Monday, January 21, 2008

Crunch Time

Concurrent with the "Mundane" art opening in the Veterans Building on Friday evening, a group of very prosperous looking young people were milling about the lobby in front of the Herbst Theatre.

They were there for the first annual "Crunchies" awards given to the best start-up companies by a website about tech start-ups called TechCrunch (click here).

This felt to me like a rather ominous moment for San Francisco, reminding me of Miss Tiffany whatever-her-name-was starting the Webbie Awards back during the Web 1.0 gold rush days, when San Francisco was filling up with arrogant young marketing people, along with the human flotsam and jetsam that is attracted to the possibility of instant wealth.

You don't need to be Nostradamus to realize it's happening all over again in the San Francisco Bay Area, with apartment rents suddenly rising astronomically along with billions of dollars in venture capital flowing in from all over the world (click here for a short Chronicle story confirming just that).

After the Web 1.0 dot-com crash in 2001, thousands of people were ruined and went back where they came from, which was mostly New York City, but many of the real brainiacs who had created the wealth in the first place stayed and continued working in peace away from the market hysteria.

Meanwhile, the rest of the United States economy is about to go into a serious toilet because you can only throw away trillions of dollars of the country's resources to war criminals like Blackwater and Halliburton and Lockheed and General Electric without a few economic repercussions.

Plus, you don't need to be a genius economist to realize that a consumer economy like the United States is going to come to a grinding halt if all the money is in the hands of the wealthy few and not in the hands of the consumers, many of whom were playing the real estate musical houses game, which suddenly stopped last year.

So fasten your seatbelts in your Tesla electric car roadster. It's going to be a very bumpy ride.


Matthew Hubbard said...

Nice post, Mike. I worked in the computer game industry back in the early 1980's, so I saw several booms and busts over the last 25+ years. I think you are right about how this has to end, which is of course in tears.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year when the forced consumerism machine makes it necessary to by an HDTV or one that is compatible. I wonder how many people will decide to get off the TV addiction and just say "Fuck it!"

zoo said...

i like the sports car, very nice
hey i found this online
for when a post on the elections?

Nancy Ewart said...

I agree with Matty Boy - nice post about the scary coming debacle. I am not looking forward to the melt down and I'm not very optimistic about the eventual outcome. Sometimes the life of a hermit sounds like a very good thing but then, who will look at my art -- not that many people look at it right now - but hope springs eternal, etc. I got off the consumer treadmill some time ago but, let's face it, who knows what the economy will do when everybody is forced into (in)voluntary simplicity.

Ron said...

Mike, Very insightful blog. The "coming debacle" is already here. Rents are rising at a ridiculous rate even as we speak. Those who are forced to move for any reason right now may, like us, find that their next move will be out of the area. It's very sad. You may be our eyes and ears for the SF Opera, Symphony and arts communities in the future. Keep up the good work.