Is Silicon Valley Back?

Caution: This post contains no actual facts. But so far this week I’ve had at least four well-placed people tell me–with an uncharacteristic quiver of excitement in their voices–that Silicon Valley is back. Not on its way back. Right here, right now, it’s back. Sure, people have been saying that since, oh, the day after the NASDAQ irrevocably tanked in April 2000. The big difference is that the people I’ve talked to this week actually seem to believe what they’re saying.

But there’s a catch: 1999 isn’t back (nor is the IPO market). It’s more like 1994, when techies were quietly leaving places like H-P or Microsoft to grab their own piece of entrepreneurial fame and fortune. The other big caveat: customers and profits (not a “dot-com” in your company name) have become the must-haves of any new venture. And Google has replaced Netscape, circa 1995, as the business model to imitate.

Is there anything to these rumors of a Silicon Valley resurrection? Or has my week simply been filled with coincidences? What’s going on?