Self-doubt in the digital ivory tower

A review of Brenda Laurels "Utopian Entrepreneur"

"Utopian Entrepreneur" (The utopian entrepreneur) is a maxi-essay of Brenda Laurel, author of "Computers AS Theater", Expert for interface design and representative "Humanistic values" In the American Info Research Elite. With its startup company Purple-Moon, a female teen-oriented company for Internet and CD-ROM games, Laurel had to go to the entrepreneurship. The book is an honest and accessible billing with the things that were wrong at Purple Moon without trusting a too deep system criticon Valleys. Last but not least the question of a sustainable model for the internet economy, the author remains guilty.

Covers "Utopian Entrepreneur"

Sadly, Laurels falls an economic analysis of little effort. It is already known that Brenda Laurel – which has taken the collapse of the Computer Games company Atari, the prestigious Silicon Valley Research Laboratory Interval Research, as well as Young by Purple Moon – with many similar well-behavior "Cultural workers" already upgraded for the next round of missed farms. Nervous So-go-PowerPointism asserts itself against a corporate analysis. As long as the promise of a politically correct ("humanistic") Popular computer culture Anhalt, everything seems allowed.

Brenda Laurel is an expert in interface design, in application questions and in the gender aspect of computer games. She is a gross supporter of research. "The utopian researcher" Goods maybe even a better, more appropriate title. Laurel must pay attention to the decay of commercial IT research. The speed worship that maintains risk capitalists and marketing managers has destroyed every long-term basic research.

"Market research, as they are usually made, is made up of several grunden problematic. Because people question what they most liked the available things is not exactly the innovation; It forms the landscape, but does not help with the design of a new trajectory."

Laurels’s method, such as your application colleagues, is to put together and talk to the people, "To learn about you with open eyes, thoughts and hearts. Such research does not need tremendous resources, but requires a high workload and a common effort to maintain its prerequisites."

Cultural worker in real capitalism

Laurel sees itself as a cultural worker, as a designer and new media producer, experienced in communication with a coarse and unequal audience. However, it does not make it to a utopian entrepreneur. Only hints let them know their disgust for those investors who have turned everything so early. She hides her anger on those who destroy her promising company. It must be said here that the Purple Moon business model has been a process of the Dotcom scheme. Revenue mainly brought CD sales. Despite solid numbers, high click rates and a coarse, hundreds of thousands of paying online community have turned off the investors.

The problem of "Utopian Entrepreneur" Is Laurels ambivalent attitude to the prevailing corporate culture. How countless others with it, Laurel runs against the real wall of real existing capitalism. The difficulty of developing a (self) critical analysis is made throughout "cultural" Sector of the new media industry obviously. The moral references to America as a culture that is almost obsessed from money making and exit are not very helpful ("In today’s business climate, it is not about producing values, but money.") The question that the book makes the book is rather, in which language the economy, could be described by a cultural waiting.

The gentle criticism of the insider

"Utopian Entrepreneur" describes the chauvinism of the ‘New Economy’-Gurus and then crashes off. Regernably, the economic knowledge that requires Laurel does not use any application in their own texts. Moralization can not cut too deep. One of the basic problems could be Brenda Laurels’s equation of critical analysis "Negativism" be. Your passion for "positive work" is a shot backwards when their poor analytical plane, if it is not possible, to penetrate into deeper power structures behind the repeated companies that are involved in the laurel.

Theory can be a passionate conceptual tool, but is not necessarily ‘Friendly Fire’. In my view, criticism is the highest form of culture, and no ‘Collateral Damage’. Organized optimism, as he in the "New Age"-dominated entrepreneurial and technology circles is so widespread, thinking has effectively blocked. Criticism is not a poison, but a vital rustling for change. Knowledge not to ask that his own ability to pretend to see through the primate of press broadcasts, which is so prevailing in the IT industry.

The danger is that the result of critical research in the case of Purple Moon as one "Boom and Bust"-Scheme could be negative (not sostant for Laurel itself than for investors who protect them now). In such a case, it was not enough to say that people should learn from their mistakes. Without a critical analysis, they were able to have the same difficulties for the next time. Out of a fear of her own "Negativism" Must remain careful. Her "positive" Rustah blocks but rather than it freed.

Laurels style suffers from the strange fear to be criticized from the radical side, and therefore leads to an unnecessary form defensive writing. Brenda Laurel writes:

"A utopian entrepreneur is most likely to meet unexpected criticism – even on denunciations – from those who believed on his side."

What Laurel can not distinguish here is the hard insider perspective association, and the positive spectrum of PR-washballs. How do coolness and applicability behave? Purple Moon was unlikely to be successful in young Madchen – and was turned without reason. In contrast to the Darwinist Dotcom philosophy, I believe that such ‘mistake’ should not happen again. There should be other, less cured business models that are resistant to the hype, and provide such projects such as Purple Moon enough resources to grow after their own pace. There is no reason to keep up with inconcluded expectations and to invest in a speculative and little sustainable ‘speed concomity’.

Brenda Laurel sees her vocation to diade the computer game industry from their lovely focus to the ‘Splitting-lot-Los’ market of the man’s semi-detached. She is as a Barbie Hasserin, and her goal is to "Rough consumption machine" get rid of. Although Brenda Laurel sums up the problematic aspects of short-term profins driven by short-term profins, she struggles for fear in front of it, "Activate the immune system", No alternative forms of research, cooperation and ownership.

Their fear of being excluded from the high ranges of the virtual class is a real who is not so easy to leave. Laurel carefully avoids such Dotcom gurus such as George Gilder, the organic okologists and all the others who operate for Europe under the label of ‘California ideology’. The soule of the techno-liberten entrepreneurial spirit never seems to have given it. Fately Laurel never was a real credo, but she is silent about the once prevailing techno-liberten agenda, as before her already David Kuo ("Dot.bomb") And Ernst Malmsten ("Boo Hoo: A Dot-Com Story"To). (See California ideology and California ideology Part II)

Compared with other titles to the Dotcom crash, Laurels’s book remains a secretive. David Kuo is committed to "Dot.bomb" Noteworthy open to its own enthusiasm – and blindness – during the roller coaster ride with America’s most promising e-commerce portal. Laurels’s report remains distanced, in general and sometimes moralistic ("Healthy life, healthy work"To). It’s like when the reader is only allowed to throw around a cursual look inside. Laurel stays in the defensive, and zogs to name her protagonists in particular.

In contrast to Kuo, which steadily rushed on and off in the innermost of ‘ValueMeamerica’, we never understand Laurels underlying business strategies. Her pathogies are crystal clear. Your implicit accepting to the powerful (manual) IT-Moguln and VC oversen must be read like a Sovjet novel. There is no reason to describe those who destroy a business company than (anonymous) "Aliens" to describe (how it does Laurel). The tags have name signs and represent a specific corporate culture.

"Utopian Entrepreneur" debates the definitions of ‘indoors’ and ‘drapes’. Laurel tries to position desperately as insider:

"I used many years to discover that I could not effectively influence the construction of pop culture until I listed to describe me a) as an artist, and b) as a political activist. These two self-definitions have guided what I know now as self-marginalization. I could not classify myself as subversive or as a member of an elite. I had to place myself and my values mentally in the middle, not on the edge. I had to understand that it was not about criticizing, but about the manifestation."

Theory ‘scared’

Laurel fears of theory that connects you to the academic, with cultural studies, art and activism, which reproduces the ‘high-low-trench. For Laurel is theory Elitar, without a consultation with the reality of everyday life of normal people. That could be the case. But what can be done to finish this isolationist campus ghettol life of the theory? Instead of asking for dignified educational programs (as suited to their humanistic remission thinking), to raise the general participation in the critical contemporary discourse, Laurel scolds on the theorists. This attitude, widely used within the IT industry, puts all those who have a humanities background, on a difficult, defensive position.

The critical analysis of the DotCom chapter in the history of the Internet is also moved to an outdoor manager. As soon as you start to reflect on the inner dynamics of Silicon Valley, you are already drabs. Instead of developing a conceptual toolbox for those who work ‘inside’, Laurel reproduces the classic dichotomy: either you are in it (and play the capitalist game), or you are drabs (becomes academics / artist / activist, complaint You and criticize as much as you can only). The mutual resentment of those involved in technology and companies, and those who are sitting in the spiritual Ivory Tower, seems to be gross than ever.

On the other hand, postmodern theory formation and cultural criticism were not exactly helpful, neither for Laurel nor generally in general for the exploration of the Internet economy. Whether you are now Jameson, Zizek, Butler, or Habermas, they lack all the basic economic and technological knowledge. As long as such ‘Star’-thinkers continue to confuse the Internet with any cyber sex art installations, there is not much reason to see this thinker. The same can be said about Michael Hardt and Toni Negri whose "Empire" As a careful Bible of the globalization opponent. Despite the valuable category of ‘Intangible Work’ seems a critical knowledge of the Internet as well as the New Economy in "Empire" to be completely absent.

The theorists leading today bring little when it comes to Laurels’s conceptual challenges, be it in the field of user interface design, or a criticism of the geek culture of a number of trusts. The Cultural Studies Armies will only occupy the field of new media if the IT products have become part of what the traditional transmitter media define as mass culture. This means another delay of at least five to ten years.

The fact is that theory proceeds to the facts above and a rough difficulty is to adapt to real-time media events and the networked conditions of contemporary discourse. A Gutenberg-traged baby boomer generation, which now occupies publishing house, mass media, university posts, dreams the secret dream together that all these new media disappear as quickly as they have surfaced.

It lacks substance, they have neither reality nor relevant, and the new media has also failed to produce their Rembrandts, Shakespeares and Hitchcocks. The economic recession followed by the NASDAQ TechnoTrumberumple, deepens only the ditch between the impudence of the techno-pop workers forced and the dark skepticism of the high culture establishment. The Dotcom mania will probably be a forgotten chapter, especially for those apart from companies, such as academics, artists and activists. Even the young Nanders and the Arrivated Technologists have begun to deny their participation in the Dotcom startups by hiding themselves behind their ‘neutral’ role as a technician ("Do not push me, I’m just the programmer"), While you forget your liberten passions of past days. What remains abstain is the still open question of sustainable models for the internet economy.

From the English of Frank Hartmann Utopian Entrepreneur, Brenda Laurel (2001) with press, 112 pages

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: