The great and terrible thing about venture-backed anything is that they don’t really need to have a plan to make money from customers per-se. (This is why twitter stuck around being incredibly popular for a decade before they first started having ads.)

Ultimately, the venture capital business process is: throw money at thing in public, wait for people to copy you, and then wade into the wishing well in search of change. The actual cost of business is peanuts compared to the financial bukkake going on above (and the max amount of money they could make from ‘monetization’ like ads or subscriptions isn’t enough orders of magnitude bigger than the cost either), so businesses get subsidized so long as they’re trendy.

The other catch in this is that VCs are all sixty-something former hippies who haven’t noticed that Mark Zuckerberg is unpopular yet.

In other words: in any VC-backed business, its survival depends upon looking trendy to people whose idea of what’s trendy is between ten and fifteen years out of sync with the customer base.

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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