Just read this story over at TechCrunch. Though the gist of it is technically more about file sharing and the music industry, it reminded me of the old days of 1999-2001 when all the dot-com douche bags (myself included) would cram into SOMA bars and think they were the kings/queens of the world. I distinctly remember a confrontation when one group of folks from Start Up A was monopolizing bar space and a group from Start Up B were trying to order drinks. As expected a little pushing and shoving match ensued with the requisite "Do you know where we work?" and "We're gonna buy this place!" was thrown around. Basically, young knuckle heads with too much money and too few failures in their young careers to know any better. A scant year or two later and most of them probably were unemployed. Another conversation I overheard was where a guy was talking about jumping to another start up only 3 months after joining his current one. His friend was saying "Do it man! That place is gonna take off! Take less money and get more equity. It's all about the equity man!" It was definitely a sign of the times.
As we have gone through one dot com implosion and are currently in the midst of a major recession, the number of young start ups has definitely diminished. Plus the fact that most start ups aren't getting monster investments and hiring just for the sake of hiring. The people who work at start ups today do it because they prefer to work in that environment versus trying to make a quick buck (believe me, there are far easier ways to make money than working at a web start up). This culling of the herd has definitely reduced the number of douche bags I see in the industry. But as the old adage goes, a douche bag never thinks he/she is a douche bag. Maybe someone is reading this and thinking, "This guy is such a douche bag." Wouldn't be my first time.
We were visiting friends yesterday in the South Bay for dinner and a movie. We ended up hanging out at Santana Row before the movie (specifically for Pink Berry). I'm actually quite amazed at how many people were there eating, drinking, shopping, etc. Guess the recession hasn't really hit Santana Row that much. I've noticed attendance at other mix-use malls like Emeryville's Bay Street has gone down compared to a few years ago.
I was thinking how much this place reminded me of a Vegas theme hotel, specifically the Venetian. Maybe it was the live music, the promenade, or the formulaic restaurant/bar/clubs. Actually, it was probably all the girls in skimpy dresses sloppily/drunkenly coming out of the bars.
I've written before about the US auto industry. In a previous post I spoke of Toyota being a company the US auto companies should emulate. Today, we see that even Toyota is not immune to the recession. I still think they're in a much better position to weather this storm than any US company but when a well run shop like Toyota loses $7.7 billion in a quarter, that can't be good.