Sunday, June 18, 2006

Greed is good - redux

Greed is good. But there are other kinds of greed than monetary.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
After we've retired back to the living room for coffee, Mr. Buckmaster allows that the world is perhaps not quite that simple. When asked whether there's a Craigslist model that other companies could emulate, the unflappable Mr. Buckmaster, his eyes once more fixed firmly on the horizon out the window, waxes lyrical for a moment: "It's unrealistic to say, but--imagine our entire U.S. workforce deployed in units of 20. Each unit of 20 is running a business that tens of millions of people are getting enormous amounts of value out of each month. What kind of world would that be?"

Before I have time to object, Mr. Buckmaster comes back to our world. "Now, there's something wrong in the reasoning there," he admits. "You can't run a steel company in the same way that you run an Internet company"--more points for understatement. "But still, it's a nice kind of fantasy that there are more and more businesses where huge amounts of value can flow to the user for free. I like the idea, just as an end-user, of there being as many businesses like that as possible." As an end-user, I suppose I do, too. But there are no free lunches, even if Craigslist--and the meal Mr. Buckmaster and Ms. Best provided for me--sometimes seem to come close.
Yes, a pleasant fantasy and there are no free lunches. But do imagine a business where the prime motivator is not profit but simply .. doing good work?
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