for26 November 1996. Updated every TUESDAY.

BIG IDEA The Well's Wired conference meets
Jonestown... on the web!
25 WORDS <= Wirednews.com is your one-stop shop for
news, views, and free verse about the
most-discussed media entity in the
digital universe, Wired Ventures.
HARD SELL If EFF attorney Mike Godwin was correct
when he identified libertarianism as the
"primordial net.news discussion topic,"
putative technolibertarian Louis Rossetto
may yet prove himself the most savvy
marketer the web has ever known. People
are, indeed, talking "politics" online,
but the subject of their exposition ain't
Harry Browne.
The new lowest common denominator of all
networked debate is Wired Ventures, and
whether or not one sees this as an
extension of Godwin's thesis, the fact
remains that knitting one's brows over
Wired is an industry that has moved out
of the cottage and into the mainstream.
Analysis of the IPO has become a
whodunnit of OJ proportions; ego-bruised
ejectees mouth rote critiques of
everything from the content to the
business plan (evoking the tenor and zeal
of recently-deprogrammed Aum Shinrikyo
acolytes); also-ran competitors have even
squandered their bottom dollars on
private investigators to dig up dirt on
HotWired columnists in retaliation for
perceived crimes. Clearly, things are
getting good.
Those at Wired who complain of
logarithmically spiralling inaccuracies
are clearly missing the point - there's
an almost insatiable hunger for Wired
news, content not by the company, but
about the company. Wirednews.com fills
that need, providing a simple, intuitive
win-win for the company and the
fascinated public, turning hollers into
Wirednews.com recognizes that the problem
with "preaching to the choir" isn't the
choir, it's the preaching. Those singing
the death hymns will find themselves in
perfect harmony with the Wirednews.com
community. Structurally, Wirednews.com
would mirror the slew of Wired
Ventures-affiliated websites: irate
Prodigy drones comment each week on
Flux; ergonomic-armchair economists from
The Well annotate Packet; Bay Guardian
Bolsheviks disassemble Netizen;
columnists from that fourth-generation
Wired photocopy, Upside, comment on the
business plan; and Electric Mind-ed
fruitopians metastasize HotWired's Threads.
Adding elegance to the equation, even
Suck might earn its own watchdog forum,
with daily ruminations on our column and
shitty attitude, by Wired Ventures
employees themselves!
Feature events would be akin to WWF Steel
Cage matches, commanding premium prices
for special events such as Rossetto vs.
Kline, Barlow vs. Borsook, Mark Stahlman
vs. Kevin Kelly, perhaps even Ned
Brainard vs. Skinny DuBaud! Because the
sheer mass of content would be more than
any one person could possibly keep track
of, material could be repackaged and
published by a book division,
HardWirednews. Java chat technology,
licensed from HotWired, could be used for
metered one-on-one deprogramming sessions
with qualified Wirednews counselors:
WirednewsTalk.com. Finally, the visual
signature of the inevitable Wirednews.com
television program on MSNBC would be as
unforgettable as MTV's pre-Challenger
rocket - Kirkpatrick Sales smashing a
computer! Viva la revolución!
OVERHEAD Since most of Wired Ventures' most vocal
critics are currently only tenuously
employed, they could be taken advantage
of for clearance-sale prices. There are
several methods which might be pursued to
make Wirednews.com instantly profitable,
above and beyond subscription and
pay-per-view fees. Two conservative
approaches include a) selling all ad
space to Wired or b) selling the entire
company to Wired. However, the most
provocative option might be to raise
several hundred million in venture
capital, purchase Wired Ventures
outright, and reassign the Wired staff,
technologies, and partners to full-time
promotion of Wirednews.com Ventures.

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