In the technology world, no question comes up more frequently these days than “Are we in a bubble?” And while it’s not up to us at CNBC to answer that question, we do sometimes happen upon little nuggets—data, anecdotes, tweets and the occasional wild party that can possibly help others make their own assessments. When we do, we’ll share them in a little column we’re calling “Bubble watch?”
OK, it’s not the late 1990s, when Internet start-ups with no business model (or product) used big chunks of their millions in venture capital funding to throw what the Los Angeles Times so astutely dubbed “sword-waving victory dances heralding the triumph of technology.”
But after years of little appetite for celebration and a dearth of venture money to fund the festivities—initiated by the tanking of tech stocks in 2000 and followed by the financial crisis in the latter half of the decade—parties that lack any hint of humility are re-emerging to remind us just how crazy things can get in Silicon Valley when the money is flowing and the moods are happy.
To be sure, it still isn’t as wild as the dot-com days. But this year is poised to be the biggest for venture investing since 2000, and signs of profligate start-up spending are returning.
For instance, an email invitation recently arrived promoting a party this Thursday in Palo Alto, California, for the OhMiBod blueMotion vibrator. It’s a “revolutionary app-controlled vibrator,” and the party is being hosted by Good Vibrations, described as the “legendary San Francisco-based sex toy retailer.”
We might as well just keep quoting the email directly: “blueMotion is a wearable vibrator that features new and innovative technology allowing couples to experience intimacy at great distances…even across countries! Through OhMiBod’s Wi-Fi enabled Remote App, partners are able to control the vibrator with a simple stroke on their smartphone, taking phone sex to a new level!”
OhMiBod has been around since 2006 and is based in New Hampshire, across the country from the tech epicenter. The founders are a married couple, Suki and Brian Dunham, who say on their website that the brand “embodies the love and passion” they have for one another. Far from a fly-by-night dot-com creation, the company has a suite of products and has been built without the help of a boatload of venture capital, just some angel funding years ago.
“We don’t throw lavish parties at other peoples’ expense,” Brian Dunham wrote in an email, which included a smiley face emoticon to show that he gets the joke.
Still, we are talking about a party for an app-controlled vibrator that welcomes the arrival of teledildonics. Never heard the term? Google it. Or just go to the party and ask Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations’ “staff sexologist.”
IPads will be available for testing the product. And, of course, hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.