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Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 19, 2002. Monday, August 19, 2002

Here's an exclusive. On the phone with Scoble. "How come you don't update?" I ask. "Too much sex," says Scoble. There you have it. 

A picture named lessig.gifDoc did a bit of investigation to see what Lessig says about copyright and software. "The copyright system protects software without getting any new knowledge in return. When the system protects Hemingway, we at least get to see how Hemingway writes. Software is different." When this came out, in December of last year, I broiled. So when Joshua Allen said yesterday that Lessig and I aren't buddies, he nailed it. In fact, when I publish software, I release the ideas for others to learn from and use, exactly as a novelist does. You can see evidence in the amount of cloning that takes place around ideas I've orginated in the form of copyrighted software. It's demonstrable, easily, that the world gets something in return for my copyright.  

Check this out. Another political weblog, in Canada. To Lessig, who says we're doing nothing, up yours. We will rock the western political system. In five years every member of the US House will have a weblog and will be communicating directly with the electorate. Two more election cycles. The house will rock as the economy will. Don't worry about JC Watts' story. He's a quitter. So what if the old guys don't listen. Throw em out. You'll see. And we'll throw you out too, Professor Lessig. 

Ian Rowan writes: "You can force websites to respect your text size settings in Internet Explorer with this bit of mumbo-jumbo: Tools, Options, General, Accessibility, and check "Ignore font sizes specified on web pages." Screen shot

Here's our first picture of Tara Sue Grubb, who's running against Howard Coble for the US House of Representativies in North Carolina. 

Jesus Garcia for Bakersfield School Board. 

Reuters: "Stocks piled on gains in the afternoon." 

Rafe Needleman: "Venture firms still have billions of dollars invested in technology startups, and there are a lot of people worrying about that money." 

Lloyd Trufelman and Laura Goldberg write about public relations and weblogs.  

Rahul Dave on the hoopla over open source and the State of California. There's a Slashdot editorial that Rahul points to and comments on. 

Triangulation. Both Jakob Nielsen and Jeffrey Zeldman ask Microsoft to let users control text size in MSIE/Win. Add my vote too. There are a few sites that I can't read because of text size issues. Some of them don't respond when I manually change the size. Further, MSIE resets the default font size when I choose it manually for one window, making me reluctant to ever set the font size through the menu. Instead I just don't read the sites that set the font size so small that my eyes can't parse the text. While MS is making changes, please also add a user pref that turns off the "open in new window" feature that Zeldman uses on his weblog. It's one of the most irritating things a website can do. 

Glenn Reynolds: "Can I get a show on MSNBC?" 

Making money with weblogs 

A Morning Coffee Notes scrambled ramble that explains how weblogs and money relate.

It's so frustrating watching people struggle with the How Do Weblogs Make Money question. At some point they're going to figure it out, and then tell everyone that they cracked the nut. That's how it always goes. Someone will get credit for it, and in this case credit will be worth money. For what it's worth, I've written it up several times. Here's how it goes.

There will come a day when there has been enough experimentation, and a CEO of a company that's not in software will have a weblog that makes a big difference in competition in a market that's not Internet-related. It could be the CEO of Ford Motor Company. Last week Steven Levy asked if I meant that Ken Lay would have a weblog. No, Ken Lay will not have one. But the next generation CEO will. His replacement will. Why? Because shareholders will demand it. Because there will be a competitive advantage to direct communication without middlemen.

No there will not be ghost writers for CEOs, the ghost writer will be the CEO. Two-way idea-flow. And if the CEOs of existing companies turn out to be too stodgy and uptight to take the risk, new companies will take their place, staffed by users, who contract with manufacturers to ship products they know there's demand for (they're the demand). I'll go dig up a good citation in some essay I wrote years ago. I can't believe people still think that advertising and commissions on catalog sales have anything to do with this medium. That's so ink-stained and so wrong.

Postscript -- I found a citation. Please tatoo this on your forehead. Post it on a post-it on your monitor. When ever you wonder how they will make money with weblogs, remember that Uncle Dave gave you the answer, for free, 1.5 years ago.

2/13/01: "Listening to users is actually not that easy. It's easier to be a user and make products for other users. And that my friends, the combination of user-based information exchange and products that reflect user experience and wants, is where money will be made on the Internet."

Why does it have to be outside of software? So people can see it. If it's about software, apparently they can't. Think about the site you're reading right now. Hundreds of thousands of dollars flow indirectly through this site every year, and that's been going on for five years. Is that a sustainable business model? Of course it is. It's a friggin business. It's a different kind of business, because the CEO uses words like friggin, and talks about his surgery and quitting smoking, and what movies he likes. Doc Searls tries to get everyone to love each other, bless his ass, but he gets something the Lessigs never get. To understand the Net, Lessig has to take a ride on the Cluetrain, which roughly translates to -- Get the steel rod out of your asshole and start writing a weblog.

Some wise person sent me an email last night saying that Lessig doesn't get that the Web is two-way. What a remarkable insight. (No sarcasm.) That is what has been bothering me with all the Lessigisms. He buys into the authority of the laws. How old is Lessig? Has he ever seen civil disobedience first-hand? Have faith, when the users are clamped down on, they'll move. In the meantime, keep mining the memes and don't worry be happy. Anyway I'm rambling. The sooner the clampdown happens, and the less potent the source, the better. Bills like Berman-Coble are good, as long as the courts declare them unconstitutional. They can wake people up and get them moving.

A picture named garbo.gifLast night's Turner Classic, Ninotchka, was savory. Starring Greta Garbo, made in 1939 (a great year for movies) it's a comedy. Not only does Garbo not want to be alone (her famous line, and lifestyle) but she smiles, and laughs, tells jokes, and falls in love. She's every bit as beautiful as they said she is, all the more so because she makes fun of herself. They mock Soviet Russia and Stalin, but in a sweet loving way. Wonderful movie.

Burningbird: "Why can't everyone just agree with me. Life would be so much simpler."

Two years ago today: "If you chose to be creative, you also chose to be vulnerable."

Jake Savin: "Here's hoping that my reliance on older hardware isn't about to bite me in the ass."

"How do people make money with weblogs," asks the happy blogger who wonders out loud.

"How do people make money with telephones and word processors," asks some random wise-ass.


Last update: Monday, August 19, 2002 at 9:42 PM Eastern.

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