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Dvorak Dupes ‘Em Again

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God, I love it when the blogosphere blows up. It keeps my job entertaining. This time, a well-known columnist set some bait, and let the traffic flow. PC Magazine can’t be paying for the insightful commentary, but cranky old men that know how to fire up the A-listers are definitely worth something.

Dvorak Dupes 'Em Agains
Dvorak Dupes ‘Em Agains

Your first clue that there might be a problem with John Dvorak’s column is the first sentence:

Every single person working in the media today who experienced the dot-com bubble in 1999 to 2000 believes that we are going through the exact same process and can expect the exact same results—a bust.

It’s quite a statement to say that the entire, well, veteran, media thinks one way. That would be a first in recorded history, I think, unless Rush Limbaugh’s right about that old "drive-by" liberal media conspiracy machine.

If your spidey-sense didn’t go off after that first sentence, let me give you a hand so you’ll notice it next time.

The last time he stirred them up was with a cranky rant about the iPhone hype. This time the end of the world is the inevitable second dotcom bust. And yet Dvorak is certain it’s going to happen, he can’t pinpoint exactly why:

The current bubble, already called Bubble 2.0 to mock the Web 2.0 moniker, is harder to pin down insofar as a primary destructive theme is concerned.

But he accomplished something else, something his job most likely calls for: he riled up the blogosphere until they were ready to lynch him for saying so. This is where their bread is buttered after all.

My favorite title as well as Dvorak descriptor is from Marshall Kirkpatrick. He says "Cranky Geek and long respected old dude" "isn’t just cranky, he’s cranky and wrong."

That sentiment seems to be the general consensus, but the link-love (hate) may have been worth it. Microsoft’s Don Dodge takes a shot, too:

The real bubble that is bursting here is Dvorak’s influence. John Dvorak was a very influential writer for PC Magazine back in the PC era.He is out of step with the new web innovations, social networking, User Generated Content, widgets, and all the Internet video innovations.

First, I agree that most of the new Web 2.0 social networking startups will fail to gain traction. But that is true of all startups at all points in time…most of them fail. That is the nature of startups.

But perhaps the most convincing is Erin Norlin, at the Defrag Conference blog:

I have yet to see one piece that mentions “bubble 2.0″ in a larger economic context. Scoble’s talking about how John’s got the wrong bubble. Marshall’s slappin’ John down. Lots of folks are piling on. And not one comment has been made about the housing market, sub-prime (and prime) loan problems, 75 dollar oil, a fed that claims to be still leaning toward tightening, private equity bubbles — nothing! Apparently, lesson #1 of “Bubble 2.0″ is that the entire twitter-facebook-youtube-google driven mess lives in complete isolation.

And yet, as she mentions, the economy’s still doing well in spite of it all. But maybe it’s the most convincing argument because it resonates on both a macro level and a gloom and doom level. We love doomsday stories, and have a tendency to stack up the apocalyptic canon just because we feel like it.

Whether or not Dvorak’s full of it – and I think we may find an agreement there, actually – is irrelevant. The cranky and long respected old dude still gets us talking about him, now doesn’t he?

Dvorak Dupes ‘Em Again
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