Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Venture Summit: Has the Internet Jumped the Shark?

So I moderated a panel yesterday at AlwaysOn’s Venture Summit West, held at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay, Calif., with the title “Is There Still an Upside to the Internet?”

fonzie

Of course, I redubbed it: “Has the Internet Jumped the Shark?” For the love of All Things Fonzie, you bet it has.

The discussion centered around what I think most agree is an inflated market for start-ups, worrisome especially given a looming recession.

Here is my video and one from the panel, in this case a snippet of Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley talking about Second Life, in which he is an investor:

Interestingly, none of the panelists–Gurley, Glam CEO Samir Arora, Lise Buyer of Class V Group and Aggregate Knowledge CEO Paul Martino–seemed bothered by that for a variety of reasons (lots of bigger companies interested in acquiring little ones, for example).

I am a little less okay with the rampant frothiness, insane valuations and who-cares mentality, which has seeped into the market and can only result in lack of discipline and too many me-too companies.

While–thankfully–the weak IPO market is protecting the investing public from the insanity this time around (no Pets.com!), it’s still not a good thing for the industry to see too many companies without solid paths to profitability being formed with the hope of some pie-in-the-sky idea that endlesss advertising revenues will support the whole rickety enterprise.

But that’s just me.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work