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Why do you assume that Napster will be inundated with venture capital? I have read other articles that suggest VCs are approaching very cautiously. Why is your take so different?

What do you know that others do not?


Dear Thomas,

My crystal ball is simply on a summer hot streak. Earlier this week, Napster finally scored $15 million from Johnny-come-lately Hummer Winblad for an undisclosed stake. The VC's first order of business was to put in Hummer partner Hank Barry as new CEO of Napster.

While listening to 19-year-old founder Shawn Fanning complaining about his current state of affairs the other day, I was thinking that it's about time for him to step aside. I know if I were in the middle of a maelstrom that's assured a special place in Net history, I wouldn't need sleep.

That's the kind of opportunity entrepreneurs live for. But, Fanning is no entrepreneur. He's a 19-year-old college student. It's all too obvious he's not hungry for what's on his plate, that he'd be happier slipping back into the anonymity of a college campus.

With that said, Hummer isn't the right candidate to carry the Napster torch. Here's what my crystal ball tells me. The music swapping software firm's days are numbered. Barry is a record industry vet, eager to hop into bed with the big boys and turn Napster into a money-making machine.

But he'll be grossly underestimating Napster users. So long Napster - hello Gnutella . It's everything Napster is and more, and everything Napster isn't and better. It's free, nobody owns it, trades more media files than just MP3s, and doesn't rely on a central server. No lawsuits, no blockage, just pure anarchy. Just the way Gen Xers like it.

Thanks AOL.


I have never bothered writing an author to say "good job"...but here it is. I enjoy your bull$#@! free articles in the Internet Stock Report. Keep 'em coming.

Take care,

Dear Scott,

Although I'm partial to "irreverent and entertaining," I have to admit, your rendering does have a certain ring to it. I do appreciate the encouraging comments. Just keep on readin'.


You are so the man! I look forward to your column every morning.


Dear John,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm happy to add a little boost to your day. It may come as a surprise to you that I'm of the opposite gender, but I'll take it as a compliment just the same. :-)


Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free to forward them to kblack@internet.com.