Anonymous on Sat Apr 21 00:07:51 2001

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "David Mandl" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2000 8:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Tulip-org] The Seventh Myth of Technology Stocks

> On Sun, 3 Dec 2000, geert lovink wrote:
> > [this is a slightly better version of the piece which I posted on
> > nettime yesterday, curious about your response./g]
> >
> > The Seventh Myth of Technology Stocks
> > By Geert Lovink
> Hi Geert--
> This is a subject I'm fascinated by--the way revisionism kicks in at
> times like this, and how it works.  Some random comments:
> During the New Economy mania, almost NOBODY involved in the biz (money
> people, dot-com entrepreneurs, financial journalists) was a nay-sayer.
> Virtually ALL of them made fun of stuffy old guys who wore ties to
> work and people who owned stocks in old-economy companies.  I followed
> this closely for years, in the press and on web sites like the
> (one of the worst offenders).  There's no doubt in my mind
> that when the dust settles, it'll turn out that "no one" was
> responsible, no one really believed that Amazon was worth $600 a
> share, everyone thought allowing dogs into the office was silly, etc.
> Most of all (as you point out), Wall St. will deny that they had
> anything to do with it.  Dot-com mania "just happened" somehow.
> Another line you hear in situations like this is how crazy "we" all
> were.  I remember that at the end of "The Eighties" there was a cover
> story in Spy magazine entitled "WHAT WERE WE THINKING???" or something
> like that.  The gist of it was: "Wow, wasn't that crazy?  Just look at
> all the silly things we all did in The Eighties"--all the horrible
> excesses you'd read about in the papers every day.  I didn't do those
> things (and I actually worked on Wall St.).  No one I knew did those
> things.  This was kind of a cynical ploy to make it look like "we"
> were all swept up in the ridiculous things going on, when actually
> only a certain group of obnoxious people were.  Similarly, the
> official story is that everyone in the seventies was wearing a silly
> powder-blue leisure suit and mood ring, and listening to horrendous
> music.  But in fact, there were a lot of great things going on in the
> seventies, and a lot of fantastic music.
> So here's another way this may play out: Five years from now there'll
> be a mythos of "the nineties" wherein "we" were all day-trading
> knuckleheads; we all thought that the internet was the greatest thing
> since the invention of paper; we all mortgaged our houses to trade net
> stocks; we all started silly businesses where kids sat around and got
> massages and free Coke all day; etc.
> One of the things that pissed me off the most about dot-com mania was
> the snotty journalists and New Economy "investors" who made fun of
> people who were too old, cautious, or square to be among the hipsters.
> This was a pretty ugly phenomenon.  I remember reading a sneering
> article on a financial web site where their goatee-wearing west-coast
> correspondent attended a financial seminar for "senior citizens" and
> made fun of how feeble and silly they were, and of course the fact
> that they all owned utility stocks and the like.  I hope this guy lost
> millions.  (Actually, if he owned stock in his employer's company, he
> did.)  The same guy also came out in defense of the misleading ad
> campaigns of the various online trading firms when those were under
> attack.
> I remember that when the Tulipomania conference was being organized I
> considered doing a (semi-ironic) talk in praise of old-style
> capitalists.  (But it would have been much too controversial, and too
> many people would have missed the point.)  In fact, I've got to say
> that I have a lot of respect for people like Warren Buffett, who
> withstood the most amazing torrent of abuse, ridicule, and pressure
> over the past couple of years and ended up being one of the few
> investors in the world who survived.  It was an amazing spectacle to
> watch.  No, I won't attempt to defend the third-richest man in the
> world, but I must admit that I have tremendous respect for him just
> for his sheer discipline and self-confidence, and his ultra-analog,
> old-world, no-bullshit style.  What can I say?
>    --D.
> --
> Dave Mandl

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