Twenty-five years ago, during the first dot-com bubble, tech giants were valued at fantastical multiples of several hundred times their profits - but at least they were making some.

Today's climate is different, and not a week goes by without MarketScreener analysts and columnists expressing surprise. A new example is Snowflake, a company about which we already expressed strong reservations last year.

Without going back over the company's overheated valuation or the market's unreasonable expectations, we would simply point out that, as we feared at the time, the slowdown in growth is confirmed and worsening.

Worse still: the operating loss has only widened as business has expanded, as at Affirm Holdings discussed yesterday. It's a constant at Snowflake, with no sign of an inflection point on the horizon.

The main culprit, as is now customary in the American technology sector, is aberrant stock option remuneration - over a billion dollars in the year just ended.

In essence, Snowflake's management teams confiscate the entire profit. Clearly, here as elsewhere, the only way for these technology companies to achieve profitability is to pay their employees four to five times less...

But who - or what - is going to sound the final bell?

As an additional signal, which in the end was not necessary to guess the underlying dynamic: CEO Frank Slootman, on his way out, pocketed $250 million in three months by selling his shares graciously obtained via his stock options.

In fact, Slootman, his CFO and Snowflake's historic shareholders all offloaded their shares en masse, while, of course, promising heaven and earth to those who bought them on the other side.