Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Posts about Internet

If You Don’t Know How A Startup Will Make Money, Neither Do They

This, I hope, will remind people that the business plans of the startups they use are, indeed, their business. They should find out how the company is making money now and what their plans are in the future. They can then make an educated decision whether to participate or not. They can also judge the company by how well they keep their word.

I’m Not The Product, But I Play One On The Internet

“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” I don’t know who said it first, but the line has achieved a kind of supernatural resonance online. And for good reason – it describes a kind of modern internet company that provides a free service. These businesses are designed to aggregate a large number of users in order to sell that audience’s aggregate attention, usually in the form of advertising. But the more the line is repeated, the more it gets on my nerves.

Our Generation’s John Lennon

The other day I was talking to my uncle. He’s my dad’s age, a boomer. I was struggling to explain the importance of Steve Jobs’ death to my generation (“Generation X”, more or less) when this popped out of my mouth: “He was our generation’s John Lennon.” Ever since I said it, it’s been rattling around my brain. Could it be so?

“Nobody Uses Their Real Name” and Other Outdated Notions

I got my first email address in 1991. I was a freshman at UC Santa Cruz and a friend took me to a basement geek office where you had to fill out a paper form to get your free ucsc.edu email account. In the box labeled “User-name” I started to write “Derek.” My friend stopped me. “Nobody uses their real name.” He said it like he was talking to a child.

How to Turn a Fan into an Enemy in Under 140 Characters

Because I’m a media dork, I’ve listened to NPR’s On The Media since its debut. It’s the first podcast I…

On The Network Manifesto

I’m thinking about starting a podcast or something called “On The Network” to counter all the idiocy I hear in traditional media about the internet. If I did, here’s the beta version of the 10 guiding principles that would guide it.

All Media Is Social*

All media is social because human beings are social. The only difference is that it happens much, much, much faster now. We’ve sped up the refresh rate in our mediated conversations so much that the previous version looks like it’s not moving at all.

Yochai Benkler on Why Now’s Better

Yochai Benkler, when asked the usual asinine internet-as-echo-chamber question by Brooke Gladstone on this week’s On the Media, said this:…

Why Everything Sucks, Why That’s Awesome, and How It’s Changing Us

I think I’ve finally figured out why everything sucks. And it’s actually kind of awesome. I bought my first guitar…

How To Save A Newsweekly in 5 Easy* Steps

Newsweek is for sale. While sad, it’s also an amazing opportunity to reinvent what a newsweekly could be. And it…


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Hi, I’m Derek. I live in San Francisco and make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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