Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere.

I read an interesting article today on NYT.com: This Expansion Looks Familiar

It got me thinking about the various bubbles I've witnessed over the past couple of years.

Back in 1995-ish saw the start of the IPO craze.

Which started to gather steam at about the same time that everyone suddenly got electronic mail. It was right around the time that everyone finally threw out their Telex machines and switched from thermal fax paper to plain paper - no more curly faxes!

The IPO Influenza was great until everyone tried to cash in on it. Suddenly every jackass with access to a computer was setting up an E*Trade account and buying up wads of WorldCom and Enron stock.

Then there was the Antiques Roadshow explosion. It used to be that you would go to flea markets and to the Goodwill and buy crap for your crappy apartment for pennies.

Soon people started showing up on Antiques Roadshow with a brass pony they paid $2 for at the Goodwill just to find out that it was really a gold Tibetan warrior horse from the 6th century and worth about $48,000,000.

Martha Stewart helped fuel this frenzy by featuring in her magazine lovely flea market finds transformed into useful household objects. Suddenly chipped plates and paintings of woeful clowns went from a buck a piece to $50 bucks a pop. And we were being urged to hang that plate on the wall rather than actually use it.

(It's also important to note that Martha was eventually convicted of being a day trader jackass and served a little time)

With all these object d'art turning up at every yard sale, flea market, church sale, the next wave was the home buying craze. All this crap had to go somewhere!

At that time there were housing deals to be had for sure! People began fixing and flipping homes faster than a spatula at a pancake breakfast. However, like the IPO/stock market, the flipper market was quickly flooded with jackasses - buyers and sellers.

Now some people are waking up with a major homeowners hangover, in many cases compounded by interest only loans. And while lots of people are praying for a major market downturn so that they can finally buy something, it really just looks like the only places to be affected by a real estate bust are the crappy places that no one really wants anyway.

You see that trend in the stock market too.

I am noticing that things are coming full circle. It used to be that VW had the ads featuring geeks being clever and hip. Now it's Apple flogging their Mac in a similar fashion - only MUCH more annoying and not at all clever or hip.

I can't wait to see what comes next!

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