German losses

We’re not quite understanding Axel Steuerwald’s article on Der Spiegel Online. We suspect its obsessive focus on online costs in Germany and online profitability came from an editor. In any event, the editor of Der Spiegel Online, whose name, Mathias Mueller von Blumencron, we just love, has a more sensible approach:

To make a profit at all is unusual, to say the least, for an European [sic] online publication and could be seen as a proud achievement. But von Blumencron wants none of it. “I say spend the money! Actually, we already have. It would be completely insane to try and stay profitable at this moment. The immediate future is all about innovation, development and internal growth. As happy as I am with my new team, who wants a staff of 30 when there’s a chance to have 100!”

Well, ahem. A small staff is the best hedge against going bankrupt. That’s the real issue, not making money. Not yet, anyway.

You send someone an ICQ and you get all annoyed when your friend doesn’t respond immediately. (There’s a whole word for it – lagnoia.) The Internet age breeds micro-impatience. Instantaneity of delivery is confused for instantaneity of response.

Is there something psychological at work with online content sites? Because it takes days or weeks to distribute a print magazine, we are willing to wait years for it to become profitable, but because you can post an article in seconds we expect hefty retained earnings in a few mere months?

Posted on 2001-03-17