Is it Main Street or the Elite Fueling Tech Right Now?

kicking a dead horse Is it Main Street or the Elite Fueling Tech Right Now?Let’s keep kicking this horse in the hopes it will get up and give us a lift to the nearest internet cafe. The New York Times features a debate from talking heads today on the tech bubble, lack thereof, or particular taxidermy.

“So the little guy doesn’t get the chance to be as foolish as the financial wizards this time around,” declares Silicon Valley forecaster Paul Saffo. “But we had all better hope that the current crop of frothy companies actually grow into their valuations and this bubble gently disappears. Even though ordinary investors have been locked out of the game, should this bubble burst, the financial elites will most certainly find a way to shift the consequences of their folly onto the rest of us.”

Not so fast says Heidi Moore. What about the financial giants putting regular folks in the game. “Mutual fund mainstays like Fidelity and T. Rowe Price are trying to buy pre-I.P.O. shares of Facebook and Twitter, among other companies. Facebook and Twitter aren’t yet public, which means they don’t disclose their financial statements and haven’t agreed to the same restrictions that the Securities and Exchange Commission puts on public companies. When you have mutual funds serving regular investors putting that money into companies that aren’t transparent, it surely starts to look like a bubblicious frenzy.”

The word from the ivory tower is that last time around, folks were too focused on building companies. “During the last 10 years, the advice was clear: focus on building the company and avoid hype. Now that advice has changed, writes Stanford prof and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank. “While you still need to focus on customers for your product, you and your company now need to be everywhere and look larger than life. how and talk at conferences, be on lots of blogs, use social networks and build a brand. In the new bubble, P.R. may be your new best friend, so invest in it.”

Fred Wilson would not be pleased.