Life In A Dot Com & Working In A Tech Startup (Videos)

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2012-01-0617

I occasionally write about my background in Silicon Valley because my experiences here have played a huge part on my finances, primarily on the job, career and investment front. Living in Silicon Valley has provided me with the unique experience of being exposed to the world of startups. I can tell you that the dynamic energy in one of these incubators is both exhausting and crazy fun at the same time. Generally, it is an addictive environment that attracts the bright and ambitious types, although during the 90s, everyone I knew ended up in a startup regardless of their background, experience or temperament. πŸ˜‰

I’ve decided to discuss startups here again because I wanted to share a couple of FUN videos on the subject.

Startup Video #1: Getting Financing — A Rebecca Black Parody

This first one is a pretty creative presentation by a venture capital group called First Round Capital. I have to commend them for coming up with a great use for this “catchy” tune:

What can I say, I LOVE IT! Now it’s not so bad with the new lyrics, wouldn’t you say? What’s better than a bunch of geeks hamming it up and showing off their non-techie skills? If I had been working in one of these places, I would have jumped at the chance to warble a lyric (*cough*). As a background though — this video was created by a venture capital firm to show off their startup portfolio. It’s an inventive way to introduce to you their funded set of small companies.

Startup Video #2: What It’s Like To Work In A Tech Startup

Now I had originally written this article with a nod to a viral video made in reference to dot com bubbles. This particular video had resonated greatly with me because it tells the story of what I went through in the dot com era, especially the part about “trading in my twenties for a worthless pile of tech stock” and “suffering through the market crash and losing a giant wad of cash.” πŸ˜€ It gives you a taste of life in a dot com.

At any rate, the video was based on a well known song by Billy Joel. It is a great spoof — very amusing, I must say… and a good representation of what Silicon Valley is known for. This is the anthem of tech nerds everywhere. Here it is:

I’ve written out the lyrics here sprinkled with relevant links to some posts I’ve written on these matters. So much of this rings true just seeing what has happened to friends, acquaintances and coworkers. And some things have also applied to me, although as I’ve hinted before, I’m one of those denizens of this place who was given but a “fraction of a fraction of the pie”. πŸ˜‰ What’s great about Silicon Valley is that despite the incredible expense of living here, it represents a lot of hope for people to achieve a better life — being the dynamic area that it is and a melting pot for business ideas that have changed the world one small company at a time. A lot of folks here have decided to sacrifice income stability, peace of mind, life savings and more comfortable lifestyles for the chance at this modern gold rush. What’s also great is that with the advent of the internet and tighter global connectivity, you can live anywhere and have these opportunities available to you.

Well, I can only continue to dream… and try.

Lyrics of “Here Comes Another Bubble” by

Additional Credit: Matt Hempey. Sung to the tune of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

Got me a CS degree, honor roll, MIT
Moved to Palo Alto, opportunity knocked
Thought I had the perfect plan, took a job at Webvan
Traded in my twenties for a worthless pile of tech stock.

Suffered through the market crash, lost a giant wad of cash
Pink slips, burger flips, would you like some fries?
Happy days are here again, Larry Page, Sergey Brin
Time to write a business plan, So I can be like those guys!

Here comes another bubble, it’s a monster rally all around the valley.

First you need a buzzword, then a second and a third
Pick at least two industries, you’ll revolutionize.
Find yourself an engineer, feed him pizza, buy him beer
Give him just a fraction of a fraction of the pie.

Need a good domain name, must be cheap, can’t be lame
Something cool like flickr, meebo, wikiyou, mahalo, bebo
“Telephone” without the “t”, “Digg” but with a triple “g”
Make your elevator pitch, code it up and flip the switch!

Here comes another bubble, the VCs are backing, baby let’s get cracking.

Blog blog blog it all, blog it if it’s big or small.
Blog at the cineplex, blog while you’re having sex.
Blog in the locker room, babies blogging in the womb.
Blog even if you’re wrong, won’t you blog about this song?

Launch party, nicely dressed, what’s the point? Sausage fest
Blue shirts, khaki pants, looking like a line of ants.
Need to get a Facebook page, all these guys are half my age
Twenty nine, past my prime, I feel so behind the times.

Here comes another bubble, in a year we swear, we’ll all be billionaires!

Make yourself a million bucks, partly skill, mostly luck
Now you can afford a down payment on a small house
If you want a bigger one, Hillsborough, Atherton
Better hope the same thing happened to your spouse.

IPO….Lucky you, have your cake and eat it too
Private yacht, party jet, why not buy a matching set?
Build yourself a rocket ship, blast off on an ego trip
Can this really be the end? Back to work you go again.

Here comes another bubble, and when we are gone this will still go on and on and on and on and on and on….

Despite how things have quieted down over here on this front, there continue to be a good number of interesting companies that are born and built. And they continue to cook up new ideas everyday.

Created December 7, 2007. Updated January 6, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

david December 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm

These are really great songs! I watched the dotcom video numerous times after it debuted.

Mrs. Micah December 7, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Lol, so apt! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

Michael December 8, 2007 at 7:36 am

That is great! I have, as the saying goes, been there and done that. The only difference was the dot com I jumped on wasn’t in Silicon Valley, but interestingly it crashed just as fast. Thanks for sharing.

thewild1 December 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I really liked the dot com video and the song was pretty catchy.

MoneyNing December 9, 2007 at 2:57 pm

After seeing the Billy Joel spoof video posted for the 25th time, I finally clicked on it after reading yours πŸ™‚ It was actually quite entertaining so thank you!

Fiscal Musings December 9, 2007 at 6:55 pm

That’s quite the interesting video (on the dot com bubble). Good choice on the song.

Silicon Valley Blogger December 9, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Well I’m glad that those of you (hey there Money Ning!) who’ve seen the bubble video mentioned everywhere in the net lately have finally relented and have decided to watch it. It’s really quite amusing and well done, as Lazy Man has mentioned. I love the song (am a big fan of Billy Joel) and hey, the lyrics are funny. What can I say. Great work to the Richter Scales for coming up with this one. They also have some other interesting videos you may want to catch — just check out

The Financial Blogger December 11, 2007 at 4:31 am

Thx for the laugh SVB!
There is nothing like waking up at 5:30 because your baby is crying while you went to bed only five hours ago… damn MBA!

So at least, I have a smile on my face this morning πŸ˜€

Seriously, I think that 2008 will be the year of bubbles; the house bubble is exploding while the internet bubble 2.0 is growing. Back in Canada, banks are not going that great anymore and we feel that the oil bubble will only last for so long in Western Canada.

Better set your things up before it happens!

dreamyacht November 17, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Laughing to myself about how raw and real these songs are… shakin’ my head at the economy today… very good… and so creative.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm

How about the other side of the coin…. what happens after people make their millions? Are startups and big money really all that it’s cracked up to be? What is it like to be in the “billion dollar club”? I thought I’d reflect on this a little here.

You may wonder what a billion dollars could look like. That could very well be the cumulative wealth of a set of high net worth fellows in a party. Such a party would be a typical Digerati get-together of visionaries in Silicon Valley discussing the trends in technology, their latest startups and who got what funding.

If you really want to know how to get rich around here, the best way is to make buddies like these. I’ve seen some really misguided ideas make it, with big money behind it. I’ve seen very good ideas die a sorry death for people with no track record except for the prototypes they carry around in used laptops. To begin the journey towards startup success, you need to recognize that speaking English gives you a leg up on some others who only have their machine talk for them. And if you’re going to make an impression, you need at least 3 people: the technical guy, the visionary and the marketing guy. It also works if you have all three hats on less than three bodies, as long as the heads are fairly competent and the hats fit.

Here’s what several billion dollars looks like.

Digerati Digerati2

Now the only real hard part is to get through that first challenging startup cycle. Some have been very lucky by joining the right startup at the right time and won the lottery. Some have been even luckier by doing this several times over. But for the typical entrepreneurial soul in Silicon Valley, there is usually a long-suffering period of startup limbo (or hell) where nothing happens except stress and work. This period normally ranges from 3 to 8 years. It’s a time when anything else other than work is stunted, delayed or broken. Now you know why the average age of first time parents over here is 35, or why that 40 year old guy is on his 3rd wife. Not to mention that money, when it is finally acquired, buys bigger trophies.

But once you are past that first cycle, the entrepreneur will strike again but things are usually easier during the subsequent rounds. That is because his network, reputation and standing in the business community have already been established so there won’t be the same pressure to ignore all else for the sake of chasing a dream. There’s also some money to tide the family over, plus age gets in the way. No problem, the serial entrepreneur will pull things through no matter how harebrained his idea is. The network will make sure that idea will change the world. Somehow.

So now you know what a billion dollars looks like…and how it gets made.

MLR June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Heh, cool.

I think having ONE more guy in the group isn’t a bad idea β€” someone who understands VC.

If you send a marketing guy, tech guy, and visionary into a meeting with VC’s, they’ll be eaten alive.

Just my two cents!

Claire Sanchez June 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

That party could turn me to gay. LOL. But they have a great venue though.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Thanks for lightening up the mood! Keen observation there: so where are the ladies??

Silicon Valley Blogger January 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Got this post updated to showcase the Rebecca Black spoof. I particularly appreciated how some of the older tech folks got in on the fun too!

youngandthrifty January 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I like the dot com video! πŸ™‚ Also I like the Rebecca Black parody… It’s hilarious πŸ™‚

Silicon Valley Blogger January 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Thanks youngandthrifty! It’s nice to see people in this space just chilling. The tech startup industry is rather youth dominated and encourages a “work hard, play hard” mentality.

Tyler S. January 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

It really is awesome to see an “average Joe” startup go from nothing to huge.. just never gets old! It gives me hope that there’s always something to be improved.

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