Re: THE PLANT: It Worked

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Wed Aug 02 2000 - 15:23:44 MDT


hal writes:

>I predict that the percentage who pay will drop as the novelty wears off.
>Has King said what the threshold is below which he won't continue?
>My guess is that the percentage who pay will approach that level.

Ah, yes, but a percentage of ***what***? There's the rub. Are we talking
about 76% of $50,000, or 3% of $50,000,000? Nobody knows, so the game gets
interesting. ***How many*** have downloaded? How many more are there,
yet to download? How big is Stevie's payday? What is his overhead? Will
Stevie want to turn off the tap, just because only 74% are paying? 73%?
37%? 3%?

I've heard that at one time there was a vast inland sea on the north
american continent, held in place at its weakest point by a geological
structure--a kind of natural dam, which eventually gave way, causing a
flood of truly apocolyptic proportions, across the (now desert) southwest.
Is this an apt metaphor of the events we are witnessing? Give the dam
another thump, big guy! Rock the world, Stevie!

I wish I had the motivation to write more on this topic, because I'm
thoroughly enjoying the slow-motion drama of the irreversible, unstoppable,
technological liberation of intellectual property. And I've been thinking
about it more or less nonstop.

For example, once Napster had demonstrated that unprecedented millions of
participants would flock to their cybernode (cheesy carl sagan voice:
"Billions and billions of eyeballs!"), which flocking is the key to making
buckets of money in the new cyber gold rush, it was beyond certainty that
others would follow. Then, note the nature of competition, where each
participant goes to school by observing the methods and results of those
who've gone before. While Napster enjoys the benefits of being first to
the mothernode, it also pays to learn the dance of adjustment, and pays its
way through the obstacle course of legal challenge, as the competition
watches. They want Napster's customers, those millions of earballs,
without Napster's vulnerability. They go to sleep at night and dream of
defendant Napster, humbled before the black-robed inquistor, weeping at the
words, "...hanged by the neck until dead." Gnutella, freeNet, scour,
wrapster, more to come, an unending hoarde, the new VC army seeking the
perfect combination of ease of access, technical/legal teflonability, and
commercial exploitability. The barbarians await beyond the walls of Rome.
It makes me giddy. Go barbarians!

The New Colossus November 2nd 1883

                 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
                 With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
                 Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand
                 A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

                 Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
                 Mother of Geeks, From her beacon-hand
                 Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes
                 The air-bridged harbor that twin-cities frame,

                 "Keep, ancient lands, you storied pomp!" cries she,

                 With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
                 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
                 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

                 Send these, the lyric-seeking, tempo-tost to me,
                 I lift my lamp beside the golden whore!"
                Emma Lazarus (mostly)

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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