As the platforms of the last decade crumble, we might put “founder” culture back on the shelf. Startup finance works fine if you dream of building a business of a very particular kind; and, like, thank you for Shopify! Seriously! But for a decade, this very particular kind of business had a lock not only on internet commerce, but internet culture, too, with only ill effect.
I want to insist on an amateur internet; a garage internet; a public library internet; a kitchen table internet. Now, at last, in 2023, I want to tell the tech CEOs and venture capitalists: pipe down. Buzz off. Go fave each other’s tweets.
It’s plain that neither the big tech companies nor the startup financiers are going to produce the “ways of relating” that will matter in the next decade. Almost by definition, any experiment that’s truly pathbreaking and provocative is too weird and tiny for them to suffer. They are trapped in their stupendous scale; lucky us.