Ah, YouTube, feels like the Napster glory days; beyond any doubt a life-enhancer. [...] And, like Napster, it feels doomed. Pumping video around the Net isn’t cheap for anyone, and I just don’t see how it gets paid for.I think Tim Bray's YouTube comments are right on the money: YouTube truly is the Napster of the second bubble. Vast and fun and communal and ultimately unsustainable. YouTube could only happen in the upward slope of a bubble. A certain air of irrational exuberance is required to shell out all the money required to pay for delivery and apart from that we would be kidding ourselves if we didn't realize that a lot of the fun comes from outpacing, if only by days, the Copyright Mafia*. TV snippets and old music videos and stuff like that is a lot of the YouTube fun. The fact that so much of what is fun happens on the upslope is interesting.
Having just been on a micro-vacation to Chamonix I can't help but reflect how much life in a tech bubble is like hiking in the mountains. I like hiking. The fun is in going up. You're exerting yourself, but you can pace the exertion to just the right level. The view is constantly changing and you walk around with this tremendous feeling that the view is going to be even more spectacular a little higher up. The air is fresh and new - and the other slope-dwellers tend to be really nice people. Basically people who exert themselves for enjoyment tend to be nice people.
Of course mountains, like tech bubbles, have a slope down on the other side as well and generally the further up you've gone the longer the tedium of the downhill march afterwards. And as if that wasn't enough, mountain meteorology tends to mean that the tedium of the downward journey is often combined with a nice afternoon thundershower so you're not only tired when you make it down to the village, but also wet and miserable.
* Yes, I of course agree if we had good law makers we would not have this problem.