16 proxy signals that a contrarian uses to tell if the valley is in a “bubble”

I am only posting this half in jest. Someone out to track these metrics to see if the bay area is really in a bubble.

1. Cost per hour you have to pay nannies to baby sit your dog (baby siting kids is such a dot com bubble era style relic). We all know that when there’s a bubble, the first thing folks do is to stop working “from home” and instead go into work. That means you need a dog sitter (Sorry, the hipsters call them nannies).

2. Traffic via cams: You can see real time traffic at 40 locations in the bay area and if you can see a car for more than 3 browser refreshes in 2 minutes, you know there’s a jam (or a bubble, but I am not judging)

3. Restaurant reservations: On average it takes 7 minutes and 4 calls by our admin to get a reservation in the bay area on Wednesdays for table for a team of folks for lunch on Friday. If however it is a bubble, it takes over 21 minutes and 15 text messages, 2 smoke alarms and then a give-up and zerocater.

4. Cost of an SF airbnb rental: This is an easy one, with prices going from $189 to $279 (what,that’s more than the Residence Inn, but hey you are couchsurfing), it is easy to tell when the bubble hits.That’s when prices go from inane to insane.

5. Sales of khaki pants (preferred choice of MBA graduates). the bay area has 43 GAP stores which sell khaki pants. If you visit at least 15 of them and find out that > 60% of them are out of size M pants which have a waist size of 30 – 34, then you have a bubble.

6. Average # of people waiting in line for a Starbucks. Snaking beyond a block is just ridiculous. Enough said. Or give up on Starbucks and head to Contraband coffee.

7. Length of time that new office leases are signed up for. The usual was 2 years during sign up. The dot com bubble took that to 10 years and I think we are near 10 year leases now.

8. % over the listing price that homes get bid in Palo Alto, Los Altos and even the lame homes in Almaden and Burlingame. (No offence to those cities, but really). If the bid is over 25% of the listing price and inching to 30% you have a pop.

9. Average time a local Realtor responds to your email. Most Realtors respond in less than 2 hours. During 2008 the time reduced to minutes. It is now creeping up to 1 hour again.

10. # of times you get rejected by “holiday” party venues because they are “booked” for all days in December until 2025.

11. # of holiday parties you get invited to: Your spouse has a party, you have a party and your friends invite you to their startup party because, well, just because. No, really, its because they can. So the party venues have a field time.

12. # of facebook pictures from friends of friends of holiday party pictures that clearly should not be on facebook.

13. Average amount of time it takes by car to go from 2000’s on Sand Hill road to 3000s. The signals on the cross street from 280 are sensor driven, so more than 3 minutes, means its champagne time!

14. # of notebooks (Macbook Air is now the preferred choice) open at the top restaurants for breakfast

15. # of holiday parties held in January because all the venues for holiday parties are booked in Nov and Dec.

16. Amount of time it takes for the discussion at any party you end up at “I have angel funded this startup” (meaning, they are using my basement or garage).

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