25 October 2006

Holly Lisle on knitting, writing, and the development of craft. To write (or knit) well, you first have to be willing to write (or knit) badly. Which is why most people give up: no one enjoys failure.

Posted 10:19 AM

24 October 2006

Even as music and video have moved from tangible media to electronic distribution, books have remained dependent on paper and ink. Electronic books have mostly failed to capture market interest. Yet, as Bryan Appleyard explains, change is coming to the publishing business, too. He expects it will come in the form of print-on-demand (POD) kiosks, which print individual books literally while the customer waits. Once POD can match the quality and cost of traditional books, he argues, the bookstore will become obsolete. That, he suggests, will be a good thing: the economics of traditional publishing conspire to squeeze out everything except the biggest bestsellers, and especially anything new, risky, or interesting. Remove those barriers, and you open the doors to creativity.

I tend to agree, for the long term. For the near term, publishers are likely to see the threat, rather than the opportunity. Bookstores and distributors will naturally do all they can to encourage that view. For the long term, though, the tide won't be stopped. Should be a fun ride.

Posted 05:10 PM

23 October 2006

Almost all new businesses fail. MarkTAW argues that it's mostly because they run out of money. Expenses start at some fixed amount, and income starts at zero, and by the time the income catches up to the expenses the business has accumulated a huge mountain of debt. If you have significant savings or an external funding source, you can change the size of the debt mountain, but the basic equation is still the same: a race to develop enough revenue before the accumulated expenses bury you.

My solution to the problem was that income didn't start at zero. Through a bit of good luck, I landed my first client the week I quit my day job. MarkTAW's solution is similar: don't quit your day job. He offers lots of good additional advice, too.

Posted 10:58 AM

22 October 2006

Rolling Stone critiques the 109th Congress, and it isn't pretty. A thorough summary of what our congresscritters have been up to for the last few years. Highly partisan, but carefully fact-checked. (This is Rolling Stone: people offended by strong language should probably skip it.)

Posted 12:27 PM


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