Sunday, January 14, 2007

dust in your eyes... (or Rick's part 2)


OK! sorry for the delay... (forgot it was MLK day, aka vacation)

So let's start with Rick's part 2 (the add-on paragraph at the end of his last reply): now, I'm not sure if this is Rick talking or Craig whispering in his ear... but I'll answer just the same...

In plenty of places (here is one), Craig says he decided to make craigslist into a "real company" in 1999. Well... what he really did was make it *for profit*! (he should at least have the decency to acknowledge what he did straight up...) It would also help if he dropped the goofy PR: A for profit is no more "real" than a non-profit -- the difference between the two is what happens if earnings exceed expenses: if it is non-profit that money goes towards advancing the mission of the company, if it is *for profit*... it goes in the pockets of the owners! So making it for profit *doesn't* advance the mission -- keeping it non-profit does!

ok... let's go back to Rick's (I'm assuming...) point:

"Whether it comes from donations or products or services, whoever establishes an org or company has an almost sacred responsibility to maintain sustainability so that it's mission can continue."

I wouldn't have put it in such dramatic terms but nothing fundamentally wrong with that (as far as I can see)... yeah, you want to be around doing whatever it was you wanted to do when you started out... doesn't by any stretch of the imagination mean that you *need* to turn for profit in order to do that! : you don't *have to* work with volunteers (part of Craig's story is that he worked with some volunteers and didn't like it -- it's hard to see how anyone could reproach them for... drumming up business and helping with everything else pretty much for free, pages on the site and recommendations from Craig or Nancy was all these people were getting...)

What he is not telling people is that he could have had *employees*! the non-profit set-up allows for normal salaries, benefits etc. for those employed and you can even *charge* in order to raise money (if you doubt this, see Jay Rosen's plans to possibly charge as part of his "non-profit all the way" NewAssigment project): again, the *difference* between a non-profit and a for profit is *what happens* with the profits!

Some non-profits are huge money-makers, like Newman's Own Charity, for instance (that makes salad dressing and a bunch of other things) -- much bigger financial success than Newman's movie career! and he wasn't a shabby actor by any means... Now, I have no doubts that it might have crossed Paul Newman's mind to... just switch to for profit! (he had the honesty *not* to do it...)

re: "Triple Bottom Line companies take a whole systems approach. Everything is connected...everything matters."

If Craig wanted a "hybrid," he should have said so upfront! Some people might have been ok with that but the pool of people willing to just pitch in and help would have very likely been much smaller and he would have had to pay for a lot more things ... but that would just have been fair! AND he should have been willing to *show* people that it *is* a hybrid -- that he&Jim are not getting rich (just like other for profit owners) -- while in the same time talking the grand talk... (which seems to be what's going on...)


Craig appears to insinuate that he *had* to turn for profit... I'll show you why that's complete bullshit! tomorrow, though... I need some sleep...Nighty night! D.

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