The survivors’ club

Jason Calacanis says he’s favoring hiring people who’ve worked 10-12 years on the web. I do think one needs new blood and thinking in any endeavor. And in an accelerated world, it takes less time to become an old fart, stick-in-the-mud (I’ve seen it happen and keep vowing that it won’t happen to me, no matter how old a fart I become). But I also think Jason has a point: It’s good to have the perspective of making mistakes and surviving and seeing how much the world can change around you. It’s a small fraternity, ours: the people who stuck to it and who couldn’t ever go back. I think we need a club. (And I started working online in 1994 and before.)

  • While I agree that a whole lot of new thinking isn’t necessary, and may in fact be unwise at this point in the net’s development, I’m not sure only only hiring people with 10-12 years experience is the best strategy. I have been in the internet space since before 2000, probably 7-8 years in all at this point, in a variety of capacities. I am now the Director of New Media for a PR/Branding/Cause Marketing/Crisis Communications Firm and spend my ‘free time’ thinking about media. I don’t have the most extensive pre-bubble/post-bubble perspective, but I still think I have a lot to offer. And I know there is an expansive network of people out there with similar experience that might even be able to teach the lifers a thing or two. I read your blog regularly and I get this ‘I’m smarter than you because I have seen it all’ tone from time to time – as if your experience alone makes you more sensible than the rest of us. I don’t get that impression from you in person (we have met on a few different occasions). So why the suggestion of the club?

  • lil j

    hmmm, old farts, internet cloud… we need a logo competition!

  • I think we should call it the Mosaic club… here’s our logo

  • ok! Slogan?

  • miles coltrane

    I just had this conversation (or a similar one) recently with an associate and fellow survivor of a recent restructuring of a major music company holding.

    He remarked that the parent company was clearly run by a survivor’s club – in this case it wasn’t a compliment.

    i think you need to dig into this and define survivor as you mean it . . of course there are many types of suvivor – both the fittest and sometimes even the cheapest and least likely to create/be willing to fail…. how do you mean it?

  • As i recall the Mosaic Club had Charles Darwin listed on the Advisory Board.

  • Robert MacMillan

    How about “the Gutenberg Club.” Gary Pruitt can be the chairman emeritus.

    (I sense that I’m about to be ignored in that cutting way that only online journalism futurists can pull off)

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  • Brian – Your comment really intrigued me, and I felt I had to respond, although I disagree with parts of it.

    Experience counts for an awful lot – it gives one an “instinct” as to how things work. I know, I know, people with new ideas explode that “instinct,” and rewrite the rules of the game. But I think one thing we’re learning is that 99% of the new is nothing but fads, and there really are people who have weathered quite a bit.

    The question then comes down to a new/old balance. For I can’t just say “everything new is crap,” because the “new” is the product of an increased energy, a renewed devotion to betterment, and a challenging of old boundaries. At the same time, it isn’t established, and not only invites distrust, but can collapse upon itself.

    I guess I’m ranting not because you feel you have plenty to offer – I’m sure you have tons to offer – but more about the last comment you made, where you asserted that Mr. Jarvis has this “I’m better than you” tone, because he’s seen more. I mean, I’m obnoxious as all hell, but there a few times when that’s toned down, like when I’m deferring to someone else to answer a question, or better yet, put forth the best question possible. And usually, that person is someone who’s seen a ton, and has thought about it, and I have to trust them to some degree in order to see the issue anew.

    The question for me is the tying of authority to experience, and I don’t think that’s an illegitimate combination. I don’t see why we have to recoil at a potentially insulting tone, when in fact the tone isn’t insulting, unless, of course, we’ve decided that the world is a huge marketplace and all of us have dignity as consumers, as opposed to human beings. If that’s the underlying idea, then I really don’t understand where you’re coming from, for “experience” there has a mangled use – it means only knowing things about making money and catering to a populace. The best entries on Buzzmachine, of course, are the ones which bring up the bigger questions that personal experience brings before Mr. Jarvis, and the ones that ask whether an intelligent populism is possible, where a particular feeling attempts to understand how we could have a better society. Should Mr. Jarvis be given no credit for his experience? That would be the direct implication of emphasizing the “new.”

  • I didn’t mean to suggest that Mr. Jarvis shouldn’t be given credit for his experience — what he comes to the discussion with is significant, it is valuable, and it is important that we all learn from it. That is, after all, why we read his blog and fill his comments with these kinds of discussions, isn’t it? I was trying to suggest that he be, or at least appear, more open minded to the variety of experiences and contributions out there for people to make to this discussion, regardless of their age or experience. I am pretty sure that in his every day life, his work, his teaching, and similar that he welcomes and embraces the perspectives of newbies to the space. That is why I was a bit dismayed by his post suggest a club with an experience cutoff. Those with age and experience in this space can learn from those with a few less virtual silver hairs. Similarly, and importantly, the younger, less experienced folks need to do whatever they can to absorb the wisdom the generation before them brings to this conversation. So, rather than isolate the two – and leave the young and inexperienced dangling – I would like to see Mr. Jarvis, and his elder statesman colleagues, adopt the younger folks, mentor and teach them, and make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes that have been made before. That would be one heck of a club.

  • I would like to see Mr. Jarvis, and his elder statesman colleagues, adopt the younger folks, mentor and teach them, and make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes that have been made before.

    Agreed entirely.