Fwd: Re: [iDC] Will you delete your Feedburner account?

Dmytri Kleiner dk at trick.ca
Sat Jun 9 08:38:36 EDT 2007

On Sat, 9 Jun 2007 11:24:06 +0200, Geert Lovink <geert at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> Take Craigslist. Most of you will know this network for urban
>> communities. It operates in 450 cities worldwide and supports 5 billion
>> page views per month. It is number 34 of all sites on the web in terms
>> of traffic. In December 2006, Craigslist's CEO stunned Wall Street
>> analysts by letting them know that
>> "Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit from the website
>> but instead prefers only to help users find cars, apartments, jobs and
>> dates."
> Inspiring example. But why aren't there more of those? Maybe there are
> and they are little known... Selling out seems to be the default in the
> Web 2.0 area. The question is why.

Because without access to finance capital, independent ventures lack the
funds to expand and to promote
themselves. Also, enterprises not acquired by finance capital do not have
preferential access to traditional
and online media buzz creation, i.e. VC-worshiping sites like "Tech

Naturally, finance capital is profit driven, so the attitude expressed by
Craiglist's CEO is not possible if acquired.

This is aggravated by a general anti-commerce bias in the independent
online media, such as art, activist and net
culture mailing lists and websites, where selling stuff is seen as vulgar
and off-topic, but long threads of alarm and wonder at the latest Web 2
funding round are common. Most people seem to think that Life Styles of the
Rich and Online is a far more interesting topic than small independent
ventures. You can all pat yourselves of the back for finding Craiglist'
inspiring and interesting now that it is a highly successfully enterprise,
but if Craig where here today peddling an unknown classified add business,
he would be ignored at best, chastised for irrelevant contributions more
likely. Fact is even artists, activists and cultural theorists are more
likely to be interested in talking about Second Life or the latest iPod
than than promoting and investigating independent, non-capitalist,
enterprise. This makes promotion even more difficult for unfinanced

Last, but certainly not least, starting a business with little or no money
is hard, very hard. As venture capital is based on the accumulated surplus
wealth of others, it can bare fantastic amounts of risk and invest
substantially in capturing markets by losing money and driving out
less-capitalized competition.

Independent enterprises, generally based on the surplus labour power of its
founders and commonly available ("commodity") physical capital inputs, do
not have the same tolerance for risk, nor the same ability to lose money to
capture markets.

Rent-pressure faced by independent entrepreneurs usually drives them back
into the labour market long before there enterprises have a chance to make

Dmytri Kleiner,
Telekommunisten, Berlin


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