Time to Party!

TIME TO PARTY!….Dotcom bust? What dotcom bust?

Close your eyes and it feels a little like 1999, that giddy, amazing, lost moment when Silicon Valley was the most important place on Earth and just about everyone in it was happily adding a zero or two to his or her net worth.

The stock prices of unproven Internet companies that no one has ever heard of, such as PacificNet Inc. and EuroWeb International Corp., are once again doubling in a single day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index is up 56% from a five-year low reached in October. Insiders are happily selling shares, cashing in options that recently were fit only for making paper airplanes. Call a chic Bay Area restaurant such as Delfina or Betelnut or Greens on a typically dead night like Monday and you will be told, simply and sweetly, no table, no way. The hottest car is a $50,000 Hummer.

How to explain this? According to William Cockayne, a Silicon Valley think tanker, “Part of the advantage of Silicon Valley is that it has no memory. That’s how it can continue to innovate. But that’s also its Achilles’ heel ? it will continue over the next 10 years to do the same things wrong again.”

Sure, but they’ve forgotten already? I mean, we’ve had plenty of tech booms and busts before, but they’ve been spaced out approximately once per decade. This boom seems to be starting up before the 2001 crash is even cold in its casket.

Still, I guess optimism is a good thing, and the additional capital gains taxes will certainly help out California’s budget crisis. Being the cautious guy that I am, however, I think I’ll hold onto my wallet just a little while longer.