Breakout

Silicon Valley and Wall Street: Two exclusive clubs Main Street can't get into

Jeff Macke
Breakout

With the rise and collapse of Social Media stocks, Silicon Valley is once again in the national spotlight and it’s making people as uncomfortable as ever. As though trying to nip our collective misery in the bud Sunday night, HBO all but threw the entire culture of Silicon Valley and its pale, twitchy denizens over the shark with the debut an eponymous TV show.

Unfortunately the Valley’s latest moment in the sun won’t go away that easily. As every boom must come with a bust, no rise in the profile of Northern California can end until the nation has been subjected to terabytes of weirdly out-of-touch think pieces and profiles. The nation only plays with its Bay Area vivarium every couple decades. Once the process starts it takes a national disaster along the lines of a dotcom crash or the Summer of Love to stop the madness.

The most galling aspect of the generational Boom Bust swings in Northern California is that the rest of America never gets to the party until it’s too late. As Josh Brown notes in the attached video, few of the hot IPOs that hit the market over the last six months involved Main Street investors. “If Main Street is able to get a piece of an IPO that should tell you that it’s probably not something they should want.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Northern California has been a gold rush region for more than 160 years. It’s sewn into the very fabric of the place and will never leave. The lesson to take away from the phenomenon is that you never really “miss” the revolution in Silicon Valley. Northern California is always revolting in the most positive sense.

Based on both old and current data, the debut of Silicon Valley on HBO and trends like smart car flipping and VC neighbor-shaming in San Francisco, the latest national obsession with tech is already post-peak. Now comes a debilitating slowdown followed by an extended recovery that will end with hippies dancing in the street.

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