10 years ago all of us on the Internet were licking our wounds. We had been taken for a crazy ride in which we went from a point in whatever we touch was champagne to whatever we did was shit.

As an entrepreneur that lived through 1998 to 2002 I emerged reasonably well, I sold my shares in Viatel when it was worth $1.2bn, I sold Ya.com for $700 million but did not sell Jazztel when it was worth $5bn because I was its CEO and saw it go down to $700M (now it`s worth $1.4bn). Then I lost $50M in Einsteinet one of the best cloud computing start ups in Europe that was killed by the post bubble era in which financing completely dried out. So as you read this post you will see no bitterness.

But looking back at 2001/2002 I see this time, not as a period in which Internet companies destroyed the financial markets, but as a time in which the financial markets almost destroyed the Internet. It was financiers/analysts who drove those insane valuations up and then down. What should have been a smooth ride on the internet, an era of taking more and more global citizens in its midst, became a crazy ride in which the internet itself gained enormous prestige and was later, for a while, seen as a useless gimmick. Only around 2007 people again realized that the Internet was simply transforming the world economy and was here to stay.

And then came 2008, when the financial industry practically destroyed the world economy. That was when the same financial firms did to the world what they had done to the Internet, inflate it and let it fall like dead weight.

Having been a happy customer of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others I don’t want people to read this post as a rant against financial firms. We need financial firms. But what we don’t need is financial firms to do what they did first to the Internet and then to the overall economy, namely to hype them out of value and sink them hard for no reason. In simple terms what I am advocating has been done before and that is to separate trading from advising. The Chinese Walls in these firms never worked and never will.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Adan on March 24, 2012  · 

Were the markets really to blame? I was in PWM at Morgan Stanley back during the dot.com bubble. You wouldn’t believe how many people opened accounts with us just to get there hands on the hot IPO market. As soon as the offering would hit the secondary market, our clients either dumped the stock because they made a lot of money within seconds or lost money within days. Some stocks would trade at 1,000 times earnings within days of trading on the secondary market. People were willing to pay 1,000 times earnings back then just to get in. Isn’t that ridiculous? Then like most bubbles, people realized that those companies weren’t worth their valuations because they didn’t have any income. In my opinion, you can blame the individual investors all around the world for blowing up the internet IPO and secondary market. The investment banks and financial advisors were just giving them what they wanted –> companies without sufficient income to justify P/E ratios of 100+, and the internet companies weren’t complaining, back then…

3.0 rating

Jose on March 24, 2012  · 

John law was a con artist(he was actually a gambler) that invented fiduciary money:


He also ruined France and created the Mississippi Company’s bubble with the cycle of deception that we use so much today. He was a master, he left people to auto deceive himself, to create the impression that something could be created out of nothing, and then, suddenly, the illusion disappears.

It seems that history repeats itself.

We need financial firms providing a service for society, NOT ruling society to their own benefit, ruining the pension funders and the rest of society in the process. They had become the owners of the world and made a very poor job at it.

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets