, not the community of people who can spend $1000 on a conference. Take PeerDecision. (See Jack, two posts in a row.) They're trying to break open the whole college admissions process and if they keep at it, and figure it out, that could make a HUGE impact on millions of people. They're not likely to see Steve at an expensive trade show, but they would have met him at StartupCamp, if he went, which was free and sponsored by Sun, or a nextNY event, which is always free. But bigshot PR bloggers rarely attend these kinds of community events so the Web 2.0 that they see is the heavily funded, heavily hyped world of people who can afford to play in the same circles of events.
John Heilemann is in the same boat. In his recent piece for NY Magazine, he calls New Work "a sad-assed backwater when it comes to the Internet industry". How does he know? Caroline McCarthy is just about the only journalist that spends any time with the "two people in a garage" stage crowd. Maybe if John or any other bubble breaker journalist showed up at a nextNY event, you know, with the little people, he'd get a better sense of the crowd here. At least he could fly around NYC in 3D in UpNext (another cool NYC company).
Are we better than the Valley? We're different. So is Boston, Seattle, and Denver. It's not a competition, the last time I checked. Are we serious about the internet? Very much so. I mean, if we weren't, why would Google keep buying up more and more real estate here? Why would AOL move its headquarters here?
Hey, check it out, Donna's actually on the right side of this one. See, people aren't all bad. She corrects Steve's assertion that "No one’s casting a cynical eye anymore." Aren't you reading, Steve? She casted a cynical eye on us just the other day!
It's like I tell umpires in softball...
"Open your eyes, blue... You're missing a good game, here!"
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