Regular readers know that I've been thinking a lot about #occupywallstreet which I think is an example of the cultural revolutions I talked about on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt

My friend Dave Winer has built a beautiful web service that allows all of us to easily follow this movement in a river of images. He calls it occupyweb.org.

Check it out.


Comments (Archived):

  1. dave

    Fred, thanks for the linkage!The photographers are doing such excellent work and the story is so interesting and the people of the tech community aren’t seeing it.Maybe now some of them will. ūüôā

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for building this dave

    2. Anne Libby

      If you have a chance to walk by Zucotti Park, take it. ¬† After looking at occupyweb.org, and also hearing from one of our downtown communities of faith, I decided to walk down there this morning, after not having done so in a bit. ¬†At 7:30 am, many were still asleep.¬†¬† But there were people sweeping up.¬†¬† They’ve organized the space (including a water treatment system in their “kitchen.”) ¬† A place for people to charge their phones.¬† They’re building a giant papier mache megaphone — think parade float — that I’m frankly surprised the cops allowed.¬†¬† (The cops looked fairly relaxed.)¬†¬†¬† They have a schedule, attached.I didn’t get to talk with anyone, nor was that my intention today.¬†¬† I did want to see, and I saw evidence of the ability to organize people and things, and to build things.Thanks for inspiring this trip.

      1. dave

        Thanks Anne! I went down for a visit on Saturday and it was crazy. But I saw the same things you did.

      2. Prokofy

        I’ve been there a number of times and been to the marches.Why are we all so impressed that a group of people made…a kitchen…and a…media space to advertise themselves and even…a library? Why does this seem such a “marvel,” such a “utopia”?!The library is something I covered in depth — it’s quite one-sided:http://3dblogger.typepad.co…But, they’re humans, and of course they will organize their ideal city.The real question is: where are they going to the bathroom?Keep asking that question…

        1. Anne Libby

          My observation is more that the protestors have skills.¬†¬† That’s an ordinary marvel, the human condition:¬† we build things, we organize, we create.¬†¬†Hopefully those who are cut out for entrepreneurship will go on to build businesses.¬†¬† In better circumstances, others would have jobs as an outlet for their skills.¬†¬†And to your last point, I’ve read about protestors receiving varying levels of welcome from area businesses and institutions, from the local McDonalds to a neighborhood center run by Trinity Wall Street, a local church.

  2. Bruce Wayne

    I m a Dave Winer Fan…Great Link …..I just to a look at the link to your blog about investing in cultural revolution….reading through most of the comments it seems that most when¬†referring¬†to what is next are very much in the box….by this i mean that there seems to be an idea that current¬†business¬†models will somehow continue to be the core of new innovations….I disagree with this and think we will see many new innovations in tech and business models that will turn our current assumptions upside down…..

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with you

  3. David Semeria

    Edit: deleted following a request from Mr. Winer.

    1. dave

      This is what I wrote about Atom today.http://scripting.com/storie…I actually changed the headline to “I love Atom too” before publishing it.Let’s be clear. Atom and RSS and cousins. Same DNA. Different flavors of the same thing. You can’t support just one you have to support both.This is what a reasonable person would have observed with the advent of Atom.But once it existed, it was reality and you might as well try to fight Microsoft or Google. It’s there, you have to deal with it.Luckily that was the last variant we’ve had to support in a very long time. The world has had a chance to stabilize. Any discussions of the relative merits of one format vs the other are off-topic, everywhere and forever.Hopefully that ends this discussion (but I know it won’t).:-)

      1. David Semeria

        Sorry. I should have checked my facts first.BTW, I’m an RSS fan. It remains my primary channel for receiving information from trusted sources.Let’s focus on the photos now, ok?

        1. dave

          ¬†Totally happy to do that cause that’s what it’s about. The photos.

  4. Derick Rhodes

    Hopefully this isn’t too off topic – I think it’s close enough to work here.¬† I’ve been thinking about the concept of “disruption,” and the way it’s used (and abused) in the tech startup world, and it occurred to me that, of the many fields ripe for disruption, the VC/Angel investment model is right up there.¬† It could be argued that projects like Kickstarter and AngelList have attempted to address gaps/inefficiencies in the process, but it’s not hard to imagine that we’re on the verge of something truly disruptive replacing the current model.¬† Among the core problems to be solved: How can we develop a system that better allocates funds to the teams most likely to create valuable businesses?

    1. kidmercury

      only a matter of time before some ycombo type of fund introduces an online game designed to earn funding. but, they will run into regulatory problems, absent sufficient political will. added:these funds are really the basis of the next wave of innovation, but it cannot happen withotu regulatory reform.

      1. kidmercury

        in fact venture capitalists pay me and i’ll build it for you. or is the whole angel/vc industry scared? #damn #truthhurts

        1. kidmercury

          actually just totally revamped my trading site, which illustrates how the game would work:¬†http://www.informedtrades.c…earn badges for contributing to fredland university (or university of fredland?), once you earn enough badges you are awarded $XX,XXX in funding, in accordance with a standardized term sheet! of course the fun really begins when the entire operation can be crowdsourced….when one can purchase fredbucks to speculate on the entrepreneurs that have graduated from fredland university….hahaha but if only we believe!say no to occupy wall st. say yes to fredsquare. #fredsquare

      2. fredwilson

        yeah, i’m afraid the SEC will shut something like that down

        1. kidmercury

          game is international. but, i know, the political will is lacking. perhaps as the economy deteriorates the investor community will re-consider. 

          1. fredwilson

            makes senseentrepreneurship is globalregulations are national

          2. kidmercury

            IMHO doesn’t matter so long as you are playing fredsquare with a fredpad¬†

    2. LE

      ¬†“Among the core problems to be solved: How can we develop a system that better allocates funds to the teams most likely to create valuable businesses?”Can you give several examples of why this *isn’t the case now* with what you are referring to as the current system?¬† What are several examples that represent how you feel the current system is broken exactly? And what is the problem to be fixed.

      1. Derick Rhodes

        Here’s a good example: A company like Path raises $40 million without a decent product, and the launch is a disaster.¬† Now, perhaps Path will eventually amount to something substantial (surely the Facebook thing will help), but I strongly feel that investors far too often fund incestuously – often limiting their options to people they know, and then only paying attention to people they don’t know when everybody else does, or when the numbers are overwhelming.¬† My feeling is that there must be a better way to gauge which teams have the potential to make something great, and then to create a lasting business.¬† I guess I’m imagining a sort of Kickstarter for tech start ups – a platform that ignores whether you’re friends with Arrington or have exited successfully in the past.

        1. Derick Rhodes

          Also, at the expense of probably contributing too much today: I’m a huge believer in the power of statistics, and in the future of statistics.¬† I want someone to pull a Billy Beane on the world of VC/Angel funding in tech – to incorporate variables/metrics that others have ignored in an effort to better predict the success of a start up.¬† Perhaps a statistically savvy crowdsourced model will eventually replace – or at least supplement – our current system?

        2. LE

          “A company like Path raises $40 million¬†“According to crunchbase they raised 11.2 million:http://www.crunchbase.com/c…”to incorporate variables/metrics that others have ignored”What metrics would you include that you feel others have ignored?”statistically savvy crowdsourced model will eventually replace”So what you are saying is to ask people what business ideas they would support. What I think you are saying is “let’s ask people what they would buy”? If that is the case you can do that with market research before you get funded, couldn’t you (even though Steve Jobs would disagree of course) to prove the value of your idea. ¬†If you think it’s a good idea to ask the general public to invest (similar to kickstarter) in funding an idea I think there are multiple legal reasons why that isn’t going to fly (# of investors, accredited investors etc. although there could be creative work arounds I guess). But more importantly do you really think the general public should be deciding (with their limited knowledge) on the validity of a business idea and investing in it? I don’t think they should. ¬†People who aren’t business people have no clue. It’s not the same as funding some art project or gadget on kickstarter. Totally different.Why don’t you turn the thought on it’s head. Come up with an idea and then do the research to prove the idea is valid. And by the way you don’t have to be friends with Arrington or Wilson or “B VC” to get their attention. My guess is that if you have a good idea and do your homework you can get the idea in front of them. ¬†Or the hundreds of others out there.There is a feedback loop with the current system as it is. If money isn’t made and there isn’t sufficient return deals aren’t going to be made and this “thing” they have will collapse. So far that hasn’t happened though. The model they have appears to be working. It’s not about the best people or teams getting funded or changing the world. It’s about the people in the VC and angel business making money (which is fine with me). There are many VC’s and angels and it is typical that many will pass on an idea until one or two (out of what hundreds?) go for it.Even Fred passed on Airbnb after considerable personal prodding from Paul Graham. What does that tell you about the process?¬†

          1. Derick Rhodes

            Thanks for the thoughtful, informative reply.¬† To some degree I think there might be parallels in your thinking about the world of VC investing with the way people thought about print media, advertising and commercial photography in the past.¬† The people previously employed in these fields frequently expressed sentiments along these lines:”But more importantly do you really think the general public should be deciding (with their limited knowledge) on the validity of a business idea and investing in it? I don’t think they should.”How is this different than arguing that it’s a bad idea for bloggers to publish opinion-based articles when the professional journalists writing for the NYTimes are more qualified? Like NYTimes journalists, VCs have something they need to protect: The illusion that they are the experts picking the winners.I’m wary of any industry that needs to make that type of argument. The film industry, the video game industry, the fast food businesses of the earth: it’s all ripe for major disruption. Technology is going to continue to enable innovation at an ever accelerating rate, and we’ll be able to create new models more quickly than ever before.I’m not sure what form investing will take in the future, but I am sure that it will change, radically.

          2. LE

            “How is this different than arguing that it’s a bad idea for bloggers to publish opinion-based articles when the professional journalists writing for the NYTimes are more qualified?”There isn’t money at risk, that’s how it’s different. ¬†¬†“Like NYTimes journalists, VCs have something they need to protect: The illusion that they are the experts picking the winners.”NYT/WSJ are brands and they are well respected. There are actually many journalists working there that could make a better living leaving those papers (once they’ve worked at the papers that is.) But the brand is so strong they choose to stay.¬†While it is true that the majority of VC and angel funded businesses don’t work out I don’t think you can downplay the years of knowledge that many VC’s have and how in the end they make money for their investors. (If they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to raise more money). ¬†It’s not about being right every time anymore than gambling is. It’s not about picking the most deserving people and teams or changing the world although that does happen.As someone who has spent considerable time and energy in several ¬†areas trying to know as much about them as possible I think you underestimate the amount of work it takes to get to that point. ¬†(Like working 6 to 7 days a week since college and always having side businesses (and jobs) in high school and college. )I think if you concentrate on yourself and what’s good for you instead of worrying about ¬†the “group” you will be doing yourself and the world a favor.If you earn money now you will be able to help people and change the world at a later time (like Bill Gates as only one example…)

        3. Donna Brewington White

          You may be “off topic” as you say, but you raise some good points. Early in my experience at AVC, Fred wrote quite a bit about the disruption needed in VC — can’t remember if he used that particular word for his industry, but wouldn’t be surprised if he did — same principle. This one was amazing: The Venture Capital Math Problem ¬† ¬†http://bit.ly/q95Y7j”My feeling is that there must be a better way to gauge which teams have the potential…”I believe this too, Derick. ¬†I say this cautiously because I am not a VC nor in touch with the complexity of that decision process. At the risk of oversimplifying the problem from a VC’s standpoint, in executive search, we are also faced with the challenge of predicting success and some of the masters of my field have the assessment skills and tools (and instincts) to consistently pick winners. ¬†I can’t help but wonder if some of this can be applied to picking winning founding teams — and have heard of some instances where this is being done.I wonder if you can ever consider money invested in a startup as completely wasted given the lessons learned and hopefully applied exponentially over time. ¬†But, understandably, I can’t imagine that most VCs have this educational purpose in mind — and certainly not their LPs!

  5. Chris Vannoy

    You can also track all the photos posted to Twitter with the #occupywallst or #occupywallstreet hash tags at Montabe:http://demo.montabe.com/gal…(If you’d prefer a limited subset that will live update, there’s also this:¬†http://demo.montabe.com/gal…

  6. Vineeth Kariappa

    Gr8 pics. Totally different topic, don’t you think the Arab leaders will be laughing their asses off?

  7. Elia Freedman

    Can I make a comment here because I trust all of you to not belittle me for saying this out loud: I don’t get it.Let me be clear, I get some of it. I get the anger over Wall Street, I get the anger over government, I get the anger over a lot of this. And I love a few things about it, too. I love that the whole thing was organized completely outside of mainstream media, for instance.But what I don’t get is the sense of what they are trying to accomplish. How do we know if occupy wall street was successful? What outcome are they expecting? What influence does it hope to have? How do we expect to insight the changes that this country needs and do these folks really think that the massive changes we need can happen without negatively affecting their positions and desires, too?

    1. Derick Rhodes

      It’s already been successful, Elia, because we’re trying to increase awareness of a fundamental shift in the United States in the last few decades: namely, the flow of wealth away from the middle and lower classes and up to an increasingly small elite.We’ll know it’s successful if it leads to the disruption of our current system of government.¬† Our political system is overly influenced by money, and we want to change that.¬† The first step to changing anything is to get a conversation started.The conversation is underway.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I can’t resist the suspicion that these protesters are being played. Most of them don’t seem to have their arms around causation here (hint: income & wealth inequality doesn’t have much at all to do with the tax code). And some of the “solutions” they have mentioned seem daft, e.g., free college for everyone, a trillion dollars for this, a trillion for that. Ask yourself who benefits from these protests.

        1. kidmercury

          they’re being played, pawns of unions.¬†

          1. ShanaC

            Unions came later.

          2. kidmercury

            no matter, they are in control now, as evidenced by the demands of occupy wall st, and the sources of their capital. 

          3. ShanaC

            I do think it is far more that people are panicked about being crucified on a nouveau cross of gold.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            And the unions are foot soldiers for the administration. 

          5. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Everybody is a pawn of something, all events are nothing but conspiracies….Life is nothing more than a chessboard and there are no individuals but only pieces of the game….Even the internet enslaves rather than frees….

          6. kidmercury

            i agree, though for me, salvation comes in being a pawn of a higher purpose. 

        2. Derick Rhodes

          Thanks for the comment, Dave.¬† From 1944 – 1962, income earners in the highest bracket (above $500K) in the United States paid rates in excess of 90%.¬† Could you explain to me how our tax code, in the past, didn’t have an impact on wealth inequality?¬† Otherwise, while perhaps it’s easy to be cynical about what we’re protesting, ideally we’re all benefiting from the dialogue, and will share the benefits of an increasingly informed populous, right?

          1. kidmercury

            check debt levels, public and private. income inequality stems from debt and monetary policy that enables governments to take on unlimited debt. 

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Derick,Prior to 1962, hardly anyone was earning over $500k (think about what $500k in 1962 dollars would be worth today). Also, I guarantee you that no one making that much had an effective tax rate anywhere near 90%.If you want to know where income inequality comes from, take a closer look at Apple, Inc. If they assigned GINI coefficients to companies’ work forces (including contract workers), I’m sure Apple would be near the top in terms of income inequality. Think about it: there’s a small core of well-paid designers, developers, engineers, etc. at One Infinite Loop. Then there are a bunch of lower paid retail workers. And then 10x as many factory workers in China making a dollar an hour.You want to know why income inequality has increased since 1962? Compare the Apple model to the Detroit model circa 1962. High-paying manufacturing jobs here versus low-paying manufacturing jobs elsewhere.A snarky suggestion would be to go occupy Cupertino, but, realistically, I can’t fault a company for trying to legally maximize its profits — that’s what they’re supposed to do. The fault lies with government, which should make it more profitable for companies to manufacture here, and less profitable to manufacture there. Which is why you should really be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue.

          3. Derick Rhodes

            Hi Dave – thanks for the reply.¬† $500,000 in 1962 is roughly equivalent to $3.6 million in 2011, but I was only pointing out the rates for the very highest earners.¬† Take a look at the chart here, about 1/10th of the way down the page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Even people with far less substantial annual income were paying rates that you’d be called a communist for even citing in this day and age.¬†Thanks for the Apple/Detroit comparison – interesting to think about, for sure. I’m hopeful that, in the future, we’ll be able to make increasingly informed choices about the conditions/inequality we support with the choices we make. Maybe foursquare will add a “Where Your Money Actually Went” tabulator in 2013, showing me a monthly breakdown of exactly how specific companies divide their revenue – that would certainly have an impact on my consumption habits. Otherwise, I think Mr. Jobs was actually pretty tuned in to the complications of the Apple chain – he responded to an Email I sent him last year that I found encouraging: http://www.wired.com/gadget

          4. Dave Pinsen

            Derick,What the rates were and what people were paying were two different things, as they are today. The much smaller variation in total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP gives some clue to this. The distinction between statutory tax rates and effective tax rates is one without which a cogent discussion of tax policy is impossible. In any case, it is largely a distraction in this context, as I have said, because it doesn’t explain the increase in inequality; a better partial explanation for that increase is the rise of the business model of Apple, and companies like it.Another partial explanation is our immigration policy, de jure and de facto, particularly since 1965. We have welcomed tens of millions of poor, unskilled people to this country since then, and yet the effect of that on income and wealth inequality, k-12 academic performance, and other socioeconomic metrics remains largely outside the Overton Window today.Thanks for linking to Wired’s reprinting of your e-mail correspondence with Steve Jobs, but in that correspondence, neither you nor Jobs addressed the issue I raised here, which was the outsourcing of Apple’s manufacturing to low-wage China. For some manufactured products, the labor cost is such a large component of their costs that it would be impossible to make them in the U.S. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with Apple’s products at all. As a point of reference, iSupply estimated a manufacturing cost of $6.50 per unit for the iPhone 3G S a couple of years ago. Even if that estimate was off by a factor of 10, surely Apple could manufacture its high margin products profitably in the US.Increasing the number of high wage jobs in the U.S. doesn’t seem to have been on your radar screen in your correspondence with Jobs — not just with respect to manufacturing, but related mining. You want “conflict free” minerals? For the ones that occur here, how about digging for them here? The mining industry creates a lot of high paying jobs (thanks to its mining boom, and its low-immigration policy which has led to a tight labor market, average blue collar wages in Western Australia are over $100k today). We have plenty of rare earth metals, for example, but the legal and regulatory obstacles to mining here are high. ________________________________

          5. Gopi

            When the top income tax was 91% (from 1951-1964), the capital gain tax was 25% thus the effective tax rate was almost the same as today!

      2. LE

        ¬†” Our political system is overly influenced by money, and we want to change that.”A step in the right direction would be to do your own lobbying. There is nothing special about lobbying that requires money (other than a train ticket to the capitol). You can setup meetings with various lawmakers in DC and present your case. I’ve done that and they’ve always been quite receptive to receiving input. (Rob Andrews aides practically pestered me for the next year to see if they could help.)Maybe you might want to think about starting a website that enables people to support lobbying. Whereby ideas are posted and people offer small contributions to allow things they believe in to be lobbied.

        1. Derick Rhodes

          I think that’s actually a cool idea.¬† Perhaps there’s a way to better democratize the lobbying process by creating a platform where like minded people can get behind ideas/causes they support, with lobbyists on the other end actually taking those causes to their representatives.¬† I really like how http://www.americanselect.org/ pushes things in that direction.¬† We’ll get there – it’s just a matter of time.

          1. leigh

            biggest lobby we have right now is social media ūüôā ¬†Freakin’ the lobbyist out which i have to say, i love. ¬†Much prefer the effects of a good social movement over the back room dealings of those that can afford the¬†privilege¬† ¬†

          2. William Carleton

            Derick, I hope OWS takes things farther. There has to be some system of government that doesn’t require lobbying.

        2. William Carleton

          Paid lobbying and the buying of legislators has corroded our democracy and we need to find a way to opt out of that system.I can’t argue with your personal experience. I also had an experience in 2010 that suggested that lobbying can influence legislation.But big money buys the rules. Case in point: the new patent law contains a provision that, as Andrew Ross Sorkin put it in the NYTimes in July (before the bill was passed), “to allow the banking industry to skirt paying for certain important patents involving ‘business methods.’‚Ä̬†http://dealbook.nytimes.com…What’s interesting about that is that Congress didn’t think to address the impact of business method patents, software patents or patent trolls on startups and emerging companies. They carved out a special deal for Wall Street. Whether you are pro or against business method patents, it’s not right to say Wall Street only is exempt from the same laws that apply to everyone else.

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            Sounds like you’re sayingWall Street has achieved the level of the Feds?¬† Crazy times indeed.¬† Thanks for the link.

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Listgeeks

            I need a double like button for this one. GRIMLOCK: ME LIKE YOU ALL CAPS HACK-SPEAK. NO STOP.

    2. William Mougayar

      I don’t get either why they are coming to Toronto next week. Canada has no bank failures, no deficit, its financial system is pretty stable, unemployment rate is about 7%, and real estate is still booming.¬†So Dear Occupiers, why are you coming next week 2 blocks from my office in downtown Toronto?

      1. matthughes

        Which speaks to how unclear the objectives really are?I was in Vancouver when the city practically burnt itself down after losing the Stanley Cup.The violence had absolutely nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with alleged social & economic inequality.

        1. William Mougayar

          Exactly. Same as London. Was totally overdone. And Toronto during the G8.

          1. Rohan

            Yeah. I don’t know what these demonstrations achieve.Somehow, they remind me of unions – which I consider a waste of time and resources.¬†But again, maybe I’m wrong..

          2. Derick Rhodes

            Occupy Wall Street has nothing to do with the violence in London, nor is it related to the Vancouver nonsense.¬† You’re welcome to try to peg the entire movement as pointless, but this is distinctly different from those events, and will have a different outcome.

          3. Rohan

            Hi Derick (unable to reply to you).¬†I guess what I’m not clear about (yet) is exactly that – the motive.The issue here is that I’m viewing this as a complete outsider (i.e. from newspapers in London/Singapore) so the picture is not clear. :)And I don’t think any action is pointless. I think demonstrations like this do achieve something. I am just not sure whether the ‘something’ is always related directly to their objective.¬†

          4. fredwilson

            it’s like the tea party movementit is pissed off people making noise and hoping to catalyze something

          5. matthughes

            More good examples.I get that they’re upset but it seems like some of the angst is mis-guided.¬†That said, I welcome people’s right to express their opinions and demonstrate peacefully.

        2. Alexander Close

          The post-cup riots in Vancouver were a small group of delinquents, mostly from surrounding greater Vancouver areas.  They came into town for the game, got drunk, and smashed a bunch of windows up.It was a few immature males thinking that rioting was funny, and a mob of onlookers taking pictures.That particular incident had nothing to do with any cause or movement. 

          1. matthughes

            Reportedly 140 people were injured including many innocent by-standers and 4 people were stabbed. An estimated $5mil in damage was done. Something motivated this kind of behavior beyond just drunken stupidness.I love Vancouver. I visit there often and have many friends in the area. The riots were heartbreaking. If people can become mal-content in a terrific place like Vancouver it can happen anywhere.

          2. Alexander Close

            There were a lot of Vancouverites asking themselves that question, what the hell happened? The majority of the rioters were 16-22 year old males.  There was no demonstration, just breaking stuff.  Teenage angst?  One clever hacker whipped up a site by the next morning to help police identify the rioters. (camera phones were everywhere)  Hopefully crowd sourced solutions like this can deter idiots in the future. http://www.identifyrioters.com

      2. kidmercury

        consider the occupiers as a warning shot. clock’s ticking canada’s real estate bubble.¬†http://fullcomment.national…

        1. William Mougayar

          Interesting article Kid, thanks. Let’s hope it’s wrong though.

        2. Mark Essel

          If you’re ever unsure of where economic collapse is coming from, KM’s got ya covered.

      3. FlavioGomes

        I agree William. As far as I know, we are one of the best performing within the g20. That said, I think the grievances voiced by the protestors aren’t all entirely directed at wall st but the establishment at large. Nothing wrong I suppose with applying a bit of a shakeup to keep everyone on their toes…I just hope it remains peaceful at the very least.

      4. Matt A. Myers

        Considering the above, we could take care of people better. The gap between rich and poor is still growing.

        1. William Mougayar

          Are you referring to Canada or US?The key question is- Are there enough opportunities for the “poor” to improve their status? If the poor doesn’t see opportunities, then they think of social unrest potentially. Canada has plenty of opportunities today for poor, average and rich to do better.

      5. raycote

        See alsohttp://www.theeconomicanaly…

        1. William Mougayar

          Hmmm. Thanks for sharing. Interesting comparisons. Maybe we’re due for an interest rate hike then to dampen the rise.

    3. fredwilson

      it’s a demonstration, maybe the beginnings of a political movement

      1. Elia Freedman

        So… It is all things to all people right now? It is a demonstration that isn’t clear about what’s being demonstrated. It’s a political movements whose goal is unknown. If both of those statements are true then maybe it is a un-politics. You know, like un-conferences, where you don’t know what is going to be discussed until you show up and decide what is going to be discussed. Or maybe that is too meta.

        1. William Carleton

          Elia, I went to the general assembly in Zucotti Park tonight – well, the first three hours of it. A ton of process. But it was refreshing, even moving. There may not be demands yet but these words from a flyer I picked up describe what I witnessed: “OWS is an experience in direct democracy, with the General Assembly (GA) being our current model of decision making . . . we struggle to ensure that everyone’s voice is equal.” In other words, a model where speech is not money and vice versa?

          1. mrcai

            Direct Democracy seems a big part of it. That’s going to need nothing short of a revolution though.

      2. Paul Smith

        I’ve also seen OWS described as akin to the hippie movement, but without the cool music. I can’t find much of a cohesive message. You can find an anti-capitalist faction, an anti-fed (or fiat currency) faction, and various malcontents. Some just want more free stuff (organized labor, single-payer healthcare advocates), and others are just venting anger & demanding retribution from someone for screwing up the economy.The problem is, there are vast disagreements over who and what screwed up the economy. Is it all the banks fault? Is there some blame on the part of Fannie, Freddie and the DOJ? Congressmen? Is there any need for individuals to behave differently to turn things around and prevent a repeat? Without a dispassionate, sound and evidence-based approach to that, I don’t see OWS being any more productive than any of the European austerity riots.

      3. James Denier

        You do know that “occupy…” is protesting venture cap. folks, right?

        1. fredwilson

          we will have to talk to them about thatthey might want to understand VC before protesting iti will see if i can do that

          1. kidmercury

            i don’t agree with the protestors (funded by wall st, supported by obama), but so long as your job is to generate IPOs, you guys are on the opposite side of the class warfare. supporting schumer is prime example of this as well.¬†of course, class warfare is a by-product of monetary policy, and thus all real efforts at reform focus primarily on monetary policy reform.¬†

          2. fredwilson

            i never said my job is to generate IPOsmy job is to help entrepreneurs build products, businesses, companies, and personal and societal wealth

          3. Tom

            Good luck chatting with them. I suggest you don’t do that in person.The whole financial sector is the target.

          4. fredwilson

            do you think it is dangerous to talk to them?

          5. FlavioGomes

            I think Tom is being somewhat overly dramatic Fred but there is a feeling that there maybe a flashpoint to be mindful of. As the crowd gets bigger the message gets over simplified.¬† Broader strokes are inevitably used.¬† I’m skeptical that many of the folks there, despite the legitimacy of their grievances, will fully appreciate or understand the world you or many of the readers of this forum come from.Its a an unfortunate knell to a generation who feel left behind as a result of Wall St. Bad personal choices or a combo of both.

          6. kidmercury

            perhaps that is not your job, and it is good to hear that, though i think the VC industry (your fellow investment firms) as a whole still focuses on IPOs. entrepreneurs chase, journalists cover….if VCs formed a co-op and agreed not to sell to certain investors, or accept certain investors, i think that could be the foundation of something real. real monetary reform and real cultural change to facilitate.¬†

          7. fredwilson

            i’m open to thati don’t like playing cards at the casino either

          8. Tom

            I really feel these protests will eventually get violent, like the rest of the world’s protests, including Arab Spring ones.

          9. fredwilson

            i hope not

          10. Dave Pinsen

            When you’re teaching them about VC, be sure to explain the role Wall Street plays in providing exits for VC-backed companies, via IPOs and acquisitions.

          11. fredwilson

            wall street doesn’t provide those exitsinvestors dowall street just taxes those exits

          12. Dave Pinsen

            Someone could say something similar about venture capitalists — you don’t fund companies, your investors do. In reality, though, both venture capital firms and investment banks play important roles in raising capital for new businesses.It’s true that, in the case of a company like Facebook, Wall Street wouldn’t be adding a lot of value in the IPO, because the name recognition and investor demand would already be there. But that’s not the case with the vast majority of IPOs, which need to be actively sold by Wall Street.

    4. Tom

      I think one of the CA based protests summed it all up by stating they would basically figure out why they were there later. ¬†Organizer Anthony Bondi said he has what he referred to as a ‚Äúmessage team‚ÄĚ working on the primary goals of the local protests, which he admitted ‚Äúwas kind of vague.‚ÄĚ‚ÄúThat message team will reveal that tomorrow [Friday] morning,‚ÄĚ Bondi said.Source:¬†http://sacramento.cbslocal…. new york crowd etc. are no better, sorry, but I think these people are a combination of do nothings, uber leftists, shills, and people that just follow along for the fun of it.¬†

      1. Derick Rhodes

        Sorry, but you’re wrong.¬† I’m neither an “uber leftist” nor a “do nothing,” and I’m seeing intelligent, engaged, tech-savvy friends getting involved to try to make something meaningful and lasting happen.¬† People I’ve known my entire life who have never been politically active are getting involved – eager to transform our outdated system.¬† It’s fine if you want to try to disregard something you’re not a fan of, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

    5. dave

      ¬†It’s purpose is to get discussions like this going, to get people thinking about what’s happening to other Americans, and how it happened, and how do we get out of this hole.It’s also about the bailouts that the banks got, and how we have not put any systems in place to prevent the same kind of meltdown from happening again. In fact, the banks are even bigger now than they were before.And it’s the way the rich have bought our government which keeps the government from doing anything to help the people, or even do anything smart for the country to keep it competitive.But mostly it’s about getting a conversation going. Kind of like a blog.

    6. Tom Labus

      You don’t know what you can accomplish until you start.¬†If they do a timeline and say this won’t work lets go home, you might as well stay in bed.

    7. Cam MacRae

      I think Jeff Sparrow summed it up perfectly:”The media has responded to Occupy Wall Street by sending down journalists to interview protesters and insist, with varying degrees of sniffiness, that they explain themselves. Yes, yes, they say, we know you are angry ‚Äď but what are your demands? Exactly what do you want to happen?But that rather misses the point. At this stage, Occupy Together, quite justifiably, represents a refusal rather than an affirmation.That is, merely by existing, the movement challenges the validity of the current political and economic consensus.The stories on We Are The 99 Per Cent implicitly turn the reporters’ questions back on the mainstream. Here is what’s happening to us, they say ‚Äď so what solutions do you offer? What exactly is your program?”http://www.abc.net.au/unlea…

      1. Elia Freedman

        Isn’t this like giving customers a product and asking them how to use it?

        1. Cam MacRae

          I don’t think so. More akin to asking representatives to represent.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. Douglas Crets

        Right, and look how well journalists saved the crisis of journalism.First of all, I think you are incorrect here. I don’t think that the protesters are turning the questions back over to journalists and the mainstream press to find solutions. I think they are using media to further their message, plain and simple, and get more people to join them.Second, I don’t think their actions are one of refusal, at all. I think they are being pretty clear what they want to happen.¬†

        1. Cam MacRae

          You’ve misread. They’re not asking these questions of journalists.

    8. Zoe

      Elia, I think this is one of the articles that answers well the questions you ask:¬†http://www.rollingstone.com…The protesters can’t formulate their claims because it’s extremely difficult to understand how the modern financial elite functions, and even harder to propose ways to cure it.¬†What the protesters see, however, is the state of malfunction, and they challenge it.¬†It reminds me a lot of the Great French Revolution – the social and economic structures in XVIII century France have gotten so complex, and so systematic in structurally denying the opportunity to prosper for majority of people, that the only way to change it was to stand up and wipe it away.¬†I do hope the history will be different for Occupy though.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Thanks for sharing. I hope this doesn’t go like the French Revolution, though: thousands killed and beheaded ending in a dictatorship that tried to rule Europe and a country that has never been the same since.

  8. kidmercury

    the only problem is monetary policy and the only solution is monetary policy reform. everything else is a distraction and a nuisance to solving the real problem. oh, and 9/11. because 9/11 gives us the moral authority to engage in civil disobedience. only the truth can set us free. 9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. Dave Pinsen

      ¬†Kid,Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] when you have a chance (about something else). Thanks.

  9. Zoe

    Thanks Fred for calling it “cultural revolutions”. I so agree with you… The people there on the streets don’t have a clear program nor can name exactly what they want, and we shouldn’t expect it. They are just a sign of very deep cultural change that we are now living through, maybe a change as significant as the invention of print by Mr Gutenberg was – something that will change the way we think, talk, organize ourselves, perceive time and space, define logic, economy, etc.¬†OWS is a sign that change is inevitable, neither good nor bad, something that simply is. I am concerned that people and politicians don’t acknowledge and prepare for the technological and systemic transformation. As if we were stubborn to not see the arrival of the new social milieu, even though it’s already in place…¬†

  10. William Mougayar

    aka the #OccupyAVC Sunday post.We, commentators occupy AVC everyday…in a helpful way.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      For some of us, at least it is a start.

      1. William Mougayar


  11. Dax

    Is this an example of modern political disruption or frustration? ¬†I would love to see what Jefferson would think of new media and it’s impact on our ability to communicate at a grass roots level. ¬†And, I would love to see a true grass roots effort take shape. ¬†I just don’t get a sense for the passion on this and it seems too contrived, too well organized. ¬†Time will tell.

  12. ShanaC

    I think this worth reading in context of this post:http://www.theatlantic.com/…People are tired of being on contract, having a hard time building wealth and passing it on, lack of quality preventative care. ¬†Being an accident away from dire poverty, and finding education isn’t working is frightening people in the information age because these things never used to happen, or at least not since the turn of the last century.I don’t blame people for wanting solutions at all. ¬†I want solutions. ¬†I have friends on foodstamps – and almost everyone I know works on contract. (barring the people who work in banking and related industries). ¬†I worry about insurance and me, especially now that I know that I am going to need a whole new level of preventative care for the next 10-20 years. ¬†Debt level among my friends is high. ¬†When my dad graduated, these were non-issues.So yeah, I feel the misery…I feel like I should be down there myself at times.Though at least I am thankful that the streets are safer now. ¬†

  13. CliffElam

    I just spent several hours with some Cub scouts touring a wildlife refuge.The contrast could, literally, not be greater.-XC

  14. Robert Thuston

    Really cool website. “The revolution will be playful” : )

  15. Douglas Crets

    I think you are right. Any chance that you and I can do a video’d interview in the midst of the crowds at Occupy Wall street, and see if we can get some audience participation?¬†

    1. fredwilson

      i’m going down there first to figure this thing outnot to do a photo opp

      1. Prokofy

        What’s to figure out, Fred? It’s just cadre organizations that have planned for years from Ad-busters, Anonymous, Alliance for Global Justice (the old pro-Sandinista crowd) trying to figure out the right jumble of memes to rouse the rabble.They are coming for you next.¬†For criticism of this Marxist-meme mob, read Occupy Yourselves:http://www.facebook.com/#!/…Nothing can be achieved of value that is coercive. OWS is coercive, and duplicitious about its full agenda.

        1. fredwilson

          They dont need to come for meIm joining them

        2. Paul Smith

          Duplicitous maybe. But they do at least drop hints, like having a domain that also reads “Occupy, We Borg!”

  16. Douglas Crets

    To those confused about occupywallstreet. I basically think it’s an online movement that alerted people to the lack of real public space for debate. So, the fact that they haven’t “figured out” what their cause is is not the point. ¬†It’s a youthful spirited attempt to create in media, public space and communities a real culture that thrives on discourse and relationships. Ironically, this is being driven by the online experience that is often criticized as being non-human, distancing and electronic. ¬†Folks! ¬†Technology brings us closer. These kids, I think, get it. They may seem delusional and wayward to you, but they are trying to inject into our bland coffee shop queues and long waits at the doctor’s office a sense of culture. If you don’t agree with the culture, you can argue about it here, and create your own community, or find a place or a city to start your own occupation. ¬†

  17. Douglas Crets

    Money doesn’t make or sustain a culture. People do. I think people are frustrated that they’ve been treated as urchins and anathema to their own culture because they don’t have jobs, money, or power / status.¬†When you feel that way, you can escape, or take down the establishment, symbolically, by creating your own. Or, literally, by taking it down. I am sure that this tension exists in all movements. It certainly seems apparent in the one in nyc.¬†

  18. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    As everyone knows I do not vote regularly….and while I have my doubts about the Tea Party, I am REALLY excited to see people getting out in the streets and protesting! ¬†Its about time!John Kenneth Galbraith wrote about “Countervailing Power” in his 1952 book American Capitalism and what has been lacking from our economic system and our political system for so long has been a countervailing force to act as a buffer to special interests and Wall Street. ¬†“The people” ¬†have become nothing more than focus groups that the political parties use to determine their message, not their policies.Hopefully, between the Tea Party and this bunch we can move from the “more” government or “less” government conversation and begin to formulate ideas about what is “right” government….maybe we can break the stranglehold that the two political parties have on our political discourse and move to another plane: ¬†Like maybe “why” government?

  19. Yule Heibel

    I don’t think that the Vancouver riot had much to do with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) – and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall that “culture jamming” (see Adbusters – Kalle Lasn July 13, 2011), which actually instigated the whole OWS meme, waxed enthusiastic about what the Vancouver rioters did. From what I could tell, the Vancouver rioters were a bunch of really obnoxious brats acting out the worst sort of mob mentality. And let’s not get started on how badly the Vancouver city government has screwed up on the pre- and post-assessment/ investigation of this matter… The OWS movement is a different animal altogether. A very very interesting animal…

  20. Donna Brewington White

    Dave’s blog post on this was eye opening for me. ¬†I didn’t quite know how to view Occupy Wall Street and admittedly came at it with skepticism.One of the things that got my attention was the balanced way he viewed the Tea Party people. ¬†This gave me confidence that perhaps he was treating OWS in a balanced way as well since the two groups seem vastly different in their overall makeup.Not saying I’m on board, but at least now I am watching/listening with an open mind. ¬†It is clear that something is dreadfully wrong and that the issues being raised are valid. ¬†Just how to fix it is the question and I have no expectation that the answers are simple.

    1. Tom Labus

      That something is seriously wrong is all they need to know.

  21. Stevengermain1

    I was struck by a sign held up by one of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. It read, “I care about you”. In the last decade we have seen buildings brought down by hijacked airplanes, a decade long “war on terror”, sanctioned torture, wounded vets, financial system excess and collapse, unprecedented long term unemployment, dysfunctional government, a careerist every man for himself ethos that has warped the notion of an honest day’s work into an obscene free for all on Wall Street, a middle class under water in housing and retirement accounts, increasing austerity in education and social services…the list goes on and on. It does not surprise me that an alternative answer to the question “why are we here and what are we doing?” is emerging and that experiments in “sustainability”, “disruption” and “DIY” (do it yourself) are part of the current counter culture. I have no idea what the answer is but “I care about you” seems like a reasonable starting point. I think the kid who wrote that sign has a future.

  22. mwilkotz

    These movements have been building for months now all over the world.¬† I really recommend looking at Time for Outrage!¬† by Stephane Hessel, who fought with the French Resistance and was one of the editors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.¬† His criticism of the French Government is very structured and cogent.Also, the 15-M movement in Spain, which went on and lasted for months, despite cynicism about what the movement stood for.¬† Just like Occupy Wall Street, it was really a movement of people coming together to say that things aren’t right and we need to figure out a way to fix them.¬† Which couldn’t be more true, and it might be up to all of us to figure out how to do that.

    1. Prokofy

      If this movement really were about universal human rights, they would not use the DDOS, which takes away other people’s freedom of speech and freedom of association.¬†

  23. hypermark

    In the modern era, how else to you cultivate and sustain conversations about topics that have heat, complexity and conflicts of interest to them?¬†My only hope is for someone to (systematically) extend these ‘narrative’ pieces into discussion threads and public walls.

  24. LIAD

    I dont know what this guy Allan Grayson generally stands for, or how he is regarded, but I love how he sums up Occupy Wall Street in this clip –¬†http://liad.tumblr.com/post…

  25. Esra'a

    You can see a similar concept of image/video compilations over at CrowdVoice’s page of #OccupyWallStreet:http://www.crowdvoice.org/o

  26. Dave W Baldwin

    A few comments to go with replies posted:1)¬† The biggest mistake made by OWS is not having their main purpose stated as not being a part of any political party.¬† Yeah, Krugman can have it where the evil 1% are all Republicans and/or Herman Cain can make the mistake issuing sweeping statements.¬† In the case of the latter, he blew a golden opportunity.¬† Otherwise, OWS will begin to look like a festival where it can be pushed into the Us/Them scenario.2)¬† @daveinhackensack:disqus¬†makes a point about Apple.¬† It is a shame we’re going to go thru hype on how many 4s preorders have been made where the avg work day for the Chinese industrial slave will move up to 19 something from 18 to meet demand… OTOH, that is less time laying on straw infested with cockroaches/ants.¬† Shame that so many souls in the Occupy proudly flash their ‘i’…. for that matter, I’m ashamed.3)¬† The ‘99%’ needs to understand there are other options to carry out.¬† One is to boycott.¬† That is the death weapon against those awash in greed.¬† With the tech of today, we can raise the boycott platform to our brothers/sisters who make up the 99% in other countries.¬†4)¬† The only way the 99% is going to get what it wants and not end the world economy is to come to grips with vanity, set priorities, encourage discipline and undercut the problem companies/interests involved in the stranglehold.¬† That is¬†tall order, but it is the only way to bring it about.

    1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Dave, it takes awhile to start and define a movement, and lets be honest, our society is really rusty at it….Besides, this one is going to end up being quite different than all the others in the past….this one has the internet!

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        True… just hate for the election media machine to twist this too much.Important thing is we need to start discussing what this all about.¬† That way, if it starts to fizzle with onset of cold weather, there will be the next one.¬† And that one will be scary to the powers in charge.

    2. Citybot

      Dave, I so agree with you on point #1! I think that the end of OWS will come when the democratic party adopts it as their “tea party”.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        And they have.

  27. Zoe

    another wonderful Occupy Wall Street comment link:¬†http://www.versobooks.com/b…Slavoj Zizek OWS owes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

  28. Esayas Gebremedhin

    Great success story Fred.Check this one!!

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Beautiful thread.

  29. Prokofy

    Technocommunism.I’ve been warning you.Watch out for Dave’s Darknethttp://3dblogger.typepad.co…

    1. FlavioGomes

      That was certainly an interesting read.

  30. chernevik

    OWS cannot offer a message without blowing up the Democratic Party. ¬†Just what was the party of the Dodd and the Frank who enshrined TBTF? ¬†So they’re trying to make the bug a feature.And the very smart people on this thread are going for it.

  31. tomasc

    Please check out my new http://www.occupyitnews.orgA Curated News Service Covering the Occupy Wall Street Movement & Related Occupy Events :: Knowledge is Power!Basically, if you want to be informed in an easy, clean, comprehensive and useful manner this is the service you need.

    1. fredwilson

      a nice compliment to dave’s river of images

      1. William Mougayar

        Ok. Here’s a better one than both using a real curation/publishing platform, with images, video, tweets, blogs and all media. Took 3 mins to configure it. http://portal.eqentia.com/o

        1. fredwilson

          how am i not surprised? ūüôā

          1. William Mougayar

            ūüôā I resisted initially…but not wanting to leave a stone un-turned got me.

      2. tomasc

        thanks, just trying to help and do what I do

  32. Zoe

    i think the AVC community will like this Guardian article:¬†http://www.guardian.co.uk/s…i also find the “we can do business better than business” very funny. in the current times it¬†would be an interesting t-shirt to wear for technology entrepreneurs ;-))

    1. fredwilson

      i feel like social enterprises are getting engaged in this crisis

      1. Zoe

        i feel the same. although it seems very shy at the moment.today is #occupyberlin happening, in 30 minutes. it’s a heavily discussed topic in Berlin tech community, and most seem to emotionally support the movement, but we just observe, few participate. as if we didn’t know what to make of it.

  33. kidmercury

    the only way to end the plutocracy is through monetary policy reform. what we are seeing now is nothing new and is simply history repeating itself, as thomas jefferson warned about what would happen if moentary policy was not respected. the majority of the occupiers show no interest in monetary policy reform. they are taking out their injustices on wall st and rich people, which is counter-productive in my opinion, and obfuscates the real source of the problem.

  34. Dave Pinsen

    That union activists are political foot soldiers of the Democratic party should be a fairly uncontroversial statement. Whether or not there is any official coordination, the reality is that the Occupy Wall Street protests benefit the current, Democratic administration, by diverting anger about the weak economy to another target..________________________________