Steve Cisler on Tue, 15 Mar 2005 22:43:11 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Silicon Valley, five years after

San Jose, California. This past week has been a time
to remember the  bursting of the (and some
would say the Internet) bubble. Starting with a five
part series in the San Jose Mercury News, it was
picked up by alternative papers, and of course local
TV news teams. I saw a piece from the Guardian on this

A few figures from some of the reports:  the downturn
was one of the worst in U.S. history (for this area)
with a loss of 400,000 or 11% of the jobs. 

Public companies in Silicon Valley lost $2 trillion or
2/3s of their traded value, and according to a report
from UCLA there will be minimum growth for this region
in the coming year.

One woman, Lynn Gold, formerly of Netscape, now
working at a lesser-paying job, commented that missed
the bubble: she is "nostalgic for days when she could
afford long vacations to Australia or $12,000 for her
dog to have brain surgery."

Last Friday I happened to be walking along the street
in downtown Palo Alto when a television news truck
pulled up, and a middle-aged man clutching a mike
jumped out. A woman toting a video camera followed. My
friend recognized him from the news broadcasts and
spoke with him. It turned out he was doing a story on
what it was like during the dot-com boom ...and bust.
We talked on camera for about ten minutes. Mike, now
at a forecasting firm, related the grand parties at
Apple (not really related to the Internet bubble), and
I spoke of the times I laid off (made redundant) some
of my staff a few months before it was my turn.

However, the real watershed event for me was the
conference <>
organized in Amsterdam in June 2000 by Lovink,
Kluitenberg, Stalder, Byfield and others from this
list. Being invited to present at Tulipomania gave me
the excuse to talk with people here in Silicon Valley
who had benefitted from the boom (up until early 2000,
anyway), and it helped me prepare my talk on "The Dark
Side of Silicon Valley."  Considering that the
conference was planned before the crash and took place
shortly after the NASDQ peaked and then crashed, I
think the planners were very prescient.

This region is still hoping for another wave to come
and bring new innovation and wealth. We have had
semi-conductors, then the personal computer,
networking and the Internet, and now there is some
activity from wireless, homeland security, and
biotech, but most people doubt any of these will match
the craziness of the Internet bubble.

Steve Cisler
March 15, 2005

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