It takes balls to invest real money on a hunch, rather than a spreadsheet. But as business and media models morph or crumble and new ones emerge, change can either be embraced or feared. Case in point: Union Square Ventures just invested in Twitter (I couldn't tell you for how much, I assume it's in the many millions of dollars range?!). What I love about it: the rationale for the investment, as stated on the USV weblog:
"What is the business model?" To be completely and totally honest, we don't yet know.
That's the spirit!
A lot of cranky observers will gripe about the lack of a business model. It's another bubble, blah blah blah.
As a user, though, I'd ask how many of them have ever tried it? It's easy to bury your head in the sand, or harp back to the late 90's, but in the meantime Fred Wilson and USV will be noticing the important applications like Twitter, and will have the guts to invest in the future. There is a huge potential in applications like Twitter. I don't know what they are yet, but it's too powerful a platform to just go away. And aren't we mature enough with this digital stuff to recognize something as valuable (even before it actually "turns a profit"?!). We aren't exactly talking sock puppets here.
Embracing risk and taking educated bets on the future, these are lessons that anyone can learn from in a world of growing uncertainty.