“We saw a few companies grow from zero to billion in a year or two, and investors think that’s it, this is my ticket to wealth. So rather than looking at internet companies, in particular startups, digital companies as ways to create great long term prosperous businesses, they look at them more as a casino, as a way to somehow make bank in 12-18 months, and when you want to make bank in 12-18 months, you don’t do it by creating a long term sustainable business, it’s not the same thing.” – Douglas Rushkoff
Douglas Rushkoff, author of newly released book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, dropped in on March 12 of SXSW Interactive to speak on how the digital sector has changed the way we see our economy. In Distributed: A New OS for the Digital Economy, Rushkoff discussed how digital tech was supposed to usher in an age of prosperity but it actually put industrial capitalism on steroids. Social networks are surrendering their original purpose in favor of data mining and monetization. Startups sell for billions but destroy more jobs than they create. Rushkoff has a series of practical steps to combat this process, and remake the economy from the inside out. On Saturday, he shared some of his feelings about the direction most creators are going: “When they let you ring the bell at the morning of the NASDAQ stock exchange it’s not because you’ve done something disruptive. They let you ring the bell because you have confirmed the premise, the centrality of corporate capital to the entire scheme.”
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Photo by Diego Donamaria