Most venture capitalists are adept followers of the herd. As such, their investments are best seen as trailing indicators — the financial detritus of events past, rather than predictors of what to come. Is there a bubble in Web startups? The numbers themselves are as confused as investors. Dow Jones says the first quarter saw a record $1.58 billion in venture capital invested in Internet companies. Thomson Reuters says its figure of $1.3 billion was down 7 percent from the fourth quarter. Data about VC investments is hard to obtain, and the two categorize companies differently. Anecdotally, it's clear that smart VCs have stopped funding every new social-media website and online-ad network that cross their desks. But the Valley remains awash in dumb money that has yet to be called home. The popping of this bubble will take more than a quarter's time.