Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday in Silicon Valley

You can feel the excitement in the air. It was a crisp, cool and sunny day, and the excitement was palpable. Primary day is really big this time around. My son, who turned 18 last year, called home from UC Davis to find out our election views. It is a big day for him and many of his classmates who are voting for the first time. Though the Clintons visited UC Davis recently, the youth vote seems to be leaning in Obama's direction. Needless to say, California will have a big impact on the primary outcome. Its good to see the youth taking a serious interest in politics and the country's direction.

Regardless of who wins in the Democratic or Republican primary the outlook for technology support in the new White House seems to be strong. Who knows, we may see a resurgence of a technology boom in Web 2.0+ or clean technology. There seems to be strong support in both parties to re-energize the country by pushing for clean technology growth.

Speaking of Web 2.0, I have been getting a lot of questions recently on whether to NotchUp or not. NotchUp, of course, is the latest social networking/career development website which enables you to earn money to interview with companies. What's more, someone who refers you to NotchUp earns money on your earnings. Sound familiar ?

I have received several invitations to join the site and even more questions about whether one should join the site. The early reviews have been mixed. Here is a positive take on it, which is outnumbered by the negative takes on it. BusinessWeek has an even handed column on it. They note the spat brewing between LinkedIn and Notchup after NotchUp enabled quick connect to LinkedIn connections. However that turns out, NotchUp has attracted a lot of attention to itself very quickly and that in turn, attracts VCs and money. They seem to be using the tried and tested adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity :-) Life at a Silicon Valley startup is never dull :-)

Of course, the biggest news in Silicon Valley in the last week is the Microsoft bid for Yahoo last Friday and its impact on Google. Google stock took a dive on Friday, but is trending back up. The Mercury News has extensive coverage on the bid and one theory definitely seems to be that Microsoft wants more of a piece of the Valley action. Of course, they have had a relatively small Valley presence for a long time and have made some acquisitions over time, but this is a big one by any standards.

Much as we might want to think that its all about Valley technology and people :-), this appears motivated purely by ad dollars and Google competition, as Google probably realizes. There are interesting rumors that Google may counterbid or form an alliance with Yahoo and that Microsoft may raise the bid. We'll see how those turn out. The semiconductor industry took a while to get into a major acquisition and consolidation mode. The Internet business is relatively recent, if we take Netscape as the starting point in 1994. Perhaps, this is a sign that the rate of change of technology growth is accelerating.


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