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?”


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