Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Angel Investor Ron Conway Speaks (About His Wise-Up-Silicon-Valley Missive)

Of course, the stock market had to come roaring back and it had to be extra sunny on the very day I was scheduled to have lunch with well-known Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway to talk about the worrisome state of the digital sector.

After all, it was Conway (pictured here), as well as Sequoia Capital, who sent out a stink bomb of an email last week to his start-ups to deliver a simple message: The Web 2.0 party is over.

Said Conway to his entrepreneurial troops as the market was crashing down and smacking tech companies hard in the process:

“Unfortunately history DOES repeat itself but I hope we can learn from history and prevent the turmoil from occurring again. The message is simple. Raising capital will be much more difficult now … the name of the game in this environment in some respects is survival–survival until conditions change.”

Survival!?! What ho? This from the man who is one of the more upbeat of Web investors! Who is one of the backers of Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Seesmic and 125 other Web 2.0 companies?

Ironically, our lunch yesterday was little more than a year after I had had another lunch with Conway, where I also made a video, and during which we had a lively discussion about a range of topics, including the venture business (better than ever!), innovation (better than better than ever!), monetizing video content on the Web (best of all!) and more.

Yesterday, the news was not so happy, of course, although Conway did try to explain in more detail exactly what he meant in his most recent email, which echoed one he had also sent out when the last Internet bubble was popping a half-dozen years ago.

And that is: You better have a year’s worth of cash and a revenue model or you’re toast.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, he’s bullish!

Here’s the video (and below it, the one from June 2007, when things looked a little sunnier for Conway and Web 2.0):


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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