I half-expected Wired magazine to be humiliated out of existence back in 2000 after the dot-com bubble burst; what clips of dancing hippies set to "Purple Haze" are to the 1960s, a progression of Wired covers is to the 90s. It was the unofficial bible of whiz-bang Capitalism 2.0 with its zooming electrons and democratized stock market that was going to make us all rich by increasing indefinitely. Yes, those were the heady days – fresh off the defeat of communism by a coalition of free markets, Ronald Reagan, and C+C Music Factory – in which Technology fused with a new, messianic loathing for regulation to create a system fresh out of Milton Friedman's wet dreams. No one really understood it, but all we needed to know is that it made everyone in the suburbs rich, it obsoleted Second Wave notions like unions and job security, and it was not shy about letting us know who the new Masters of the Universe were. That's where Wired came in (with Fast Company a close second). But this time the plutocracy wore jeans instead of tuxedos and played frisbee in the office. Look how fucking cool they are!

You'd think that the intervening decade since the collapse of the great NASDAQ-fueled version of the middle class white guy's American Dream would have taken the edge off of Wired's institutional hubris. It didn't change the magazine one bit, it turns out. It just made them irrelevant. But it's good to know that somewhere in the background of the collapsed bubble it helped create Wired is still peddling its unique brand of tech-obsessed glibertarianism.

So now that the economy has executed a controlled flight into terrain under the direction of our neo-Gilded Age betters, to whom can we turn for guidance? Why, to the same people, of course! If you've ever seen Wired or were awake at any point between 1990 and 1999 you'll know that the answer to our current malaise lies in our ability to harness the limitless American entrepreneurial spirit. Harness the shit out of it.

In keeping with the anti-Second Wave mantra of the faith, Wired is eager to remind us not to turn to government or any kind of collective answers to these problems. We'll be saved individually and collectively when we harness our inner Carnegie. Yes, in the New Industrial Revolution, Atoms are Bits, the factory is your PC, and you are the CEO of You, Inc.

In the age of democratized industry, every garage is a potential micro-factory, every citizen a potential micro-entrepreneur. Here’s how to transform a great idea into a great product.

The key to becoming financially independent is – stay with me here – inventing an awesome product and then taking advantage of all the eCommerce doo-dads that allow you to make it a reality! It's just that easy.

1) INVENT Stop whining about the dearth of cool products in the world — dream up your own. Pro tip: Check the US Patent and Trademark Office Web site to ensure no one else had the idea first.

So, to review: the first step in this process is to think of a brilliant invention. On only two occasions in my life have I heard worse advice. One involved a recommendation to invest heavily in Franklin Mint products. The other involved urging me to talk to a girl at a bar who had open, obvious herpes sores all over her mouth. But the Wired-sponsored new Industrial Revolution will work as long as all of us, or at least most of us, think of a brilliant invention that lots of people will want to buy. The wealth will trickle down, though. I mean, after Henry Ford started a motor company with a great idea he made a lot of employees financially successful too.

4) MANUFACTURE The garage is fine for limited production, but if you want to go big, go global — outsource. Factories in China are standing by; sites like can help you find the right partner.


Well, I guess everyone needs to start at step one. I have the feeling that we're going to make it through this recession just fine…as long as there are 50-some million brilliant ideas out there so unemployed, underemployed, and financially drowning people can grab one like a lifeline, email it to China, and sit back waiting for money to fall from the sky.


  • According to my 12 year old copy of Wired, we're currently in the nanotech phase of the Long Boom. That reminds me, I need to get down to the hardware store to pick up some sheets of solid diamond for pennies a pound to replace my old glass windows.

    It's like that Monty Python sketch "How To Do It" where they explain how to play the flute (blow in one end and move your fingers up and down the holes), how to build a box-girder bridge, and how to cure all known diseases.

    The unstated belief underlying articles like this is "if you can't think up a working flux capacitor or the next Google in your garage, then you deserve to die of exposure in a field somewhere."

  • Hey, why didn't you tell me the new issue of Weird was here?…"Gigabytes!" Ha ha ha, they've done it again. "Gigabytes." Wait, this isn't Weird! Why, there's no magazine called Weird, is there?

  • I need to get my hands on that issue of Wired, cut out that article, and frame it. Then, the next time one of my conservative or libertarian family members starts talking about how lowering taxes on the rich allows them to invest more, which allows businesses to expand and hire more Americans ("the rich create jobs!"), I can haul out that article.

    That's right, American entrepreneurs: don't even think about establishing a factory here, and hiring your unemployed neighbors to work for you. No, no. Develop your idea, and then it's off to China, just like the Fortune 500 would do!

  • When your only motivation to go into business is to get rich, every moral precept flies out the window of the limousine.

  • The dirty little secret of the peculiar American form of capitalism is (shhh!) get a grant from the government. Its popular among R&D firms because it means the government is basically paying them to have people play in the labs in the hopes that something interesting is discovered. They get an idea and get the government to give them a handout to keep the lights running while they develop a practical way to do it, then when the grant runs out they sell off the patents to a production company who actually makes a working product. Better still, get funded by DARPA and then you can create things like the PC. That's the way it works. And it has given us the telegraph (funded by Congress), telephone, radio, TV, the flat scren TV, the transistor, the laser… uh, gee, basically the whole of modern Western civilization from wasteful government spending.

  • I just read the first paragraph of the article and it's tremendous! Don't Trust Ford, but go ahead and ship your idea to China. Fucking brilliant. Anyone who has dealt with the Commies knows they will reverse engineer your idea in a New York second. If you are not extremely careful, a business meeting with them can leave you a hollow rubbery tube, as they have fist-fucked the heart of your idea right out of you, and you walk out out on rickety legs and a raggedy asshole.

  • The root stupidity of the article you quoted as being emblematic of Wired, is so heavily layered with all manner of razzle dazzle graphics and caffeine on overdrive attitude, that it's not a small thing to do the kind of exegesis you just performed. Thanks for those of us who were somewhat taken in by this 90s wet dream, way back when.

  • "The other involved urging me to talk to a girl at a bar who had open, obvious herpes sores all over her mouth."

    This made me laugh for a solid minute.

  • I think I'm missing your content here, PS. What gets sold off abroad? The porn? Or the, um, excrement?

    I was just asking because your first post and its graphic imagery reminded me of a movie I saw some time in the Eighties. Schmutzige Spiele, I think it was called. Leave it to the Germans to take 'anal play' so buchstäblich.

  • Desargues,

    I have no idea what your talking about. I don't speak German. I went to one of those translator programs just to be a smartass. Ain't that a pisser?

    As to the graphic imagery, well, your standard meeting with Chinese business people who want something from you isn't too far off. They're just a little more patient, a lot more persistent, and a helluva lot more polite about it, and with a lot more video cams and observers to catch anything they might have missed getting out of you.

  • Was the Herpes Girl thing, to get her occupied so your buddy could move in on her friend? That would at least be acceptable

  • I think step 5 would be: wait for China and India to become what America used to be, and then we can be the 3rd world country that is exploited for cheap labor!

  • "he other involved urging me to talk to a girl at a bar who had open, obvious herpes sores all over her mouth."

    This disgusted me. Would you say the same thing about someone who had a bald head from chemo? That woman is a human being, lest you forgot.

  • Wired's idea is one small step away from Steve Martin's bit on how to become a millionaire: "First, get a million dollars."

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