By Janine Perrett

So has the bubble finally burst?

I'm not talking about Wall Street, but in Silicon Valley, a place I was fortunate to visit last month as part of the West Coast Leadership Dialogue.

Recent plunges in high profile shares on the NASDAQ have many wondering whether it is just a reflection of the collapse on the broader share-market, or a reality check on the whole tech sector.

Probably a bit of both as is usually the case.

Last week's Twitter jitters were a prime example. The stock plummeted in response to news that user numbers were down. 

OK 305 million instead of 307 millions seems minor but the goal of these over valued, non earning tech darlings is meant to be to head towards the magic billion user figure, not to head backwards and look like a declining fad.

Facebook regularly faces the same concerns that usage has peaked. Or that it is now officially over. They all know how quickly they can turn into My Space.

For it does not take long for the fickle millennials to move on.

A bit like Wall Street really.

LinkedIn is another market darling under scrutiny by the analysts. And it is a company that is certainly trying to find its way forward by refining and adapting its original successful concept.

They are not alone.

Not surprisingly the current pessimism of gloomy Wall Street on the East Coast is not evident on the surface in optimistic Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley and home of Stanford University.

Sunny in nature and sunny in attitude...well,as I said, on the surface at least.

Entrepreneurs are still frantically coming up with the next big thing and the CEO's of the last big thing are still looking to keep their competitive advantage.

They all talk in that unique tech sector way which is a hybrid of corporate and tech jargon and just general gee whiz low key excitement.

A visit to the Tesla factory has even the most jaded observer convinced they are witnessing yet another revolution. The enormous automated plant with the robotics out of a Hollywood movie is one thing, but the fact it is producing such groundbreaking vehicles is another.

Sure they cost a bit much, but they are already addressing that with their new cheaper version due next year.

Sure the company is losing hundreds of millions of year for the foreseeable future, but hey tech billionaire Elon Musk can afford a bit of loss leading while he completely changes the whole concept of what exactly is a car this century.

(Actually the losing money bit might prove to be a problem if the bear market on Wall Street worsens and leads to talk that a Ford or GM will eventually buy them out. Let's hope not).

Despite the adamant denials of the start-up sector, the latest round of  venture capital funding is indeed a smaller pool.

Having lived in Palo Alto in 2007/2008 before the GFC it is interesting to see what has changed; in some ways everything, in some ways very little.

Palo Alto itself is almost identical and still reminiscent of a sleepy midwest main street than the centre of the new world.

Obviously the technology of then has been completely replaced by the new.

Companies have come and gone, soared and stagnated but the executives still talk the same. No bubble, no worries about not making money, this time it is different (to the 2001 tech bubble), this time it is real.

Like last time it is probably different until the next time.

The success stories struggle with just that and wonder where to next as they lose the drive and innovative zeal that propelled them there. 

But the energy is still there.

The West Coast Leadership Dialogue was having its 10th anniversary, which in Silicon Valley terms is extraordinarily successful.

It was an expansion of the respected private diplomatic initiative of Melbourne business leader, Phil Scanlan's Australian American Leadership, which has been going for more than 20 years.

The idea was to focus on the West Coast-Australian ties, the Pacific connection, and highlight the innovation of Silicon Valley for Australian business and political leaders.

It was the perfect year for the anniversary given the elevation of a new Prime Minister whose main thrust had been innovation and was a previous guest of the West Coast Dialogue.

Ten years after that initial effort, there are now thousands more Australians in Silicon Valley. There are more American companies looking to Australia as well.

So whether Wall Street's bear market continues, whatever stocks and tech stocks thrive or barely survive, the valley itself will continue to look forward.

And countries like Australia will continue to look to them for our future.