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I do think it's a bit strange, but I think the VC/tech world isn't that big a part of the strangeness, at least unless it gets to 1999 proportions again. Instagram is pretty much an outlier, and most of the other "big" multipliers, like Google and Apple, have huge R&D behind them. Even this post, written by a VC, considers a two-year billion-dollar exit to be an outlier that you won't see again.

Finance is where the pervasive ebbs and flows are more obvious, imo. Once you have flows that are gigantic, it becomes more profitable to try to skim a little tiny percentage off the top of them than to do lots of other kinds of work. You could spend your whole life building up a $5m small business (a perfectly respectable, successful thing to do!) and make less money at it than finding a way to skim 0.001% off a $10 billion transaction a few times in your career. So if you're motivated mainly by money, rather than figuring out how to build up that business, it might be better to start boning up on how to maneuver yourself into a position to take tiny percentages from large flows. There are lots of opportunities in the dense web of management fees, M&A deals, etc.

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