The Year 2012…The World Is a Startup and/or Armageddon Gets a Rest

Because I do not know or care where the Dow or Hang Seng ends in 2012, I find it easy to be optimistic, even ‘bullish’.

The ‘flow’ across my Twitter and Stocktwits feed as well as my Gmail inbox is dizzying. I have learned over time to dip in, consume, prioritize, delegate, laugh, and prosper. I have wasted time for sure, but I have gotten smarter. The few of us that have braved this new world (and it is just a few of us in the global sense), are ahead of the curve.

The streams and network effects available to us in 2011 can enhance and broaden what I call the ‘opportunity machine’ of the stock market to all markets.

Like the stock market was before this entrepreneurial and start-up funding boom, you can’t see everything, trade everything, own everything. The truly successful investors and entrepreneurs will compartmentalize the flow. I am grateful the market has kicked my ass time and again for 20 years to prepare me for this point in time.

I am sure there were startup bubble articles in 2009 when I invested a little time and money in TechStars. Tomorrow they will be RAMPANT. But , a TechStars or Y Combinator degree and even a failure out of the gate is worth more to me and maybe the world than an $apol or Devry $DV degree – which I have yet to see in the wild.

It has to be a bubble if the angel investments I have made in the last three years have raised close to a billion dollars. I mean not a road was paved or a bridge built.

If college costs fall 50 percent over the next 10 years (they will likely rise 150 percent), we will still see a huge number of parents back their kids in a business over college.

Even the French stop smoking here and there to talk startups at Le Web for a few days in Paris. I met @shervin last year at Le Web and we had some duck and some crepes (ok a lot of both) and talked about startups late into the evening. He made me sound bearish. This year he was back at Le Web talking ‘The World is a Startup‘ with Sean Parker and it’s a great watch.

We had the ‘financial armageddon’. We had the flash crash. We had our oversized homes. The year 2011 had a lifetime of volatility and the markets are where we started. Most asian markets are down 20 percent. I think even John Corzine is almost worn out blowing things up. You already survived it all.

Of course I worry. For one, higher interest rates seem like a sure thing. But if they quadruple from today’s prices, I would still take the odds of investing in a few startups and finding the right 1 percent of public stocks that double every year than hiding out in a bank.

I worry about wage pressure, but that has not stopped the consumer. With the web and the data we leave behind with clicks, the consumer IS the producer.

The smartest worriers are learning to code or marrying a developer.


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  2. Kris Tuttle says:

    I can second the motion, especially in terms of what I found going on at Le Web this year. The conference was typical but the side conversations I had were just mind boggling. People from all over the world who have started online businesses doing $10M a year or even $100M. At the other end full time college students are starting their second web businesses using financing form their first ones that are doing $10,000 per month. 

    The world is changing but it’s creative destruction. You have to put your energy and attention into the creative part. It’s like “swimming in an avalanche” and rising to the top.

    Good stuff.

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