What the hype cycle really means for investors is that if you get in early, you have to be prepared for a hard fall. Those who get into the cycle, don't fall in love with the space, and get out quickly, like Mark Cuban did with Broadcast.com in the 1990s, can come out billionaires. Those who don't, like David Weatherell of CMGI, now ModusLink ( MLNK), can lose billions. Since Gartner came up with its chart I've seen countless hype cycles. There was a broadband boom, there was hype around the Internet of Things, there was a health IT boom and one around open source. In each case there was something real, but nothing like what the hype promised. In some cases the hope has yet to be realized. All of which brings me to "the cloud."