Depending on who you ask, Jack Dorsey started off the latest Disrupt on either a very controversial or a very non-controversial note. "We need revolution, not disruption," he said, words that would be easy to characterize as platitudes if he were not working hard at uprooting a few global institutions. Even so, the sentiment did not entirely match the tone of the conference that was to follow.
Whether you want to call it a bubble or not, it’s not controversial to say that there are millions upon millions of dollars going to ideas, services, and sites that will be dead or irrelevant in a year or two. The metaphor of the Cambrian explosion has been employed, of course. Tellingly, the Wikipedia article for it reads "most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies." What a marvelously apt description of the creatures I saw on display this week!
A great number of the startups (a word that is beginning to lose all meaning, by the way) that I saw were aimed at solving problems so trifling that the first objective of many pitches was to alert the audience that they exist. Is this healthy? Yes and no.