Mostly uninteresting today (guaranteed to engender no comments) but this piece called Financial Models for Underachievers: Two Years of the Real Numbers of a Startup might be entertaining.
When first putting together our financial model, we looked online to calibrate spending assumptions. So many people have blown venture capital, we thought, there must be a manual somewhere on how to do it,
I thought of riffing off of it and writing ten ways designers blow the bucks but alas, it’s too late in the day. You’ve been granted a reprieve. Remind me in the event you want to reschedule your execution later.
The redux of The amorality of Web 2.0 is maybe, that if cheap kills, free is murder. Consider the context of pivotal moments in history, we’re living in one now:
We should marvel, but people alive at such times usually don’t. Every few centuries, the steady march of change meets a discontinuity, and history hinges on that moment. We look back on those pivotal eras and wonder what it would have been like to be alive then. You and I are alive at this moment.
And so all the things that Web 2.0 represents – participation, collectivism, virtual communities, amateurism – become unarguably good things, things to be nurtured and applauded, emblems of progress toward a more enlightened state. But is it really so? Is there a counterargument to be made? Might, on balance, the practical effect of Web 2.0 on society and culture be bad, not good? To see Web 2.0 as a moral force is to turn a deaf ear to such questions.
Say it isn’t so. I thought the new connectivity was a good thing. Turns out it may be a real killer, consider his idea of scary economics:
The Internet is changing the economics of creative work – or, to put it more broadly, the economics of culture – and it’s doing it in a way that may well restrict rather than expand our choices. Wikipedia might be a pale shadow of the Britannica, but because it’s created by amateurs rather than professionals, it’s free. And free trumps quality all the time. So what happens to those poor saps who write encyclopedias for a living? They wither and die. The same thing happens when blogs and other free on-line content go up against old-fashioned newspapers and magazines. Of course the mainstream media sees the blogosphere as a competitor. It is a competitor. And, given the economics of the competition, it may well turn out to be a superior competitor. The layoffs we’ve recently seen at major newspapers may just be the beginning, and those layoffs should be cause not for self-satisfied snickering but for despair. Implicit in the ecstatic visions of Web 2.0 is the hegemony of the amateur. I for one can’t imagine anything more frightening.
Uh oh. I always knew free wasn’t good. You have to charge something if only to minimize the riff raff but didn’t really think about how free can siphon resources, killing veritable founts. Another piece from Journalism.org concurs (but they would) with a frightening comparative. What would news look like if stories were covered based on popularity?
If someday we have a world without journalists, or at least without editors, what would the news agenda look like? How would citizens make up a front page differently than professional news people? If a new crop of user-news sites—and measures of user activity on mainstream news sites—are any indication, the news agenda will be more diverse, more transitory, and often draw on a very different and perhaps controversial list of sources, according to a new study.
Still, there’s nothing like reality to totally gum up all the theorizing. This argument on the paradox of traditional media is Why Big Newspapers Applaud Some Declines in Circulation
As the newspaper industry bemoans falling circulation, major papers around the country have a surprising attitude toward a lot of potential readers: Don’t bother.
The big American newspapers sell about 10 percent fewer copies than they did in 2000, and while the migration of readers to the Web is usually blamed for that decline, much of it has been intentional. Driven by marketing and delivery costs and pressure from advertisers, many papers have decided certain readers are not worth the expense involved in finding, serving and keeping them.
“It’s a rational business decision of newspapers focusing on quality circulation rather than quantity, shedding the subscribers who cost more and generate less revenue,” said Colby Atwood, president of Borrell Associates, a media research firm.
That rational business decision is being driven in part by advertisers, who have changed their own attitudes toward circulation.