As most of you know, my home is in the heart of the Silicon Valley, and I am thus in the center of the current lunacy (last enjoyed back in 1999).
Since most residents in a ten mile radius of my house feel they are entitled by divine law to be multi-millionaires (if not billionaires) before they turn 30, they have to have in mind some kind of narrative that will lead them to their fortunes. The current one goes like this:
(a) LinkedIn's IPO was analogous to the Netscape IPO in 1995;
(b) Since the Valley is crammed with real companies that have real products and real revenues, they will all be going to the public markets real soon;
(c) The timespan 1995-1999 will be re-deployed as 2011-2015. This year will include Pandora, Groupon, Zynga, and then the big Kahuna……..
(d) Facebook! Then the entire world will be going mad for tech IPOs, which, gosh darn it, aren't in a bubble - honest!;
(e) By the time 2015 rolls around, we'll all be Much Wiser than the poor saps in 1999 and will cash in at the peak (NASDAQ 7500, I'd guess)
The reality will be much simpler:
(a) LinkedIn will analogous to TheGlobe and is already down nearly 50% from its first day's high;
(b) Pandora, Groupon, and Zynga will indeed go public (or have already done so), and they'll all be in single digits by next year. Some of the most watched IPOs this year and next will be delisted by 2013;
(c) Facebook will indeed come out, and fall instantly, and the most ferocious bear market of the past century can finally begin in earnest. The lawsuits and recriminations will begin, and drinking it all in will be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I'll bring the popcorn.
In the meantime, keeping smoking that Silicon Valley weed, my friends and neighbors. Slope of Hope is going to be where it's at. I've got two turntables and a microphone.
Having said all that, companies like LinkedIn and Facebook will obviously still be around – – just like Yahoo is – – but will have found their true value in the public markets. There is no doubt that web sites like these are permanently popular, but a few of this organizations are doing to realize that Going Public Sucks, and even though they couldn't imagine it, they'll really regret it in the end.