Silicon Insider: Potpourri of Tech Musings

I'm off to the U.K. for the annual "Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford" gathering at Said Business School at Oxford University. The event, now in its fourth year, was born from a birthday present (a guest lecture at the brand new school) from my staff at Forbes ASAP, and has now grown into a tradition that attracts hundreds of MBA students and Thames Valley business executives to a day of master classes, speeches and a public roundtable in the evening.

This year's Valleyites include Craig Newmark (founder of Craig's List), Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), Evan Williams (co-founder of Blogger.com), and Robert Young (co-founder and former chairman of Red Hat Software). But as impressive as this group is, the real stunners are the MBA students themselves -- the most international of any B-school on the planet. They are brilliant, articulate and ferociously entrepreneurial.

Each year, I ask the assembled evening crowd of 500 students and CEOs how many consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. The first year, perhaps 10 percent nervously raised their hands. Last year, the percentage was more than 80 percent. It gives you hope for Britannia.

So, as I pack and prepare my notes, some random thoughts on what is proving to be a very interesting season for high-tech:

'Pajamas Media' Becomes 'OSM'

Wednesday was the formal official debut of Pajamas Media, now officially renamed Open Source Media, or OSM. Since I'm writing this on Monday night, I can't tell you how the press conference went. However, I have been talking a lot with these folks over the last couple weeks, so I have a pretty good idea what is coming.

I'll predict that some of the press coverage will be pretty dismissive, even vicious. Ignore those stories. Trust me, the press is scared to death of the rise of a financially independent blogosphere -- even as individual reporters, facing layoffs, are trying to figure out how to become part of it. Instead, entertain yourself by trying to read between the lines of these MSM stories: which stories were made more vicious by angry copy editors, which try to emulate the cocky style of blogs themselves, and which are secretly auditions for a future slot on OSM.

Meanwhile, there are some serious questions you should ask about the OSM announcement:

      Do they have real money backing them? Venture capital or private investors? If the former, how deep are their pockets? And is this an early warning that the venture capital industry is about to pour tons of bucks onto the blogosphere?

      What is their revenue model? Subscriptions or ads? If the former, can they get them, or will they just turn themselves into an editorial backwater like The New York Times just did? If they are chasing an advertising model, have they landed any major advertisers yet? Are they hooked up with the right agencies? Do they have the right publisher in place?

      What is their compensation model? How much does OSM plan to pay its contributors, and what is the performance required? How will that performance be measured? Will the compensation be enough to make blogging a full-time career, or will it remain an increasingly lucrative hobby? Will OSM be able to hold onto its talent if this model attracts competitors?

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