Note — May 05, 2019

Nothing Fails Like Success

Webdesign legend Jeffrey Zeldman (who’s now at Automattic??) looks at some of the ways our halcyon days of the indy web fell into money and all its VC corruptions, which other models might work, and ends with a good question: “So here we are. Now what do we do about it? “

Websites and internet startups used to be you and your friends making cool stuff for your other friends, and maybe building new friendships and even small communities in the process. […]

“Most of my startups have the decency to fail in the first year,” one investor told him. My friend’s business was taking in several million dollars a year and was slowly growing in staff and customers. It was profitable. Just not obscenely so. […]

From our naive belief that content wants to be free, and our inability to create businesses that pay for themselves, we are turning our era’s greatest inventions into engines of doom and despair. […]

On an individual and small collective basis, the IndieWeb already works. But does an IndieWeb approach scale to the general public? If it doesn’t scale yet, can we, who envision and design and build, create a new generation of tools that will help give birth to a flourishing, independent web? One that is as accessible to ordinary internet users as Twitter and Facebook and Instagram?

Related: The Libertarian Freedom of Cyberspace Is Over

Cyberspace was a way of thinking about the radical changes brought about by the internet. It gave internet companies, regular people, odd collectives, weird technologies, and other entities space to create something transnational, individualistic, largely unregulated, and free.