A little late but catching up on an interesting book - REMIX by Larry Lessig covers his thoughts on the emergence of hybrid business models - meshing sharing and commercial economic activity in ways that respect and reinforce those separate spheres of human activity (sharing - think helping out a neighbor; commercial - think buying food).
It made me think back to the experience with Comixpedia/TALK this decade. I can't say I know what every original participant's motivations were. There was no clear or even explicit "business" plan. I know I wanted to write and find an audience for that writing. I also thought there was a niche to be filled as it didn't seem that anyone was giving webcomics attention (that's all different now - all comics-focused media seems to treat webcomics as comics).
UPDATE: Nina raised the funds, got the movie out, released it under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license, and just recently posted her "first quarter" distribtion report for Sita Sings The Blues. I have seen the movie and it is epic (in all senses of the word).
(reposted from January 2009)
Nina Paley's animated Sita Sings the Blues looks amazing (all I've had a chance to see is the trailer though) but who knows when any of us will get to see due to copyright issues with the song compositions (not the performances - they are in the public domain). Check out more details on Nina's blog here and watch the interview below to get the whole story. Actually click here for Nina's post on her current effort to get the film out to the public -- she still needs to raise about $50,000 dollars to pay off rights holders.