Web 2.0: How to Spot the Top

“When I see a bubble, I invest.”
– George Soros

I don’t think there is a single human being with a WordPress password who hasn’t weighed in on whether or not there is a tech bubble underway.  The answer is obviously yes, but being in a bubble doesn’t mean you’re at the top of the bubble – a most important distinction that no one has made yet.

Anyway, now it’s my turn so buckle up.  Below, my watchlist for how you’ll know we’re at the top…

  • A well-known tech journalist leaves journalism to work at a startup (see Lou Dobbs departing CNN for Space.com.  See also Ron Insana leaving hedge fund coverage at CNBC to start a hedge fund.  Watch for Kara Swisher’s launch of “Swishr”, a social network for mouthwash.)
  • A mega-merger in which the upstart buys the venerable old media company (see the AOL-Time Warner top from January 2000, wake me up when the inevitable GrouponExxon merger is official, then we can get short.  No, Daily Beast buying Newsweek doesn’t count, nobody cares about either of them, not big enough.)
  • The Brat Pack of celebrity analysts break out (see Nouriel Roubini’s six-figure speaking engagements at the peak of the pessimism bubble.  See also Henry Blodget, Mary Meeker and Anthony Noto from the dot com bubble.  See also the rise of rock star “Chief Strategists” Abby Joseph Cohen from Goldman Sachs and Thomas Galvin from DLJ during the 1990’s irrational exuberance era.  When Page Six runs pictures of Lou Kerner dancing on tables at a New York nightclub that will be your signal.)
  • Hollywood catches the fever, launches TV shows and movies (see Oliver Stone’s Wall Street finishing post-production during the 1987 crash.  See also the bevy of house-flipping and renovation shows from 2006 to 2008 and the rise of HGTV.  See also the TNT show Bull about high-flying investment bankers during the summer of 2000.  I am expecting The Real Live-In Girlfriends of Silicon Valley or a show about venture capitalists who solve murders any day now.)
  • A Web 2.0 company buys stadium naming rights  (see too many examples to possibly list here of companies at their peak naming ballparks.  Look for The Yelp Arena, Instagram Gardens, CandleTwit Park, Facebook Field etc…any minute now)
  • The bankers and execs start looking and dressing like startup d-bags (see Gerald Levin, the buttoned-down CEO of Time Warner, prancing about on the AOL stage wearing no necktie for the first time since his high school graduation.  Watch for the Morgan Stanley bankers showing up in wetsuits or ironic Members Only jackets)
  • Magazine Launches (see Fast Company, which somehow survived the 2000 rout while most of the others didn’t.  Also, hedge fund bubble rags Portfolio and Trader Monthly didn’t quite make it either.)
  • Obscene real estate prices in the afflicted area (see San Fran apartment prices already getting jiggy.)
  • Celebrity participation (see, well, remember Ivana Trump’s Vegas luxury condo development?  Just so you know, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake are now funding startups.)

What are toppy the signs you’re watching for?  What will tell you that we’ve seen the top?  Now taking your suggestions below!

Read Also:

WTF Startup o’ the Day (TRB)

14:59 (TRB)

Meet the Disruption Hippies (1967 vs 2011)



This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here: https://www.ritholtzwealth.com/advertising-disclaimers

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. cats having fun commented on Dec 31

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Information here on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2011/07/28/web-2-0-hot-to-spot-the-top/ […]

  2. rolex replica swiss commented on Jan 14

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Info here to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2011/07/28/web-2-0-hot-to-spot-the-top/ […]

  3. GE AEM18DQ manuals commented on Jan 20

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2011/07/28/web-2-0-hot-to-spot-the-top/ […]