You don't just walk into the
That is the problem with disrupting people's business model, in this case taxi companies the world over: some of them might want to come and disrupt you.
Uber has had its share of protesters. But as the practised eyes of the guards indicate, it's part of life in the technology fast lane. According to co-founder
But what constitutes a technology bubble? If it's gigantic valuations, you don't have to look far. When venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz put
And if Snapchat, the vanishing-picture service, could turn down a
But are the foundations solid enough to stop sky-high valuations crashing down? The latest debate over whether we're in a "tech bubble" has been raging in
Overinvestment also implies bust, though. The question of which moment marks the peak has been raised repeatedly: at the time of corporate social network
Writing for Business Insider last November, co-founder
The key dispute is whether large user numbers translate into large profits. Veterans of the first dotcom bubble recall how "eyeballs" were, for a time, the most important metric: how many people were looking at your site?
Those making the investments - and many on the sidelines - are certain that this time things are different.
The difference from the 1990s, and even from the mini tech boom of the mid-2000s that halted with the credit crunch in 2007, is that there are now multiple proven internet-only business models - from
One area under close focus has been the "sharing economy" - which tends not to be about sharing at all, but about making money out of underused things - be they space, time or products.
Uber and room rental company Airbnb like to be described as part of this - Uber prefers to be called a "ride-sharing company" (and insists it is not a "taxi company"). The "sharing" tends to be mediated (for money) by the company. Thus Uber doesn't employ cab drivers or (obviously) customers, but links the two, and sets the price for a journey - including its "surge pricing", when high demand can increase a fare fivefold.
But it contains huge value, according to a new study from
Uber's valuation has been queried, but some see it as justified - its model of uniting buyers and sellers separated by short distances has wide applicability.
Can Snapchat make money? Certainly, by selling in-app purchases, or "stickers" (virtual elements to attach to a message or picture) - a very profitable model for the Line messaging app in south-east
Dixon is certain this isn't a bubble; this is an embedding of technology companies from one sector into everything. "Tech is now spreading through every industry and every part of the world," he said. "The most interesting tech companies aren't trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom."
Social network of photos and videos that vanish after seconds - minimising embarrassment to sender
Potential? Could make money from stickers and extras, or add-on functions
"Ride-sharing" company connects drivers with would-be passengers, and sets prices
Potential? Makes money from drivers and passengers. Is trialling a courier system for packages, called Rush. Controversial and banned in some cities
Accommodation business that matches people
who have spare rooms or homes with people wanting a short-term stay
Potential? Makes money as the intermediary between owner and traveller. Controversial because seen as riding roughshod over local regulations. Banned and fined in some cities
Image-bookmarking social network
Potential? Among other methods, "promoted pins" from brands and advertisers offer a simple way to connect to users - and the visual basis makes ad-blocking unfeasible. Popular with women, a hard-to-reach web demographic
Made listicles a thing while keeping its eyes on making money by using technology to reach more people
Potential? Some see it as operating like an advertising agency - offering a service to find innovative ways to get adverts in front of people
Team communication tool that links file-sharing, messaging, archives and notifications; created by Flickr founder
Potential? Seeing explosive growth in
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