I’d been expecting – or should that be suspecting – it for some time but we finally do appear to be in the grip of an Internet Boom to match the real world bust. When Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars – it was back to the good old days of 12 or 15 years ago when money flowed like water and barely a day passed without some new high point in purchases, sales and IPO prices.
So, here we go again. On a professional level, this purchase doesn’t make much of a difference to the IT world that I inhabit these days. Much of my work is IT ‘gruntsmanship’ where I’m more worried about referential integrity in a database than I am about making my picture of my cat look ‘interesting’. Of course, Facebook’s real intention in buying Instagram is probably two-fold – get a chunk of technology that can help them leverage their way in to a more viable mobile presence, and get a potential (albeit relatively small at the moment) competitor out of the picture. There’s nothing new with this approach – Microosft and Google have both adopted similar approaches at different times in their history. It’s very much part of the tech playbook. The sheer size of the deal seems a little crazy and what makes me think ‘bubble’ – a billion dollars in one form or another for a glorified set of Photoshop filters? Come on….
I’m afraid that I just don’t ‘get’ Instagram – it reminds me too much of the very early days or Desktop Publishing, when everyone went crazy with fonts and created documents that didn’t educate, entertain or inform but simply screamed ‘The bod who wrote me has a new Desktop Publishing Package.’ Lots of photos, all looking the same…so much for creativity.
So, we’ll see what happens next. The Facebook IPO will be the ‘market maker’ for this new boom, and will also probably flag the high water mark. On a personal note, I’d like to make soem money out of this boom having missed out on the previous two – I’m a cheap date, have good ideas and am known to work for peanuts – anyone wanting to give me money, I also have some old rope in the garage…