Why This Bubble Is Completely Different

by Dan Robles on 07/08/2011

I had a discussion with one of my partners that we need 2.5 million users and Social Flights will manage itself.  The partner said, “You mean 2.5 million dollars”.

No, I said, “I need 2.5 million users”.

The partner said tersely, “No, I really think that you need dollars.”

Again, I replied, “I need users…. “

This went on for a while until we both got it: The value of Social Flights is contained within the users, not within the dollars. After that, the conversation could progress in a meaningful way, priorities found their place, and the teams found their roles – including the investors.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

Financial analysts are aghast at the magnificent valuations that social media applications are delivering; P/E ratios of 1000, valuations of 100 dollars per member, billions of dollars per billion time hours in game play – these are not the ratios that they teach in B-school.  Is this crazy or does it make perfect sense?

The Great Rapture

While highly unlikely, suppose the Almighty Father called upon all good and pious dollars to ascend unto heaven in a glorious rapture of currency – on a single day, all money disappears from the face of the Earth.  What would be left?  What happens next?

At least for a little while, I’ll still be sitting in this café typing a blog post.  The value of the education and social network of the person who I will be meeting for lunch will still be intact.  The value of the roads, bridges, schools, and highways would remain intact.  The value to teachers, firefighters, and doctors will remain.  The sun will shine and gravity will continue to act on matter.  The money may go, but a LOT of value remains.

No Such Thing As Free Lunch

Of course, things will quickly devolve when I tell the café owner that I can’t pay for lunch because my money has been raptured. Of course that would seem like a relatively minor problem given the fact that their money has been raptured too.  In fact, so has their supplier’s money, and their Bank’s money.  Obviously, there can’t be a bail out because the government has no money either.

Each of us would probably stare at each other for a few minutes until somebody asks the other, “well, then, what do you have that I can use?”  Once that conversation is exhausted, we’ll move on to  “Who do you know that has something that I can use?” Etc.

The mother of all hedge funds

If this were a game, the person that knows lots of people who do useful things would stand a greater chance of being served lunch than someone who is isolated and disliked – no matter how much money they once had before the rapture.  Likewise, if you have a lot of money, what “Bank” would you put it in?  What “Stock” would you buy?

This bubble is different.

It may be that the dollar is in a bubble and the true value of our economy is stored and exchanged in communities of people enabled by social media.  Those magnificent valuations in social media companies may actually reflect true value and act like a huge hedge fund on currency in the absence of any other plausible financial instrument.

As our noble politicians continue to play their game of chicken with the productivity of honest, educated, and productive Americans, they fail to see the polarity shifting away from money and into “true value”.

The value is in the people, not in the dollars. now we can have a different conversation about how to manage ourselves.

{ 1 comment }

John Maloney July 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hi – After the ‘cash rapture’ fiscal localism takes over —


The principle of social business models is rooted in distributism — where the ownership of the means of production is spread as widely as possible among the general population. In short, as the saying goes,

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists!”
– G.K. Chesterton

New social media fortunes will be made by allowing users to own their information, aka, the means of production.

Currentlly, the walled-castles of social media destination sites like Facebook where they own the information will fail with confidence. It won’t be long before social network applications like Facebook and Google+ go the way of Compuserve, AOL, Friendster, etc.

For lasting markets and prosperity, users most own their information through social media architectures NOT applications. Social Flights is a excellent case-in-point.


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