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This Isn't a Tech Bubble - Here is Why

By Barbara Saxby / Mar 31, 2017 /

Industry Trends

I am a huge fan of this man, MR Rangaswami, for his leadership and contributions to the software industry and also for the wonderful human being he is. He wrote this blog post and I wanted to share it as there are some great insights here about technology and market trends.  You can also read the article on the Sandhill.com. website and I suggest you subcscribe to the newsletter too.  The blog post begins below.

Veterans like me have seen the cycle: hype, rise, crash, rebuild. Given historic patterns, the technology market “bubble” should have burst by now. 

It hasn’t. 

That’s because this isn’t a bubble. And it’s not a “Trump rally” either. We’re building a strong foundation for continued tech market growth that should sustain the cycle for a couple of decades.  Here’s why.

1. Multiple Technologies

The dot-com bubble burst because it was created on a single technological phenomenon: The Internet. Big companies scrambled to exploit their new connectivity but there were few – if any – new business models supporting the crop of new companies that hatched to deliver this capability.

Today is different. You have a new set of innovations emerging that are disrupting just about every industry: artificial intelligence/machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise mobility, robotics, cloud-based enterprise systems, autonomous vehicles, clean technologies and more. Each technology has its own set of investors, players and revolutionary business models. Though some still scramble for revenue, the fundamentals are there. Each trend serves as an additional brick in the tech market foundation – and their synthesis makes the entire structure more durable.

2. Global Scale

Dot-com revenues were largely based on reaching “eyeballs.”  Yet in the 1990s, there were only about 200-300 million pairs of “eyeballs” online around the world. In the decades since, we’ve seen the advent of smart phones, tablets, IoT and other devices drive the number of Internet “users” into the billions: Upwards of 3 billion humans today and tens of billions of devices in the next few years. Tech firms and investors understand that with global scale comes global potential – something exponentially greater than possible during the dot-com days. Now new technologies like IoT and new models like the sharing economy show genuine potential to disrupt traditional market ecosystems.

3. Innovation Investment

Private equity firms and venture funds raised an impressive $319 billion in 2017. Add to that an estimated $875 billion in their leftover cash reserves in funds worldwide, and the trillions in cash held by major tech players like Apple, Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Oracle and you’ve got a recipe for continued growth in tech deal activity for several years to come. The vast majority of this money will flow to innovation-driven players – but not just any players, anymore. The pace of deal making has slowed to enable better due diligence and fewer hype-centric decisions.

Yes, some valuations are sky high; some ideas are crazy; some frenzy is hoping for Trump business-friendly moves; and, some “popping” of “mini bubbles” is inevitable. But the combination of these three trends leads this “old guy” to believe we aren’t looking at a bubble. What we’re seeing is a sign that analysts need to christen the technology market with a more deserved moniker – one that recognizes its diverse, global foundation and continued potential for innovation and growth.

Now, about that name… What should it be?  Tell me your ideas in the comments here 

M.R. Rangaswami is co-founder of Sand Hill Group and publisher of SandHill.com.

About SandHill.com

SandHill.com is the business strategy destination for software firms, customers and investors, especially in cloud, mobile, Internet of Things and big data software.  Ir provides a wealth of unique, high-quality articles and reports with actionable advice and insights on software trends and products. Along with interviews of software leaders and experts, SandHill’s content is contributed by top executives who share their personal or company’s experience and insights. SandHill.com was founded in 1997 and has grown with the software industry. As it grew from a small cottage industry to a gigantic game-changing enabler in enterprise businesses, we’ve kept our readers informed through the changes from the old mainframe days to the client-server era and now to the future with cloud, mobile, big data and the Internet of Things.

About Accelent Consulting

Founded in 2001 by Barbara Angius Saxby, Accelent Consulting combines strategic Marketing & Sales leadership, with technology expertise and execution support to accelerate revenue growth and improve marketing effectiveness. We drive business results from the top of the funnel to the bottom line – while helping organizations become more digitally agile to better deliver customer value. Accelent serves a range of companies from startups to blue chips in several verticals with consultants based in the US and Europe. We work on a project, retainer, or interim management basis and serve as your outsourced team help you accelerate projects or programs and quickly scale your resources, up or down, as the business demands. For more information, visit our Website or email us.          


Written by Barbara Saxby

Barbara is a senior executive with 25 years experience in strategic marketing, management, and international business development. For the past sixteen she has provided interim VPM/CMO leadership to accelerate growth and improve marketing effectiveness. Barbara is a recognized thought leader in how to build strategies and leverage technology to improve Digital Agility. As Managing Director for Accelent, she consults with clients, builds the team, scopes projects, and drives global business development.