The Wood-Fired Blog

Physical Goods in a Virtual Era

From the NY Times, Douthat: The Facebook Illusion

As a follow on to my posting on Facebook, Free and Forno Bravo, here is a NY Times column on the Facebook IPO. I agree with Douthat that “the “new economy,” in this sense, isn’t always even a commercial economy at all. Instead, as Slate’s Matthew Yglesias has suggested, it’s a kind of hobbyist’s paradise, one that’s subsidized by surpluses from the old economy it was supposed to gradually replace.

This reminds me of something we used to say in the early days of Internet 1.0, when companies were raising and losing large amounts of money on silly ideas like petfood.com, or e-commerce sites that sold physical goods for less than they paid for them in order to gain “eyeballs”. The Internet isn’t a business; it’s a channel.

This quote from the Douthat article caught my eye as relevant to Forno Bravo’s strategy. We make stuff!

It’s telling, in this regard, that the companies most often cited as digital-era successes, Apple and Amazon, both have business models that are firmly rooted in the production and delivery of nonvirtual goods. Apple’s core competency is building better and more beautiful appliances; Amazon’s is delivering everything from appliances to DVDs to diapers more swiftly and cheaply to your door.

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