Given the propensity of Silicon Valley types in search of scalable ideas to rip them off,* claim them as their own (and my own emerging platform as a writer and influencer) it makes sense to set down the parameters of the Earth Fabric vision on the channel readily available to me.**
I have talked with dozens of people in locales from San Francisco to Miami Beach about the concept over the past three months, gaining valuable feedback and insight––now is the time to lay out the structure. Fleshing in the details will take place in the months to come, hopefully in collaboration with other entrepreneurs of vision.
"Creative works on the Internet are treated as an exploitable asset."
1. Need –– When Facebook was introduced, it presented the revolutionary concept that the Internet was not a random collection of privately hoarded connections. That social groups would share, influence, entertain, and communicate through a unified platform that was visually appealing, real time, non-commercial. The latter concept was critical –– the idea of free content on the Internet was one that appealed to a broad demographic of people who wanted, well… not to pay for things. Not only that, there was an ethos, embodied by Wikipedia and archive.org, that the essential information that defines our collective basis of human knowledge (okay, a lot of the architects found this in Grateful Dead concerts) should be available at no cost. Laudable in concept, catastrophic for those who wish to get paid for their creative efforts.
Earth Fabric is revolutionary only in the sense that periodic disruption is a given in any dynamic system. If power corrupts absolutely, Silicon Valley is corruption cooked up, triple-distilled, its essence shot up into the arms of VCs who scheme all day of “multiples.” The hundred (or thousand) times on investment return that will enable them and their shareholders to… do the things obscenely rich people do.
What it all boils down to, as far as creatives are concerned, is that elaborate platforms have been set up for the sole purpose of hosting content provided for free. Twitch, Medium, Facebook, Blogger, Huffington Post, your good old-fashioned neighborhood Forum, you name it; they are all part and parcel of this scheme to one degree or another. Virtually all the profits generated through marketing leads, advertising, spyware, are retained by the platform provider––who misuses what is provided on good faith, essentially a common good. Creative works on the Internet are treated as an exploitable asset.
I propose: instead of populating blogs, sites, platforms, social media platforms with free quality content, why not withhold it? Much as the women of Greece in Sophocles’ Lysistrata withheld sex from their male counterparts until war was officially ended. Creatives en masse would have the power to dictate the terms of consumption of their product, in ways that benefit their bottom line.***
How? Through self-curated fabrics of creatives who interact in an ecosystem not unlike Facebook, but far more interesting. A gallery feature built in to provide the possibility for seamless, one-click sales. 12 percent retained by EF on each transaction of creative content (physical or digital), with 2 percent going to worthy charities. A parallel emphasis on discovering new artists in developing regions of the globe, in ways that inspire and contribute to income equity worldwide.
Next: The concept defined at a practical level.
* As reported in the New York Times: “The issue of having to document an idea is now set to ripple through Silicon Valley. While the truth of what did or did not happen with Twitter was one of the many unresolved points of the trial — Kleiner did invest later in Twitter, but at such a high valuation that it did not qualify as a home run — it is a pretty good bet that the next time a junior partner at Kleiner or any other venture firm thinks he or she has come up with something great, the partner will record it in emails, memos, diaries and possibly stone tablets.”
(After Kleiner Trial, Expect Less Shooting From the Hip in Silicon Valley, By DAVID STREITFELD and CONOR DOUGHERTYMARCH 28, 2015)
** If that channel is a Weebly blog dedicated to endurance and writing, so be it.
*** I know there is a bit of a "prisoner's dilemma" masked by this assertion, but no solution covers every exigency. If offered a chance to make decent money off of the quality written, audio, and visual content currently provided for free, what creative would refuse?