Mutual Marketing VCs?

Doc Searls replays an interesting fragment of conversation with Dave Winer advocating a new form of VC. What we have n...

February 1, 2006

Doc Searls replays an interesting fragment of conversation with Dave Winer advocating a new form of VC.


What we have now, more than ever before, is participation by anybody with the interest and the means to help raise our new barns.
So. What kind of participation do we want? From whom? At what stage? How do we change the old systems? How do we start new ones? Dave has a concrete suggestion: a new company, public from day one, owned by its investors, that lives to invest in “promising young Internet companies, chosen by users”.
When Dave says, That’s it. Never stop investing. All you have to do is listen to the users, who also happen to be the owners. How about that? — I don’t even see a pipeline anymore. Nor a “value chain” from producer to consumer. Rather, what I see is a new market ecosystem in which everybody can participate, and should get rewarded for their participation.

Dave’s original post is here.

This is simple.

Dave’s investor-user VCs work on a mutual marketing model.

The win:win model would reduce economic friction of mediated markets and the curse of ‘excess profits’ and would be able to price-in the ‘externalities’ of environmental and ethical impact….as well as the ‘internalities’ of its users.

An ‘internality’, here, is the ‘I insist on this’ - factor – the deeply-held, but commonly-shared values of an investor/user group.

These CAN, absolutely, be embedded in the mutual marketing operating principles….

However, the model, as espoused, does beg several questions.

Does capital buy user status; or does user status buy capital in Dave’s model? Or is he advocating some sort of currency exchange.

e.g. using 3 services give 1 share….investing £100 gives 3-product access?

These sorts of intra-stakeholder accountability determine the viability of the whole system.

Finally, the examples Dave uses…Netscape et al…un-nerve me. These businesses were not mutual marketing businesses, just plurally-funded businesses.

These are not self-contained, accountability systems…they make money by system leakage…selling the excess value outside the stakeholder base…

It works just fine…but it’s no better than the exising VC models.

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