Apparently, You're Only Allowed To Comment On Failed Business Models If You Believe In Them

from the fascinating dept

We've noticed quite a trend around here when it comes to the various business model discussions we tend to have: people who believe in the bad business models we discuss almost always start screaming about how we have no right to comment because we haven't embraced that bad business model. Thus, when we talk about music, we're told we can't comment because we've never sold music. When we talk about patents, we're told we can't comment because we've never received a patent. When we talk about the journalism business, we're told we can't comment because we've never been journalists. Of course, that's quite silly. It's like saying that no one who isn't an economist can comment on business models, because only economists understand business models. And, it makes even less sense when you realize that what people are effectively saying is "you can't tell us how stupid our plan is unless you decided to make use of the same stupid plan."

But now we're even seeing the flipside, as well. Randy Siegel is saying that Jeff Jarvis shouldn't be trusted on talking about the future of media because the worse newspapers do, the better Jarvis does -- both as someone the media goes to, and in getting consulting gigs that help companies trying to avoid the fate of newspapers. Of course, there's something tautological about the whole thing. Basically, Jarvis is being slammed for being right. Because he's right, more people go to him for info -- and to Siegel, that means he can no longer be trusted? Wow.

First people are told they can't comment on something if they're not in the business -- and now they're being to they can't comment on something if they are in the business -- and successfully avoiding the giant ice berg floating up towards them. I don't see how that makes any sense at all. Apparently, the only people allowed to comment on how to avoid the ice berg are those who are screaming their heads off about the ice berg coming towards them, but are unwilling to do a damn thing about it. It seems like those people almost deserve to hit the ice berg.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:35pm

    I would comment about the posting of stupid comments, but since I am not experienced in this field I will abstain.

     

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    Nick (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    Is it Jarvis's insights that motivated him to start business that will be valuable in the future (news aggregators) or did he just pick a business at random (online content) and then try to bring down everything else that competes with it by claiming the death of newspapers and the rise of Google? That's silly Siegel.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    Can I Comment?

    But Mike and Techdirt would never, ever discourage comments, would they? Oh, wait. Just earlier today I posted a comment (or tried to), only to be told that the comment would have to be "reviewed" by the Techdirt staff first.

    Pot, meet Kettle.

     

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:48pm

    Never happened to me, Anonymous Coward. Maybe it's because I sign with my real name, and a URL that can be checked (the domain belongs to me, hint, hint).

    Back on topic. Mike, did it occur to you that those people may not want to avoid the iceberg? They're afraid, no, terrified, of the open sea^H^H^H future. And when people are terrified, they'll make all kind of nonsensical decisions. Such as choosing to die on their high horses rather than live on their feet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 10:13pm

    I've never had a comment not show up. I'm not trying to hide anything by not registering, I'm just too lazy.

     

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    Jesse, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    You can only comment if you agree.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 10:46pm

    Never happened to me either , even when I trolled Weird Harold with a HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT I SUCK COCK and more often than not included the word fuck or somesuch in a comment...

    My guess : AC#3 is lying.

     

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    Sandy, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:54am

    Well, regarding music, the problem is that the models are very narrow in that they miss most of what it actually entails, being or supporting a working musician. Touring, who gets what for revenues, traditional revenue streams for musicians and labels, how to divide the pie so that the musician doesn't get screwed, who has to do what in terms of support, both financially and details and so on.

    The problem with your models and the examples you use is that most of the musicians are experienced with various aspects and can handle a lot of the day to day business of releasing a record and all that goes with it. Of the examples you list where the musician is not experienced I don't see a lot of them getting out and touring. Ok, good for them all if they can survive as a musician and be happy with their careers. Great!

    But the vast majority of musicians need a network of people supporting them, kicking in tour support until they get on their feet, providing the promotion for the release and tour, sorting out much of the documentation, taxes, logistics. This is where labels and booking agents are invaluable. If the label starts cutting into sales on the road of both merchandise and fees the musician suffers, as this is often what they depend on to support themselves throughout the year.

    This is, for me anyway, the problem with someone never having been in the business coming up with solutions that don't address a lot of what happens in the music business.

     

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    Cynical, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:04am

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't

    Mike, that was a beautiful piece, spot on!

    Using their flawed logic for an example: I don't have a valid opinion of how good a prospective car is, because I don't make cars. And then, if I do make cars, I can't comment, because it's self interest! lol That's ridiculous.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:23am

    Re:

    I've never had cancer either. My guess is that people who claim they have are lying.

     

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    By the way, I masturbate too. A LOT. (hint, hint)

     

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    Jeff Jarvis, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:43am

    Thanks

    Appreciate this, Mike.

    Note, too, that Siegel has a very strong interest in seeing old newspapers say alive so he can sell them Parade. Every time a paper dies (or cuts its budget), he dies a little. That's why he started that Newspaper Project blog and ad thing to sell the wonderfulness of paper as paper. He benefits a lot more than I do.

    As I pointed out in a comment on his NewspaperProject blog (there's no opportunity to comment at E&P - surprise, surprise), Siegel doesn't reveal that he and I worked together as I was president and creative director of Advance.net, the online arm of his parent company, for a dozen years. In that capacity, I tried to bring Parade into the future. I failed.

    I quit so I could accomplish more change - helping newspapers - as a professor. I now earn a fraction of what I did when I worked for Advance but I believe I can get more done. Note well that I also still consult for Siegel's company... helping a newspaper.

    Mike, what I think you're identifying is both a defensiveness and emotionalism that is taking over this discussion as things get more dire. I'm seeing it, too, in the debate over paid content (otherwise rational people who just stomp their feet and say it SHOULD happen). I guess it's not surprising: a mark of desperation.

    I work hard to try to help advance journalism into the next age. Anyone is welcome to disagree with me and what I say. But to attack my motive is nothing short of petty and defamatory.

     

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    Jeff Jarvis, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:54am

    Faith

    A further thought: The behavior you're describing is exactly that of a religion or cult: You can't know what you're talking about unless you're a believer. Sadly, the old business models for news and newspapers remain only matters of faith.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Quite funny. And too true. But you should know, The Economist says the giving away of free stuff on the internet is a failed business model because yet again (some of the) people who do the giveaways are asking to be paid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 5:35am

    I'm not an anonymous coward! I thought I was registered since I get the feed, and wasn't asked to register. But now that I've been named an anonymous coward I kind of like it

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Re: Thanks

    There are some of us who hope "print" does not die for the simple reason that it is nice to "use" something without the need for electricity.

     

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    David Muir, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 6:30am

    The future

    Mike's been pointing to Clay Shirky's article about how we can't know what the future holds for newspapers. We are in the midst of an upheaval. Surely comments from all parties (interested, disinterested, informed, and uninformed) should be welcome at a time like this? Sometimes a naive statement can be the seed of an idea that changes the game in a huge and positive way.

     

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    Sneeje, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Thanks

    Except for the massive upfront investment in electricity to create the paper version of the "print". Oh yeah, and the massive investment in fossil fuel to deliver it to your door or newstand.

    But other than that...

     

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  19.  
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    Joel Sucherman, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:29am

    Track record

    So... anyone with a memory beyond the last 15 minutes knows Jarvis has been thinking about this stuff (and blogging about it) for years, well before he was really cashing in on his expertise in this area. Secondly, he's been more-than-willing to celebrate successes and try to surface them to all. He's always been interested in bringing leaders in new media together to brainstorm. He has certainly built a successful brand out of it, but I've always known him to be transparent and willing to share time, thoughts ideas, with no money changing hands. Jeff doesn't need me to defend him, but let's bring more voices to the business model discussion rather than shout down the ones trying to help us all find our way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:43am

    And don't forget software patents. Based on what I've read here, you're not allowed be against software patents unless you've got some.

     

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  21.  
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    Blondie, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Whenever there is a major shift in an industry (generally brought about by technology) there is a pattern one can see. The visionary who sees it coming is usually outcast at first by most people experienced in that industry. They are told they don't know what they are talking about. As the technology continues to advance, the industry goes through some sort of upheaval and businesses die out or grow.

    Change (even positive change) is difficult for most people, it takes strong leadership to embrace change. Some people (and businesses) dig their heels in and insists that the way it has always worked will contine to work. The pattern continues to the point where there is a new "normal" and only a handful of businesses exist doing it strictly the old way, cashing in on the limited interest in "nostalgia". It's your typical bell curve.

    In the printing industry for instance, there have been quite a few of these technology shifts. The last big one was from letterpress to offset. Now it is shifting to digital from offset.

    Along with all of these changes come failures and successes ... and opinions about what those businesses are doing. This is a pretty normal thing. I have to say that I also find it a bit "fascinating" or amusing when when someone argues by saying "you can't tell me!" Of course they can tell you. It doesn't mean you have to believe them!

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Can I Comment?

    Anything I have commented on was immediately posted. This just another reason why I respect Techdirt.

     

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    Rob Pegoraro (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 10:20am

    From a journalist who sometimes criticizes Hollywood biz models

    After writing a piece taking the entertainment industry for task for things like forcing useless DRM on their customers, I sometimes get a response along the lines of "How can you possibly tell a movie studio or a record label how to do its job? You've never made a movie or recorded an album!"

    And when that happens, I have a hard time resisting the temptation to send this reply: "How can you possibly tell a newspaper writer how to do his job? You've never reported a story for a daily paper!"

     

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    Lucretious, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 10:46am

    I guess I'm still safe speaking about simplistic and juvenile reactionary posts.

     

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  25.  
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    Matt, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Re: Can I Comment?

    I think the only time I can imagine techdirt refusing a comment is a spam post to a promotion. Generally, comments are posted automatically and only removed later if warranted, so obviously AC #3 is a troll.

     

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  26.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Being Right.

    Feel complimented. Lincoln was our most hated President, mostly for being right. Clinton was savaged from every side (as was Franklin Roosevelt), mostly for being right, IMO.
    It seems that it is difficult to soar with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys (envious turkeys, that is).

    You must be doing something right if you are under savage attack from a horde of turkeys.

     

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    D0M1N8R, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    You of all people should know

    It comes with the territory. The only people that really comment are those whom do not like your views and for every one of them their is probably 100 people who didnt comment whom are in agreeance with your views.
    It's much easier to attack credibility then to be constructive about why you think the author is wrong.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Can I Comment?

    How's your mom? Tell her i'm sorry I accidentally dropped her off at the neighbor's house. It was late and... Well, you know. How embarrassing.

     

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    Nick (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    And are not the supposed customers of a business models allowed to comment on how they would like to me served? Or, should they just vote with their dollars? Apparently, that is not enough anymore, and we need more discussion.

     

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    Mike, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Just remember what they say about opinions: They are a lot like butt holes. Everyone has them and they all stink.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Can I Comment?

    "Generally, comments are posted automatically and only removed later if warranted, so obviously AC #3 is a troll."

    You have no idea what you are talking about and are obviously just making crap up, fan boi.

     

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  32.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Just the facts.

    "Hmmm. While the Post is the oldest newspaper in our nation’s capital and one of the oldest and most prestigious in our country, its daily readership is actually 1.6 million, not 289,300. But why should facts get in the way of opinion?"

    If Siegel is going to make such a snide comment, he should make sure to get his own blasted facts straight.

    According to the Washington Post's AdBook, which can be found here;

    http://www.washingtonpostads.com/adsite/_res/files/managed/TWP%20AdBook2009.pdf

    the Post has a circulation of 666,434 for the Monday-Friday period, and 912,433 for the Sunday. Even an idiot would know that you don't simply add those two numbers together. There's going to be lots of overlap, and it's even feasible that a majority of those Monday-Friday people also are getting Sunday, meaning that the daily readership is well below 1 million.

    I'm all for snide comments, but make sure you're right.

     

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  33.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Can I Comment?

    Yeah, cause MY post right here took 5 months to come through. Can you believe it?

    Wait? It went through immediately!?!? Really? Ok, I think maybe it is you, cock stain, who has no idea what they're talking about.

     

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    Your Gawd and Master, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re:

    We could understand that better if you'd get all the sperm outta your mouth. Oh, tell your mom, I said hi. You may not recognize her, I shaved her back.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Can I Comment?

    Yeah, cause MY post right here took 5 months to come through. Can you believe it?

    Wait? It went through immediately!?!? Really? Ok, I think maybe it is you, cock stain, who has no idea what they're talking about.


    Mike has previously said that they use automatic spam filters to flag suspicious messages. And the filters don't just trigger on message content either. If there has been a spammer operating from your ISP lately then posts from anyone using your ISP may be filtered. And rather than let a suspect message go through and remove it later, they put it in a hold to be reviewed first. So no, despite your claims, your post didn't go through immediately, it went through the filter first. But maybe you don't think Mike has any idea either, huh?

    Matt (or Your Gawd and Master or whatever name you're using now), It's always funny to watch how you fan boys start lying, nym-shifting, name calling and spewing vulgar language when you're wrong. So predictable.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re:

    "By the way, I masturbate too. A LOT. (hint, hint)"

    Err, Felix, Techdirt really isn't that kind of blog.

     

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  37.  
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    Brenda Walker, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:14am

    As someone who has worked with both old and new models, at labels, at digital music start-ups and in management, what I find exasperating is the drive for scorching the earth of the middle ground between the two sides.

    Technologists who are industry-ignorant thieves that steal music and build businesses without paying
    vs.
    Record labels who are greedy, ostrich-like dinosaurs with their heads in the ground, running bloated models that fatten their expense accounts and line the pockets of superstars.

    For more than a decade (and even longer if you work in "niche" genres), most of us in the music business (not just the recording industry) who think it is important for projects to be profitable and for everyone to make a living, have had to operate in the reality of lean recording budgets, creative marketing (instead of expensive advertising) and direct fan interaction. I'm grateful for the new tools and models that make some of these things more efficient and for the old models, like commercial licensing and radio airplay (which is still how 70% of people find out about music) that fund these efforts.

    It's idealistic of me to expect that meaningful dialogue and collaboration between the two sides can become the dominant course instead of the bickering, but at least I enjoy the benefit of finding the desire for mutual benefit in my professional dealings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:32am

    "what I find exasperating is the drive for scorching the earth of the middle ground between the two sides.
    "

    And to hell with those caught in the middle (customer).
    Why do you not get exasperated about this?

    And then both sides wonder where the market went .. as the customer says screw you and hightails it outta there.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:44am

    What have you accomplished, Mike?

    Mike, have you actually accomplished anything after all this time ranting about your "new business model?" Maybe I should make this "accomplished anything of note". Have you changed any laws or the Constitution? Have there been any sweeping changes in the music business that you have caused to occur? While there have been changes, can any of them be attributable to your rants? Finally, when have you put yourself on the line and become a defendant in a lawsuit over the topic of copyright violations? I wonder how many of those 35,000 people who lost lawsuits against the RIAA or settled out of court were influenced by your ongoing rants that what they were doing was perfectly OK? You can hide behind the assertion all you want that you never encourged anyone or told anyone to break the law, but have you ever told anyone, "Don't break the law by illegally downloading copyrighted music without paying for it."? And when they did, did you remind them of the consequences?

     

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    Scorpiaux, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:45am

    What have you accomplished, Mike?

    Mike, have you actually accomplished anything after all this time ranting about your "new business model?" Maybe I should make this "accomplished anything of note". Have you changed any laws or the Constitution? Have there been any sweeping changes in the music business that you have caused to occur? While there have been changes, can any of them be attributable to your rants? Finally, when have you put yourself on the line and become a defendant in a lawsuit over the topic of copyright violations? I wonder how many of those 35,000 people who lost lawsuits against the RIAA or settled out of court were influenced by your ongoing rants that what they were doing was perfectly OK? You can hide behind the assertion all you want that you never encourged anyone or told anyone to break the law, but have you ever told anyone, "Don't break the law by illegally downloading copyrighted music without paying for it."? And when they did, did you remind them of the consequences?

     

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    Easily Amused, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    i fear you have missed the point of that response....

     

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  42.  
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    holy crap, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: What have you accomplished, Mike?

    AC, Scorpiaux - whatever ...

    What is your point? What's up with all those questions ...

    And then towards the end of the rant ... there is an attempt to make an accusation. Stop beating around the bush and just say it already.

     

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  43.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: What have you accomplished, Mike?

    Mike, have you actually accomplished anything after all this time ranting about your "new business model?"

    I think that's for others to decide, not me. I know plenty of folks from a variety of different perspectives who regularly have sent in their thanks for helping them determine their own business models. I think that's great and that's an accomplishment.

    At the same time, we've built up our own business, based on those same principles, which I also think of as an accomplishment. The fact that the business I envisioned and help build thanks to a great team is now helping to provide a living for our entire staff is what I consider to be quite an accomplishment. More than I ever hoped to accomplish.

    In 2008, thanks to the Insight Community, we've been able to get hundreds of different people thousands of dollars for providing insight. Our top earner made $20,000 last year. I consider that to be an accomplishment.

    I gave a presentation at the largest music industry conference, leading to deep discussions with multiple folks around the industry -- including some who have been regularly discussing ideas with us. I think that's an accomplishment.

    I recently was asked to present about these issues before the FTC. I think that's an accomplishment.

    I recently spoke about these issues before the Congressional Internet Caucus. I think that's an accomplishment.

    I have had multiple executive teams from some of the top companies around the world ask for briefings about these topics, which has resulted in fantastic and interesting discussions. I think that's an accomplishment.

    I have been asked (and asked back) to give a series of lectures at a major university in Europe on this topic. I think that's an accomplishment.

    But, in the end, I'm sure none of that matters to you.

    I've accomplished more than I ever set out to accomplish -- which was to discuss these issues which I thought were quite important. Some other people think so as well.

    But, this was never about accomplishments. This was about getting these ideas out there -- and they are much more widely spread than they were before, and the discussions around them have been great, and have even lead me to adjust my own thinking over the years.

    The good news, for me, is that I'm quite happy with everything I've accomplished (well beyond what I ever set out to do). If you believe that people need to accomplish more to mean something in life, that's your own hurdle.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hehe! You missed the joke last week. I move that Felix becomes a Techdirt Meme.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: What have you accomplished, Mike?

    Not you again!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: What have you accomplished, Mike?

    Scorpiaux needs to be talked to in understandable terms or on some level which he can relate to. Perhaps speak of old college frat days of how you won a Beer Pong Tourney or something.

    Your real accomplishments you've done will just woosh through Scorpiaux's head. It's sad, but true.

     

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  47.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

    The newspaper industry has a LONG history of not paying attention to their reader base. Realize that many in the media see their userbase not as customers, their customers are the advertisers.

     

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  48.  
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    Beta, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 9:01pm

    Customer and Seller: Customer's always King.

    The potential Buyer being the customer or the consumer has every right to comment on a product or a business model or a concept in any manner of choosing. The potential Seller being the Service Provider has an obligation to listen to these comments.

    Those who pay heed to their potential customers serve them better. You can say this of any business. The more comments you have against your offering or positioning or model of selling tells you how you can change to reach a larger customer base.

    Most Sales People know that the Customer is always right. It really doesn't work the other away. Almost all products and solutions are market driven. If the market reduces consumption, you lose.

    You could apply this to the Music industry or the Movie industry or probably any commercial institution.

     

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  49.  
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    Claes, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 1:47am

    @Beta:
    We all have the right to comment on IP issues, not because we are potential consumers, but because we are citizens and have a democratic right to try to influence law making. There has been a worrying trend lately to reduce the rights of us citizens to a mere considering of the consumer interests. We should stand vigilant so that we don't buy into that dangerous shift of perspective.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Beta, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 2:35am

    Re: @Claes

    Quite right. I tried the break-away from pure consumerism by prefixing with 'potential' intending that it applied to anyone. I tried to point out that opinion was free specific to business models. In terms of free speech and therefore the right to influence lawmaking; avoiding rights being withheld for the "consumerism" nature, I agree with you. We should avoid the shift in perspective. Thanks for bringing my thoughts in line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re:

    Amen!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Re: The future

    Or maybe not so positive...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    greg, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Ignore the fools. We need people like TechDirt editors to point out the many naked emperors online today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Felix Pleșoianu, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    To the 'tard who mocked me at #11: all you have really accomplished was to add one more link to my website, which in the end helps me, not you. Think about that next time you feel an urge to be "smart".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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