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"Packer falls into the same trap – or, depending on how you look at it, deploys the same cynical rhetorical artillery – as Evgeny Morozov, artful academic master of the straw-man take-down."
I love it when a writer kills two birds with one stone.
One reason why startups that are addressing big real world problems don't get as much attention as those that solve the problems of rich 20-year olds is because solving big real world problems is real hard, much harder than using the web to turn the income of drivers for hire into a race to the bottom.
1 day, 6 hours ago on Yes, the Valley can be vacuous – but it’s more complicated than the New Yorker would have us believe
As a parent of millennials, I have a different take on it:
“Millennials still live off their parents until late in life…” That's because the economy is the worst it has been since before I was born, and income distribution is such that entry level jobs that even college educated millennials can get don't pay enough to live on in many cities in the U.S. This is not the fault of the millennials, but of the generations before them.
“Millennials don’t know what to do with their careers…” It's not like careers are so well defined any more. They are coming of age just when the internet has obsoleted so many business models and occupations.
“Everybody In the Millennial generation wants a trophy…” - if they do, it's because they were trained by their baby boomer or gen x parents to expect them. It was all I could do to not vomit to watch my kids get trophies just for showing up.
“Millennials start companies because they don’t want real jobs…” Can you blame them? The management of most big companies believes in compartmentalizing most jobs so that everyone is replaceable - maybe a good goal, but it makes the work boring as hell and makes a farce of the idea of company loyalty.
There is no problem with millennials - the problem is a poorly designed economic and political system that, for the first time in the history of the U.S., a generation is not better off than their parents. If that changes, it will only be because you guys were able to fix it. Good luck.
4 days, 1 hour ago on Stop bitching about Millennials
@vFunct Wow, I don't know how you draw your conclusions, but they're not very accurate. And a nice ass-kiss to the PD staff.
I'm not suggesting that talent is common, only that it isn't as rare as the available slots out there. If you think that the lack of quality content on the web is due to lack of talent, and not business models that value quantity over quality, then I will stop wasting my time.
I'm sure Ms. Moss is unique to her and her friends and family, but as a marketing vehicle, there can be many others. Marketing machines can create new ones; if she quit today, there would be a line of replacements ready to take her place, and whoever the system anointed would succeed.
If you have read just some of my comments over the years, you would know that I don't believe everyone is capable of succeeding. I don't believe all men are created equal. Not even close, if that was the case, I would have been a pitcher for the Dodgers and a point guard for the Lakers. But I could have worked at it 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for 20 years and it wouldn't have happened. Nor do I think I could be part of that media machine, but I'm not saying anything remotely like that. I'm sure you are an unequaled arbiter of quality, so I will stop wasting m,y time trying to convince you there are more talented content creators out there than the system needs.
1 week, 2 days ago on Sorry, ‘Snow Fall’ isn’t going to save the New York Times
@vFunct I didn't say tech people weren't trying, only that there are other sources of competition, from within the media industries, those who have been passed over or let go, not because of ability, but because of economics or the inability to recognize talent (that is not a given in any company).
Maybe not millions of quality writers, but at least 10x the number that are employed by the system, and that number will grow as the media empires shrink - they lay off writers every day.
@vFunct You assume that the only talented people are already working for the big name brands, which is not the case. I have read the work of many talented writers who aren't part of a media empire, and seen untold numbers of actors who perform every bit as well as those who command 8 digit salaries for movies. None of these people come from the tech world, they are within the industries being restructured. They will work for less than the big names, and produce just as high quality product as the big names. There are plenty of would-be Kate Moss's out there, just go walk around a big city in the spring or summer and you will run into them. She is big because the machine wanted her to be, but the machine is losing its dominance.
What has limited the ability of millions of people to succeed in the media industries is the distribution system. Every individual had to convince someone, or probably many people, in a big company that they were the one. That isn't the case any more. You don't need a Pulitzer to get people to read your work. The distribution system allowed big companies to amass power over who could sell to the public; that is no longer the case. It has changed music, books, retail, electronics, allowing all kinds of small players to make a name, and it can do the same for content creators.
@vFunct I didn't say the tech world was going to compete against traditional media, but that people from within that industry can. There are millions of them. You don't need a Pulitzer prize to write quality content, it only helps you get hired. Credentials are less important than they used to be, as the web allows the public to decide what is quality, and not a relative handful of employers.
@vFunct @KenG There is more crap being bought from non-branded companies than ever. Maybe people care about brands, but their half-life is still pretty short. People are less likely to be loyal to a brand for life, like previous generations.
Not trusting new products is not the same as not trusting new companies.
I get that Kate Moss is valuable, I'm just surprised that advertisers think it matters that much where their ad is placed. Too bad there is absolutely no way to measure how many people bought stuff because an ad was placed next to an editorial about a model.
@vFunct You won't get me to argue that FB is anything but a worthless place to advertise. I don't think they will die off soon enough, though, unfortunately.
I'm in agreement with your general premise, I just think a different financing model is necessary for it to succeed. Advertising worked in print and TV because there were finite slots, but that is not the case any more. The barrier to entry to deliver even high quality content is still very low, as is the demand for it.
@vFunct If there are 10x as many places to advertise like the editorials of Kate Moss (wow, I can't believe an advertiser would think that is so valuable)., then the price drops dramatically. The production cost, doesn't however. It's not fair to compare it to pro sports, they all command huge advertising rates because the supply is finite and limited.
I also can't agree with your point about longer term brand building -people don't need to rely on brand names as much as in the past, as there is so much information available on products from new, unknown brands. What matters more is the ability to rise above the noise, and I don't see how advertising on quality content helps in that regard.
@vFunct I don't disagree with that premise (high quality content will win) either, but I'm not convinced that the multi-media story (which is expensive to produce) is the right vehicle. 3.5M page views is great, but not enough to justify a $250K investment, at least not given the current model for financing media projects.
I don't see why quality content would command higher advertising prices than mass market sludge. The only way it can succeed is if people are willing to pay for it. That will require a change in the business model, which I think the NYT is trying to achieve, but my comment was narrowly addressing whether investing $25M in 100 of those multi-media pieces was a good investment, and I don't believe it is, given the current model for web media.
@bgoldberg That is nice of you to admit that. While you might think of yourself as a media guy, or a web guy, others probably view you as a sports fan. I don't think where people come from should be used to determine where they can go; if that was the case, nobody would be investing in your venture to appeal to women.
I actually agree with you, I think he is wrong on the idea of the NYT doing 100 of those stories, I'm not convinced enough of the 100 would be successful. But I do respect his opinion on tech issues, and media is now a subset of tech, especially from the perspective of PD, which views all websites as tech.
@bgoldberg Wow. I always thought of Om as a media guy, who wrote about tech. Maybe his 20 years experience in media doesn't make him as knowledgeable about media as someone, say, who started a sports blog, but I would give him more credit than saying he has no idea what he's talking about.
Saying why he is wrong is far more useful than just saying he "has no idea what he is talking about".
@cbuckland If you're going to call him lazy, you shouldn't be so lazy that you can't explain what Hamish doesn't understand.
1 week, 5 days ago on How to put your money where FWD.us’s mouth isn’t
Zuckerberg, in his quest to be taken seriously as a "leader", has proven he is literally, and at best, a tool. It's possible his goal was to just change immigration laws so he could hire more foreign born engineers, but if that's the case, he got used by the parasites who are willing to sacrifice the ANWR and build a useless and destructive pipeline that would artificially extend the life of an obsolete energy technology. That's the best thing that could be said about him, that he didn't know he was being played. The more likely story is that he doesn't give a $hit about the damage the two oil projects would cause, and is willing to make the trade, or worse, supports them.
All this talk about being pragmatic or just playing the Washington game is nonsense. It's a sellout, and for what? So Facebook can hire cheaper engineers and "coders" (I hate that f'in word) to add more worthless time-sucking features to the biggest noise and distraction machine in the world, all because their worthless ads can't generate enough revenue to pay salaries that would siphon engineers from other more useful projects?
If he truly did start the now obviously oil industry shill for the purpose of immigration reform, he should at least come out and publicly denounce the ads that have nothing to do with immigration, and exert his authority to stop them (he's the man there, isn't he?). Otherwise, he's just another whore.
1 week, 6 days ago on How to put your money where FWD.us’s mouth isn’t
Be careful what you wish for. I hope the insurance industry helps the sharing economy more than it has helped health care.
2 weeks ago on Forget City Hall, the insurance industry is what could really help the sharing economy
@bgoldberg You're basing your philosophy on your experience, which may or may not be typical. My experience was that I have an engineering degree, and everyone that I personally know who had successful exits in the tech world, also have engineering degrees. I could say my experience is more typical than yours, and if I was a coder (sorry, just an EE), I could write some code that crawled the websites of NASDAQ tech companies, and examined the founders' backgrounds. If I did that, I am betting I would find that most of them had engineering degrees, or at least finished college.
An engineering education teaches you how to solve all kinds of problems, not just tech problems, and you should know that navigating a start-up to success is a never-ending sequence of problems.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Do software engineers earn more than MBAs?
@crucible @KenG You're using anecdotal evidence. For every Gates or Zuckerberg, there are probably 100 engineers who also started successful companies and maybe 1000 dropouts who either started and failed or were never able to get their ideas to fruition.
So Zuckerberg was a math major, that shows how little knowledge or experience it takes to create a website. And when he started it, it wasn't with the intention of building the giant company it is now, he didn't even foresee its potential, he had to be told it could be big by others. And it never would have been as big as it is now, without a whole lot of engineers that they hired, many of which became very wealthy. I would bet that of all of the early employees at Facebook who made 8- or 9-digit sums, most were engineers with degrees, and maybe only a few were dropouts or business majors.
I will give Bryan credit for distinguishing between coders and software engineers. He clearly makes the case that almost anyone can code, and there are millions of horrible websites that validate that point.
" Getting an engineering degree is just about the biggest waste of time ever."
That might be true if your goal is to create a website that any freshman college CS student could do. You really should qualify outrageous statements like that, for if you want to build, or even contribute to the development of, all of the technology that enables all those freshman-coded websites, you will need an engineering education.
@twtfelipe People with health insurance get medical concerns checked out far sooner than those who don't, and as a result, those concerns don't turn into big problems. Lots of people get pneumonia because they leave their colds or respiratory infections untreated.
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Just because I don’t understand American healthcare doesn’t mean I shouldn’t provide it (Or: Screw You, Papa John)
So well said. But a couple of comments:
"I still don’t properly understand how American healthcare works." The answer is that it doesn't work. It's a dismal failure. A lot of chest thumpers out there believe America has the best of everything, but we only spend the most on health care, we don't get the best health care. And while they proclaim that it's great because we have the most choices in health care, that is meaningless when so many can't afford it. It's like bragging about a restaurant because it has the biggest menu in the world, but the food is mediocre and costs more than most people can afford, so the only people going there are those who live on expense accounts.
And "Obama care" (I hate that term, he didn't design the plan, it was all he could get through the ideologically challenged and campaign donor driven Congress) isn't going to raise the cost of pizza, at least not at Papa John's. The concoction that that chain of factories sells isn't pizza, but if the cost of the plan causes them to raise their prices, then at least it will marginally lead to improving the health of people who don't eat there.