Dot-Com Flame Out 2.0

Anyone who was around for the last Dot-Com Flame Out (affectionately called DOT-BOMBS) remembers how that scam went. Valuations were mostly based on revenue growth (it was the new-new economy but old-old venture money). Groups of Dot-Coms started “trading services,” many in the form of advertising, to make the numbers exceed what the old economy investors wanted. Yes, a token few pointed out these companies weren’t actually making any money, but the hysteria over exponential revenue growth made idiots of rich and poor alike.

That was Dot-Com Flame Out 1.0, mostly. Eventually people began to realize these companies should have made money and should be able to pay their bills without more venture capital. And, well, your retirement account paid the price.

I believe I have discovered the vehicle by which Dot-Com Flame Out 2.0 will happen. In fact it is already in play. Even NPR has been running stories on this, but not quite nailing it. I wish I could have found a link to the one I listened to last night during the money report. The Wall Street Journal and others have been talking about eye-popping valuations and the various methods of arriving at them.

The valuation which is sticking in my mind is “eyeballs.” Yes, a good many are still buying the bull about the Internet being and advertising ecosystem so they are swallowing this eyeball scam hook-line-and-14-sinkers.

What scam you ask? Why only the newest and easiest non-cash way to raise money. Artificial eyeballs. You’ve all seen it, but you haven’t thought about it. Perhaps you thought “Oh, this is convenient, now I only have to remember one password,” but you didn’t actually think it through.

“What didn’t I think through” you ask?

Sign in using your FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ (okay, there are probably only two Google employees on Google+ so that really doesn’t count.) Many of the Web sites offering this “feature” are new and getting lots of buzz. The official word I got from one of them was they didn’t want to spend their precious startup money developing a login and validation. The dirty little secret is they can lay claim to millions of users the day the site went live even though not a single one of those users has ever been to their site.

Helloooo venture capitalist, have we got eyeballs to sell you.

Once the news of a multi-billion dollar valuation hits the press all of those “skilled” chart lemmings follow the stock over the cliff.

Sucky Farm and Fleet Boots

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to but I’ve been on yet another “Death March” project and only recently came up for air. This story actually began in October. I was actually staying on the family farm and, if the predicted snow turned up, would have a chance to chase some pheasant. It is something I hadn’t had the opportunity to do in years. My old rubber boots were long since past their life.

I hopped on to Sears.com and found a great pair of rubber boots. The local Sears inventory showed they had them in the store. That store, however, is in “the mall.” Gasp! Horror! Don’t go there!!!! You could encounter “Mall Dwellers!”

Thankfully Sears is a brick & click retail operation, despite what the buffoons currently running the company believe. I placed the order. Right after doing that the “projected delivery time” started to weigh on me. The math wasn’t adding up to the boots actually arriving before the morning which was to have a fresh dusting of snow.

After a couple of days, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I made the drive to Blain’s Farm and Fleet. Yes, it is always a zoo in there, but, at least it was not “The Mall.” Note that according to the on-line inventory only Sears, not the Big-K, had the boots I wanted so I couldn’t both avoid “The Mall” and give Sears more business. Given the fact it is completely un-American to buy anything at Wal-mart, I didn’t even bother looking at their site or store.

I should have seen the red flags. I should have just turned around and walked out, but, desperate times . . .

The first red flag was the rubber boot isle looked like a 3 year old had been allowed to play with the boots.

When I finally got done sorting through the various brands, it looked like there were more than half a dozen “pair” in my size. I say “pair” because there was only one actual pair of boots. The rest were boots grouped together in twos but all the same foot. You read that correctly, they were all the same foot.

At the check out counter I asked the little girl “How many one legged customers do you get in a week?” She gave me her best puzzled deer in headlights look and I explained the “pairs” of boots they had. Her response was “That’s odd. Will this be cash?”

Given it is a farm yard I walk across to get to my office I’ve always had the habit of slipping on rubber boots during the fall/early spring to get here, then putting on comfy boat shoes or sneakers to scoot around my office in. These boots didn’t make it to the end of January.

boot_split Take a good look at where these boots split. If this had been the toe or the heel then my bad for treating them rough. These split on top, over the center of the foot. Well, the left foot. The right was fine. Which, I guess, explains why there were so many right boots on the shelf.

The snow didn’t come until after the season so no pheasants where chased.

The boots from Sears have been phenom!

The sloppy part of spring is almost over so rubber boots will only see use on icky days while I’m still here.