Buy Facebook, Other New Media Stocks or Live to Regret It

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Howard Lindzon said it best in a nearly year-old blog post I love to cite:

There is NO Bubble ...There is Entrepreneur Envy!

Lindzon refers to the "Internet of 1999" as a mania and today's graceful collision between the Web and tech worlds "a phenomenon." That type of thinking makes me want to tap Lindzon on the rear as he slides into home plate.

It also builds an urge deep inside of me to verbally punk-slap the next person who refers to an Internet bubble, a tech bubble, a social media bubble or any other type of bubble that involves innovative companies, operating in perpetual start-up mode, with volatile stocks to the upside, downside or both.

"There is no there there"
I studied urban planning in undergraduate and graduate school. The quote, from Gertrude Stein -- "There is no there there" -- quickly became my favorite. Stein penned the famous words when she visited her hometown of Oakland, Calif., and could not find the house she grew up in. Because her connection to her roots seemingly disappeared, she concluded that there is no there there in Oakland.

Many urban enthusiasts use Stein's quote to describe the concept known as "placelessness," meaning places that lack a sense of place.

You can find environments with no sense of place just about anywhere. In fact, in these cases, place does not matter. A strip mall in Fresno bears little, if any distinction, from one in Phoenix.

An authenticity exudes, however, from places such as Manhattan that render them unique and give them a special sense of place. In other words, the built environment in Manhattan holds a meaningful association -- historical and otherwise -- to the place in which it is located.

Manhattan is distinct from downtown Philadelphia or downtown San Francisco, and within a great city, each neighborhood boasts its own sense of place. I have been to New York City only twice, but I can, within a split second, tell you if I am in Greenwich Village or the Upper West Side without reading a sign.

Until I gave up, I spent many flabbergasting hours trying to explain these and related concepts to my ardently suburban, often city-hating friends and colleagues. They could never quite get it. For whatever reason, they grew up with an anti-city bias. This, and who knows what else, denied them the capacity to feel the special energetic vibe a place such as Manhattan gives off.

I stopped trying to persuade them and explain things. As the great Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami recently wrote: "If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation."

The same type of dynamic applies when trying to explain to investors that Facebook is about to explode. And that it should. It's not a case of "irrational exuberance" or the market creating a "bubble."

The same folks who doubt Facebook also have problems with Jeff Bezos's business model at Amazon ( AMZN) and the idea that Apple ( AAPL) will eventually suffer as a company without Steve Jobs at the helm. They also lament Pandora's ( P) lack of profitability. They discount Lululemon ( LULU) at one end of the spectrum and Zynga ( ZNGA) at the other as little more than unsustainable fads. They invest on the basis of "value," P/E ratios and the value of the sum of an otherwise dead company's parts (see, e.g., the "bull" case for RIM ( RIMM)).

Through their unfounded hysteria, they allow their envy -- or maybe just something they just simply cannot understand -- to cloud the big picture that is the future. A future steeped in hyper growth and cutting-edge innovation. A future that will see companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Pandora, Lululemon and Zynga change parts of our collective world more than they already have.

Speaking of Zynga, its CEO, San Francisco resident Marc Pincus, made points equally as profound as Lindzon's a couple of years ago at a roundtable populated by Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Here's the meat of his wisdom, via TechCrunch:

Of them, it was Pincus who probably had the most interesting thing to say. "In five years, everybody will always be connected to each other, instead of the Web," he noted. He said that he often thinks of today's social companies as "dial tones." That is, they're merely entry points for these social connections.

He noted that Facebook is the big overall dial tone for this social experience. But also singled out others as sub-dial tones. Pandora, for example, is the music dial tone, he said. He also said he hopes that his company, Zynga, will be the gaming dial tone.

He expressed excitement in the fact that while right now many of these companies are still working on building out the infrastructure for this social experience, in five years, all this plumbing, as it were, will be in place. Then the real fun can begin.

So very well stated.

In future articles I will expand on Pincus' words, while making the bull case for Facebook and arguing against the false notion that we're creating "another bubble."

As investors, part of our job -- if we want to make money -- is to predict the future. You cannot predict the future, however, if you cannot envision it. And you cannot vision it if you either cannot feel the vibe or you do not know where to find it.

At the time of writing, the author was long P.

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