Years ago, when the dot com boom was blossoming, IFO confidently declared that government was irrelevant.
She had been covering government news in previous decades and had grown discouraged with the totalitarian tendencies even at the most local level, not to speak of the state level. Land use planning, building fees and regulations, environmental protection, garbage and landfill management – all led to the need for larger and larger private sector entities to deal with these developments.
Things looked bad for freedom and prosperity… until the Internet bloomed. By then, we had switched emphasis in our own career and were concentrating strictly on business news. As a result, we got the coolest gig we’d ever had – covering high-tech, venture-funded companies in our entire state.
There was sort of a 1920s feel to the era – big parties put on by high tech business associations and recently-funded young companies. Gourmet snacks, fine wines, live music and exciting speakers from the creative world of advertising, art and animation, in the city. In the Spartan high-tech suburban area, pizza parties with soda pop and speakers from engineering and coding.
One memorable debate in the suburb occurred between Microsoft operating systems and Linux. The cultural divide was stunning – MS coders: clean-shaven, well-dressed (not suits like IBM, but still…) and dead serious v. Linux creators: scruffy, sleep-deprived and happily passionate.
As the era progressed, we hardly saw the deadening hand of government anywhere. “Government is dead!” we proclaimed to DDH, who couldn’t believe our naivete.
As the boom turned into a bubble, and the frenzy intensified, we began to cover meetings between Venture Capitalists and government officials discussing “private-public partnerships,” whereby the state pension fund could set up a VC fund consisting of pension money plus private investor money. We covered other meetings where VCs and established high-tech companies pleaded with Big Education to raise their academic standards and Big Ed responded, “Get us more money!”
When the Bubble burst, our news company went BK and we slept for three solid weeks, recovering from the excitement, intensity and hard work we had enjoyed for 18 months.
1. When you are making lots of money, save half of every dollar you make. You may end up making $ 0.00 for a while.
2. Learn to recognize signs of a bubble.
3. Don’t fall for the hype.