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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Obama Bubble, and the Dot-Coms...

One of my theories about the Dot-Com Bubble of the late 1990s was that, because the internet and web were clearly a new and important change in the world, but one that was extremely poorly understood at the time, there was an almost rational argument for the sky being the limit for anything associated with the internet in, say, 1998. After all, who could possibly predict who wins and who loses? Maybe it'll be email, maybe it'll be search, maybe it'll be selling dogfood on the web, maybe web TV, etc, etc.

By 2000, the business layout of the Internet began to be more visible, the winners and losers both began to be known, and the general outlines of the markets for the winners began to take shape. And like any radically new thing, most plays ended up being losers, or at least ahead of their time - and therefore losers in a business sense. And thus the air is let out of the balloon.

Oddly, the massive predictions for the Internet and commerce using turned out to be true, if a couple years too early and typically in the wrong places...

Anyway, this relates to Obama because his campaign, to this point, looks an awful like a dotcom business plan from 1998: a whole lot of "audacity", change-the-world stuff, and the political equivalent of a growth hockey-stick that shows how, somehow, he'll magically transform life as we know it.

This will work for awhile, possibly long enough for him to get past Hillary. But he's beginning to discuss actual policies, which will inevitably produce discussion and informed debate based on numbers. Will this lead to a popping of the "Obama bubble", or will he go through a brief moment of pain and end up sticking around because his policies make sense?

We'll see...

BARACK OBAMA is a bubblehead himself
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