re: Banner Ad Brain Drain

Remember when we were wringing our hands about how America’s best and brightest were all working on Wall Street flipping derivatives back and forth to each other?

Decide for yourself is this is better…

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,”

That’s the money quote from a BusinessWeek story profiling a Facebook dropout who never did like the taste of social media Kool-Aid.  Oh yeah, he also thinks we’ve arrived at the social media “saturation point” and that yes, this time it’s also a bubble (don’t groan, I know):

You might say Hammerbacher is a conscientious objector to the ad-based business model and marketing-driven culture that now permeates tech. Online ads have been around since the dawn of the Web, but only in recent years have they become the rapturous life dream of Silicon Valley. Arriving on the heels of Facebook have been blockbusters such as the game maker Zynga and coupon peddler Groupon. These companies have engaged in a frenetic, costly war to hire the best executives and engineers they can find. Investors have joined in, throwing money at the Web stars and sending valuations into the stratosphere. Inevitably, copycats have arrived, and investors are pushing and shoving to get in early on that action, too. Once again, 11 years after the dot-com-era peak of the Nasdaq, Silicon Valley is reaching the saturation point with business plans that hinge on crossed fingers as much as anything else. “We are certainly in another bubble,” says Matthew Cowan, co-founder of the tech investment firm Bridgescale Partners. “And it’s being driven by social media and consumer-oriented applications.”

We don’t often here much dissent from inside the Valley these days.  I was out there two weeks ago, San Francisco AdTech…it was bananas.  There were more guys buying bottles at the clubs than the clubs had bottles to sell.  I kid you not, they almost ran out of Grey Goose.  I’m not in a position to say “saturation point”, but listening to guys introduce themselves to girls startup-name first, man do I want to.

Anyway, it’s a good article and worthy of your attention today.


This Tech Bubble is Different (BusinessWeek)


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