Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt recently said that you only know it's a bubble when the bubble ends. But when the press starts calling something a bubble, that’s a good time to pay attention. And now’s a good time to pay attention. Venture Capitalist and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen says there is no tech bubble, and uses a different indicator: MBAs. (This will sound familiar if you’ve heard of Ray Soifer’s Harvard MBA Indicator)
Marc Andreessen (right) talking to Zynga CEO Mark Pincus
There was a point in the late ’90s where all the graduating M.B.A.’s wanted to start companies in Silicon Valley, and for the most part they were not actually qualified to do it. They brought the whole sideshow of the hype and parties and all that crap. M.B.A. graduating classes are actually a reliable contrary indicator: if they all want to go into investment banking, there’s going to be a financial crisis. If they want to go into tech, that means a bubble is forming.
And he doesn’t see a horde of MBAs flocking toward the tech sector, the way they did in the late 90s.
It’s heating up again, but it’s still not anything near like it was in ’99. And even though people love to badmouth ’99 and 2000, you also have to remember that’s when Google got built.
Andreessen also thinks that all this talk of another tech bubble is everyone just being “psychologically scarred” from the dot-com bust a decade ago.
[Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nati Harnik]