Is it ethical?

Seth Godin poses an interesting question. A website offers to tell you what common over the counter drug to take to stop vomiting if you pay them $5 via PayPal. Seth asks:

Other than trying to leave a legacy for future midnight surfers, the purpose of this post is to help us think about whether charging $5 for information like this is ethical–and if you think it is, whether it is possible to do it successfully for long…

Of course it is ethical to trade knowledge for money. We all do this everyday. Seth charges people to attend his seminars. They aren’t holding a gun to your head to make the transaction, and they probably aren’t the monopoly source for such information. In fact when you visit your doctor you pay for their knowledge, assuming by virtue of their medical degree that their knowledge is of value.

The ethical question might be a lot more complicated though if this company was the only source for such information.

Whether it is possible to do it successfully for long is another question. Seth already provided the information in this case, thus making the information free. And a good searcher will probably be able to find the information for free, meaning that this company isn’t really providing much value for that $5.


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A great year.

A year ago I wasn’t working and I was building Bleezer, my blogging software. Then I had the chance to spend a few months working with a fun startup called MusicIP. And in the past month I’ve had three different offers to start new startup companies, which I’m working on now. This has been an incredible year, and it is only going to get better in the coming year.

Happy New Year and all the best wishes for 2007!


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Being and connectedness.

I often read that desktop applications are dead; that web applications are all that people want to use.

That may be wonderful if you are connected to the net 24 hours a day. But back in the real world that just isn’t the case. I’m visiting my parents and my inlaws over the holidays and they have nothing but dialup connections. Believe me, in that situation desktop applications are your friend.

Maybe one day we’ll all be connected all the time wherever we go, but until then it might be a good idea to keep in mind that we don’t all live in such a rarefied atmosphere.

There still is a very real digital divide.


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Recently I came to the realization that my house was just too cluttered. So I’ve embarked on a massive project to de-clutter the place.

That’s all about creating more living space.But there is always something going on in my office, and there are always several new and interesting things sitting on my desk. And apparently that’s ok:

An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

My office isn’t "messy", but there is a lot going on there. And my life isn’t organized; it’s flexible and I prefer it that way.

Serendipity has always been more fun for me.


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User generated responses.

An article in today’s New York Times starts with following paragraph:

SO what do you think? Two weeks ago we invited predictions on what 2007 would be “the year of” in media, and the user-generated responses were abundant and wiki-licious. (emphasis mine)

Would user-generated responses be the same thing we used to call reader comments?

I am not a New York Times user.I am a New York Times reader.

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