That's been said about plenty of things. Politics, social services, business models, healthcare, as so on. It goes hand in hand with proclamations like "the old rules just don't apply anymore". Perhaps in the particulars this can be true, but at the core, I'm convinced that old-fashioned principles just work. One business principle that comes to mind is this: create something of value and charge customers what it's worth. I've been quite critical of Facebook and Google for engaging in business models that I see as unsustainable because they increasingly pit the company's interests against those of its users. (Notice I didn't say "customers".)
That's why I'm thrilled to see App.net bust through its goal of raising $500,000 to kick off a new Twitter-like social network, raising the full sum from the very people who will be using the service. By doing an all-or-nothing round of fundraising from their actual users, they've cracked the chicken-and-egg problem with commercial social networks: how do you get a bunch of people to pay for a social network if no one is yet part of that network? Now they'll be able to roll out a service where the users and the customers are one and the same.
That's a tried and true business model. If you stop providing me with something that I think is of value, I stop paying for it. If enough people feel the same way, your business suffers. Nothing communicates market reality and customer happiness quite like revenue from customers with options.
I'm just glad to see that I'm not the only one who prefers to be the one paying for the products and services that bring me value. The Silicon Valley model is a bubble. It's time to get back to some old ideas.