The end of every recession is the beginning of a new bubble. The 1993 recession ended in a great internet bull run and the end of 2002 recession started a phenomenal run in the finance and mortgage markets. Now that we are coming out of the second worst recession of the century, what will it result in? I am no economist but a passionate follower of markets with a deep interest in economics. My layman economist instincts raise their “bubble” antennas when I hear one concept all around and multiple times. During the internet bubble, we turned everything from luxury to dirt into dot com. Media, housewives, barbers, and even my grandma were talking about how internet will revolutionize our lives and when the Yahoo stock would double again. Fast forward a decade, everybody was talking about reverse mortgage, ARM and how much their house prices appreciated overnight. These are sure telltale signs of something bubbling. Time is just ripe for the next bubble, but what is it? I think it is “Innovation.”
In past few months, I have been hearing about innovation in every context – work, home, gas station, trains, roads and even home cleaning stuff! Media is also getting on to this bandwagon big time. Innovation is consistently among the most chattered theme on Twitter. In the last three weeks, I have received invitations to at least four online dailies focused on innovation. Even president Obama talked about innovation in his recent state of the union address! Maybe it is only me who is not getting it but what happened recently that we are so worried about the lack of innovation all around. Weren’t we always innovating? The great American economy is built on entrepreneurship and innovation. Industrial revolution, semiconductors, software, internet, financial instruments – aren’t these great examples of innovation? Small businesses and smart entrepreneurs were always finding better ways of doing things. I understand that our primary education level has deteriorated but American universities have been continuously investing and thriving in R&D.
I love talking about what’s next for American economy at cocktail parties and during pseudo intellectual conversations. Everybody is looking for an ignition that will again jump start the economy engine. Maybe we have invented one in innovation. The next thing we know many billion dollars will start flowing into nonsensical business models having “innovation” as the middle name. Smart people will find a way to ride this wave once again. I hope my instinct is wrong but either way it will be a learning. For now I will sit back, relax and see this story unfold. Or maybe I should also try to commercialize my “innovation” in finding the quickest route to the train station every morning.
Happy Innovation folks!