March 17, 2008

Roger McNamee, "Elevation Partners", and Don't Think Small on Wikipedia

While it may do no good for me to write posts about the pile of Wikipedia scandals, a New York Times article on its recent woes (no-reg link) contains an important mention bearing on a point I often make. The article discusses the involvement of the venture capitalist Roger McNamee, of the firm "Elevation Partners". I'm glad the _Times_ mentions it, as anyone of lesser status (especially mere bloggers) would simply find themselves personally attacked for raising the issue:

Ms. Gardner said that Mr. McNamee in the past had lined up a $500,000 donation, and arranged another $500,000 donation that came through last week. ... [snip]

Mr. Wales said that "existing on donations keeps us on a shoestring budget" adding that he was not opposed to leveraging Wikipedia's brand, consistent with its free-culture values, of course.

"There are some kinds of ways of using our brand name - a trivia game, a branded home-edition trivia game, that kind of thing seems to fit," he said. Perhaps a Wikipedia documentary TV show. He said that Elevation Partners "are flexible - they could be involved in that kind of stuff."

As I'm constantly telling various Wikipedia critics:


It's not about the minor Google-juice that the commercial digital-sharecropping startup company "Wikia Inc." gets from the nonprofit mothership Wikipedia (and that trick doesn't even seem to work anyway). It's not about overheated accusations of chump-change $5,000 donations to the Wikimedia Foundation for attention to a biography. It's not about trying to put a $1,300 dinner on a charity's expense account. It's not even about pocketing fat speaking fees, though that must be a nice perk.

Looks at millions of dollars, if you can wrap your mind around that. Anybody who is rainmaking a literal million dollars of donations has an angle where they're going to get comparable value back.

That's what it's about.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on March 17, 2008 07:11 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Seth, you're an idiot.

Posted by: Sue at March 17, 2008 08:53 AM

Seth, stop trolling with these allegations.


Seriously, though -- it's much more productive to think big and not "think small". But, keep in mind, the career of the Governor of New York was brought to a screeching halt thanks to a $4300 evening.

Posted by: Gregory Kohs at March 17, 2008 01:05 PM