Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's The Economy - and It's Not Stupid!

Back in the Roaring '90's, for every straight-up software developer there were at least five who specialized in vaporware - "it's in the pipeline," "we launch v2.2 before Christmas," "our developers are just finishing the final testing phase." Ah, those were the days - IPO's fueled by pure rocket, uh, vapor. Looked fast, demoed hot, and always run by some man behind a curtain. Funny thing was, many of those demo's happened on Wall Street. What's funny about that, you ask?

Think about it for a second - if you were some hot-shot speculator, looking for software that would give you a leg up on the competition, you were attending as many demos as you could - and just as many software companies were featuring software products aimed right at that specific demographic. Hey - that was clearly where the money was. Remember what John Dillinger said about banks? Same deal here. So Speculator Dude sits through countless demos, eventually either figures out the vaporware angle on his own (remember, these Dudes are pretty smart - dangerous, but pretty smart), or he hears one of the sales demo folks drop the word when they think they are out of earshot - software sales folks are not as smart as the Spec Dudes, and have an even worse propensity to brag - trips 'em up every time! (Always remember to check to see if you really turned off that mike, right?)

So Spec Dude starts the wheels turning, spills the phrase over a ten-martini blowout after his latest Big Buy, and the word catapults across the Spec Dude Landscape faster than a bank failure, and Voila! - derivatives are born! Pretty soon, some other Spec Dude comes up with credit default swaps, and before the '90's are over, vaporware has taken over the Street, then the Big Banks, and pretty soon, everybody wants some. It's like rocket fuel laced with heroin - the entire world goes bat-shit crazy, hot and hooked, and P.T. Barnum is once again proven the most prescient human being since Nostradamus (who was hooked on mercury, apparently, which explains, no - that's another story.)

So, here we are, significantly poorer, up to our third-eye in debt, a real fight between the 99% and the Mitt Romney Special Olympic Relay Run for the Really Freakin' Rich for who gets to run the show, and all anyone seems interested in is how freakin' much money Facebook just sucked out of the Spec Dude's pockets. Which is just going to flow right back in again anyway, so what exactly was the point? Look, Zuck is getting richer, world debt crisis averted!! Er, nope, sorry. Just more vaporware, people, move along now, just another train wreck, move along. Twenty-plus years of this malarkey, and people still don't get it. No surprise, one supposes - nearly every state has a lottery, or poor houses, er, casinos, and they ALL have banks (John Dillinger was just on the wrong side of the ATM, that's all.) And the Far Wrong has been just as swift to capitalize on the vaporware trend - if you tell a lie long enough, and with endless spin to keep everyone spinning along with Mitt, pretty soon, "it must be the truth." George Orwell should be proud.


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