I lived the dot-com life. My consulting customer base was every bad idea from Garden.com to BubbaJunk.com. I saw venture investors who were normally smart people throw their money away. I saw hard working employees work nights and weekends, dreaming for the next big IPO.
Well, in Austin it is now apparent that things are beginning to turn around. The first 'major' sign happened last night - the Austin Business Happy Hour returned. And unlike the last 3.5 years - the event was packed. People were optimistic - startups were emerging. Pretty much everyone had jobs and those that didn't have jobs had left on their own. The event was reminiscent of the dot-com days (minus the recruiters).
So, why am I worried? I'm worried for two reasons:
1. The startups that I'm seeing emerge look just as stupid as the ones I saw emerge in 1998.
2. The startups aren't going to get funded by VC's. Entrepreneurs may be quick to forget, but the VC's aren't.
I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but business is still tough. Sure, things are picking up - everyone is doing better, but it is no cake-walk. Sometimes I get the feeling that the startups that are forming right now are based purely on the fact that the smart people that went into hiding (took a job with a big company), just can't stand working in the cube from 9 to 5 anymore and feel the need for speed.
Well, I hope I'm wrong. I enjoyed partying like it was 1999...