Are we in a Tech Bubble??

financialOne way to recognize a bubble is when people are denying they are in one. The fact that people are asking means that the film around the bubble may be getting thin.

There is a pretty compelling case to say we’re not in a tech bubble.

Though some view of the financial market health as a whole as questionable.

It is interesting that when doing a quick search related to financial bubbles, articles pop up multiple times a year from some pretty reliable sources (like the WSJ, MarketWatch). So people must be asking about the issue all the time.

Eventually though it does get down to if I could reliably predict a bubble, I wouldn’t be blogging.

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The shepherd, their flock and leadership

sheep and shepherdOne of the areas I generally talk about is the value of diversity. Diversity of perspective, experience, and expertise… are all contributors to the rapid creation of innovative solutions. This is based in the value of the individual.

In a discussion about teams with someone, he pointed out that teams are about leadership and common goals, not about the differences. His example was a flock of sheep. Its value is not the differentiation of its members but the strength in numbers, unity and action.

But the sheep don’t choose the shepherd the shepherd chooses the sheep. That is where leadership (and interviewing for that matter) comes into play – shaping where the herd is going.

Granted all models are wrong, but some are useful. This whole view of life I found thought provoking. We need to look at problems and issues from many perspectives and actively choose our path and not just get carried along with the herd — unless we’re all going to the same place.

This is true in the financial markets (and how stocks are valued) as well as organizations and life.

Service Innovations over time…

SaaSI was in an exchange with Jim Spohrer (of IBM) the other day about Service innovations and he gave me the following lists dealing with service innovations:

Top Ten Service Innovations in all of History
1. Division of Labor – an entity gets to do more of what they do best, and less of what they do less well
2. Cities – local concentration of division of labor, including security and protection
3. Writing – allows communications over distance and time
4. Written Laws – brings more objectivity into governance and justice
5. Money – brings efficiency into exchange transactions
6. Universities – local concentration of division of knowledge, including preparation of next generation
7. Democracy – collective decision making via voting (citizen -> decision)
8. Republics – two stage collective decision making via voting (citizen -> representative -> decision)
9. Checks – safer than carrying paper money
10. Banks – safe storage of money, and compound interest/loans

Top Ten Service Innovations of Last 100 years

1. Universal Education – increases capability of population, and allows more complex problem solving
2. Universal Service – even rural people can communicate, and have right to communicate efficiently
3. Rural Electrification – even rural people can have lighting and access to modern appliances
4. Credit Cards – convenience and safety
5. Loyalty Programs – incentives for usage
6. Franchises – standard service in multiple places
7. FedEx – overnight package delivery
8. Automobile Transportation – systems of filling stations, roads, laws
9. Internet & Worldwide Web – access to information
10.  Wireless Communication Networks – Radio & Television – conquest of distance and access to service

Top Ten Service Innovations of Last 10 years
(or so)
1. Amazon – market for books and things
2. eBay – market for personal stuff
3. iTunes – market for music
4. Etsy – market for home made things
5. Uber – market for rides
6. AirBnB – market for rooms
7. Smart Phones & App Economy – access to information, communications, and other mobile services, including cognitive assistants
8. MOOCs – massively open on-line courses to augment education
9.  Mutual funds – finance investments that provide benefits of diverse portfolios
10. Global IT-enabled Outsourcing – division of labor between nations and large corporations

I’d add 3D printing to this list myself, but that may be just me.

Top Ten Service Innovations that broke out in 2014
1. TransferWise – lower transaction cost of transferring money
2. Coinbase – bitcoin digital wallet
3. Apple Pay – easier to pay money out
4. Lending Club – easier method to get investments in and out (founded in 2006)
5. Quirky – inventor community (started in 2009)
6. Bill.com – small business pay bills better (started in 2008)
7. Betterment.com (investment personal assistant)
8. Kickstarter – crowd funding (I think this actually started in 2009)
9.  Amazon Echo (home assistant)
10. Google Nest (home assistant) (actually the first Nest appears to be released in 2011)

Some things to think about…
What would be on your list? What should make the list for 2015? Do these innovations have anything in common?