The Launching Fad

A next-generation start-up plays the fortune game

EXIT STRATEGY

Weiss is a poet. When he gets home at midnight, he writes. He's been working on a project about the Internet industry. He quotes some lines: "Our best men in incubators / curled beside their computers / sleeping / going into meetings / shaking the bony hands of strangers. . . . "

Recently, he's been reading a lot of F. Scott Fitzgerald. "It's sick how similar it is to now," Weiss says. "There's this incredibly sad story called 'My Lost City.' Fitzgerald comes back in 1932 from being an expat. He left at the height of the boom. He comes back and there are breadlines. So he climbs to the top of the Empire State Building and looks at the whole city. And realizes that once you look at the city from above like that, you realize it's not a world of endless, expanding possibilities. It's all actually very limited and trapped on this one tiny island."

Weiss knows he probably won't be in the industry forever. He says "money makes people unhappy." But then again, he wants to "make a lot of money so that I can buy a cabin and write." To work in new media is to embrace that cognitive dissonance: The Internet is a cramped, irrelevant island of speculation, the Internet will make even a cabin in the woods possible. His plan is to stay with RedFilter until it "gets huge." Maybe start a party scene for CEOs and VCs to "wheel and deal inside wine casks."

Then what? You can feel the rays of his secret sun, ascending. "I'll probably start my own company and sell that in two years," he says. "It would be a $500 million dollar company." A dream 10 times the dream of RedFilter. Today it's this idea—but relaunch your browser, and tomorrow it's another. How long will it be before we all have one?

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