- Evisceration is not pretty, especially on the Internet, where the verbal slicing and dicing can be done before a potential audience of millions. Which is pretty much what happened to Tony Perkins, the founder of the defunct Red Herring magazine and currently the head of a Web venture, the AlwaysOn Network.
Mr. Perkins recently sent an e-mail message to the members of his Web site that began, “I have just decided to write a book about Google.” Google, approaching its initial public offering, is the hottest of hot business topics, and the idea of writing a book about it is no surprise. But the way he proposed writing it was unusual. The work is to be a collaboration among his readers who “are encouraged to post their thoughts and reflections on what I write in this ongoing blog on Google,” he said, adding, “The goal is to work with A.O. members to write a book that gets published before Google goes public.”
Brian rebelled against this bit of effrontery:
- What follows is the email Tony sent to the AON members today, with some between-the-lines interpretation thrown in, in a pale imitation of Bruce Sterling’s Viridian Notes commentary.
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 14:01:57 -0800
Subject: Help AO write a book on Google
I have just decided to write a book about Google. When I finished my last book, The Internet Bubble, with my brother Michael, I can remember thinking, “Damn! I’ll never do that again!”
I smell money. I want you to help me make more money. Google is the way I’m going to make money.
Writing a book is a very painful experience. And frankly, the only way I can pull this off under a tight deadline (I want it out before Google goes public), is to write it with AlwaysOn members.
Writing a book is so painful, I find it easier if someone else does all the hard work. So I’m asking you, members of the AlwaysOn network, to give me all of your ideas.
As the folks who have been following AlwaysOn know, we believe that our competitive advantage is you. While John Markoff of the New York Times and David Kirkpatrick of Fortune may have bigger Rolodexes, and while they may often have better access to sources, we have thousands of members we can turn to get the real inside track. And that’s who I’m counting on.
The only thing more impressive than a big bank account is a big Rolodex. But we can beat those journalists by using the power of the network. Just imagine. If every AlwaysOn member gets five friends to find something out about Google, and each of those five people get five friends, and so on, we can have 100,000 sources for this Google book! Of course, only I will get paid when it sells a mllion copies. …
Check it out, and congrats Brian!