The Company Therapist Message Board (Closed)

Re: We're Two Years Old!!!

Posted by: Christopher Werby <>
Date: Monday, 20 July 1998, at 1:44 p.m.

In Response To: Re: We're Two Years Old!!! (Karen)

> I would hope that TCT will be noted for it's
> quality and tenacity in a time when the web is inundated
> with commercialism and hype. The Werby's may even
> be seen as visionaries, understanding the true potential
> of this media.

Now you can see those special qualities which make Karen a P.R. Genius! If only she had been willing to stay on and hype The Company Therapist for free, we'd be on the cover of Time Magazine by now!

Seriously, that's about the nicest message we've ever received. Thank you very much! Visionaries? I'm not sure about that. It's hard to think of yourself as a visionary for designing a web destination that has generated absolutely no revenue for the last two years. When our business friends ask us what we're doing (and why), and we try to explain, "visionary" is not the word which leaps to their lips--no venture capital money so far! But I saw that, which went public yesterday, now has a market cap of over a billion dollars, and that's given a 1997 loss of 6.9 million on revenues of 6.5 million, so maybe we're on to something after all. I bet we could earn 6.5 million if we were willing to spend 6.9 million to get it!

I particularly liked what you said about doing things without regard for the bottom line. Sure, The Company Therapist is an unprofitable time sink right now, but we're very proud of it nonetheless. How many first time novels would have been written if the writer had been only motivated by potential future royalties after discounting for the possibility of outright rejection? For that matter, how many books of poetry would be written, or paintings painted, or dances danced? If we had waited until we came up with a viable business model for The Company Therapist, two years would have passed and now there'd be nothing. If Scott or David or Teddy or Karen or any of the writers had taken a "show me the money" approach, then Alex or Katherine or Sharon or the Anonymous Faxer or any of the other characters wouldn't exist now. But they're living and breathing because of their creators' commitment to something other than profits.

One of the things that makes the web special is that it offers an outlet for entertainment that hasn't been passed by a focus group to see whether it's going to be the flavor of the month. Sometimes, of course, that makes for writing geared less to me and more to an audience of monarchists who share an interest in French poetry of the Reformation. But that splintering of interests means that the final audience, while small, will be particularly engaged by the material. Currently, advertisers are only interested in the number of eyeballs they reach, and the demographics of those eyeballs. That kind of thinking may have been appropriate in a mass media world, but not in a world where splinter web sites attract audiences that, while small in number, are singularly drawn to the material. Advertisers haven't yet appreciated that a small but enthused audience is likely to particularly favor those who sponsor and make possible the entertainment they desire.

We're also very happy when readers enjoy what we've all created and when the writers express that The Company Therapist has had value for them and their work. Without getting too maudlin, thanks to all of you for the outpouring of affection, especially when we were sick. It really meant a lot to Olga and I.

Christopher defies gravity article

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