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Editor's Note: Enjoy The Good Times, Without The 'B' Word

It was only a matter of time before someone said it out loud. Even then, it was said in a joking-but-hope-filled-yet-cynical kind of way. But now, more people are starting to say it, even if they aren't sure they really believe it.
It was only a matter of time before someone said it out loud. Even then, it was said in a joking-but-hope-filled-yet-cynical kind of way. But now, more people are starting to say it, even if they aren't sure they really believe it. It's one of those things that, depending on who you are and what you were doing at the time, will give you feelings of immense glee or will make the knots that have been in your stomach for years tighten even more. OK, I'll say it out loud. It's starting to feel a lot like 1997. That's a sentiment that was shared in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago as some of the industry's biggest newcomers and old-timers mixed, mingled, negotiated, invested, defended, and debated the future of the Web at an event in San Francisco. It's a feeling that arose as Sun Microsystems and Google buddied up in Mountain View and as Yahoo set up shop in Berkeley. As Aaron Ricadela and Thomas Claburn report this week, "there's a feeling of confidence that Web companies could be about to become rich, and without having to make some sort of a deal with Microsoft to get there."

The sentiment has been brewing for a while thanks to a dizzying stream of innovative products and plans coming from Google, the flow of cash from venture-capital firms into interesting start-ups, and the convergence of media on devices that are oh-so-small, sleek, and cool. (Video on an iPod? Pretty soon we'll wonder how we got along this long without one!) It's witness to the fact that business models of yesterday feel rigid and overly complex and that communication and collaboration are changing so quickly that you'd better not blink too much.

So, go ahead, say it. It feels a lot like 1997 again, when the market was exciting, fast-paced, and, well, there were mega-doses of hype. Just don't say the B word. Because as good as the late-'90s bubble felt for many companies, it's better that we just celebrate innovation, encourage risk taking, reward the bright ideas, and not let it get out of control and lead to a big, messy pop.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-In-Chief
[email protected]



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