Sometimes there are simple stories. Culture11’s is one of them. We raised a certain amount of money last year predicated on the assumption we would raise more money last year. Then the Fall’s fall occurred and we stretched money as long and far as we could without incurring any debts. With no new money in the door the board decided the most prudent thing to do was suspend business operations. That is a way too technical way of saying that there are now 14 people who worked very hard for this company who are looking for new jobs because theirs disappeared. These people do not deserve to be out of jobs and yet they are. The economy racks up more victims.
A friend reminded me that Orson Welles once said that if you want a happy ending, it depends on where you choose to stop your story. This then isn’t the end – we are proud of the articles we commissioned, edited, and wrote, the blogs that we posted, the conversations we joined and sometimes started and the platform we created.
I’ve been a big fan of Culture11 since it got started, and I truly am sorry to see it go. I wish nothing but the best for the writers there, and hope that they get picked up by other media outlets quickly. (Memo to the New York Times–Conor Friedersdorf would make an excellent replacement for Bill Kristol.)
UPDATE (James Joyner): Josh Trevino has a lengthy postmortem, offering what strikes me as sound advice for those trying to grow an online community or a major webzine. The bottom line is that, HuffPo notwithstanding, it’s almost impossible to start big and sustain a lot of salary; it’s far more sustainable to grow organically.