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YouSendIt CEO: Beware the Silicon Valley bubble

Brad Garlinghouse says it's dangerous for startups to get carried away by the hype that's so audible in California's high-tech echo chamber. Also: a new company name for YouSendIt.

YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse
YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse Stephen Shankland/CNET

PARIS -- Silicon Valley is famed for its role in nurturing startups, but companies there often suffer problems from not looking beyond the insular region to the rest of the world.

So warned Brad Garlinghouse, chief executive of YouSendIt -- one of those companies in Silicon Valley "echo chamber" -- speaking here at the LeWeb conference.

"The hype factor that has impacted Silicon Valley is an unhealthy thing," Garlinghouse said. "Companies focus more on the hype than building a great experience."

Garlinghouse is a high-profile voice in the echo chamber. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame was his "peanut butter manifesto" written years ago when he was at Yahoo, which he believed had spread itself too thin over too many projects.

As Yahoo itself showed then and a new generation of companies is showing now, reality eventually intrudes on hype. "People get all excited," he said. "With Groupon and Zynga, when the hype of the company gets ahead of the reality, eventually that comes into equilibrium."

Garlinghouse, naturally, believes YouSendIt stays grounded by concentrating on helping its users. It got its start as a way to send large files that don't fit in e-mail, but now it's expanded into online file storage a la Dropbox.

With that expansion, a name centered on e-mail is too narrow, so the company is considering a new name.

"We are actively looking at changing its name," said Garlinghouse. "I would expect sometime in the next quarter or two to change the name to really demonstrate how we've grown the company."

The company also is trying to expand internationally. Next quarter it will adapt to more languages and to accepting payment in more currencies, he said.