Since the emergence of tools like Kickstarter, allowing people to get backers for their projects without necessarily tapping into traditional venture funding sources, I’ve been wondering if crowdfunding might be an answer to the internet-era problem of how to fund journalism.
In a nutshell, the problem is that serious, in-depth reportage is time-consuming and expensive to do. In print, that was okay. Being the Paper of Record made you a must-read, allowing you to sell lots of advertising, and it didn’t really matter whether people were reading the heavy think piece about Middle Eastern politics or the light fluff about fashionable canines. On the internet, though, we suddenly learned that lots of people read about fashionable canines, not as many people read about Middle Eastern politics, and nobody reads the ads. Ad sales plummeted, and it is becoming more and more difficult to actually pay people to take the time to do serious reporting.
But what if the people who care about journalism can pay for it directly? They know what they’re getting, and they can get it without being buried in advertising. And the reporters can report without worrying too much about how many clicks each article gets. Can that work?
The team at Climate Confidential is trying to answer that question, seeking subscribers for a new venture dedicated to cleantech and other environment-focused technologies. It’s an interesting project and I wish them well.
What comes after silicon?
Over at Semiconductor Engineering, I’ve been working on a series on post-silicon alternative channel materials:
- Depositing InGaAs on silicon
- Germanium channels and their gate stacks
- Germanium FinFETs
- InGaAs channels and their gate stacks
There’s lots more to cover, too. The next article in the series will cover developments at the 2013 IEDM conference, and at some point I’ll want to look at contact processes for alternative semiconductors.
ACA Enables Dreams
Back in October, I pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is a boon for potential entrepreneurs, because it reduces the risks of being self-employed.
The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office puts some hard numbers under this idea, estimating that people who reduce their hours or quit their jobs entirely because they can get insurance elsewhere will shave 2.5 million full time equivalents out of the national workforce.
This is being spun as bad news: “See! Obamacare kills jobs!” But it’s not. Those equivalents represent people who wanted to retire early, people who wanted to spend more time with their children, and yes, people who wanted more time to pursue their own dreams. They represent a shift in the balance of power from employers to employees.