Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 19th Nov 2012 09:15 UTC
In the News Levi Asher offers his free memoir of his rise and fall in the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The autobiography covers Asher's twenty-five years in programming: his founding of the oldest ongoing literature website Literary Kicks in 1994, his success with the dot-com website iVillage in 1999 (and its subsequent collapse), and how all this insanity affected his personal life. It's a quick, entertaining read.
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Okay
by kwan_e on Mon 19th Nov 2012 11:21 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Good thing he wrote a memoir, otherwise no one else would have remembered it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Okay
by MOS6510 on Mon 19th Nov 2012 13:09 UTC in reply to "Okay"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I also had no idea who Levi Asher was or heard of Literary Kicks and iVillage.

To be honest I still don't, because I can't be bothered to read his memoir despite being free.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Okay
by henderson101 on Mon 19th Nov 2012 14:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Okay"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Well, chapter 1 was reasonably interesting... but then it sounded like my career so far (London rather than New York though), so I guess I feel empathy(?!)

Edited 2012-11-19 14:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Okay
by MOS6510 on Mon 19th Nov 2012 15:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Okay"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I'd rather read your memoir, because even though I have no idea who you are at least I see your nick pop up very often here.

That makes if far more interesting than to read about what for me is just some random guy, even though apparently isn't.

Reply Score: 4

v RE[4]: Okay
by kompak on Mon 19th Nov 2012 19:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Okay"
RE[5]: Okay
by HappyGod on Tue 20th Nov 2012 04:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Okay"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

... I didn't read any of your comments because I'm not at all interested in anything you have to say.



Yes you did, or you wouldn't have been able to provide the context you did in your own comment.

Also, you are berating others for leaving comments on other supposedly unimportant comments. Yet you yourself are commenting on them.

Hypocritical much?

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Okay
by kompak on Wed 21st Nov 2012 15:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Okay"
kompak Member since:
2011-06-14

Ever heard of sarcasm? I suggest you look it up.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Okay
by Wondercool on Mon 19th Nov 2012 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Okay"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Are you more the quickmeme person?

Offtopic: Like Reddit where 95 percent is a link to a picture?

- tea break quick
- instant laughter
- no thinking involved

I wish there was a filter that would skip any Reddit which links to a picture and would downvote any picture with an animal in it...

Article like these - that link to a story - are way more interesting than any instant gratification url.

Exactly because you (and me) have never heard of Levi Asher makes it interesting...

Edited 2012-11-19 20:22 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Okay
by MOS6510 on Mon 19th Nov 2012 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Okay"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Nothing that got mentioned in the intro rang any bell or raised any interrest with me. My reaction was more a provocation to unveal something interesting.

The writing is 3 years old and it didn't catch any headlines on sites I read back then. Concidering the amount of Internet companies, personalities and employees during that period this story should be one of many.

If you say I'm wrong and it is interesting I'll give it a go tomorrow.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Okay
by Wondercool on Mon 19th Nov 2012 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Okay"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Fair point. I read 3 chapters and enjoyed. Bookmarked the site for some weekend reading (like making time for the Sunday newspaper).

The age of the article does not bother me. We only see .01 percent of the net, and it seems all are whipped into seeing the same .01 percent.

Point I was trying to make is that nowadays people are afraid to link to anything that takes more than 30 sec to grasp and does not give a chuckle. Self censored dumbing down basically.

That's why I hope links like this will keep coming.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Okay
by vodoomoth on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 00:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Okay"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Point I was trying to make is that nowadays people are afraid to link to anything that takes more than 30 sec to grasp and does not give a chuckle.

Decided to get out of my commenting hibernation to say that I've also noticed what you said. Writing and reading being activities I enjoy, I can't fathom why people got lazy.

Reply Score: 2

Queen
by Gestahlt on Mon 19th Nov 2012 15:57 UTC
Gestahlt
Member since:
2011-10-17

Dum dum dum.. another one bites the dust.

Reply Score: 2

Good reading but I'd like more details
by kateline on Mon 19th Nov 2012 17:34 UTC
kateline
Member since:
2011-05-19

The guy worked at Sybase during its heyday, on Wall St in the 90s, doing very early web development, and at a high profile dotcom during the mania. Interesting stuff. I wish he would have gone deeper into what it was like to work at some of these places. I've always just been in IT. The book is fast reading but I'd like more details.

Reply Score: 2

I give it 4/5 stars
by benali72 on Tue 20th Nov 2012 03:30 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

I read the whole thing. I'd recommend it.

GOOD --

* Easy to read, well-written
* Fun
* He was in lots of the key trends of the past 2 decades

BAD --

* Some parts I didn't care about, like his literary aspirations
* A little self-serving where it mentions his accomplishments

Reply Score: 3

Comment by deathshadow
by deathshadow on Tue 20th Nov 2012 03:52 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

This part sums up wall street predation of any industry quite well:

Most people thought the stock crash reflected badly on companies like iVillage, and I found this attitude very frustrating. It should have reflected badly on the financial community, the bankers and journalists and power brokers who'd hyped us to the moon. They rushed in, they trashed the place, they left.


The really the big thing people miss about trading -- be it stocks, bonds, or commodities -- is that it's not just the rich trying to use and abuse you to get richer and to hell with the consequences of what happens to the company -- it's also nothing more than gambling... Wall Street is the house, and the house always wins. People think the risk is just on the investor side, when to be frank it can be a bigger risk to the property itself.

You take your company public for a quick infuse of 'growth cash' you get what's coming to you in the long run. Investors will use, abuse, and leave you hanging the moment the wind changes direction. As he mentions everyone and their brother went public, blew all the money on advertising and hype, and as always happens when you build all flash and no substance it falls apart quite spectacularly.

... and it also illustrated the effect that fly-by-nights can have on a industry as a whole. Your sleazeball 'make a buck then run for the hills' types can ruin an entire industries reputation -- and when it comes to stocks, that's ALL you really have to keep your fictional 'worth'.

Also why I laugh my tuchas off seeing many small companies from young entrepreneurs repeatedly making the same mistake, then not getting why the "gray matter" in the industry won't give them the time of day.

Of course what really went wrong is the same thing that continues to trash the economy to this day: Credit and debt... and going public is just another way of fast cash for long term pain. If you can't afford something, don't buy it on credit -- be it a multi-billion dollar expansion to your company or that new 50" LCD at Walmart, the notion of "we'll just operate in debt for a while" is the fastest road to financial failure there is. President Odumba actually once called Credit the lifeblood of the economy; I'm with Peter Schiff on this one -- it's not the lifeblood, it's cancer.

Be it going public for fast cash, property mortgages, right down to that little card in your wallet... Congratulations, you want to know who ruined the economy and caused things like the dotcom burst, realty burst, etc, etc? Look in the mirror.

Edited 2012-11-20 03:57 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by deathshadow
by Alfman on Tue 20th Nov 2012 14:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by deathshadow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

deathshadow,

"Of course what really went wrong is the same thing that continues to trash the economy to this day: Credit and debt..."

Your right, and the worst part about it is that the transition away from cash towards debt & mortgages have raised prices substantially such that those of us who would have been able to afford a house with cash can no longer afford the mortgage inflated prices. Houses are so expensive these days that for most of us the decision is between taking a mortgage that spans our entire life, or not having a house at all. It's become a tax on the working class, one which the wealthy collect and don't have to pay themselves.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by deathshadow
by zima on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by deathshadow"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe, maybe not?... http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/ratrace.html

Either way, possibly an important factor is what kind of houses people want and/or expect - and they're a bit different than in the past.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by deathshadow
by Alfman on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by deathshadow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

"Maybe, maybe not?..."

Regarding inflation: Some prices have gone up. Others have gone down. There is a lot of wiggle room depending on how one chooses to define the CPI. The CPI is supposed to measure the price for maintaining a fixed quality of life, but the fed's been under pressure to manipulate the index for external purposes, which Alan Greenspan notoriously did during his reign over the fed. Here's a link for anyone who's actually interested.

http://www.shadowstats.com/article/consumer_price_index


Your link was from 1996, which is kind of ancient, I'm not sure how relevant it is today. Food prices have spiralled up, housing prices (even after the crash) are unaffordable, cars, gasoline, etc.

I read in the newspaper that our local food prices are up 30% over a two year period. I had already stopped buying things I used to enjoy due to price increases.

http://www.wnd.com/2008/03/59409/


"Either way, possibly an important factor is what kind of houses people want and/or expect - and they're a bit different than in the past"

That's true, but even so I think today's middle class is financially worse off than yesterday's middle class.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by deathshadow
by kwan_e on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 03:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by deathshadow"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

The CPI is supposed to measure the price for maintaining a fixed quality of life, but the fed's been under pressure to manipulate the index for external purposes, which Alan Greenspan notoriously did during his reign over the fed.


Economics in general is about manipulating indexes rather than providing anything meaningful. You can see it in some of the commenters on this website, quoting market caps and P/E ratios, thinking they're intelligent, but not realizing that what they're doing is just choosing the numbers than haven't failed miserably yet and then come up with all kinds of bogus reasons just to keep their own anxieties in check.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by deathshadow
by Alfman on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 03:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by deathshadow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Economics in general is about manipulating indexes rather than providing anything meaningful."

It seems to me that the concept behind indexes is sound, but they've been corrupted. If the government cannot afford to pay for services when they're pegged to true inflation, then it should come out and say so rather than manipulate the data to come up with favourable numbers. Evidently there's not much incentive to be honest or up front about it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by deathshadow
by kwan_e on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by deathshadow"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

It seems to me that the concept behind indexes is sound, but they've been corrupted.


But they're so easy to corrupt. Even the CPI - who chooses what goes into the "basket of goods", and who chooses which prices to put into the calculation? Unemployment and new jobs figures are even more of a joke. The just redefine the definition of unemployment and new jobs until it looks good.

It's like ley lines. You can look at any data plot and find things that match whatever you want.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ley_line#Shape_analysis

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by deathshadow
by Alfman on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 04:42 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by deathshadow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"But they're so easy to corrupt."

I'm not disagreeing, but just because they are corruptible by a party deliberately seeking specific results doesn't mean statistics can never be applied responsibly. It's the fault of the people practising it rather than a problem with statistical analysis in and of itself. 80% of statistics are made up anyways ;)

"Unemployment and new jobs figures are even more of a joke."

Yea, I often get frustrated with the methodology not telling me what I'd personally like to know about the market. I know I could do a better job than the government at gathering and analysing data for more informative data, but then I'd be missing the point that this isn't actually their goal.


"It's like ley lines. You can look at any data plot and find things that match whatever you want."

I'd never heard of those, interesting link!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by deathshadow
by zima on Sat 24th Nov 2012 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by deathshadow"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Your link was from 1996, which is kind of ancient, I'm not sure how relevant it is today. Food prices have spiralled up, housing prices (even after the crash) are unaffordable, cars, gasoline, etc.
[...]
"Either way, possibly an important factor is what kind of houses people want and/or expect - and they're a bit different than in the past"
That's true, but even so I think today's middle class is financially worse off than yesterday's middle class.

The link is from 1996, but its general premise still very much holds - people often have the tendency to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses, that's one of major biases of our memory. Meanwhile, we often get much better bang-for-buck.

BTW, you have rather low car and petrol prices, anyway... And personal anecdote WRT food prices: at least 1.5 year ago they also seemed distinctly lower than in a fairly typical recent EU member state (so a more impoverished place, with much lower wages) - and that in coastal Florida, so also likely not the cheapest of US places.
So, maybe another factor: you're simply starting to feel the more "real" costs of living on this planet (maybe boiling down to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Human_welfare_and_ecological_foot... ), free lunch nearly over.

Edited 2012-11-24 10:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by deathshadow
by Alfman on Sat 24th Nov 2012 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by deathshadow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

"The link is from 1996, but its general premise still very much holds"

It doesn't make sense to throw out past knowledge, of course. However many economists were dumbstruck with what has happened since then. Clearly they were not on the money.

"So, maybe another factor: you're simply starting to feel the more 'real' costs of living on this planet... free lunch nearly over."

Couldn't agree more. The western standard of living isn't necessarily sustainable nor scalable.

Reply Score: 2

Uhmmm
by Soulbender on Tue 20th Nov 2012 04:52 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

The most Internet-capable operating system was Unix, which was also popular because it was free and open source.


....Unix was free and open source? in 1993?

Now you could slap Linux onto the broken PC in your basement and be on the Internet from your bedroom.


DOS and Windows had reasonably easy internet access by 1993 too. We used it at Uni.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Uhmmm
by MOS6510 on Tue 20th Nov 2012 05:36 UTC in reply to "Uhmmm"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

FreeBSD started in 1993 and a few years before that BSDI and BSD/386, but it would be rather strange to refer to it as Unix as Unix is/was a family of operating systems, most not free nor open source.

Reply Score: 3

Version 7 was free but not open source
by kateline on Wed 21st Nov 2012 18:33 UTC in reply to "Uhmmm"
kateline Member since:
2011-05-19

I believe AT&T distributed Unix Versions 6 and 7 for free during the 1970s and 1980s.

Many universities and US gov't agencies took AT&T up on the offer and this is how the product originally gained popularity.

Versions 6 and 7 were not open source during that time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Uhmmm
by zima on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 18:29 UTC in reply to "Uhmmm"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

>Now you could slap Linux onto the broken PC in your basement and be on the Internet from your bedroom.

DOS and Windows had reasonably easy internet access by 1993 too. We used it at Uni.

Plus, "slap Linux onto the broken PC"? Yeah, that would work out well...

And anyway - for most people, high costs of dial-up internet access were the primary barrier, one which really changed only with adoption of ADSL and similar constant-access methods.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Uhmmm
by Soulbender on Sat 24th Nov 2012 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhmmm"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Plus, "slap Linux onto the broken PC"? Yeah, that would work out well...


Hah! Yeah, Linux magically fixed your broken hardware ;)

for most people, high costs of dial-up internet access were the primary barrier


I dunno about Poland but dial-up was pretty cheap in Sweden. You paid a flat rate to the ISP (around 120-150Kr/month) and then you only paid local telco charges for the time connected.
Granted not as cheap as what we have today but not prohibitively expensive either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Uhmmm
by zima on Sat 24th Nov 2012 09:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uhmmm"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, then it seems that in PL it was even "cheaper" - you paid "only" local telco charges for the time connected.
But this was generally considered almost-prohibitively expensive (maybe local charges were higher ...maybe lower; certainly average wages were much lower). Which was true overall for most of the world, hence "most people" there.

BTW, the first non-time-limited & commonly available (though still a bit expensive, so it was often shared among few people via LAN) access method was actually a fairly obscure solution from Ericsson: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_internet_Solution (Google Translate works bearably). But that only from ~2000, and soon replaced by standard ADSL.

Reply Score: 2

OSnews died?
by mkools on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 16:42 UTC
mkools
Member since:
2005-10-11

Now new items for 3 days now what's going on?

Is it Christmas already? ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: OSnews died?
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 00:44 UTC in reply to "OSnews died?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Surely just a break for Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: OSnews died?
by mkools on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 02:02 UTC in reply to "RE: OSnews died?"
mkools Member since:
2005-10-11

Well Thom is from the Netherlands and we don't have thanksgiving or black friday here. But still, three days no news is really long for a site like this.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: OSnews died?
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 02:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: OSnews died?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

But the site is owned by David Adams if I'm not mistaken, who is American. And the site is hosted in the US. Thom is the managing editor.

Edit: And I suppose one of the other editors could post something if they wished, I just figured the team as a whole was taking the week off since many of them are from here.

Edited 2012-11-23 02:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: OSnews died?
by Soulbender on Sat 24th Nov 2012 05:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: OSnews died?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What you're trying to say is "The non-US editors are slacking off" ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: OSnews died?
by Morgan on Sat 24th Nov 2012 06:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: OSnews died?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Umm...well...yeah. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: OSnews died?
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 02:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: OSnews died?"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Well Thom is from the Netherlands and we don't have thanksgiving or black friday here. But still, three days no news is really long for a site like this.


Yeah, I'ma start my OWN OSNews. With blackjack - and hookers! ...on second thought, forget the blackjack.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: OSnews died?
by kwan_e on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 03:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: OSnews died?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Yeah, I'ma start my OWN OSNews. With blackjack - and hookers! ...on second thought, forget the blackjack.


A lot of people say this is what OSNews is - lot's of people whoring for Apple and Microsoft.

* My analysis tells me the complainers are the biggest corporate whores.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by BBAP
by Bringbackanonposting on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 21:10 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

No news for days on this site....

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by BBAP
by Bobthearch on Fri 23rd Nov 2012 05:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by BBAP"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

If there's no news, there's no news. But this is getting a little ridiculous:

Sorry, this item has been archived. You can only attach a comment to a story for 5 days.

So even though the article is at the top of the front page, there are no more comments allowed?!?

That 'rule' should either be changed, or the website rearranged so that articles don't remain on the front page for over five days.

Reply Score: 2