If I took a shot for every time someone said the words “bubble,” “boom,” or “bust” at Google’s holiday press party tonight, I would probably be wasted. Fortunately, the drinking game didn’t occur to me until my drive home and Google only served wine and beer anyway.
There were about 100 people at the Mountain View event, including Sergey Brinn and Larry Page, who both seemed eager to escape post haste. Luckily I caught up with them for a quick chat and photo before they left the party for some “real food.” (We only got hors d’oeuvres and sushi served on a surf board.)
I also got to speak briefly with YouTube founder Steve Chen, who is very smiley (who wouldn’t be in his shoes?), and his partner Chad Hurley, who seemed forced to be there.
“So why the Verizon deal?” I asked Hurley.
“I don’t know, it was just a place to start,” he shrugged and then sort of wandered off.
Even though the bigwigs weren’t letting loose at the party, the “corporate communications” folks were understandably enthusiastic. It seems Google has hired something like 500 new PR employees, each as nice as the next but looking rather nervous that they might be asked tough tech questions. Of all the big tech companies, Google’s press department is one of my favorites to work with so I stuck with the holidays for conversational fodder.
But the other journalists and analysts wanted to talk dirty. Are we in a boom or are we in a bubble headed for a bust? Are there too many start ups? And what is that pesky Yahoo up to? I personally lean towards boom over bubble, and that seemed to be the general consensus. For some reason, everyone thinks that we will be more reasonable and level-headed this time around. After all, if we were in the 2000 bubble mentality of limitless spending and optimism, wouldn’t we all have been served “real food?”