I had a bit of an existential moment the other day. I have a class on Corporate Law, and we were learning about the definition of a business. I started thinking about LibriVox, and whether it could be considered a business. Business is defined according to two criteria: 1. organization and coordination of resources, and 2. an economic objective. LibriVox is organized alright, but no economic goal there.
And I thought, are we producing anything? What are we producing anyway? Audiobooks. But, what is an audiobook, really? Bytes and bytes of data. 0s and 1s sitting somewhere on a server. I was hit by the intangibility of it all. Unplug the server, and what have you left? Nothing. It's a bit unsettling, really. Just bits and bits of data traveling through wires, traveling through the air.
Is this a product? It's nothing. Or maybe, it's energy. Energy pulses through the wires, through the air. Soundwaves, that's what we're producing. Data. Lots and lots of data. Maybe if we had CDs, it would seem more real. I'd have something to touch, something to hold, something to stack up.
And then I played a recording, and thought, "don't tell me this is not real!"