On the Death of SpeakerSite
I long thought that the best thing to happen in business was big growth and profit. I still do.

I long thought that the second best thing to happen in business was survival — and the worst thing was going out of business. I have re-ordered those for many occasions.

Survival Can Be Toxic
Survival — not thrival, just survival — can lull the business owner into complacency. The thought starts arising: "Oh, it's easier to continue rather than shut it down. After all, it pays the bills."

But paying the bills is not our goal. That's a minimum expectation. It is not why we are here. It is not the meaning of life.

And continuing on? For how long? A week? Fine. A month? O.K. A year? That's a high cost to pay. 

A Mentor Calls
My lifelong friend and mentor, Jon York, called me five years ago. He sensed some restlessness in me. I was still at my advertising desk at Young Isaac, an agency I owned.

"What do you want to do next?" asked Jon.

"Oh, I figure that I'd like to teach full-time," I said. "In about five or ten years."

Jon paused. Then: "Five or ten years? Huh. I don't know about you, Artie, but when I want to do something, I kind of want to do it now."

These words were very helpful. They fished me out of the water. I was drowning in survival.

The End of SpeakerSite
This is newly posted over at speakersite.com

Dear SpeakerSite Members,

As you may have seen on SpeakerSite Marketplace yesterday, we have decided to shut down SpeakerSite. This means everything: both the Community (SpeakerSite 1.0) and the Marketplace (SpeakerSite 2.0) are going away.

Both the social network and marketplace profiles will remain as-is until February 29th, 2012, so you can access your information during that time before disable existing features and remove the data. If you have used our tools to book speaking engagements (or to book speakers), any agreement that you made is solely between speaker and event planner and will not be affected.

Thank you for being a part of the worldwide SpeakerSite community. We were — and, who knows, still are the world's largest social network of public speakers. So, what happened? It's that old story in the new world: while we made a lot of friends, SpeakerSite did not generate enough revenue. All the same, we are very grateful for your kindness and collaboration along the way. Truly: it has been a delightful, heart-warming, life affirming experience. We're proud that we were, with you, a force for good: supporting the emergence of many new and seasoned speakers, providing entertainment and enlightenment for audiences, and helping to democratize public speaking.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out. We wish you every success in public speaking. Don't let our disappearance dissuade you. SpeakerSite gone? Piffle. You still have a message. And every message has an audience.

With affection and admiration,

Artie and Rob

What happened?
I don't know every reason why we didn't secure enough revenue, but here's my favorite. a lack of demand from the side of the market with cash.

The buyers (meeting and event planners) do not perceive a need for a solution. Buyers with few transactions each year can muddle through by asking around. Buyers with many transactions each year already have a pipeline of alternatives. We speakers (a broad group with very little in common) swamp the marketplace. As a result, the buyers do not seek efficiency.
I don't know of any direct substitute. While our implementation could have been smarter, better, faster, I don't think that's what put us out. 

There are other reasons. When time weighs heavy on my hands, I'll make a list of them. But that sounds like a dreary way to spend the day today.

I am filled with admiration and affection for all the people with whom I worked. 

At the top of that list, of course, is Rob Emrich, in whom I would never hesitate to invest. He's a role model.