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Is the Creative Class Engine Sputtering?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-wish-a-buck-was-still-silver dept.

Businesses 520

Geoffrey.landis writes "The 'creative class' was supposed to be the new engine of the United States economy, but according to Scott Timberg, writing in Salon, that engine is sputtering. While a very few technologists have become very wealthy, for most creative workers, the rise of amateurs and enthusiasts means that few are actually making a living. The new economy is good for the elite who own the servers, but, for most, 'the dream of a laptop-powered "knowledge class" is dead,' he says."

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First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635520)

WOOOOOOOOOOOT!

Re:First post! (1, Offtopic)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635674)

Well at least you accomplished more than TFA.

Shut the fuck up (-1, Flamebait)

tkel (2454568) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635524)

Stupid non-story

Re:Shut the fuck up (0)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635552)

Agreed.

Re:Shut the fuck up (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635626)

"Laptop powered knowledge class"? Sounds like a disgruntled hipster. The creative class isn't about "content" on servers, it's about creating stuff not just talking.

Re:Shut the fuck up (2)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635638)

Well, you know man, I had a laptop before it was cool.

Re:Shut the fuck up (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635838)

I was gunna be a hipster. But it was too mainstream.

Re:Shut the fuck up (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635892)

Well, you know man, I had a laptop before it was cool.

I've still got one now it isn't cool any more you insensitive clod.

Disgruntled hipster? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635878)

Whenever I hear people complain about "hipsters," I think of this comic strip [thepunchli...chismo.com] .

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636216)

Agreed, there's absolutely nothing to instantiate it at all.

Re:Shut the fuck up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635900)

Looks like OP hit a nerve. Intel gets best ever profits and has a hiring freeze, Contract pay down 30% from last year,layoffs heavy in tech. You too may soon to be homeless, unemployed and wondering what the hell happened. Morons..

Re:Shut the fuck up (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635946)

Solution: govt provides a basic income (get the money from the Fed, the way financial institutions got $16 trillion), and encourages innovation with challenges, while leaving biz alone to innovate in its way. As long as we produce enough innovation that others want the currency remains strong, like Japan.

for the retarded... (5, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635536)

it's called "patent trolling," "eternal copyright," and "software patents."

Mod parent up! (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635682)

It's easier (and more lucrative) for existing companies to use lawyers to bankrupt anyone with a creative idea that might threaten those companies.

The moment you try to capitalize on your idea, you'll be looking at cease-and-desist letters and lawsuits claiming some kind of infringement.

The entire system needs an overhaul.

Re:for the retarded... (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635686)

If China is smart, they'll tell software patents to go to hell. When they then leave USA in the dust, it will be clear our system is foobarred.

In theory patents are supposed to encourage people to spend more resources coming up with good ideas. Instead they do the opposite because good ideas in software for the most part just pop into one's head while pondering a problem to solve and are not the result of thousands of hours of planned lab toil.

Thus, they are rewarding accidents that would happen anyhow. There are exceptions to the rule, but the rule overwhelms them in numbers.

Further, software patents dissuade mix-and-match because of the many patents involved in mixing.

Re:for the retarded... (5, Insightful)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635910)

India doesn't have software patents (http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/04/4837.ars) and we can see clearly how Indian software has left our patent encumbered western system in the dust with its amazing innovations.

Re:for the retarded... (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636010)

India made a choice of building what is essentially a colonial economy without the colony part -- they produce things (call center "service", software) they can not possibly use at home, and rely on exporting them abroad, then (supposedly) using money to buy things abroad for local consumption. It builds no infrastructure, provides very distorted demand for education, and keeps large fraction of population in perpetual poverty.

China, on the other hand, develops economy in a way that builds industrial infrastructure that can produce products directly usable locally.

Re:for the retarded... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636234)

For India to compete, they would need to sell in patent-encumbered countries (most of them).

Re:for the retarded... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636106)

If China is smart, they'll tell software patents to go to hell. When they then leave USA in the dust, it will be clear our system is foobarred.

From what I can see China is following the exact same path as USA.
The rule of thumb is to respect internal patents and ignore external. USA have done that for ages (As any European trying to enforce their patents in a US court have experienced.) and I doubt that China will act differently.

Re:for the retarded... (0)

eh2o (471262) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636162)

A patent is only valid within its jurisdiction, generally a particular nation state (except for the EU which is a block). For example, a patent granted by the USPTO has no jurisdiction in China nor the EU, etc, although it is possible to get an injunction to prevent the import of infringing products. The patent cooperation treaty provides the same priority date in all member nations with 30 months to file the complete application, but the application still must be filed and prosecuted in every jurisdiction (a rather expensive endeavor).

Re:for the retarded... (3, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635716)

Bingo!!

How much money is currently being wasted on litigation and licensing?

That money would fund a STAGGERING amount of new product development, research, or advancement of current products, but its being WASTED on lawyers working for patent trolls.

All the politicians want science, technology, and engineering jobs, but then they pass laws that destroy and hamper innovators and creators.

Software patents should be completely illegal. Patents on computer hardware should have a term of 12-18 months. Copyright on anything should be 20 years or less, a generation of protection for a work should be enough.

The absurd length of copyright and the extreme vagueness allowed in modern patents is killing the innovation we will need for the economy to actually improve.

Re:for the retarded... (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635776)

It's not wasted money if you're a lawyer. It's income.

Re:for the retarded... (3, Insightful)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635866)

Parasites may benefit from being parasites, but that doesn't mean they aren't harmful and shouldn't be removed.

Re:for the retarded... (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635844)

All eliminating patients would do is remove any incentive to actually develop new ideas at all.

I am not claiming our current patient and copyright system is great. I am merely pointing out that it serves a purpose. Replacing it with anarchy is a horrible horrible idea.

Furthermore, china is suffering in large part because they don't have strong patient and copyright law. Everyone steals each other's ideas. The result is no innovation. Chinese companies might develop something but only if they were marketing it in another country where patient laws exist. There chinese companies could patient their product and be fairly confident that no one would infringe upon it.

Again, I am NOT saying our current system is great or even working. I'm just saying that it's better then nothing at all.

A system must be in place to allow content creators to claim ownership of their work and compel consumers of it to pay them for it's use.

Otherwise you can't make a living creating things.

Re:for the retarded... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636078)

That's operating under the assumption that legal monopolies are helpful to creative people and creativity, when the reality seems to be that it results in greater consolidation of big firms that are hindrances to ordinary people aspiring to fit creative roles.

Also, China is a horrible example, and thinking for a second that it makes for a valid comparison shows gross incompetence. They have very little protections for the civil liberties, they have a very different culture and governance, and their GDP per capita is a fraction of most western nations. These factors are orders of magnitude more important than patent policies.

Re:by the retarded... (1, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636346)

All eliminating patients would do is remove any incentive to actually develop new ideas at all.

It would also put doctors and nurses out of work.

Re:for the retarded... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636180)

You should not have lawyers writing the laws.
It would be funny to see people's reactions to having plumbers write the plumbing code. "Sorry folks, you need oxygen-free copper piping replaced every 18 months, thats the code. Oh it's also illegal for you to do your own plumbing, now pay up."

It's not that hard. (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635566)

I seem to making a decent living designing chips and I know lots of other people in a similar situation. If you're a 'creative worker' create something that people need.

Re:It's not that hard. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635590)

Yup, software consultant here. I have more contracts and opportunities for them than I know what to do with.
There is no way amateur work is going to replace professional work universally.

Re:It's not that hard. (2)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635672)

In my particular field, I compete an awful lot with Indians, and rank amateurs. It's been this way as long as I can remember. In fact, when I started, I was a rank amateur. I was just really good at selling myself. That was fifteen years ago.

I'm not saying this to brag, but times are better for me than they have ever been for me. I'm making more money than I ever have, and this last time I was unemployed... I found a new job in six days.

My average is about three weeks in the present job market.
If you feel like you're being slighted by the presence of amateurs in the market, you're doing something wrong.

On a side note: I've never known anyone who owns servers to be stinking rich, either.

Re:It's not that hard. (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635832)

In fact, when I started, I was a rank amateur.

I should hope so. It would be sad if you were still a rank amateur after doing something for 15 years.

Re:It's not that hard. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636058)

Plenty of people are.

Re:It's not that hard. (2)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635660)

According to the article, you are not a "creative worker" since you actually produce a physical product (eventually).

Their spin on the phrase is more of artists, website writers, newspapers, film makers, and for some reason software writers (don't get that one, myself). This includes the distribution channels of the previous people- physical newspapers are dying, music and book stores are closing, movie rental shops are nearly dead. One of the themes was that the internet was going to open up more avenues to do more, and push prices down. Sure did, and now you can find pages and pages of "Cow Jokes" on Google. Now someone trying to produce something has to go against a much larger set of people trying to do the same thing. To get a book published before you needed a publisher that was willing to pay for the physical object upfront (unless you went to a 'designer press'). Now, with e-books, the barrier to entry is much lower, so you may make a few sales of a few bucks.
It is an interesting article, though I don't agree with all of it. Seems like the most stable jobs now are with unions or in government positions for the lower skilled folks. With more knowledge and skills (and luck and/or who you know) you can advance to higher levels of management, which is slightly more stable than being a normal office worker.
These are just some off-the-cuffs thoughts, I'm sure you all will be able to find more or find faults in them.

Re:It's not that hard. (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635712)

Still sounds cynical to me.
The problem with competing on the internet is that you're literally competing with the entire world.
If you've started something online, and it's not panning out... try something else.
Since the barrier is so low, mistakes aren't as costly.

Re:It's not that hard. (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636168)

I agree with what you say. The price of doing things on the internet is now nearly zero, discounting your time. I am of course not talking about big commercial endeavors. The other side of that is, like you said, you're competing with a whole lot more people now. Same ol', same ol', keep plugging away and you'll find your spot.

By the way, love your sig.

terrible whiny article (4, Insightful)

rish87 (2460742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635594)

." Book editors, journalists, video store clerks, musicians, novelists without tenure". A lot of the 'jobs' he's talking about are radically changing or weren't worth anything to begin with. The article doesn't really have a concrete, well laid out argument. It sounds like yet another generalized complaint I've kept hearing for the past couple years: the elite are taking all my money and I'm a poor starving average joe. Except here it is some ill defined "creative class". Adapt to the world around you and use your money wisely. Same age old problem, same age old solution.

Re:terrible whiny article (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636070)

All the aforementioned professions never made all that much money to begin with, or at least not the vast majority of them(save for perhaps book editors, but with e-books I would see demand for them growing, not shrinking)

Seriously, since when did more than 10% of novelists or musicians or journalists etc. ever make tons of money? Most of them toil in anonymity, eventually either giving it up and getting a day job or doing whatever it takes just to scrape by for however many years. This guy obviously never did his homework.

Re:terrible whiny article (2)

swell (195815) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636184)

Correct- the 'creative class' is confused with journalists, programmers and coffee shop employees. Timberg speaks of the "laptop-powered "knowledge class"" ... what the heck is that? Are you talking about the texters and Facebook failures who are steeped in trivia? Do these people ever have an original thought or quiet time to develop one?

There are creative individuals, there is no creative class. Great artists, writers and composers are not part of any 'class'. They do not follow the beat of the social media or the popular press. They do not usually emerge from prestigious universities and other bastions of past culture.

The article is diffuse and pointless. It seems to be a general rant about hard times, but who is affected and why it matters is unclear from the story.

He is using strange definitions (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635598)

The author puts "book editors, journalists, video store clerks" into that creative class. It's hard to see why a video store clerk (what is a video store?) is a creative persona. He is merely shining the scanner on your purchases. He can be illiterate for all practical purposes.

Musicians? Well, those that are good are doing OK. The rest... perhaps they are in the wrong business. Same applies to "aspiring novelists" - there is always ten graphomaniacs for one semi-decent writer. Good writers are even more rare.

Computer programmers are also like that. Those who write simple, boring code - but lots of it - will lose to their Chinese and Indian competition. Those who write difficult code remain in business. I personally specialize in microcontrollers, hardware, FPGA, real-time and high speed stuff. There is plenty of work in this area.

To summarize, if you are truly creative in what is in demand then there will be always someone willing - and desperate - to pay you.

Re:He is using strange definitions (3, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635646)

> Musicians? Well, those that are good are doing OK.

Gimme a break. Making music and making money are completely different skills. There are plenty of wonderful artists creating beautiful things that have to make their living doing something else.

Re:He is using strange definitions (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635748)

Making music and making money are completely different skills.

That's true everywhere. Writing a good, fast code in C and assembly is in no way related to smooth-talking a client into signing a contract to develop the abovementioned code. Many programmers who are capable of the former in their sleep can't do the latter if their life depended on it.

The musician in your example (talented but poor) needs to either learn how to develop his business or hire a manager. A talented programmer can develop business skills to manage his own business (contracts, ISV like iPhone/Android) or he can join someone else's company; then business opportunities will be taken care of by someone else (along with the lion's share of profits.)

It is not easy for a programmer to gain businessman's skills. I'd guess it's equally hard for an artist. But that's what the money is paid for. If you don't want to touch that, you are still free to code (or compose music) in your parents' basement. Only don't expect anyone to know about you or want to pay you.

Re:He is using strange definitions (3, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635980)

>>>That's true everywhere. Writing a good, fast code in C and assembly is in no way related to smooth-talking a client into signing a contract to develop the abovementioned code. Many programmers who are capable of the former in their sleep can't do the latter if their life depended on it.

Exactly. Take a quality coder, a guy who spend all his time in his mom's basement making new projects, and introduce him to HR. It is a culture clash. One guy spends all his time working with people, the other spends next to none of his time working with people. HR knows nothing about coding and has been known to toss out programmers resumes because they don't explicitly specify they know Microsoft Word on them. At the same time, HR that does know stuff about coding might throw your resume out if you put Microsoft Word on it :P

In all this, there is a push to outsource programming jobs overseas, so while a company may be looking for American Workers, it is just a smoke screen, they won't hire you no matter how badly you crush their programming task they assign you. They tell Congress,"There is a shortage of quality workers in the US, so let us have more Visas." There is no shortage of programming talent in the US, just a shortage of jobs since the Dot Com bust.

Re:He is using strange definitions (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635658)

Here here. I get more work than I know what to do with doing freelance programming on the side, and I'm competing against those same dirt rate Indian programmers. Why? Because people still pay for quality. I don't know how many times I've seen clients get stuck with crappy code from these guys. In my case, I'm even benefiting from another creative person who created an entire new industry that I'm working in. That person? Steve Jobs. iPhone programming on the side basically paid for my new house. Thanks Steve! Rest in peace.

Re:He is using strange definitions (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635854)

More importantly there is the "people person" aspect of it. A significant part of the job isn't writing code, but figuring out what the hell your boss/client really wants as opposed to what they say they want (lets be honest, not everyone is technically inclined, if everyone were we wouldn't have a job).

Some ideas don't translate so well over the phone as well as a finger next to the screen saying, "No, we want that kind of thingy, you know, like that thing, that does that stuff".

"You mean one of these?"

"Yeah, THAT thing! It does that stuff I want it to do."

Re:He is using strange definitions (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635840)

Computer programmers are also like that. Those who write simple, boring code - but lots of it - will lose to their Chinese and Indian competition. Those who write difficult code remain in business.

What exactly constitutes "difficult"? If you mean specialized code based upon specialized knowledge, that code isn't necessarily "difficult", it is simply specialized. Anyone can learn to write it given the proper documentation and materials to work with.

So what makes code difficult? This way I can choose the most difficult code possible to write.

Re:He is using strange definitions (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636042)

What exactly constitutes "difficult"?

First, as you suggested, it can be simple code that requires specialized knowledge. For example, a customer walks into a bar and says "Hey, can anyone here code me something for Renesas R5F2136CSDFA?" If you are not already familiar with at least basics of the IC you need too much time to become efficient. There are hundreds of just Renesas MCUs, and there are tens of MCU Manufacturers (Microchip, Atmel, Analog Devices, TI, etc.) - so this is a very steep (or wide) learning curve. It's even worse if you have to also design the hardware to run it all on. There are tons of catches, and errata summary for every silicon is printed on several pages.

Anyone can learn to write it given the proper documentation and materials to work with. - yes, sure. However if you, as a customer, need a working code, you have to be out of your mind to give the job to a guy who heard about the chip first time in his life. Some of those "materials" are thousands of pages long. Some aspects of programming for those MCUs are not documented. Frameworks (libraries) have bugs, side effects and whatnot, and they are hundreds of thousands LOCs long. You also need to know which libraries work and which don't; generally, you should approach the project having a good toolkit at your disposal - a compiler, an RTOS, a DSP library, an I/O driver package for this particular MCU, a TCP/IP stack, etc. These tools also must work with each other; you can't easily run a task ripped out of VxWorks under FreeRTOS or QNX. You will also need some programming hardware, and it may cost pretty penny in some cases.

Second, the code itself can be hard to write. For example, you want a good, secure AES implementation on a MCU that doesn't have an AES peripheral (some AVR32 do, for example.) You probably need to write most of cipher code in assembly, most of key management in C, and you need to interface with something to send keys in and out (if out is an option.) On top of that, your product should be resistant to various hardware-based attacks (power, timing, emissions.) Such side effects of most machine instructions are not even documented. You will have to verify your design using test equipment. This task is hard.

Third, the code itself may be unobvious. For example, the customer wants you to write a complete APCO-25 stack. Where do you start if you have never written a wireless stack in your life? How do you even organize it? In practice people write it and then rewrite and then rewrite some more until it becomes usable. Is your customer willing to wait until you learn, and pay you all the while? Sometimes the answer is "no" and you must come into the contract armed with previously acquired skills. Plenty of those skills are very specialized, and sometimes localized. That Project 25 code that I mentioned is specific to North America. An Indian programmer would likely have no exposure to it - even if he may have had experience with similar protocols. Older people often have more experience; plenty of contractors here are 40 and older; they know what they are doing.

Fourth, you need to think about the quality of the code. A spaghetti code that doesn't check any input will work fine on correct data, but it will crash and burn on erroneous input. If you are building a life support system - or just a TV remote control - you probably don't want that. You can write good, reliable code for a MCU. However your options on reporting a problem are very limited (there is no printer or Internet connected to a TV remote.) You have to write the code so that it simply doesn't crash. You can't afford a crash. This is different, culturally, from the GUI coding for Windows. There if it crashes you break into the debugger and see what happened. If an MCU crashes things just stop, and you (without an ICE, and often even with it) can't tell what happened and how you got there. Interrupt handlers are notorious at that. Writing firmware requires good coding discipline. Every routine that you put in must work; preferrably it works right the first time, but it certainly must not crash, ever.

Outside of these, it may be not fair, but some hardware can't be exported from the USA under ITAR rules. This makes you the only guy who can do the code for these ICs even if someone in India is more qualified. Same applies if the work that you do for the government is classified.

Re:He is using strange definitions (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636292)

So things are difficult if you haven't done them before? I think you proved elucido's point.

Exploiting creativity is what makes $ (3, Insightful)

spasm (79260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635604)

No-one makes money from 'creativity'. You make money from what economists call 'rent-seeking' from creative output, be it yours or someone else's. The people who get rich (or even just make a decent living) are those who are good at rent seeking, and those people aren't necessarily the same people who are good at 'creating'. Hence Disney inc still aggressively rent-seeking from the creative output of illustrators, animators, voice artists etc 70 years after the creative act, and you can bet those creatives or their descendants aren't making any ongoing money from it.

Being able to work at home or from your local cafe on your laptop doesn't magically free you from the need to either have a lot of capital to promote and exploit your creative output, or alternately the need to sell your creative labor to someone who does, it just frees those with that capital from the need to supply the infrastructure of an OSHA-compliant workplace.

Re:Exploiting creativity is what makes $ (2)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636050)

The question is, if the creative industry is largely rent-seeking instead of producing, where is the money coming from to pay them? Its not like western economies manufacture enough to feed the 'knowledge economy' beast on their output alone.

The answer, I think, is resources. The dirty little secret of modern economies is that the largest determinant of our output is our input of resources. The notion that we shape our own fate through our ingenuity is largely a fable, told to justify a blatantly unfair economic order.

Race to the bottom (3, Insightful)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635606)

The creative class as a driver of the local economy was always a big stretch. If a guy (or girl) sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle can do something for $X, it's likely that a guy (or girl) sitting in a coffee shop in Estonia can do the same thing for a fraction of $X. Smart people that make up the creative class are evenly distributed across the planet. There will be places where you can support yourself on a creative class income, but it's not likely to be most of the places that people read /.

Economics... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635610)

Until recently the 'creative class' would be distributed between struggling (70%), getting by (25%) and going great (5%). This applied to photographers, artists, writers, glass workers, a whole swathe of people. But with the rise of the internet all but the last one are being undermined financially by virtually free distribution of material from amateurs, as well as the effects of digitial copying.

Economics suggests that the price of an item will tend towards the marginal cost of production, particulaly with large scale production. So, for all those items which can be reproduced digitally at almost no cost, the price will tend towards zero.

So, the 'creative classes' need to think about new ways of making money from their skills. These days I see many top notch photographers are running workshops, which I think shows more forward thinking. Instead of bemoaning the way digital reproduction has undermined their art, they have started teaching others how to produce great images. This benefits them (we pay $$$) as well as improving the overall body of photographic work.

Maybe some of the other 'creative classes' need to re-assess how to make a living from their skills.

Re:Economics... (2)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635632)

That's part of the reason that many authors actually make more money running writing workshops than writing books. Neal Stephenson said at an interview once that one of the most common questions he got from other writers was "so where do you teach your writing classes"

Games industry is booming for indies now (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635634)

Be a Programmer, find an artist, make 2d games in Flash. As a game developer myself, I think 3d came too quickly. There is a lot of 2d video gaming that has yet to be explored.

And if you're innovative, make games for iphone/android. I don't like the medium myself, too confined of a screen and no d-pad.

And if you're not a programmer, you can be a professional game reviewer. Just play games, and write review articles or Youtube reviews. It takes some time to get rolling, but if you're charismatic, you can be getting some money through ad revenue.

There is much to be said for being a progamer, especially Starcraft2. If you get thousands watching your stream, you can make like 50$/hr. I used to sell items on MMORPGS for 10$/hr until the Chinese came in. I still get a couple hundred bucks on new MMORPGS before China sets up shop.

I think in the current era, there is a good balance between free information, and paid content. We're not quite to Star Trek where everyone gets their needs taken care of as long as they do their ship duty, but we can work towards that. On that note, has anyone been paying attention to Occupy Wall Street? My only thing I think should be changed is real estate reform so wealthy people can't just 'invest' in real estate. You know a bunch of people buy up all the property, so it inflates the price. Land is a constant supply, but demand is always increasing(more people in the world). So people just buy land like gold as a safe place to put their money. I don't know the best solution, but I was thinking something like a 30% tax on sales could prevent people from just buying up all the land as an investment as their return isn't going to be as high. Sure this would hurt land developers, but they can switch to contract work and build houses when someone else buys the property. The gain would be immeasurable though: People might finally be able to afford land and rent on their 40 hour a week hardware store job. Maybe the game is too far advanced to fix things.

Re:Games industry is booming for indies now (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635792)

Ad revenue from Youtube? are you kidding? You'd have to get 10 or 20 million hits a month.

Re:Games industry is booming for indies now (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635804)

Or you could always hold your breath.

Re:Games industry is booming for indies now (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635894)

I didn't realize it was that bleak to make the monies on youtube. Your youtube channel could link to your main review site, which have ads. Or you could embed Youtube videos into your main site.

What about all the Hackers? (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635636)

The first thing I thought about after skimming the article is, "what about all the hackers making a dime these days." It seems that folks like Lady Ada [adafruit.com] and some of the folks over at iFixit [ifixit.com] are making a decent shot of it. I have no idea what their finances are, but their sites and offerings continue to grow. It looks to me like they are making some decent and honest money based off of the industry of others.

Jonathan Coulton [jonathancoulton.com] of Code_Monkey [youtube.com] fame is doing alright. I heard a pice on NPR about him recently. He's making a living writing fun songs and distributing them himself.

Obviously not everyone who gets into the on-line creative business is going to make a fortune, but it looks like there's plenty of niches that aren't all occupied.

Re:What about all the Hackers? (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635818)

And there's always radiohead. Everyone's holding them up as the howto example related to how to do this without a label, and no advertising.

There is no engine. There is only DIY. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635650)

There will probably never again me an engine of growth or strategy of success. You do something and if you do it well and you get lucky and no one either steals it before you finish it and or takes the credit, then you can do fairly well. Once again it requires luck to not get robbed, and to receive investor support, creativity alone simply means that people will have more ideas to steal from you.

Oh, you mean those people? (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635654)

Book editors, journalists, video store clerks, musicians, novelists without tenure — they’re among the many groups struggling

Video store clerks. Go figure. Who really thought these types would be thriving in the new economy? They're failing and going back to school or pairing up with friends / family and trying again. Because they're mostly entry-level employees. Give them some time, they know how to enrich themselves and indeed have a natural instinct for it.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635662)

While a very few technologists have become very wealthy, for most creative workers, the rise of amateurs and enthusiasts means that few are actually making a living.

Definitions:

  • technologists: people who consider their knowledge, skills, and abilities to be sufficiently non-trivial to merit a "professional" status and high pay
  • amateurs and enthusiasts: people who acquire in their leisure time knowledge, skills and abilities that are the same as those of the "technologists" or at least sufficiently similar that they can, without "professional" status or high pay, accomplish the same outcomes as the "professionals"

So, basically, the intellectual underpinnings of this "creative" profession are not sufficiently differentiated from what is easily available to the layman to create a high enough barrier-to-entry to the field to sustain its professional status. When someone says "the dream of a laptop-powered 'knowledge class' is dead," he wants that knowledge to be sufficiently hard-to-learn that it provides a basis for class distinction: it's his "dream" to create a separate class (and separate salary rate) based on possession of this knowledge.

Other people, however, dreamed of making this knowledge available to everyone, so that there wouldn't be a class distinction, but rather an overall improvement in the knowledge-base and abilities of people in general. Still others dreamed of making money hand-over-fist by integrating the products of this knowledge into life so thoroughly that there would be a computer on every desk, in every car, in every telephone, and in every pocket: the natural side-effect of the proliferation of the products of knowledge was the proliferation of at least some basic knowledge. The first group made the tools available, but this group of others made it easier to produce media—blogs provided a crutch that let you write WYSIWYG or dip your toes into HTML slowly, lowering the barrier for entry; kids grew up tinkering, adding CSS here and JS there, learning a bit more each time; HTML led to JavaScript and PHP, then on to Objective-C or C#, and so forth. The free-software zealots on the one hand and the capitalists on the other might not have been working together, but the result was the product of both: the democratization of technology. That's a dream that works for most parts of the political spectrum.

Well, except for TFA.

Translation:

While a very few technologists have become very wealthy, I haven't, because I didn't get into deep and specific enough fields to compete with the dirty hippies, the bloggers and fanbois, and the rising generation of people for whom technology is general knowledge, not specialized.

Shortsighted (2, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635700)

The creative class is failing because the middle class who would support them is shrinking. Instead of money going to thousands and thousands of small creative enterprises, it is going to only a few dozen large enterprises (i.e. the 'job creators').
Its not the creative class that's failing, its the middle class.

Re:Shortsighted (2, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635930)

Yes, you know something is wrong when educated people can't find a job coming out of college. It is one thing to go,"Get an education so you don't work at Mcdonalds." And quite another thing to go,"Get an education, but work at Mcdonalds anyway, and maybe by the time you're 50 you can finally pay off your student loans and move out of your parents house."

Re:Shortsighted (2)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636006)

False. I'm 27 and have my Master's Degree paid in full. The truly creative class, in this economy, exploits whatever the hell it can in order to survive and grow. It doesn't matter if you're an Art History professor or an Engineer these days.

Re:Shortsighted (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636156)

The other place money is going is pointless wars across the world. That money could help the middle and lower classes substantially.

Zombies ate them too (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635744)

Machines made manual labor a cheap commodity, and offshoring made brains a cheap commodity. There's fewer and fewer new organs to economically milk. Maybe our yankers will give us another decade or two.....if you have a good one.

The so-called "creative" market is saturated. (4, Insightful)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635750)

The true creative class is the people who are willing to put forth the hard work to study particle physics, microbiology, colloid science, differential equations, managerial accounting, and parallel algorithms. Their dedication is what makes carrying out their creative dreams possible. As the article states, they're doing well, as there's still scarcity in that market. Their competition in overseas diploma mills that teach to the test do not produce the same results.

What this article is referring to is the so-called "creative class" who thought they could start a grunge band by learning power chords, buy a Canon EOS and become a professional photographer, or become a psychologist because they were interested in their bad teenage relationships. They are the types who thought they'd win the lottery and become rock stars without the serious learning required to invent, build, and deploy something new.

Those people in the so-called "creative class" locked in an entitlement mentality are a dime a dozen.It may have worked in the 1990s when they and their friends were given unlimited subsidy by coddling baby boomer parents, but these days, you're on your own and actually have to know your shit. Universities today aren't full of ambitious engineers who will take full advantage of their $50K in student loans, they're full of future waitresses and customer service reps with a piece of paper.

A better article would be "Why did 17 million people go to college?" -- http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634 [chronicle.com]

Re:The so-called "creative" market is saturated. (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635954)

Indeed. And that probably also explains why we are spending ever more money on education with nearly no marginal return.

Re:The so-called "creative" market is saturated. (1)

bye (87770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636188)

Indeed. And that probably also explains why we are spending ever more money on education with nearly no marginal return.

That's not actually true - per work hour productivity has been increasing steadily in the last 20 years. Efficiency and capacity utilization has been edging up consistently too.

What has not increased in the last 10 years were wages - in the last decade the true creators of value, the 99%, got paid in "take up this cheap mortgage, it will be fine, house prices only rise" promises.

Re:The so-called "creative" market is saturated. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636170)

"The true creative class is the people who are willing to put forth the hard work to study particle physics, microbiology, colloid science, differential equations, managerial accounting, and parallel algorithms."
Ah.... spoken like a true geek.

Yeah, right, those things are "creativity".

Heaven forbid recognising the creative arts, which would mean admitting that PIRACY IS MORALLY WRONG, AND IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON WHY IT IS SO HARD TO MAKE A LIVING FROM CREATIVITY.

Trust a Slashdot discussion to veer instead towards saying that people trying to earn money from their creativity -- so-called "patent trolls" -- are the bad guys.

Now, mod me down, aspie assholes.

Hand wringing don't get the dishes washed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635774)

If you confine your definition of "technology" to a computer it's easy to argue that the low hanging fruit is gone, that technologies engine is sputtering, fortunately for us, there is more to technology then that. I happen to think that biology is on a a series of basic breakthroughs, cheap easy genetic sequencing and new understanding of the relationships in cellular structure that will produce several marvels of medical and biological science soon.I also think that materials science is about to breakthrough on a series of developments that will lead to new structural materials, battery improvements, biomedical prosthesis, solar materials,etc.
Even in computers the advancing development of memsistors and magnetic and spin-tronic devices may lead to more revolution in computer circuitry. The Chinese are actually building maglev trains and how soon till we decide we must close this maglev train gap. We are starting to realize we need to get back to basics on our infrastructure needs and basic societal support systems. Sure we had a generation entranced in Gameboys and Walkmen, or their modern I-Pod and I-Pad brethren, but I meet more and more young people who are getting tired of the toys and want to do something positive, build something new. My generation (late age baby boomers) lived on the fruits of our WWII and post WWII grandparents and parents efforts. We created tech wonders and used them to make fancy toys, but my children grew up on the toys and are bored with them. I really think there is hope out there. Yea it's going to be rough for the next five years or so, and it might not be tomorrow before that revolution hits, but it's foundations are being laid. Read the MIT web sites, read what Cal-tech and Cornell are up to. Look at the Maker revolution. Look at the 3-D printing revolution. Nihilism is popular right now, but the seeds are there growing in the cracks of despairs paving over hope. If not here then elsewhere. Will America be the future? That I don't know, but I know the Koreans aren't ready to roll over and play dead. I know China isn't going to give up just as it gets the modernization ball rolling. Japan has been leveled by Floods and Nuclear accident, but they won't give up. You think India will just sit on it's haunches and play dead? What about Europe? There are posters here from everywhere so go ahead my European cousins tell me, is Germany, Sweden or Denmark throwing in the towel. I read Inhabitat.com and every day I read about innovative architecture, green development and alternative, outside the box thinking.I don't see any sign of giving up yet. As for my fellow Americans. Have we truly become such a bunch of anemic lotus eaters that we are just ready to shift out and give up because times is hard. Well blow that for a game of soldiers. I'm not giving up. I'm not ready to declare the end times are here, I'm not ready to shift in. Roll up your sleeves buckoes and start working. Steve Jobs may be passed away but the example he set was don't give in and don't give up. I didn't much like him on many levels but the stubborn so and so pushed and worked on what he wanted till death was at his door. That's how we get out of this crud we're in. Not nihalistic, brow beating and sackcloth like the posted article.Hand wringing don't get the dishes washed! Don't tell me how bad it is, to quote a line from Dr. Who "Postmortems bore me!" Start fixing it. Where you can, when you can, as you can!

Clerks are part of the information economy? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635782)

The information economy is about the people sitting at starbucks with their laptops making a living. It is not about the people serving them coffee.

Is it sputtering? The whole economy is sputtering.

By referencing closed bookstores and closed video rental stores the article did much to undermine it's credibility.

I think the question being asked is important and I don't claim to have the answers. But, first we have to define what we're talking about.

Listen up, ladies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635796)

I've been through several cycles of recession and doomsday pronouncements about international competition. (Remember the 80s, when Japan was destined to take over the world?)
What I've learned is that, whenever America encounters economic trouble, it's caused by the intrusive, grasping politicians in D.C. who want to control every aspect of American businesses and families, via taxation and regulation.
We Americans never seem to understand the detrimental effect of the public sector taking money from the private sector. Instead, we try to solve America's economic problems by intensifying its cause: re-electing slick politicians who wear a practiced smile and offer a shiny coin, who care about themselves first, their political party second, and us Americans last.
The only way to escape this torpor is to cut the size of government at all levels, and to unleash business both domestically and internationally.

BTW, imaging the job creation if Obama had spent the trillions on infrastructure renewal (roads, dams, bridges, etc.) and energy development.

Not even worth a commentary (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635810)

"The 'creative class' was supposed to be the new engine of the United States economy"

Does that even merit comment?? If it does, the comment is "Be more cynical, young man."

Creative Class (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635872)

At first I thought this was an article about C++. What, creatives have a "class" now? The reality is that every human can be pretty creative in one way or another. Thinking that somehow there is a "class" of creative person is ridiculous. While one person might be very good at choosing color palettes, another might be fairly adept at wiring a building. The thought that creativity is in short supply is an artificial concept created by those who seek to charge you money for it.

Re:Creative Class (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635948)

Yes it is a soundblaster driver in C++

Re:Creative Class (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636114)

The only sane definition I can think of, is "part of the working class that specializes in kinds of labor that require creativity." We are talking about social classes, right?

Re:Creative Class (1)

TwistedOne151 (1160593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636148)

If every human being is creative, why have there always been so many starving artists/musicians/actors/etc.? Contrary to the "everyone has a novel in them" nonsense, most people have very little creativity. And before you ask, I count myself firmly in the uncreative group. I have no artistic talent of any kind, and I know it.

Startups (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635904)

I'm the CTO for a tech startup. We've been operating for almost a year on angel funds. We're well along and getting traction with large customers, and everything looks good.

But here's the thing: while we're stretching "laptop powered knowledge workers" as far as we can by being very flexible with skilled people working from home and whatnot, there's still a tremendous amount of office work to be done. We've been successful so far in large part because the CEO and the sales guy have been kicking in doors and following leads and that means a lot of phone calls and discussions and whiteboards. We have a project manager running the ticket system. Our CFO runs budget meetings. We're constantly getting together to talk things out. This is normal for a business, and nothing about "business 2.0" has changed that.

The fantasy of a laptop-enabled knowledge worker being a techno-nomad was always a fantasy. If you want to build a real business, it just involves a lot of the unglamorous work that doesn't seem so sexy in a Starbucks.

Re:Startups (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636082)

If I had mod points I'd mod you up. You're absolutely right. The unsexy stuff is what creates the substance to a business - and you need to be in one office to get it going.

Having said that, if you have good comms you can often give people the option to work from home - office hours don't always work and the traditional commute eats time as well - but that takes people that can indeed *WORK* from home. In my experience they are rather exception than rule. It's much easier to switch to "work" mode with an established routine and a place of work.

On the other hand - with good comms you can clean up a bad work-life balance, and get to see a bit more of your kids. It depends a bit on what you do as a business.

of course not! (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635908)

Of course they aren't making any money. They spent all their money on the equipment that you need to be creative: MacBooks, iMacs, and all that.

How about a radical suggesion? (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635918)

So, the problem highlighted is that 'creative' people - and lets for the moment give them the benefit of the doubt on the level of their creativity - cannot find paid employment that allows them to produce new the new ideas and culture that keeps a society from stagnating.

My question is, why does everyone have to work?

We are trapped by absurd, outdated Protestant work ethics. Failure to bust your gut 50 hours a week is a sign of moral weakness, according to our leaders (most of whom have only ever worked through choice, not necessity) and our newspapers - sometimes even our teachers and parents.

This ethic is reflected in a society that is structured in a way that survival is next to impossible without work. Don't fool yourselves - even social safety nets here in Europe are specifically designed to make lack of full time employment unsustainable over the long term. What we need is to provide people with a decent living regardless of what they do, and make anything earned through work a bonus.

Maybe its time to stop blindly forcing the square pegs of our society (and everyone else) into the round hole of clock punching, just to serve some ancient disgust at the supposed 'fecklessness' of those who don't like the 8-6 run (I think its safe to say 9-5 is mostly a fantasy in the west now)

Its a valid question of how to pay for this; but not actually a difficult one. The simplest is to go after the rent-seekers; money earned by not doing anything can't possibly be created due to an incentive for the person earning it to do anything, so lets have it. Start with the Earth's natural resources - I have always considered the notion of a creature with a maximum lifespan barely over 100 years claiming that part of a 4 billion year old planet is his and his only to exploit.

Might it not work? Sure. But considering the current economic order is grinding to a halt, it is certainly worth a shot.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (2)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636068)

Let's take you up on your suggestion and extrapolate into the future. You won't need an education unless you think it's interesting enough to do for its own sake. For example I am guessing that not many people will choose to get a plumber's education just for the joy of making shit flow. Who's going to fix your toilet if no one needs to work and it requires a skilled plumber to fix it? Who's going to build new buildings? Grow food? I think you suggestion requires robots to be able to do all the jobs for us, and we aren't at that point yet.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636098)

You incorrectly assume that providing everyone with a decent standard of living automatically, means that nobody will be paid for doing anything.

Plumbers are always going to get paid. You certainly do need to compensate people for doing jobs that might be considered unpleasant - but that isn't a huge portion of our economies. When was the last time you heard the UK chancellor talk about sanitation?

My personal experience of the British economy is of shuffling papers around offices. There is a lot of busywork that bizarrely pays as much as the far more essential work that plumbers do prevent us from being knee-deep in our out feces.

Oh, and I don't know about you, but I already grow food, for free, in addition to myself and wife having jobs. We still have to buy some items (turns out carrots are easier to raise than cattle) but certainly your absolute statement that people won't grow food without a conventional, monetary incentive is disproved by my counterexample.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636154)

I think you suggestion requires robots to be able to do all the jobs for us, and we aren't at that point yet.

I expect in my lifetime that robots will be able to do all the jobs, but the robots will be owned by rich white men and the rest of us will be living on food stamps.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636224)

I think you're missing the point. Why do people go in to plumbing now? Nobody is forced to. I sure hope nobody goes in to plumbing because they feel the need to make the shit flow. People go in to plumbing because it pays well. The job can be unpleasant at times but it can pay really well.

The GP want to know why people feel the need to work so much. Well, they like food and shelter and having an income can provide that. If I didn't need to pay my mortgage and feed my family I wouldn't work so much. The whole Star Trek "We don't use money any more" could be nice but it sure as hell ain't here yet.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (0, Troll)

TwistedOne151 (1160593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636132)

Why? Because socialism fails every time it is tried, and due to immutable human nature, always will. And make no mistake, your proposal, which amounts to forcibly taking money from the productive to support the lazy and indolent, is the very essence of socialism. As they say, if you subsidize something you get more of it; if you subsidize people to sit around and not work, you get more people not working. Then, you get the people who are working seeing more and more of their money stolen and given to layabouts; they will increasingly become bitter and resentful, either doing their jobs with less effort (and concomittant decline in quality), or giving up and joining the unproductive themselves, requiring yet more to be extracted from the workforce that remains. The inevitable result is poverty and collapse, as seen with the fall of the USSR. So no, it's not "worth a shot." It's a "cure" worse than the disease.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636146)

...and the above poster demonstrates why western society is absolutely doomed.

I didn't mention socialism. I certainly didn't advocate the bringing back the USSR. I said nothing about regulating the markets (not a bad idea at all, but one not actually connected to my suggestion.) Yet you invoke some inane, pop-economic truthiness and claim you can predict exactly how people will act, and that this makes any suggestion counter the the current economic order equivalent to Soviet socialism.

You also suggest that anybody who isn't working is a layabout. To support this stupid statement, you would have to conclude that the recession currently going on has coincided with a great increase in laziness over a very short period of time...

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636248)

Failure to bust your gut 50 hours a week is a sign of moral weakness

Yes it is, you whiny bitch. And this is exactly why my kids will always be better than you.

Wash-rinse-repeat (1)

bwashed75 (1389301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636262)

This gives me and 7 billion other people a nice incentive to stay at home and make babies (which is SO much more rewarding). Who is going to provide food and basics for my 7 kids, my 49 grankids and their 343 children (while they're at home making babies)?

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636300)

Is it ethical to expect to be fed if you will not work in exchange? The food you eat, the clothes you wear, everything you have is created by someone's labor. Money blinds us all to the fact that what is exchanged really are goods and services, if someone gives you money for nothing it really means that you have received the fruits of others' labors -- the things you will buy with that money. If you haven't worked it means those people have performed unpaid labor for you.

Re:How about a radical suggesion? (1)

yacwroy (1558349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636366)

Is there a halfway - give people enough to live on as long as they seek to improve themselves in both education and health, and adhere to family planning guidelines.

I'm not talking full-time study at facilities, just pass a few extramural courses per year, do say 3 hours of decent exercise per week, and have say three or less children.

Since bottom-end jobs are drying up with no end in sight (due to automation), it's crazy to expect that just tweaking our economy can restore low unemployment long into our future.

(I actually think you've hit the nail on the head, but you'll have a hard time selling that concept directly)

Backwards Compatible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37635944)

Greed never goes back to how it was before...

Right (1)

jmd (14060) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635952)

See: http://occupywallst.org/

Value system (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37635994)

The issue here as far as I am concerned is that the article supposes a values system based on money and profit. The phrase "the rise of amateurs and enthusiasts means that few are actually making a living. " is a good example. Personally as someone who's values are based on quality of life and advancement of the human race's knowledge and experience, I would say the creative class is booming and the amateurs and enthusiasts are the main engine for that. I personally am an amateur and an enthusiast in the area of game development, and although my own offerings are minimal as yet, it seems that the majority of innovation in the field and also the majority of value added (my values, not money) are coming from the independents, amateurs and enthusiasts. If major game studios were bringing out anything that broke new ground it would be a different story but they seem to be operating on the premise that you make more money from a tried and true formula, than from trying new things. They may even be right about this. This is why I believe that a system of values based on money is flawed. All in all, I hear only good news from the creative sector recently (apart from copyright lawsuits), and the fact that people aren't making a living is more of the same. The less money there is in it, the more the people involved will be working towards other goals, goals like "because I love my art". This increases the quality of the products and decreases the cost to society for enjoying them. I realise it sucks for people who live in countries without a real social welfare system, starving to death for your art, while a time honoured tradition, is not a lot of fun.

Only the best ideas win and they don't employ many (4, Insightful)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636036)

In the old days, most new ventures failed. Only a very few people could be at the top when an idea exploded. That wasn't a big problem. Fully exploiting those ideas required hiring lots of people. And thats how most people made their living. They didn't have to make a big win themselves. They just needed to be useful those who did.

Enter the economy of today. Most new ventures still fail. Occasionally, one still wins. But when it comes time to hire all those people to exploit the idea, they don't. Either the need for large numbers of employers never materializes due to automation and the non-physical nature of the work or, if they really must hire, they hire overseas.

The myth of the creative class was created out of need to believe we had an out. It was obvious to anyone that the American dream could no longer be supported by manufacturing. And I don't think anyone really believed that retail and burger flipping was an option. There needed to be something that was productive but different from what goes on in the emerging world and, therefore, safe. Well, it isn't all that different and it isn't safe. Employment security in the info economy didn't even survive beyond the business cycle in which it was born.

Sorry, but... (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636150)

There has to BE a new economy before anybody, creative or otherwise, can be an "engine" for it.

Unfortunately, as we have seen, our economy has been (so far) too full of old greedy curmudgeons who will exploit anybody, including the government and the innocent, to keep the old economy going for just a few more years so they can continue to line their pockets.

Doing it yourself doesn't have to break the bank (3, Interesting)

BeforeCoffee (519489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37636190)

I have homebrew business ideas that I've been developing and I wanted to own my own servers and learn how to rack and manage them. I could have rented time on a cloud or PHP hosting site or whatever. But I figure that controlling my server infrastructure means controlling my costs. I consider that to be like owning my means of production if you wanna get all marxist about it.

I'm no sysadmin, but I know enough to get around Linux. I'm not doing an awesome job of it, and I have a big meltdown failure once every two years or so. Usually just a harddrive failure that I can recover from, but sometimes it's more serious. My sites haven't earned enough popularity to get sustained intense internet traffic yet; so far, my boxes have done okay with the occasional big burst of traffic for my sites ( https://clubcompy.com/ [clubcompy.com] and http://cardmeeting.com/ [cardmeeting.com] ) that I get from Slashdot or some random blog.

I negotiated my costs as a fixed $150/mo for 4U and throttled monthly bandwidth. And I'm not alone, in the colocation facility I rent at, I see a lot of homebrew rigs racked up with google and yahoo-owned servers (obviously not in the same rack and not as well cooled, heh.) I had no idea what I was doing, and the techs at the facility were totally cool and taught me how to rack my boxes and helped hold them up for me while I mounted them to the rails. The server and network hardware that I have probably totals about 4K and I built them up over years. I've still got 2U free for future expansion. I use only mini-ITX form factor mobos because I want to rack them in teensy enclosures so I can max out my rackspace, and those motherboards run cool so they go for years without any failure - heat kills. I buy passively cooled MB's whenever they're available and still meet my requirements. I have found Intel Atom boards to be extremely reliable in 24/7 operation. CPU-wise they stink, and I wish I could go 64-bit with more RAM, but I just need cheep life support for SATA and ethernet at this stage. I've had DIMM's die before motherboards, I don't mind spending extra for the best manufacturing quality there.

If you have a steady, good paying job and you're a developer, you should have a homebrew project that you hope/wish/dream will someday blow up and become your livelihood. No excuses about cost if you have even a couple hundred dollars a month of discretionary funds to burn. If anything, do it for fun and chalk the costs up to hobby expenses and do it to learn new things. Make it a long term project - over years - and you can pay for it yourself. You don't need magical silicon valley angel vc startup capital to do very cool things on the internet or in wireless apps.

Dave

thIs FP for MGNAA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37636264)

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