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The case for speculative asset bubbles (and happy new year)

This is an interesting perspective. It is from Fred Wilson’s annual what-happened-this-past-year post:

But here is the thing about speculative frenzies – they are generally directionally correct but off in their order of magnitude. And they finance the trend that they are directionally correct about. It may be the case that Tesla’s market capitalization is too high, but that allows Tesla to raise $10bn without diluting more than a few percentage points. And that $10bn will go towards accelerating the conversion of the auto industry from carbon-based fuel to renewable energy. And that is a good thing for society.

When I first read this my mind immediately went to tulip mania. Was that directionally correct? Did tulip bulbs ultimately rebound and maintain their value over the long-run? I actually don’t know.

But if you think about the dot-com bubble, that was directionally correct. Sure, infamous “companies” like Pets.com never ended up going anywhere, but the idea of tech and the internet becoming dominant was absolutely right.

Fast forward twenty years and you can be sure that many people are now buying their pet supplies online, along with pretty much everything else. Sometimes we simply overshoot and get the timing wrong.

This is perhaps a good thought for all of us to consider as we welcome 2021 and say goodbye to what was one weird and terrible year.

Being directionally correct means that it’s okay for there to be bumps, mistakes, and speculative frenzies along the way. They are expected. What matters is the path forward.

Happy new year, everyone.

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