Monday, September 01, 2008

From the bottom of Lake Woeisme

What passes for summer in the UK has ended, the kids are back to school next week, and frankly I've been feeling a little sub-prime in confronting my new status, or lack thereof. None of this is helped in the least by newsflow. The Centre for Management Buy-out Research at Nottingham University last week released stats (oddly, not on their site yet) showing that the value of private equity transactions in Europe was down by nearly two-thirds in the first half of 2008. Disheartening, but hardly unexpected. European venture investing is tracking historic lows. We're all facing some very ugly systemic problems in the credit markets (check out the very scary charts on credit spreads in this particularly gloomy read from the ever-excellent John Mauldin), and Christmas is definitely going to be canceled for an awful lot of people in my industry as the investment banks aggressively eviscerate themselves and engage in M&A (either under political duress, or out of desperation). You could be forgiven for thinking we were on the eve of destruction, living on a dead-end street - and you may yet be right.

However, at times like these, we have to take delight in small pleasures and rare snippets of good news. Taking a break from my dark reflections to check my site traffic earlier today, I saw a number of hits from two sources I haven't seen in ages. Old blog buddy Dean Bubley claims I was an inspiration, which I consider very gratifying, to say the least. There I was thinking that I was just one in 4,000, or maybe even just half a man, but Martin Geddes, the godfather of disruption, says I'm "The One". Don't know how I will ever live up to that, but it's just the ray of light at the bottom of the black lagoon which I needed to see right about now. Many thanks gents, you don't know what it means.

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