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Flock fellow flees

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Flock's Chris Messina is leaving the company, five months after it unveiled its beta browser to the public. He served as "Director of Experience and Open Source Ambassador" for the startup.

Flock wants to return the browser to the original vision hatched at CERN in 1991, where the client software was as much of a publishing tool as it was a media viewer.

Cute idea - and a good after-hours project for a couple of guys to create a FireFox plug-in, you're thinking?

Ah, but this is 2005, Flock lists 18 staff on its roster, and it's awash with venture cash from Bessemer Ventures and Catamount Ventures. And the mainstream press, which views technology as a deux ex machina, has been adulatory. The inevitable Badger Week profile, which compared Flock to Netscape, suggested we may soon kiss staid browsers goodbye!

In true Enron-era tradition, Badger Week didn't pause to examine where the revenue might come from or how sustainable Flock may be, either from a business or a technology standpoint. The glossy print press today doesn't see its role to prevent bad ideas and economic bubbles from forming - but rather to ensure they keep bubbling up.

The critical job is left to a legion of debunking web sites, and Go Flock Yourself, or "FlockSucks" is one. This is how it translated Flock's business strategy:

Raise a bunch of capital in order to hire old people for pennies on the dollar. Use this vast, untapped resource in order to 'develop' a browser that consists of an amalgamation of buzzwords (and other useless garbage) and code stolen from pre-existing projects. Shortly after the product comes out of 'stealth-mode' appear at many different conventions in order to hype it even further and then wait for a fool with a hundred million dollars to buy us out.

Today the site noted Messina's departure with the succinct:

1 down, 21 more to go.

Ouch.

Do Not Adjust Your Set: And so we now resume normal service, trying to write about people you may have heard of, and issues that matter. ®

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