I think, sometimes — perhaps too often — about Versailles. It was by all accounts, staggering: all of the richest people in France staying in one of the world’s grandest palaces eating and drinking themselves into a stupor at the feet of Louis XIV while the country fought and starved. It was, and remains, a symbol of the purity of excess: a grand, insane bacchanal that seemed to aspire to nothing less than oblivion. Of course, there were good political reasons for the thing that was Versailles to exist as well (keep the nobles drunk enough that they neither notice or care that you’ve become an absolute monarch), but the main takeaway is this: one of the most powerful men in the world used the resources of his nation to throw the bitchingest party on Earth.
This week, I’m thinking about Versailles because of Burning Man.
The always-uplifting Google doodle is especially warm and fuzzy today, offering real-life love stories arranged in a cluster of candy hearts.
TIME created this behind-the-scenes video of the Feb. 14 doodle’s inception, and upon watching it, Betabeat was reminded of this fun fact: Google doodles only exist because Larry Page and Sergey Read More
Couchsurfing.com is a website that lets travelers shop for free couches to crash on in the cities they’re visiting (and often includes meals, beer, tours and new friendship) which is, yes, in some ways similar to Airbnb, that “billion dollar business” that just raised a massive round. But Couchsurfing has always been about sharing resources for free, between people with a shared love of travel, with the vague idea that kindness to a guest would be repaid in karma when you needed a place to stay elsewhere in the network.
The website designed a clever reputation system, better than Airbnb’s, and though its user experience is not perfect, the nonprofit’s employees and volunteers have managed to iterate on the website and it’s gotten much, much better. And yet its founders decided they needed more money, enough to become a for-profit and invite the profit pressure that comes with tech start-up investors like Omidyar Ventures and VC Benchmark Capital.