Tech-bubble-talk on repeat

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy. I started a new job two weeks ago and I still have class three evenings per week. The job is great, though. I’m a research associate at a pretty cool market research firm here in the D.C. area. My coworkers and assignment are quite engaging.

I did find time to write a piece for Enhancing Capital last week. It’s on the “tech bubble” (or lack thereof, in my opinion). Mostly, talk about the tech bubble has been based on impulsive reactions to sky-high valuations of tech startups. The old guard just can’t seem to bring themselves to believe these companies actually add amazing value to users of their products. Airbnb and Uber come to mind.

On one hand, this incredulity is understandable. These companies often have just a few dozen employees. Their products are little games and buttons that live on a little 5.1″ handheld display. Isn’t a $1 billion valuation a little high?

But on the other hand, apps these days are becoming quite sophisticated, yet simultaneously easier to use for the average person. And they’re not just fun and games. Apps like Airbnb and Uber bring the physical and digital worlds together in ways that make life easier for everyone. They solve problems we didn’t know we had in ways that add real, dollars-and-cents value to our wallets.

On a somewhat related note, I guarantee you kids in twenty years won’t believe we used to hail cabs by walking down to the sidewalk and flailing our arms around hoping a driver would see us.

My new piece, and a pet peeve

I have a new piece out at Enhancing Capital. Topic is booming stock markets and how to explain record-highs.

On a related note, one thing that’s frustrated me lately is people’s willingness to ignore good news when it comes from the “wrong” source. Booming financial markets, for example, are happening. Perhaps you think the recovery is all “phony” or whatever, but that doesn’t change the fact that stocks have performed remarkably well over the past five years. Those who insist this is all a facade and refuse to buy in are only hurting themselves.

“But the country just can’t be doing well as long as Obama is in office, right? I mean, he’s got all the wrong ideas! He’s “fundamentally changing” (or whatever) the United States!”

Again, even if that is true, it doesn’t mean we haven’t had six years of strong recovery, or that major economic indicators aren’t looking better and better with each passing quarter. Good things can happen even with the “wrong” people in power.

Don’t let your politics get in the way of your financial success. You can still criticize Obama and the actions of economic/monetary policymakers while taking advantage of the booming stock market. And yes, you can even believe things are worse than they would be if policymakers had taken another path while still believing that markets are strong.

Same goes for your personal life. Don’t ignore good ideas coming from people you don’t like, or from people who’ve had only bad ideas in the past. And don’t let the source of your information determine how you are going to use it. Weigh everything on its own merits and look out for your own interests. Don’t waste your energies spiting others or refusing to grant legitimacy to an idea you had rejected in the past. Rise above all that. You’ll be better off for it.