Research 2.0

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Powerset as Bubble Indicator?

So all it takes to grab headlines is a bold claim that you are going to be the next Google by providing a better search and have raised $10M?

Powerset has been featured in notable technology blogs and profiled by reporters. Without going into great detail they talk about looking at words in context to get superior search results.

Although I've commented on a few of these blogs already since this situation reminds me so vividly of the Zitel fiasco in 1999 I had to post it here. This was a company also in "stealth mode" that supposedly had a secret powerful technology invented by a PhD in China that could solve the Y2K problem easily in all cases. They promoted the solution (although it didn't exist) and even developed the idea into an trailer-based implementation plan so they could drive their specially-equipped datacenter to parking lots outside of desperate companies who would pay them a ton of money to fix their crisis. The stock zoomed and created many a fool as it turned into a poof and went to zero. We were amazed at how many people took it seriously.

Powerset isn't a public company and it's only going to lose the $10M it has raised so far. But still 22% of a poll being conducted on GigaOM thinks they will "reset Google" in the market.

I'm not sure we are in a real bubble but there is certainly a healthy amount of froth in the market place with respect to valuations. Silicon Valley is probably in bubble mode now but the public markets still seem somewhat grounded. If Powerset gets acquired for anything more than their remaining cash you know we are getting into some trouble...