it's about life - not "lifestyle"
The normal Friday afternoon staff meeting started late, as usual, and The Webmaster was not amused. He had been hammering the point about first and second round financing of DotCom startups and felt we weren't committed.

This was, of course, absolutely true. We had no plans on seeking or accepting startup financing - that whole concept for a content-based website is insane on the face of it. We watched from the sidelines as Y2K played out in the extreme sports world. It was probably good for the economy to spend off millions with no plan at all, but it was bad for the "industries" and the people who spread the information. One thing was evident - people with money didn't have a clue and gave total content control over to people they trusted (for good reason based on their previous positions and tenure), but what the rest of us got was the same old rehash of the 12-24 year old demographic essence a big cyberspace clothing ad...though oddly enough without the ads themselves.

Webmaster wasn't having any of it. The plan was to be real-time by the ASR winter trade show in Long Beach and we were actually working pretty hard to meet that goal. None of us had bothered to find out exactly when that show was, however, and at some point that Friday Webmaster was cruising the web and found out it was going on even as we met! While the rest of us thought that was pretty funny - all of us except Webmaster having been to it a time or two years before when we were in positions that required attendence- he couldn't see the humor. Which was too bad for him, because that pretty much sums up our attitude about the economic side of the surf sports world.

For us,
it isn't all about money. It's supposed to be fun; it is fun. But what is marketed is youth, image, and fashion...nothing substantial. It gets to be a weird dance for disposable dollars. These days the dollars come to athletes for quantity of exposure. An ugly pro surfer could win the world title and still be eclipsed in earnings and popularity by a hot loser who is more photogenic.

The philosopher and writer P.J. O'Rourke once said something to the effect that fame is quantitative, not qualitative. Charles Manson and Mother Theresa were roughly the same in the public eye based on the amount of coverage they received. This is a feature of the times we are living in now, but not something written in stone. When economic interests are so ingrained in a sports sub-culture that they can control or create supposed "news" content, then they have control of the activity regardless of their interest in doing so.

Well, you can't control those who don't care. The remaining staff of
said adios to Webmaster and, realizing we had missed the boat, screwed the pooch, and blown it badly about the trade show, cracked some beers and watched Martha Stewart on the Food Channel. We naturally felt a half hour of Martha would properly restore decorum to the meeting which had suffered such  trauma at the beginning.

There will be time enough for trade shows. For the surf world the ASR show is the undeniable focal point for retailers and journalists to see what is going to be available and "happening" in the coming months in "our little town". The weird part is the socializing and the overwhelming nature of the experience. can handle weird, and we won't sell our credentials (should we get around to applying next time) to the kids in the parking lots eager to get in to snag a sponsor. It isn't about getting in, being in, or getting Other People's Money. It's  about life - not "lifestyle".

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