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e$: The Movie


                             e$: The Movie


Almost a year ago, I noticed that traffic was tapering off on one of
the digital commerce e-mail lists I'm subscribed to, www-buyinfo, which
is run by Dave Kristol at ATT. So, every once in a while, I started
zinging relevant crossposts over there from cypherpunks, a famous
crypto list with about 20-25% e$ content.

I started getting actual fan mail for this, so I kept doing it. Now, it
seems that, say, 85% of all of the traffic on www-buyinfo is my
cross-posting from cypherpunks. Dave says there are 500-600 people
worldwide who have stayed on www-buyinfo during all this time, so it
seems like I can claim at least some of them as an audience for what
I'm doing, with no promotion of the list at all, except word of mouth.

We've even had several discussions on the list about whether I should
continue doing it, and every time we've done so, the answer has been a
resounding "yes".  However, www-buyinfo does have a charter, and even
though what I'm doing drifts the charter substantially, I'm restricted
in what I can put there.  It's not fair to Dave or the subscribers for
me to turn their list into my private spam channel. Also, Dave
has said repeatedly that he's interested in re-tooling www-buyinfo
into something more technical, so, at some point, the party's going
to be over, and we'll have to pack up our tents and move on.

Meanwhile, I've also taken to writing on the net, and more recently,
speaking to professional groups, on the topic of e$, and I have gotten
very good response to that as well. An edited version of one of my
longer net.rants is in this week's InfoWorld, for instance. That one
got me fan mail from all sorts of people (like Guy Kawasaki, Stewart
Alsop, and Adam Engst, for instance) when the original version appeared
first in the apple-internet-users list a while back.

I've managed to have a lot of fun with this stuff. One of my
suggestions on cypherpunks started ecm, the secondary market for
Digicash's beta-test digital cash certificates. I had so much fun
talking about digital commerce with Peter Cassidy, a freelance writer
for Forbes ASAP, Wired, and the Economist, that the two of us started
the Boston Society for Digital Commerce, a luncheon group that meets
once a month to talk about this stuff. BSDC has about 40 members now,
and our second meeting is on Tuesday.

So, I've decided I'd jump into this with both feet.  A friend of mine at
Apple Computer, Vinnie Moscaritolo, has volunteered his time to put up
a web site about e$. It's pretty much live, though still under
construction, at its temporary home of

http://www.webstuff.apple.com/~vinnie/rah/ .

Vinnie is now in the process of hooking up a small stand-alone machine,
to live somewhere else on the net besides in Apple's domain, which will
house this web-site along with three mailing lists, all of which will
be archived and eventually web-searchable. Over the next few weeks,
we'll be starting up these lists and announcing them here. They are:

* _e$_: A discussion list on digital commerce and financial cryptography
and their consequences.  This list will be for people who have a strong
understanding of markets of all kinds, who understand the consequences
of strong cryptography and digital certificate technology on public
networks, and who want to make money in this environment. We welcome
Entrepreneurs, Analysts, Cryptographers (Amateur and Otherwise), Free
Marketeers, small-"l" libertarians, and, even (horrors!) a
crypto-anarchist or two.

* _e$pam_:  My personal spam-channel to the universe. ;-). Pretty much
what I do now with www-buyinfo from cypherpunks, only with all the
net.sources I can find. It will have the same content touchstone as e$
will, but it will consist entirely of filtered information from
secondary sources. In other words, it won't say "e$spam" until I say it
says "e$spam".  At some point, e$spam will have filter-fodder in it --
or some other method will be set up -- so that people who are already
subscribed to one of the lists I'm filtering won't have to see things
twice. We're still working on that.

* _Ne$ws_, a newsletter with original content from myself and various
other authors, in the same vein as Adam Engst's TidBITS, but focused on
the subject of e$.

I figure that there are enough different ways to pay for both my time
and the resources necessary to make this work that it's now worth
spending a little of my own time and resources in order to get all this
started. Certainly the market for information and commentary on e$
isn't getting any smaller.

I'm looking at a sort of "creep, crawl, walk, run" scenario for funding
all of this. The first stage will be to solicit sponsorships, both
in-kind and in plain old money. The second will probably be to
determine whether subscriptions to any or all of the e$ lists or
archives would ever make sense. Finally, with the advent of real
digital cash on the net, and with First Virtual proving e$ trades can
be done by anyone, it may be possible to do some kind of e$
micropayment-as-you-go system for things like subscriptions,
web-archive access, and the like, so I'm looking at that also.

Obviously, I'm don't want to price myself out of the market with all of
this, because, like anything else on the net, anyone can come along and
do exactly the same thing for less money, and then I'm out of business.
I do think, however, that what I propose to do is worth money to the
people who want it, and so I'm going to figure out how to get paid to
do it.

Well, that's about it.  Watch this space for details, and wish me luck!


Bob Hettinga,

Version: 2.6.2


Robert Hettinga ([email protected])
Shipwright Development Corporation, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131
USA (617) 323-7923
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
>>>>Phree Phil: Email: [email protected]  http://www.netresponse.com/zldf <<<<<