“If you can see it, it isn’t the revolution.” — Steve Jurvetson
I wrote the following post in Nov, 2008. It demonstrated two things. 1) Tech and the stock market have a little dance they do…tech has roughly a 15 year cycle and the stock market has roughly a 7-8 year one and 2) tech is non-linear…just as FB/social was about to take off, many thought cleantech was going to be the next bellweather sector. If you can see it, it isn’t the revolution. It is possible that we are going to skip through this current cycle into a second one that goes to 2021 or 2022 due to the continuing decline in interest rates.
The markets in 2008 were very different. The banks were overexposed with bad real estate debt. Their current balance sheets are relatively clean. It is only when the banks get into trouble that the economy truly contracts as they pull in credit. I wrote in June 2008 that I thought the venture/market cycle was coming to an end and this one in Nov 2008. Today, lot of people are going to cash and getting nervous about the market this year. Fortune 500’s are cutting ad spending for Q1 (some significantly) and I recently spoke to two elder ladies in a hotel lobby who were “short the market”. Also, more VC money was invested in 2014 than any year since 2000. So, while I believe in the 15 year tech cycle (e.g. things go boom in the night in the coming year), with this many people looking for it, it seldom hits. That said, probably not a good time to aggressively put money out and a good time to get your house in order. I’ll revisit as the year progresses…the IPO market vs. last private round valuations is a key metric to monitor.
From Nov, 2008:
“As the bad news keeps pouring in, a lot of people are wondering what we can expect in the coming years. Additionally, everyone is trying to figure out what hope exists. Well, I’ll give two thoughts on this (briefly).
First, the world of technology is driven by two factors: the laws of exponentials and the Black Swan. Progress does not occur linearly but exponentially. We can expect to see changes the magnitude of the past 100 years in just the next 20 years. This means a lot of people are going to a) be really busy and b) be dramatically better off. These changes will come from places you can’t predict (Black Swans). Market crashes and negative developments are not the only unexpected six sigma events.
Second, markets run in roughly 7 years cycles and technology in 15 year waves. Vacuum tubes to main frames to mini-computers (DEC) to PC’s (Apple/Microsoft) to the Internet. The next wave, then, should start in 2010-11 and hit full force in 2015-16. Many in the business (us, Kleiner, etc) feel this will be in Cleantech. The energy market is 10-20x the IT market. We are not talking about billion dollar markets but trillion dollar ones. There will be a lot of casualties but some enormous wins.
So, there us no doubt that life is really brutal today. But, prepare and get ready for enormous, explosive market opportunities. It’s going to be mindblowing.
So, I stick my neck out again typing on my small iPhone. I declared the old venture cycle dead last June. I am declaring the the next cycle, even bigger than the former, will kick in during 2010 with foundations forming by the end of next year. I also believe we will see 30-40% of remaining venture firms will not survive to see this through (food for another post)…