The first line in town idiot Thomas Friedman's latest column is maybe the most stupid part: "The most striking thing about visiting Silicon Valley these days is how many creative ideas you can hear in just 48 hours." These are exciting times, and our nation's foremost public intellectual blowhard is on it.
Parody routines like this are usually a bad idea outside of talent shows for kids, but what's the Valley life for if not perpetuating childhoods? Making money, of course—and what better source material than the anti-materialism anthem "Royals"?
You can assume any given startup has a very good chance of dying. Maybe it's a bad idea—maybe it's a good idea with too much competition. But that doesn't stop everyone from trying, and trying, and now there are so many surplus startup ideas, there's a website dedicating to selling them at liquidation prices.
One of life's grand injustices is that it's very hard to come up with an idea that's both original and good. Even harder to make money from it! But that's not stopping anyone from trying to cash in with a half-baked version of someone else's startup. Uber for nose jobs. Pandora for plants. Silicon Valley has a serious imagination problem.
You don't know Roger Dickey's name, but you know his creation: Mafia Wars, that incredibly popular, spammy hybrid of virus and videogame once played by millions, that polluted your Facebook feed some years back. Now, he's got a new project on the way—a vague "dating coach" service—and it's already annoying people: its own employees.
Union Square Ventures chief Fred Wilson has some big notches on his bedpost: Tumblr, Twitter, and Zynga (cough). But if you look at USV's portfolio page, you'll see a lot of chaff. Bad ideas that will probably go nowhere. This is the case with most VC firms. But unlike most investors, Wilson actually tries to chase down laughable ideas. Suddenly it all makes sense.