There was something really depressing about Web 2.0 Expo that I can’t quite put my finger on. Though when I woke up Monday morning after a weekend of working on my house it started to become more clear.
On Friday I prepared the work plan, rented a truck, and bought some new gear (loving the laser-guided cicular saw). On Saturday four of my friends came around to my house. We removed one wall and put up a new wall. On Sunday I hauled the junk to the dump, bought a bunch of sheetrock and more 2×4’s for next weekend’s job.
(By the way, great tip here, instead of hiring a garbage removal company for $700-1000, rent a 15 footer and just load all your trash directly into the truck bed. Drive it right into the dump yourself and push it out. The dumping cost for me was $75 plus the truck rental fee…which of course was super handy for getting the lumber, tools and sheetrock, too.)
Anyhow, now I have a 2 bedroom house where we once technically just had 1 bedroom. I also have a sore back and aching hands. Shredded skin on my fingers. A bruised elbow. Tired legs. I couldn’t be happier.
Struggling to get my body out of bed Monday morning, I realized I hadn’t thought about or even used the Internet for 3 days. I saved ideas by writing them down in a notebook with a pencil. I used the yellow pages to find things I needed. I contacted people using the telephone.
I wasn’t worrying about the scalability of the construction (only the joists over my workspace), optimizing the collaborative labor (except that they got coffee, food and beer), or marketing my property. I was simply building. With my hands (and a few borrowed ones).
I’ve argued over and over about how the Internet can change just about everything. And though I’m sure there are ways it could have helped me this weekend, there was something deeply satisfying about getting back to basics for a few days, particularly after losing the plot a bit last week.
Somehow the tone of the dialog in the Internet market has shifted away from the fundamentals, things like expanding the network or the concept of the network itself, building the tools and systems and data streams that help people accomplish things, creating the opportunities for new breakthroughs to emerge.
It’s a natural progression for a mature market to start optimizing for revenue gains as the platforms define themselves. I guess I’m just paranoid that the smell of instant fortune is wafting in the noses of sharks and leeches while the revenue models that they plan to exploit are emptier than they know. The spending arms race will surely follow where budgets won’t matter, hiring will get out of hand, and marketing messages will get silly.
But if the market crashes again or worse, violence or viruses erupt in our cities or the planet heats up, I’ll have my hammer ready for building things that people care about. That’s all I need. My trusty hammer. And my thermos. All I need is my thermos and my hammer, and maybe my chair…