Jason Kottke is pining for the good ol’ days. You know, back when blogging was new and fun and interesting and innocent and true etc etc.
If you’re buying low and selling high, the time to buy optimism was two to four years ago, not now. That was when a small group of friends looked at a horrible economy and saw an opportunity to educate their clients and the rest of us about the value of user-centered design. When a husband and wife decided to build their own blog tool in their spare time because they wanted to use it. When an entreprenuer gambled that you could make money publishing weblogs. When a few folks decided that people needed a place to share their photos with friends. When a loose collective of designers showed us the possibilities of semantically correct standards-based web design. There’s still lots of opportunity these days, but it’s more expensive with less return.
He then kvetches about Six Apart, the company who invented Movable Type, the software this website runs on.
Consider Six Apart as an example of what I’m talking about. 6A is like a black hole for creative people. Folks who, a year or two ago, were among the leading voices in the discussion of how weblogs were changing our culture, were coding all sorts of useful plug-ins for Movable Type, or were pushing the edges of web design are now focused on making software that generates revenue and aren’t saying a whole lot about it. (Sort of ironic that working for 6A kills the weblogs of their employees, isn’t it?) That’s great for them, for Six Apart, their customers, and their partners, but it kinda sucks for the community as a whole.
Mena Trott, Six Apart’s co-founder, responds here:
I don’t buy the idea that most companies are creatively stifling their employees. While it may be true for some companies, I think it’s far more likely that, as you say, people with jobs are really, really busy. Frankly, I know that when my heaviest periods of blogging came when I was unemployed or not feeling fulfilled at work.
I think anyone who tries to make money DIRECTLY through blogging is statistically JUST BEGGING to have his ass kicked by the market. A few bright sparks may get away with it ocasionally, just like a pretty waitress in Los Angeles occasionally gets discovered in a restaurant and is starring in a movie a year later. Nice when it happens, certainly, but I wouldn’t place a bet on horse with those odds.
“Indirectly”, however, is another story…