I’ve been riffing about this with a few select colleagues over the past month or so, and now… totally independently, David Galbraith has encapsulated my thoughts exactly. We must be jacking the same osmotic channel or something.
So what am I talking about? Let me hand over to David:
The correct model for web 2.0 should be sustainable growth, its the Obvious Corp.
When you describe the Obvious Corp – as Evan Williams has, it sounds a bit like an incubator – you work on multiple projects and some may even get spun off, who knows. But this is not an incubator – incubators do not work for the founders, they work for the owners. Founders like to feel ownership of their ideas, and as much of their equity as they can keep.
Most importantly, incubators are still based upon the premiss of exiting. Apple Computer and Gawker Media produce multiple products but they are certainly not incubators, they are both sustainable – i.e. profit making companies that are based upon innovation rather than exit.
As the technology market matures, value added qualitative aspects such as good design will become more important, allowing mini versions of Apple to thrive – companies based upon product design and innovation rather than spreadsheets and MBAs.
I have started Venture backed companies, worked at an incubator and started non-venture backed companies. I have had more fun, produced more and made more money from the latter.
What is wrong with your exit model may be the model of exit itself, and a sustainable [i.e. normal] company like the Obvious Corp. may be the answer that is – obvious.
Keep watching this space, as they say!