There was a time -- in the late 1990s -- when it was seen as a badge of honor to go public. I've likened it to graduating college and moving out of Mom's basement. A company becomes a better company as a result of the process. You can't really mature until you do that.

Of course, another reason why young Silicon Valley CEOs were willing to IPO in the late 1990s is that free money was being thrown at their feet. Greed trumped fear at that point.

It wouldn't be healthy to go back to a world of the late 1990s (although I'm sure it will happen at some point in this upward cycle we're in). But it's not healthy for the tech world to look at the way Wall Street works as some kind of "black art."

Hopefully, we'll find a healthy balance in between in the coming years.

At the time of publication the author had positions in YHOO and AAPL.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at

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