Friday, July 09, 2004

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Joel Maske, the guy behind iSyndicate and old-school online financial shop Galt (back in the day, mutual funds paid him big money to set up brochureware sites in his mutual fund mall--before they realized they could set up their own sites), is back, this time with a C2C lending/rental play called Moogul.

Basically, it's eBay, but for borrowers. I like the concept (after all, who doesn't want free stuff), but I worry about the trust issues. What happens the first time somebody breaks something?

I think that a better idea is to set up sharing groups with your friends. I know that I would love to have a service of this kind, since many of my DVDs are still floating around out there!

You could also cross Moogul with a social networking play and really give it a kickstart.

Monday, July 05, 2004

If You Think Blogging Is Big, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

As with any other technology, blogging enhances, rather than replaces, our existing way of life. Hidden away in this fascinating article on how teens are blogging is this remarkable fact:

"According to the research firm Perseus, 52 percent of all bloggers are teenagers, and an additional 40 percent are in their 20s."

And how about this one:

"At Evergreen, about 200 students -- or roughly one out of eight -- keep blogs at one popular site, Xanga.com. The term Xanga has even become part of school lingo -- students refer to their blogs as 'my Xanga.'"

I don't know what effects blogging will eventually have, but it's clearly here to stay.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy 208th Birthday, USA

Today marks the 208th birthday of the United States of America, the greatest force for good that the world has ever known. For all of its flaws, it is clear that our democratic form of government is superior to those that came before it (as well as those who came after it), and our focus on freedom and opportunity continue to act as a draw to the smartest, most talented, and most ambitious brains around the world.

Fred Wilson writes that he is not a nationalist. I am a nationalist. I believe that the US is the greatest country in the world, and that while it isn't always right, deserves the benefit of the doubt. I believe that there's nothing wrong with waving the flag.

On the other hand, as a nationalist who wishes to spread our values and way of life around the globe, I also realize that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. We need to pursue a course of humble nationalism, where we gently nudge people towards Teddy Roosevelt's "Americanism," rather than demanding that they change, or castigating them when they don't. We have to remember that we have it easier than everyone else, thanks to our Founding Fathers.

So on this 4th of July, celebrate your hard-won freedom. Whether you watch "Fahrenheit 9/11" or go to a ballgame, whether you express your support for the President, or your desire to impeach him, remember how lucky you are. Just as a fish doesn't realize that it's swimming through water, most of the time we don't realize that we are swimming in freedom. Most of us, me included, waste more freedom in a day than most people in the world have in a lifetime.