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Venture Labor
Surviving the New Economy

Associating Independents: Business Relationships and the Culture of Independence in the Dot-Com Era

One version of the history of cyberculture, albeit a simple and condensed version, tells the story of an independent media space for free cultural experimentation that was co-opted by people looking for quick and easy profits during the dot-com oom.  Individual innovation and creative drive clearly shaped cyberculture and the World Wide Web since the earliest hacks and first personal homepages.  the commercialization of cyberspace, however, involved a shift in cultural values, not just the increasing corporate control of the production of Internet content.  the artistic, creative and culturally rebellious pioneers of Silicon Alley considered the financial investments and their concomitant corporate values “the end of the Web as we know it.”  How then did they accept the shift toward corporate-owned Internet content?

Neff, Gina. “Associating Independents: Business Relationships of the Dot-com Era” in David Silver and Adrienne Massanari, eds., Currents in Critical Cyberstudies. New York: New York University Press,  pp 294–307.

Permanently Beta: Responsive Organization in the Internet Era

How has the process of technological change in the Internet era influenced the way we organize economic activities?  In this chapter we discuss how information technologies foster the emergent design and user-driven design of websites and other online media, as well as products and organizations off-line. A cycle of testing, feedback and innovation facilitates ongoing negotiations around what is made and how to organize making it. We call the organizational state of flux that emerges from these negotiations Permanently Beta. Beta testing, open source software, and interactive communities manifest aspects of permanently beta organization. The instability associated with being permanently beta is not without social costs, but it may present opportunities for organizing broader participation in the design of products and organizations.

Link To Full Chapter.

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