Let’s Talk About It – Then Versus Now
By Kristian Nielsen
July 22, 2019
A few months ago, I began an effort to identify factors leading up to and contributing to the crash our industry felt in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The idea started with a statement a colleague made to me during our annual Mai Tai Reception in Honolulu during PTC. We were catching up on the last few months, on the state of the industry and where we thought things were headed.
Our conversation, as most I’m sure do, steered towards the extraordinary boom we’re experiencing at the moment. We’re busy. We’re very busy. Installers are flat out; cable manufacturers are running at capacity and it feels like there’s a new system announced every few weeks.
Physics demands that what goes up, must come down and there is no such tide table in the world that remains high indefinitely. There’s no way that this feverish level of building will continue forever, which prompted the comment that really got me thinking “Doesn’t this all feel familiar?”
I inferred that my colleague had drawn a parallel between the build rate we see today to the boom that was seen in the Dot Com bubble of the 1990s. The unspoken fear being that the crash felt thereafter could be repeated in today’s market. Obviously concern about another down cycle is warranted, but will it be as devastating as it was 18 years ago?
As a publisher and data hound, I always love these kinds of conversations; sometimes there’s no spreadsheet or dataset that can compete with someone’s intuition.
So, I set to it: is there really a connection between the factors leading up to the crash of the 2000s to the conditions we see in the market today?
For the purpose of this article, the time periods will be separated in to two distinct categories: Pre-Crash (1995-2001) and Current History (2010-2018).