Guy, Truemors, and Being…Stupid?

Guy Kawasaki today launched his new web 2.0 application, Truemors, which focuses on something important to all – well, to some – I guess to a few: rumors.

Taking a glance at the site, I can immediately conclude that it won’t be part of my daily diet (Guy’s blog, on the other hand, is a regular read).

However, I admire Guy, and I absolutely loved the WSJ column today (Marketing section, subscription required) in which Lee Gomes profiles Guy, tells of the low-cost start-up costs for this venture, and shows why Guy is a popular fellow. He is refreshingly candid, authentic, and really doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to prove anymore. The (nicely-crafted!) title of the article: In New Net Economy, Everyone Gets to be Stupid for 15 Minutes.

From the article:

    It’s obviously in the debt of several popular Web 2.0 sites, notably Twitter, where users post short updates about their current activities, or Digg, where readers vote for the stories they like best. As for rumors and gossip, the stock-in-trade at Truemors, they don’t now seem to be in short supply, World Wide Web-wise.

    But — and this may be the part of the episode with the biggest trend potential — Mr. Kawasaki responds to all such criticisms with a shrug, along with an explanation of the new economics of the Internet.

    Apparently, Web businesses now aren’t much harder to make than YouTube videos. Mr. Kawasaki says he has been working on Truemors for just three months. Because it uses free software, with programming done by a for-hire outfit in called Electric Pulp located in the high tech mecca of South Dakota, the costs are minimal. Mr. Kawasaki says to date, he has spent $12,000 on Truemors.

    Or, as he puts it, “During the dot-com bubble, you needed $5 million to do stupid ideas. Now you can do stupid ideas for 12 grand.”

    With so little at stake, Mr. Kawasaki can afford to adopt a tone of almost cheerful agnosticism when fielding questions. Will Truemors have any redeeming social purpose? “The real answer is, ‘I don’t know,'” he replies. Will the things people read on Truemors be true? “As much as anything else they read on the Internet,” he says.

    Mention that he seems to not know a lot about how his business will shake out and Mr. Kawasaki lets you in on a little secret. “If you raise $2 million from VCs, you have to pretend like you ‘know’ all this stuff. The truth is whether it’s $12,000 or $2 million, you really don’t know. The only difference is what you think you can admit.”


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