I write a lot about technologies, companies and industries, some about economics, but hardly ever about stocks or trading, so this column is an unusual one. But because of the hard work of a couple economist friends of mine I’m finally coming to understand a stock market phenomenon that has been hurting tech startups for over a decade — Exchange Traded Funds. Forget about bad banks, cooked books and even the recession: Exchange Traded Funds are forcing more and more good tech companies to abandon the idea of ever going public.

We saw this trend on this summer’s Startup Tour where not one of more than 30 companies we visited saw an Initial Public Offering (IPO) […]