As the thrill of the chase has returned to Silicon Valley, every VC and hopeful entrepreneur is chasing a new version of the old dream: a winner-take-all web community.
This pursuit, now called Web 2.0, has all the things business school taught you to love: network effects, first-mover advantage, etc. And again, the signals of excess have appeared.
First is an abrupt 50% rise in professional fees among top providers in the Valley. An attorney I know there now charges more than $600 per hour — more than I paid my entire team (14 people, half programmers, all U.S.-based) in 2000, the peak of the bubble.
The second signal is that, in the effort to leave no stone unturned, VCs are examining some pretty crazy community ideas. Take, for example, the idea of community-monitored stock investment ideas.
Huh? Think about this for just two seconds. Successful stock picking means finding an idea and quietly investing ahead of the crowd. A stock picking community would collect ideas from the crowd, and let the crowd vote on them — in short, exactly what the markets already do. No edge to be gained there.