Month: June 2010

A Column Written In Five Minutes About Stuff That Mattered Years Ago

“Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren’t necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next.”

– Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Slaughterhouse Five

In Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s most famous book, Billy Pilgrim is a former soldier who finds himself lost in time: forced to live and relive the periods of his life in random order. Today I know how Billy Pilgrim feels.

Sure, for Pilgrim the trigger was the trauma of war, while for me it’s the lunacy of getting ready to launch TechCrunch TV in a few days (more on that soon), but apart from that we’re basically the same. Except that I’m not American. Or a fictional character.

What I am though, is confused. I’m sitting here in the TechCrunch office, on a Sunday evening, trying to placate my editorial paymasters by bashing out something resembling a column in the five minutes I have between conference calls with TCTV contributors. To expedite the process I’m trawling the web; pinging the major technology news sites to find out what big stories I’ve missed this week.…


Content Is King! Rest In Peace, Content

Can Tim Armstrong make AOL king of content by 2010?” – Blog headline

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly” – Macbeth

There’s something about the idea of “New York Internet Week” that I’ve always found inherently funny; like “Saudi Arabia Bring Your Daughter To Work Day”, or Greenland being called Greenland.

Ironically for a city that’s always been so adept at branding itself, New York has always struggled to articulate its place in the worldwide web, and Internet Week is the clearest manifestation of that identity crisis. Name an industry that the Internet is disrupting: newspapers, publishing, advertising, banking – and you’ll find its heart in Manhattan. Despite the best efforts of Mayor Bloomberg and, uh, Dennis Crowley to paint New York as the place to do business in Web 3.0, the fact is that billions of advertising and investment dollars continue to flood west, never to return. And yet New York, bless it, continues to try to stay relevant – for one week a year at least – to the industry that’s bleeding it dry.

Witness the Webbys – the awards ceremony that congratulates New York based celebrities who have learned to tweet – witness the awkward panels filled with mismatched home-grown personalities (“Julia Alison meets Jeff Jarvis“) and witness (if you can’t avoid it) the week-long parties where thousands of identically unique hipsters cram into lofts to drink booze sponsored by one or all of the east coast’s four successful start-ups.…


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