NetSlaves: Tales of Working the Web

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9780071352437: NetSlaves: Tales of Working the Web

This volume offers eyewitness accounts of how self-destructive the Internet business can be is based upon net slaves.com, which Wired sited as "the only site where the 'web working poor' can air their feelings". This collection of horror stories, both amusing and not so amusing, documents the real-life stories of those who work the Web, in their own words.

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Review:

The operating principle behind NetSlaves is neatly summed up when authors Bill Lessard and Steve Baldwin write, "People are nuts, no matter what profession they're in, but people forced to work like dogs with the carrot stick of stock options and 'untold' wealth dangling under their noses are especially nuts."

If all you know about the Internet business is what you've read in the financial press, then Net Slaves provides a cold slap of reality. For every headline-making company like Yahoo! or Amazon, there are hundreds or perhaps even thousands more like the ones Net vets Lessard and Baldwin have worked for. These are the start-ups that never finish up, companies that hire hundreds of programmers and Web site designers and techies of all stripes, then merge or downsize or go out of business before anyone can cash in. The authors take the reader on an anthropological expedition through what they call the New Media Caste System. At the bottom rung are the "garbagemen", the guys who have to get the server up and running when it crashes, who have to rush to help the digital morons who can't figure out how to open their e-mail. At the top, of course, are the "robber barons," the guys who really do get mind-blowing wealth and profiles in Wired magazine. For each level, the authors tell an instructive, cautionary tale of life in the new economy.

Although the authors clearly set out to create revenge journalism, enjoyed by all those who've lived on pizza and Mountain Dew for months on end only to end up with a pink slip, those outside the tech universe should enjoy it, too. Revenge may be best served cold but it's easy to warm up to Net Slaves. --Lou Schuler, Amazon.com

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