Why did Britain’s only authentic geek brand never translate into a tech publishing empire or a social media powerhouse? Why didn’t NTK become Britain’s Digg or Slashdot (or LinkedIn or flickr or Meetup for that matter)? What stopped Danny and Dave – substantial brands in their own right – becoming Britain’s Sergey and Larry, ploughing their millions into, say, digital advocacy and hypermodern sweet shops? I don’t actually know, of course (I’m not asking so I can give you a glib answer in the payoff). I don’t know why they didn’t raise eight or ten million dollars, get Esther Dyson on the board and rush to an IPO.
It’s too depressing to think that it might be because they’re too ironic or because they lacked the confidence to go large on one of their billions of clever ideas. Or, worse, because it didn’t occur to them. The rest of the net, of course, never really caught up with NTK’s distinctly unimpressed worldview and NTK has almost gone, reduced to an occasional bulletin. Is that the kind of thing I should be feeling sad about? Probably not, I suppose.