Craigslist Incorporated in 1999 or Newspapers Broken Business Model

It has been 15 years since Craigslist incorporated. Fifteen. Quickly, name one newspaper that has built a better classifieds experience than Craigslist.

Fifteen fucking years. I’ve started tens of posts trying to outline my thoughts and feelings about the publishing industry having spent the last five years in it. But I inevitably start ranting and raving before the third or fourth sentence… like I am now.

How is it possible that in 15 years not one newspaper, in the world, has been able to out compete Craigslist or Kijiji? The business model is fine, but the leadership and imagination is broken .

400 Years of Psychological Progress

Around 1600 CE, William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet and inked the eternal quote:

To be, or not to be: that is the question.

In 2009, Kanye West wrote My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and modernized the bard’s question in “Dark Fantasy”:

But what’s worse, the pain or the hangover?

This comparison has been stuck in my head since I heard the album. We went from suicide as our only option to all kinds of wonderful drugs. If that’s not real progress, I don’t know what is.

CBC Saskatchewan says “Hot water is hot”

There are many reasons why I am not a journalist and some day I think I will write about that. In the interim, let me tell you about one of my professional experiences with the corporate broadcaster.

Several months ago, before CBC forgot to get a CRTC license for their new Saskatoon radio station, I was interviewing for a job with them as a web producer or something. I had a phone interview that went really well, but in-person the interview fell apart almost immediately. Presumably, I was in the room because of the “web” portion of the title, but the all-male panel of interviewers (I think 3 or 4) grilled me on the nature of journalism and it all culminated in the sweetest question: “What is your journalism?” To which I think I finally gave the answer they were looking for: “I’m not a journalist.” They didn’t call back.

And I ask you, with stories like the following coming out of CBC, why would I want to be one?

CBC’s iTeam spent a day driving around Regina, testing the temperatures of coffee and tea from different establishments. Tune into CBC News Saskatchewan’s suppertime television news on Wednesday to see where team discovered the hottest drinks.

Dobby is Putin, Putin is Dobby

Dobby is Putin, Putin is Dobby

I’ve been worried that we’d lost our ability to be silly. In a post 9/11 world, silliness hasn’t seemed relevant in pop culture (though it’s coming back, see Comedy Bang Bang), but it turns out that I’ve simply been looking in the wrong place. Silliness moved from the big screen to the big wigs and this article absolutely makes my day sillier.

A group of Russian lawyers is reportedly planning a law suit against Harry Potter producers Warner Bros over apparent similarities between Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and CGI-tastic Chamber of Secrets star Dobby the elf… Reports that George Bush is unhappy at his resemblance to Gollum in The Two Towers have so far proved difficult to confirm.

Open sourcing the 19th century

They focus on Google in this article (and they deserve recognition in this regard), but my emphasis is that this is an open source success that is surrounded by walled-garden failure.

In a way, the experience of using Google to access the 19th century has enriched our ability to work in the physical archives and libraries that many of us still consider to be the epicenter of scholarship. I am constantly moving between my Victorian online experience and the far richer evidence available at some brick-and-mortar libraries.