Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Mortgage rates hit 30-year low: "Mortgage rates rose slightly this week, but 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averages this year were the second lowest in 32 years, according to Freddie Mac."—Silicon Valley Business Journal

Friday, December 24, 2004

Venture investors back in aggressive mood: "'The last time our industry was this busy, it turned out to be a really bad idea,' [Austin Ventures General Partner John] Thornton said. 'I don't mean to be Chicken Little, but we've seen this movie before, and it wasn't all that long ago.'"—Austin American-Statesman
IPO for online grocer Ocado: "Founders of Ocado are planning to take the U.K. online supermarket public, according to a newspaper report."—CBS MarketWatch

I remember meeting Louis Borders on the eve of WebVan's launch. He showed us the workstations they would use to track the locations of their delivery trucks. In fact, I think I saw one of those trucks yesterday in Austin, but the WebVan logo had been replaced with that of a local florist. Good luck, Ocado!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tech-Book Boom Back?: "Wired editor Chris Anderson has scored a cushy book deal for his article 'The Long Tail'. While he has conceded as much on his Long Tail website, the specifics are in an article in New York magazine:

Wired editor Chris Anderson ... managed to sell The Long Tail to Hyperion for just over $500,000. It's a book-length version of a meditation he wrote for his own magazine about the end of the 'mainstream' in culture. 'Jaws hit the floor over how much they paid,' says one source whose house was outbid. Watch for the Wired trend story: The tech-book boom is back!

"—Paul Kedrosky (UCSD)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Dot-com IPOs like Greenfield perked up 2004: "Initial public offerings from Internet companies turned in a strong performance in 2004 and may do so again in 2005."—CBS MarketWatch

Don't the words "dot-com IPO" taste delicious rolling off the tongue? Mmmm.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

"We'll figure out how to monetize it later": "That's a quote in today's USA Today from Lars Perkins, product manager for Picasa, Google's recently acquired photo software. It's a sentiment that rests deep in Google DNA - make the product first, figure out the business case later. It worked for the original Google service, and it's clearly guiding Print, Orkut, Froogle, and News (though some of those of course are supported by advertising). I don't have the answer to this question, but it's worth raising - how long can this approach to the world stand?"—John Battelle

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day Trading Makes a Comeback: "The success of day traders, who rapidly buy and sell small chunks of shares throughout a market session, excited envy and admiration during the stock market boom of the 1990s. But the collapse of the Internet bubble in 2000 not only sent these rookie investors back to their day jobs, but also gave day trading a bad name."—Reuters via Yahoo! News

The Return of the Daytraders is surely the Third of the Four Horsemen of Bubble 2.0, the first two being the Return of Dumb Money and the Return of Mary Meeker.
Acquisitions 2004: "So far this year, 216 IPOs have raised $43 billion, exceeding the total raised through the 221 IPOs from the previous three years combined, according to Renaissance Capital's By comparison, there were 486 IPOs in 1999 and 406 in 2000. The rise in activity is taking the IPO market back to more 'normal' levels after several lean years."—Adam Rifkin

Sunday, December 19, 2004

U.S. stock rally seen plowing ahead: "U.S. stocks are expected to push ahead next week, adding to an end-of-year rally that some investors say is overdone and a prelude to a market drop early in the new year, strategists said."—CBS MarketWatch

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Home Equity Lines -- Convenient, Risky: "Here's something more scary than
Chucky: A growing number of people are borrowing against their homes to invest in the stock market."—Reuters via Yahoo! News

I knew a guy who borrowed against some of his Bubble 1.0 options to buy more shares in the same company on margin. Need I go on?

Friday, December 17, 2004

21 IPOs debut in busiest week in four years: "A total of 21 initial public offerings have kicked off this week, the most since the week of Aug. 4, 2000, which saw 28 IPOs debut, according to IPO analyst John Fitzgibbon."—MarketPulse
Dan Gillmor on His Move to "Citizen Journalism": "Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism?"—Slashdot

Why? Because that's what media stars do in tech bubbles.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Stock craziness will end like that: "They will not ring a bell to signal when this craziness is about to end. It will just end—like that. Click of a finger. Like it did in 2000 and like it does in every bubble."—CBS MarketWatch Commentary

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Newbies Flood Venture Capital (Again): "The WSJ has a piece this morning that is being passed around madly in venture capital circles. Confirming VCs' worst fears, it argues that there is a boomlet under way in venture capital funding, with too many first-time funds being funded by dumb money, and with the so-called 'smart' institutional money -- CalPERS, Stanford, etc. -- cutting their contributions."—Paul Kedrosky (UCSD)
Nasdaq Files For IPO: "The Nasdaq Stock Market resurrected its plans to go public on Tuesday."—

Oh, the circularity!

Monday, December 13, 2004

3Com to Buy TippingPoint for $430 Mln: "3Com said it will pay $47 in cash for each share outstanding in TippingPoint, a 13 percent premium over the stock's Friday closing on the Nasdaq. The $430 million purchase price includes acquisition costs and assumed options, 3Com said."—Yahoo! Finance

Excellent to see Bubble 1.0 poster child Netpliance, which in 2001 took the remaining $53M left over from its IPO, dropped the whole "Internet apppliance" thing, and started a new life as TippingPoint, finally make good.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Things heating up in VC-land: "You can tell from the relaxed manner of venture capitalists at recent Christmas bashes -- things are getting better. The Woodside Fund brought out the big wines, Duckborn and Caymus. Doll Capital Management, fresh from its hit with Chinese job site, 51Job, rented out the grand Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, offering an open bar and lavish food. Not to be outdone, Mayfield rented out the Computer History Museum last night, serving equally quality nosh. We bumped into Mayfield partner Kevin Fong who, while sipping at a cocktail, explained how much better things are this year than the past couple."—SiliconBeat

Good to see, but we have a long way to go before we're back to this. Keep it going!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

2005 Will Be a Very Good Year for IPOs: "Solid offers should be the norm next year."—Forbes
Updated IPO guide released: "Designed for CEOs, CFOs, and corporate directors, the fifth edition of the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati IPO Guide was released Monday."—Silicon Valley Business Journal

This was originally written by the wife of a friend of mine in 1998. Download the updated guide and play along at home!

Monday, December 06, 2004 Shares Plunge 13 Percent: " Ltd. shares plunged on Monday after an investment bank that helped lead the company public just two months ago has now urged its clients to sell the stock on concerns future competition might cut into sales."—Yahoo! Finance

Deutsche Bank eats their young.
At the Fair: Glamour, Parties and Oh Yes, Art: "It's been a busy few days for NetJets, the private aviation company: 160 of its luxury planes were to land at Miami International Airport by week's end, more than 10 times the usual number for this time of year."—The New York Times
Have investors learned nothing?: "Is it different this time? No—just as it wasn't during the bubble. When the music stops you still need to find a chair. It's remarkable so many investors still haven't learned that lesson. What's happening, after all, is so 1999. Except that instead of Amazon, we have Overstock."—Herb Greenberg

Note OSTK chart at right. Bubble on!
A Good Year For IPOs: "Only the strongest deals made it to market in 2004."—Forbes

Here's to hoping that 2005 is the Year of the Weak IPO.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Four Secrets of the New Normal: "The New Normal is a time of unlimited opportunities lurking in places we never bothered to look. Safety nets have been replaced by new possibilities. Corporate paternalism has been replaced by personal responsibility, which exposes us to more risk but also exposes us to more rewards. Technology and globalization have cleared a path for advancement that’s right there under your feet—if you’re willing to take the first step. The rewards have never been greater for those who act. But many are reluctant to act for fear of the unknown."—AlwaysOn

Wait, is this the new normal or the new new normal? I can never tell the difference.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Shaken, Not Stirred: "What is the idle millionaire to do after eating the $100 cheesesteak and the $1,000 omlette? How about washing it down with the $10,000 martini? It's nice to see, in difficult economic times, that conspicuous consumption isn't dead."—Fast Company Now
Is Google Worth $165 a Share?: "For all its impressive technology and verve, Google, as noted earlier, has no such clear competitive advantage. That may help explain why—as was true during the late, great dot-com bubble—many insiders are rushing for the exits. Three top executives, engineering chief Wayne Rossing, general counsel David Drummond, and human resources chief Shona Brown, said in SEC filings at the end of November that they had sold blocks of stock worth millions of dollars. At about the same time founders Brin, Page, and Schmidt announced plans to sell big chunks of their stockholdings over the next 18 months. Brin and Page said they would sell 7.2 million shares each, or roughly 19% of their holdings, and Schmidt said he'd sell some 2.2 million shares, or about 15%."—Fortune

If you have to ask...