Bruce Sterling on Mon, 3 May 1999 19:10:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Viridian Note 00064: Viridian Finances

Key concepts: fundraising, imaginary products, fake ad campaigns, Viridian
Curia, Viridian Library, online bookselling, book recommendations,
critical assessment

Attention Conservation Notice:  It's about money.  But you don't get any
money.  If you're not careful, you might end up spending some money. 


Entries in the Viridian Power Banner Contest:
(note dino animation at bottom of page)
This contest expires May 31, 01999

  I now have over thirty volunteers for the Viridian Curia, which is
plenty of people. Maybe too many.  Membership in the Curia will be closed
until further notice. 

   As their first creative effort, these Curia people are going to create
some souvenir Viridian swag which can be given away or sold.  In order to
do this, they require some capital, and this note is about generating some
money for their operations. 

   Thanks to the good offices of Jon Lebkowsky (^^^^^^^^^), I
have been running a mail-order bookstore out of my website for a couple of
months now.  We are linked to, and the myrmidons of Bezos do
all our shipping and ordering work while giving us a 5 percent referral

     Lebkowsky and I just got out first amazon royalty check.  It's fifty
bucks, which is about enough to order a couple of jumbo pizzas and a
bottle of decent Chianti.  I don't know what Lebkowsky's doing with his
share of the money == he's the one doing all the website work, so heaven
knows he deserves it == but I am putting all of my bookstore loot straight
into the Viridian Treasury. 

    I'm not under the illusion that this teensy virtual bookstore is going
to generate enough money to get us anywhere important.  There are three
things about it that strongly appeal to me, however. 

(1) The first is that it doesn't require much attention.  Except from
Lebkowsky, that is. 

(2) The second is that, as a byproduct, it allows Viridian people a fine
opportunity to create and accumulate a useful Viridian library on relevant
subjects such as climate change, postindustrial design, and propaganda
graphics. (I don't think these subjects have ever been grouped in one
place before, but it's high time.)

(3) The third cool thing is that the whole thing is basically being
underwritten by the frantic day-trading lunatics who have driven the
"value" of out of the stratosphere.  These people are
*definitely* the target demographic group of marks and suckers who should
be painlessly tapped for some cash so that we Viridians can enjoy

    On I have a little Viridian
library going already, but I want to expand it radically.  Therefore, I
want you, the experienced and canny Viridian list reader, to tell me about
the high-quality, relevant books that you are convinced other Viridians
should be reading. 

     I don't want you to disgorge some dry bibliography of all possible
reference works -- don't bug me with this.  I am an author, I know very
well that the world is chock- full of boring books.  You *have to blurb
them for us,* so that we can have some assurance that we are not wasting
our valuable attention on your pet obsession with left- handed Croatian
land snails.  I want to know about books that are of vital Viridian
interest, so that Viridians can come by the site, buy some book, receive
it, enjoy it, get some real benefit out of it, and then come back and
cheerfully buy another one. 

    Note that I am not begging you to give us any money.  What I'm begging
for here is some intelligent attention and some critical assessment. 
Thanks to Bezos et al, we now have a method by which we can turn this
critical practice into money.  This money will be spent on Viridiana, so
at length, and theoretically, it ought to benefit you. 

     I make one exception to this policy of high quality.  If you are on
Viridian list and you yourself write books, I will put your books up on
the site even if they are dull, irrelevant and stupid.  After all, my own
books are up there, too.  Many of them are not in the least Viridian.  If
you're on this list, I'm kind of interested in knowing what you write. So,
tell me about your own books.  You'll get the usual royalties if we sell
any, while the group will get the referral fee. 

     I also inherited some books quite recently.  They have nothing to do
with Viridian matters, but the stacks of dusty books here are literally
driving me out of the Viridian Vatican.  I believe I will sell the surplus
off, perhaps in the new bidding system, and add these book
salvage funds to the Viridian Treasury. 

    And after all that, I dunno.  Maybe a for-profit blood drive. 

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