Scott Karp of Publish 2.0, who I've met and is a nice guy, says the kind of thing we rail against on Rebooting the News.
Scott Karp: "Apple could generate $1 billion in iPad revenue this quarter. Wonder who is smarter, Steve Jobs or his critics? You do the math."
1. I assume I am one of the critics he's talking about. It's true, I make less money than Apple does, in fact, I don't make any money at all, I spend money. I've been blessed by a few "liquidity events" in my life, enabling me to work on what I want to work on. It has always been thus for me, even when I was young, I adjusted my cost of living so that I could work for myself. Does this make me less smart than Steve Jobs? I don't see why it would.
2. Is it possible for someone to make a lot of money and also do things that are bad for the environment? Things that deserve criticism? Should we give everyone who makes a lot of money a free pass -- making them immune from discourse? The idea is silly on its face. In fact some business models, ways of making money, are based on cashing in public value in the ecosystem. Did Exxon fully pay for the ecological disaster of the Exxon Valdez? Did they earn a lot of money since then? Did they pay for the cost of the war in Iraq which has kept oil prices higher than they probably would be otherwise? Is this good? (Imho, no, it is not.) Should we criticize BP even though they surely made more money last year than 99.9999999 percent of us? I'm sure Scott didn't mean to say that, after all -- I think he believes in the power of journalism. Most journalists make less money than the titans they cover (at least I hope so). Money ain't everything Scott, and it sure does not equate to wisdom.
3. I feel Apple is screwing us in some ways and blessing us in others. I bought Apple stock and have held it through the bad times and now am profiting in the good times. Yet I think it's good news that the FTC is reigning in their power re the developers. Not only good because it is morally a good thing, but also good for shareholders. I buy all their products, although sometimes I protest. I feel like I'm using the Disney version of a computer with the iPad, and I prefer punk rock (although I like Disney movies too). I'm a lot like Jon Stewart, not quite a fan boy because I think I see when they are wrong, but certainly a fan.
So come on Scott, this is an old-fashioned 1.0 homily, the kind of thing my grandfather used to say for crying out loud. We now live in a world that's been messed up by unrestrained business models, possibly to the point where the planet will soon not sustain human life. Isn't it time to get rid of the shortcuts and use our minds when thinking instead of falling back on folksy sloganeering?