2010年5月20日 星期四

Translation and Dickheads

The only difference between giant financial institutions and giant media institutions is that there is no difference. Money blinds people and turn them into complete idiots and assholes.


"The point of [charging online subscriptions] is to make money so we can invest in journalism. Pay journalists decent salaries, send them places, get better reporting," he said, having earlier pointed out it cost The Times a million pounds per year to maintain a Baghdad correspondent.

"The danger of this other model is that gradually the journalism will diminish, it will get poorer and poorer, you won't be able to afford things, you won't be able to do things and so everybody is poorer as a result."

(emphasis added)

Are the journalists really rich now? Besides the bunch of fucks who make bank for large mega-entities? Doesn't most of that money go to boards, managers, editors and shit?

It's very simple. You either believe in progress, reducing costs, capitalism mother-fuckers! Or you just believe in making sure you are rich. Everyone wants free trade when it's some poor kids in China making your microwave and getting cancer, or making your socks and getting cancer, or making your iphone and getting cancer. Then everyone loves markets. When it's your ass that's getting taken down by your own people then all of a sudden it's an existential crisis for democracy.

and more:

"The competition isn't from the bundled newspaper sites, it's from the people who have a much lower cost model who are going to do it for free," he said.

I mean, can people even hear how they sound? Try Globalpost. Try translation. Try to stop being the Britain everyone knows and loves. God.

Keen is right, we are going to build a new hierarchy on the web, but at least we'll be able to get rid of some of these fucks along the way, hopefully. Propublica, Bay Area Citizen, you're on fucking notice! Charity can be evil because it distorts incentives and creates unnatural and potentially unfixable outcomes. It's a bitter pill to swallow, so take it with something sweet.

2010年5月4日 星期二

Three Diamond

Skip to minute 36 for full effect:


What happened to Jim?

Wake up Claire, Jim's dead. They're dead, they're all dead!

Some people seem to think that the publishing industry somehow made the right move by not embracing the internet/getting their audience used to a free model to consume their content. They are wrong. The publishing "industry" will survive, in a radically smaller, less profit-rich, and influential form, but like the other media, factors outside of their control are the controlling ones.

I don't feel like mentioning sites who are talking about this, but I read about this and listen to stuff about this all the time.

Publishing, it's true, still has people paying for their stuff. However, they're off the map now. Radar can't even find them.


Publishing, like music, and news, existed based on a scarcity model. The sites that add value (curation, commentary, convenience, etc) are the sites that actually exist in the online world. And the online world is the one that matters. CDs still sell, and they still sold 5 or 10 years ago, but they're dinosaurs. They might not be completely gone in 5 or 10 years, but the joke won't even be funny anymore.

There's an idea that the physical book may survive longer than say, the newspaper, or the magazine, (obviously the "physicality of music" is out), and there may be something to that. I think that's more what e-paper is about. I'm not sure how serious the dead-tree business is long-term. Undead sand, a little bit of plastic, maybe some metal, yes, but wood pulp? Not so sure.

It's never easy to give up your base (single women in their 60s) and embrace a new world where the world has moved on without you, where what you sold as scarce (words, ideas, communication, etc) is so passe that people don't know the word passe anymore, and you can hardly get them to care about anything other calling Tommy is a douche on his wall, watching Hulu, or staring at all the girls pics in FB (turns out there are actually three drivers of the internet, one, porn, of course, and two, talking/chatting/etc, and three, anonymously creepily stalking/staring at people's pictures, (and 4, whatever the fuck farmville is, crack?)). So where does that put publishing and writing? Well, there's defeat and retreat route, academia. 1, force kids to keep on reading books, and be that provider. 2, leech off the post-secondary world which exists in its own time-capsule (peer-reviewed journals?, tenure?, teaching "duties" transferred to "assistants" while you do "real research" to earn "prestige" for yourself and the school? Even the profs are starting to get that they can't exist in a bubble forever. And no, MIT, you can't win either. You're just a bunch of dicks. But until we fix the "I need to see your certification" problem, the academy is going to be able to pull this shit. You see it more often, but it used to be a cold day in hell when normal people would openly say shit like "college is for suckers". The rise of the online schools and the for-profit, schools, B-schoools (I know, redundant) all point to the same thing. The old system is for shit.

So where can the publishing/"book" industry move to do not die? Well, that's a good question. Is there even any money to be made? Perhaps, at least through indirect means (optioning for movies, video games, etc (other forms of media that still bring in cash). At best, however, I think the industry can get on the internet and make their presence felt. They have to become the new curators of the world of ideas/thoughts, and somehow make people notice and care about them. Is there room for this kind of monolith when you have the social monolith opposite? That's a good question. People seem to think it's there for news (no one thinks ALL news orgs will die, just most of them) and for music (no one thinks the major lables will dissappear altogether). But "books" is perhaps the most problematic of the three. Judging by the people who run the "major" media empires, I'm guessing they simply lack the ability to do this themselves. There's no other reason to explain why the NYTimes is still a giant clusterfuck, and why it took Apple fucking computer to get them any money at all on the internet.

Like the other areas, it may very well be that the internet will have to build this shit up by themselves because the companies are so pathetic. Places like bookslut might have to expand their presence and turn themselves into giant hubs that do conferences, consulting, publishing, reviews, job boards, etc, (yknow, the things the industry should have been doing/getting involved in the past 10-15 years). Old media really sometimes can't fix itself. It's got this staff, and all these office chairs, and a legal department, and all this legacy shit. All filler, no killer.

I hate writing long posts, but I was just reminded recently about how backward/conservative some people are about these things and how unknowing they are of their unknowing that this is going to be a disaster. Whatever I intended to write here, I've long since forgotten.


Good follow up, Jim.

A Diamond record is one that sells ten million copies. You usually hear people talk about platinum, one million. Only people like Eminem can talk about being "multi-diamond", no one even understands what the means, because no one ever talks about it. Needless to say, those days are gone.