"If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer. You're the product being sold."Short answer: yes, I completely agree with you.
By this logic, a lot of veteran players are not customers anymore, but content. Quite a lot of older players have ways to make more money than is needed to fuel their game time by market-bought plexes.
And so they provide two things to the real paying customer: ISK to buy their plexes. Content, since those players are pretty often higher-ups in alliances and corps, provide content and so on.
Let's take a look at some outstanding examples who probably don't pay for their game time, cause they are filthy rich in game terms:
Chribba - provides stuff like EVE files, EVE agents, his 3rd party service etc.
Somerset - Blink anyone?!?
The Mittani - Douchebag? Yes! Provider of content? YES!
Somewhat longer answer: here's something to think about. Is it possible that the long-term bitter-vets are one of the major factors holding EVE up? The barrier to entry for organization leadership in this game is now pretty freakin' high. There haven't been a lot of new major players in the last year. Hell, it's arguable that the only major new movers and shakers the game has added in the last year have been the team that built the public incursion channels. The long-term bitter-vets are running alliances, are the FCs, and are driving the major in-game actions. For the most part, we're seeing the same names over and over again.
It's hard for new players to break in. Just in terms of being a good FC, the number of things you have to think about is enormous.
As I said, it's something interesting to think about. What do you think? Anyone want to nominate a major in-game mover-and-shaker that hasn't been playing for a half decade or more? Discuss.
Thanks for your comment, Jokus, and thank you to everyone who commented on that series of posts! More than 80 comments total! Whew! You guys gave me a lot of reading, and a lot to think about.