Short Palo Alto

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My town has changed. When I first came here, in 1984, it was a pretty standard college town. Sure, the houses were kind of pricey, but the look and feel of the place wasn’t that much different than you’d probably get in any other town next to a big, well-known college.

But things have changed a lot lately. And I’ve got to say, the kinds of changes I’m seeing weren’t really apparent during the Internet bubble. For some reason, the self-importance and money-worship didn’t really take root until recently, after the financial crisis.

I was struck by this on Thursday, when I saw this poster in front of the Aquarius Theatre:


So………….people from Palo Alto are going to pay to enter a movie theatre in Palo Alto to watch a movie called Palo Alto which is all about the sub-culture in Palo Alto. Getting a little self-absorbed, aren’t we?

I’ve also noticed the women have changed a lot. And by “women” I mean just the females walking up and down University Avenue. They used to be pretty ordinary-looking. Honestly. But these days, I’m seeing a lot of women that look they models (or some semblance thereof). It’s like Rodeo Drive has invaded University Avenue. Believe me, I notice things, and the phenomenon of very attractive women strolling the streets of my town is utterly novel.

Of course, more broadly, we’re seeing a worldwide media obsession with this area. There was the Social Network movie from a year or two ago, the Jobs movie that I reviewed a few days ago, a forthcoming Jobs movie, and, most recently, the HBO Series Silicon Valley.

I’ve also noticed something when I visit the Stanford campus. It is filled – – – F I L L E D – – with what appear to be tourists from China. I know what’s going on……..Mainland Chinese parents figure that if their kid goes to Stanford, they’re going to create the next Yahoo, Google, or Facebook. Ummm, I’ve got news for you, Middle Kingdom: they won’t. This also explains why the acceptance rate at Stanford is down to about 5%, which is less than half what it was when I was applying.

As a good contrarian, I wish I could short everything about this town. The houses. The companies. The people. The lifestyle. Stanford. Everything. Because there is no freakin’ way that this much saturation doesn’t scream “Major Top”. This area is going to go the same way that other techno-geek obsession went recently…….Bitcoin:


Can I buy a put on my house now, please?