People often — no, wait, that’s not “people,” it’s me. So, starting over: I often comment on the frequency with which blog commenters display anger, but really, anger is probably only the fourth most common trait among commenters across the Greater Web. The top three are humorlessness, literal-mindedness, and ignorance, though not necessarily in that order.
You may ask what prompts this splenetic outburst. I shall tell you.
Recently Maciej Ceglowski, the creator of the wonderful bookmarking service Pinboard, announced that he is forming the Pinboard Investment Co-Prosperity Cloud. Through this endeavor he promises to back six startup web businesses to the tune of thirty-seven bucks each — plus all the publicity he can give them. Excerpt from the Q&A on the site:
I have no understanding of the concept of humor. Can you explain this in a way that makes sense to me?
Yes. The project aims to draw attention to the fact that if you have access to technical labor, the startup and operating costs for an online project in 2013 are negligible. The biggest obstacle to creating something useful is finding the time to build it and attracting an initial pool of paying customers.
I can’t help you with the former, but I will try to help with the latter by publicizing your efforts and helping you get your project established. I will also give you as much business advice as you like, although that is probably worth much less than the $37.
You see what he is doing there? He’s making a shrewd point about the way that VC culture in the tech world works — and doesn’t work. He’s trying to emphasize the value of doing something that doesn’t claim to be earth-shaking and world-transforming but could be useful to others and moderately profitable to its creators. Like Pinboard!
And see how he’s doing it? See the funny? Thirty-seven bucks. A name like Pinboard Investment Co-Prosperity Cloud. It seems that Wired gets the humor of it, because their article about it is titled “Meet the World’s Cheapest Venture Capitalist.”
So how do the commenters on the article respond? Here’s a representative sample:
and here we list all the great companies that started with just $37 in the last 20 years. :
The whole thing has the smell of a gimmick. I hope someone will explain to my what I am missing, to learn that social capital is really that important to success would be of great value indeed.
Honestly, I’d rather have nothing than $37 measly dollars, and that’s before even accounting for shit like equity and so forth.
Wow, PT Barnum must be laughing his skeleton ass off. I can’t imagine anyone brain dead enough not to laugh in this guys face and tell him to Frack off.
$37?! Who the f— would take that? I’d take that as a venture capitalist fund to examine my bellybutton lint pssibly, but not anything any more serious than that.
And so on. Y’all are free to make the call about what traits are most in evidence here. I have no further comment.
Except to note that I will be deluged with end-of-term grading for the next few days and am unlikely to post. Please pray for my students, BECAUSE THEY’RE GONNA NEED IT. (No, see, that was a joke. You know, like “Co-Prosperity Cloud,” only … ah, forget it.)