Spent a whirlwind couple days of meetings, pitches and late night drinking. Refreshingly, nobody ever asked ‘is this a bubble!’. This is an industry too busy making real cash to bother with such highbrow self reflection. Btw, when ‘industry’ means leadgen which seems to be all adtech is about.
I ran into three companies in one night who had all just sold, including my brilliant ADD aflicted friend richard whose company just got bought for between $120m and $200m (very hard to pinpoint as everyone has earnouts to keep them earning).
I have to admit that I’m fascinated with these businesses and mostly unable to get how they’re so profitable. But I guess that’s just my brain poisoned by time spent studying business instead of just doing biz.
Also noteworthy that these titans and braintrusters are all under 30. The founder and ceo of one company, revenue.net, is apparently 26 and been at it for five years! Wow, it took me till 29 to even start being an entrepreneur.
These kids are smart and remarkably nice guys, esp in their willingness to patiently explain it all to me.
Also of note, I saw two vc’s in the entire conf and none for the late night drinking! (If only I weren’t such a lghtweight:)
While this is a business run by the kids, there also seemed to be a feeling in the air that the end of the big secret was nearing, that the adults and mba’s were coming in the form of buying and consolidating, a sense of living on borrowed time, which surely was a motivator to squeeze in one more big night out. Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.