IA Ventures’ Justin Singer: It’s All Humanity’s Fault We Can’t Avoid a Tech Bubble


Justin Singer, a VC at IA Ventures in New York, has stepped into the ongoing debate between whether we’re all extras in Dotcom Bubble: The Redux or merely in the middle of  “a blubble,” which Michael Arrington loosely defines as that irrepressible whining sound perpetuated by early stage VCs and angels and regurgitated by the press. (We guess that makes Mr. Arrington  part of the press since a month later he took most of it back.) Now, in a post on his Tumblr, Trying and trying again, Mr. Singer predicts a tech bubble will happen in the next 15 years. It would be easy to lump it into our bubble watch, if Mr. Singer’s prediction wasn’t accompanied by a rather alarming graph  . . . and blame an leading indicator that’s unlikely to change: human instinct.

Unless in the last 15 years we’ve managed to outgrow our humanity, there will be a tech bubble. Of course, it will be fueled by technological and economic factors (ubiquitous connectivity, low interest rates, foundational FOSS), but it will be motivated by human instinct. We will herd. We will follow. We will discount downside risk in favor of upside potential. We will focus on the positive and ignore the negative. We will see others grabbing cash or the promise thereof and we will run that way with ever increasing glee, all while repeating to ourselves the four most dangerous words in finance: this time is different. We will do these things because that’s what we’ve always done, each time shouting that some emerging dynamic will make it work this time around. The problem isn’t the technology or the economics—they likely are better, faster and stronger than last time—the problem is us. We don’t change, not even when the bubbles burst and we run away in panic. In time, we just reach down and invoke another instinct—resilience—and we do it all over again.

Resilience, optimism, herding, fear; that’s what makes a bubble. Everything else is details.

Any start-ups out there with a game-changing technology that helps disrupt human nature, we have a feeling you could score some funding and a pretty sweet valuation.