Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Marshall Kirkpatrick slaps down John Dvorak. Rex Dixon joins in and applies a few kicks to the groin. More discussion over at TechMeme.

We ARE in a bubble. Not just one that John is properly identifying.

We’re in a bubble of attention diffusers.

Huh? I’m getting so many things pulling me in so many directions that it’s hard to spend 60 minutes just thinking about one thing and getting deep.

When Dare Obasanjo says that A listers have no value anymore he’s touching that bubble.

Eric Rice and I had a wonderful talk yesterday where he said something like “Dare is right, the A list is turning lame.”

The thing is I’m getting reports from around the world that people are talking about Facebook in weird places like Moscow and Paris and Cape Town.

I watch TwitterVision and see Twitters happening right now around the world.

You can’t avoid that this stuff is getting adopted. This isn’t a “pet food” bubble like Bubble 1.0.

The problem is that so much is coming at us that we’re just not doing a good job of understanding it and dealing with it all.

The problem with all of this new stuff, too, is we’re wondering how it’s all going to get paid for.

Can the world’s advertising community really sustain all of the services and apps that we’re building?

I don’t think so. But the latest startups who are coming to me aren’t telling me about their fantastic advertising models anymore. The funding for that stuff has slowed down. Instead they are starting to talk about virtual goods and premium paid-for features. And as Dave McClure points out most of these companies aren’t getting huge amounts of funding. Even “expensive” Twitter (a VC who begged out of funding Twitter told me that) was reported to have gotten around $5 million in funding.

Anyway, in the valley this does feel like a bubble but nothing like the last bubble. This one has real, demonstratable, adoption curves that are outside of Silicon Valley. You only need to watch TwitterVision for more than five minutes to understand that at a deep level.

49 thoughts on “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

  1. Hello !
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  2. Hello !
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  3. to understand that at a deep level

    A myriad of complex political, social, technological, cultural and human behavior changes, on many differing levels. And your tool for “deep” understanding is TWITTER? Someone seriously needs to jumpstart your brain.

    Why do people even bother listening to your non-stop diarrhea? That’s the bigger cultural question. But cult psychology is always an interesting field of study.

  4. to understand that at a deep level

    A myriad of complex political, social, technological, cultural and human behavior changes, on many differing levels. And your tool for “deep” understanding is TWITTER? Someone seriously needs to jumpstart your brain.

    Why do people even bother listening to your non-stop diarrhea? That’s the bigger cultural question. But cult psychology is always an interesting field of study.

  5. > Please explain why Cape Town is a weird place for
    > Facebook to be causing a stir?
    >
    > Matt

    Matt:

    That made me LOL.

    Scoble thinks the USA is at the front of the race. Everyone else are Luddites. He is blinkered by the brilliance of the USA.

    Maybe he should visit some of these weird places. Some people in those weird places don’t even speak English! Wooooah!

    But twitter? Isn’t that just text messaging for people without phones? Haven’t we been doing that for 10 years here in the UK?

    Browsing the net on an iPhone? That’s news? We’ve been browsing the net on mobiles to look up pup quiz answers for years. USA is catching up, but slowly.
    :-P

    monk.e.boy

  6. > Please explain why Cape Town is a weird place for
    > Facebook to be causing a stir?
    >
    > Matt

    Matt:

    That made me LOL.

    Scoble thinks the USA is at the front of the race. Everyone else are Luddites. He is blinkered by the brilliance of the USA.

    Maybe he should visit some of these weird places. Some people in those weird places don’t even speak English! Wooooah!

    But twitter? Isn’t that just text messaging for people without phones? Haven’t we been doing that for 10 years here in the UK?

    Browsing the net on an iPhone? That’s news? We’ve been browsing the net on mobiles to look up pup quiz answers for years. USA is catching up, but slowly.
    :-P

    monk.e.boy

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  8. Hey Robert

    Please explain why Cape Town is a weird place for Facebook to be causing a stir?

    Matt
    Cape Town
    South Africa

  9. Hey Robert

    Please explain why Cape Town is a weird place for Facebook to be causing a stir?

    Matt
    Cape Town
    South Africa

  10. I wouldn’t discount advertising either – many feel that supporting websites through advertising is not sustainable but I can tell you I financially support many sites without ever meeting or talking to those site owners. There are some terrific new ad networks that are getting real value out of niche traffic that small and medium sites generate. And we’re not talking pennies either, my advertising expenses on the web run at over $2k per day and I’m not doing it for charity. That’s no bubble!

  11. I wouldn’t discount advertising either – many feel that supporting websites through advertising is not sustainable but I can tell you I financially support many sites without ever meeting or talking to those site owners. There are some terrific new ad networks that are getting real value out of niche traffic that small and medium sites generate. And we’re not talking pennies either, my advertising expenses on the web run at over $2k per day and I’m not doing it for charity. That’s no bubble!

  12. Robert,

    When you wrote, “I’m getting so many things pulling me in so many directions that it’s hard to spend 60 minutes just thinking about one thing and getting deep,” you touched on something I’ve often wondered about you and your approach to blogging and technology.

    What would you do if there were no Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, the Scoble Show and gadgets such as the iPhone to keep you occupied?

    Do you ever think of just passing on some–or more– of these new gadgets and networking sites coming on line and not reading so many blogs?

    I guess the larger question is, what would you do with yourself if you did take a long hiatus? After saying all of that, I come to Scobleizer daily to see what’s Scoble’s opinion on a particular technology-related matter. Could the lure of the crowd be a a motivator for pushing on when you may not want to do it daily?

  13. Robert,

    When you wrote, “I’m getting so many things pulling me in so many directions that it’s hard to spend 60 minutes just thinking about one thing and getting deep,” you touched on something I’ve often wondered about you and your approach to blogging and technology.

    What would you do if there were no Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, the Scoble Show and gadgets such as the iPhone to keep you occupied?

    Do you ever think of just passing on some–or more– of these new gadgets and networking sites coming on line and not reading so many blogs?

    I guess the larger question is, what would you do with yourself if you did take a long hiatus? After saying all of that, I come to Scobleizer daily to see what’s Scoble’s opinion on a particular technology-related matter. Could the lure of the crowd be a a motivator for pushing on when you may not want to do it daily?

  14. Bubble or not…

    “It doesn’t look like dot-com” is really not a valid argument. Do people think every bubble will look *exactly* the same?

  15. Bubble or not…

    “It doesn’t look like dot-com” is really not a valid argument. Do people think every bubble will look *exactly* the same?

  16. @Bruce – I agree with your point about not blogging every day, but blogging when you have something to say. My blog focuses on content which is why I archive my posts by category, and not by date. I could go weeks without posting, or post twice in a day. What I have realized is that if you have the content, people will find it. Honestly, I prefer to write on other people’s blogs instead of forcing people to come to mine.

    I think that too many people blog to let the world know how awesome that they think they are, and don’t truly want to help people learn. For example, an acquaintence of mine who preaches that everything online should be open to everyone, was upset when I posted screen shots from our AIM conversation to my flickr. I was going to post about how feedback has helped me evolve as a writer, and he told me that it was “private”.

    For the bubble, there will a distinct separation of organic versus inorganic growth. If you pay attention you can already see the companies, the people, the information, and etc splitting. I see it with web2.0 companies, I see it with private equity & VC firms, and I see it with companies in general. I am scared because consumer confidence is at a six-year high — which inevitably means its about to plummet.

  17. @Bruce – I agree with your point about not blogging every day, but blogging when you have something to say. My blog focuses on content which is why I archive my posts by category, and not by date. I could go weeks without posting, or post twice in a day. What I have realized is that if you have the content, people will find it. Honestly, I prefer to write on other people’s blogs instead of forcing people to come to mine.

    I think that too many people blog to let the world know how awesome that they think they are, and don’t truly want to help people learn. For example, an acquaintence of mine who preaches that everything online should be open to everyone, was upset when I posted screen shots from our AIM conversation to my flickr. I was going to post about how feedback has helped me evolve as a writer, and he told me that it was “private”.

    For the bubble, there will a distinct separation of organic versus inorganic growth. If you pay attention you can already see the companies, the people, the information, and etc splitting. I see it with web2.0 companies, I see it with private equity & VC firms, and I see it with companies in general. I am scared because consumer confidence is at a six-year high — which inevitably means its about to plummet.

  18. its not a bubble just an attention deficiency. that would be better named “attentiancy deficiency 2.0″ or something along those lines. :-)

    Personally i dont think its a bubble its just economics thats more akin to the waxing and wanings of the moon.

  19. its not a bubble just an attention deficiency. that would be better named “attentiancy deficiency 2.0″ or something along those lines. :-)

    Personally i dont think its a bubble its just economics thats more akin to the waxing and wanings of the moon.

  20. @Robert, @gwhiz

    Thanks for the insights on this … perhaps there is a new phenomena going on and I just need to get tuned into it more to see what I can get out of it.

    And, maybe Merlin’s links are more worthy of my attention than I have been thinking … he is a sharp dude and does come across a lot of stuff.

    And, link blogs are a great resource for me, too.

    Wish Naked Conversations would hurry up and arrive. I think I need some fresh insights.

  21. @Robert, @gwhiz

    Thanks for the insights on this … perhaps there is a new phenomena going on and I just need to get tuned into it more to see what I can get out of it.

    And, maybe Merlin’s links are more worthy of my attention than I have been thinking … he is a sharp dude and does come across a lot of stuff.

    And, link blogs are a great resource for me, too.

    Wish Naked Conversations would hurry up and arrive. I think I need some fresh insights.

  22. I think diffuse attention / information overload is a real issue, and it will cause the downfall of at least some of the companies today.

    That’s not a true “bubble”, however, it’s more like the normal cycle of business.

  23. I think diffuse attention / information overload is a real issue, and it will cause the downfall of at least some of the companies today.

    That’s not a true “bubble”, however, it’s more like the normal cycle of business.

  24. lol. What a great bit of debate John Dvorak has ushered in, with the opening words of his article “Every single person…”.

    As a brit, the phrase “Wake up and Smell the Coffee” always felt a bit US-centric for me to use. But boy, if I met him today I’d be inclined to use it.

    Bubble or no bubble, bust or no bust; something significant is happening with the way we use the web in our lives. And just like in the offine commercial sector some business will be good at exploiting opportunities – and some won’t be.

    And some people will roll their sleeves up and get involved, and some will chuck stones in from a distance.

    Chris from rawstylus.wordpress.com

  25. lol. What a great bit of debate John Dvorak has ushered in, with the opening words of his article “Every single person…”.

    As a brit, the phrase “Wake up and Smell the Coffee” always felt a bit US-centric for me to use. But boy, if I met him today I’d be inclined to use it.

    Bubble or no bubble, bust or no bust; something significant is happening with the way we use the web in our lives. And just like in the offine commercial sector some business will be good at exploiting opportunities – and some won’t be.

    And some people will roll their sleeves up and get involved, and some will chuck stones in from a distance.

    Chris from rawstylus.wordpress.com

  26. Bruce: my traffic isn’t going down. But with Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, and now Facebook I do think there’s something going on. I am spreading my stuff out into other places. Facebook isn’t taking off because blogging sucks. It’s something else. I have 4,200 friends over there — all gained in the last six weeks and most of the people who’ve added me say they read my blog and love it.

  27. Bruce: my traffic isn’t going down. But with Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, and now Facebook I do think there’s something going on. I am spreading my stuff out into other places. Facebook isn’t taking off because blogging sucks. It’s something else. I have 4,200 friends over there — all gained in the last six weeks and most of the people who’ve added me say they read my blog and love it.

  28. @Bruce… I’ll take Scoble’s link blog ANY day over 99% of the other feeds that tickle me throughout the day. I’ll add Merlin’s now too (thanks). These guys are socially transmitted diseases albeit at an insanely accelerated pace. Like a flu epidemic at JFK.

    We’re in a PETRI DISH (not a bubble!)

    The research IS happening. But, it’s happening out in the wide open fresh blogosphere for all the see and call bullshit at any point in time. I think that will be one take away when you read Naked Conversations. That and a red couch will take you places.

  29. @Bruce… I’ll take Scoble’s link blog ANY day over 99% of the other feeds that tickle me throughout the day. I’ll add Merlin’s now too (thanks). These guys are socially transmitted diseases albeit at an insanely accelerated pace. Like a flu epidemic at JFK.

    We’re in a PETRI DISH (not a bubble!)

    The research IS happening. But, it’s happening out in the wide open fresh blogosphere for all the see and call bullshit at any point in time. I think that will be one take away when you read Naked Conversations. That and a red couch will take you places.

  30. Information overload will be the downfall of web 2.0

    Only so much time and so many eyeballs.
    Not enough for everyone.

    Web 2.0 is an Information Bubble!

    The Market can’t handle all the Wannabes.

  31. Information overload will be the downfall of web 2.0

    Only so much time and so many eyeballs.
    Not enough for everyone.

    Web 2.0 is an Information Bubble!

    The Market can’t handle all the Wannabes.

  32. Sometimes I wonder if we bloggers should just stop worrying about posting everyday, and on the latest things, and spend more time researching. That applies not only to A-Listers but to a D-Lister like me as well. I am on the verge of cutting back from daily to when I really have something useful to say, something I have researched.

    Look at Merlin Mann’s 43folders now versus what it was a year ago: when he posts now, it is almost always just links to other sites. Worthless. Damn shame because he knows a lot of useful stuff. Sure his blog is packed full of useful material but do people really go digging through when they don’t see any compelling new material? I don’t know, but I feel sorry for him and everyone who has posted so much, so often, that they have run out of steam. I am getting there and have only been at for 4 months. Of course I am older than a lot of bloggers, at 58, and don’t have the vitality I once did. But, seems to me that it is easy for bloggers, maybe especially the A-listers, to fall into the trap of feeling that they have to say something, when maybe our readers would just prefer we waited until we had done all of our homework.

    Your book should arrive from Amazon today, and maybe I will learn something from it that makes me change my mind about posting frequency.

    Is FaceBook such a success because people in general are getting burned out on blogs (the readers and the bloggers)?

  33. Sometimes I wonder if we bloggers should just stop worrying about posting everyday, and on the latest things, and spend more time researching. That applies not only to A-Listers but to a D-Lister like me as well. I am on the verge of cutting back from daily to when I really have something useful to say, something I have researched.

    Look at Merlin Mann’s 43folders now versus what it was a year ago: when he posts now, it is almost always just links to other sites. Worthless. Damn shame because he knows a lot of useful stuff. Sure his blog is packed full of useful material but do people really go digging through when they don’t see any compelling new material? I don’t know, but I feel sorry for him and everyone who has posted so much, so often, that they have run out of steam. I am getting there and have only been at for 4 months. Of course I am older than a lot of bloggers, at 58, and don’t have the vitality I once did. But, seems to me that it is easy for bloggers, maybe especially the A-listers, to fall into the trap of feeling that they have to say something, when maybe our readers would just prefer we waited until we had done all of our homework.

    Your book should arrive from Amazon today, and maybe I will learn something from it that makes me change my mind about posting frequency.

    Is FaceBook such a success because people in general are getting burned out on blogs (the readers and the bloggers)?

  34. twitter vision – twitterment (my favorite) – all show the potential that is out there. At least you are willing to try to grasp it.

    I don’t understand why someone like John Dvorak who should be grasping new ideas is now shutting down. I think his article stems from the frustration of too much information out there.

    I know that feeling, if it isn’t one social network, it’s 20 that start tomorrow all with the hopes of taking in some of the dissatisfied users of MySpace or Facebook. All with the hopes of maybe replacing them one day.

    Yes, we are on some sort of bubble, but is it like the last one? Very doubtful.

    As far as advertising goes, from being on the inside of Lookery I can say that from what I am seeing statistically, the advertising industry is in very good shape online.

    Rex

  35. twitter vision – twitterment (my favorite) – all show the potential that is out there. At least you are willing to try to grasp it.

    I don’t understand why someone like John Dvorak who should be grasping new ideas is now shutting down. I think his article stems from the frustration of too much information out there.

    I know that feeling, if it isn’t one social network, it’s 20 that start tomorrow all with the hopes of taking in some of the dissatisfied users of MySpace or Facebook. All with the hopes of maybe replacing them one day.

    Yes, we are on some sort of bubble, but is it like the last one? Very doubtful.

    As far as advertising goes, from being on the inside of Lookery I can say that from what I am seeing statistically, the advertising industry is in very good shape online.

    Rex

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