“the gloves do fit, but you can’t do shit”

Eugene Wei explains the recent scandals in the news — Silicon Valley sexual harassment incidents, Bill Cobsy rape charges, everything Donald Trump does — in the context of common knowledge and "distributed truth":

We need look no further than the highest office in the land to see that common knowledge often isn't enough. When the audio of Billy Bush and Donald Trump laughing it up on the bus broke, I thought for sure that would be the incident to sink him. For once, Trump had been caught on tape, when the press and public weren't in the room to serve as an explicit audience. The tape could be entered into evidence as common knowledge for the public. Then there was video of Trump mocking a disabled reporter.

And on and on and on. Trump has laid so much rope by which the public could have hung him that his feet ended up back on the ground. He is the troll who thumbs his nose at the two intellectually neutered political parties, realizing they have neither the will nor the ideas to do anything as he and his family laugh their way to the bank. In literature, the court jester is often the wisest fool in the room, but sometimes an idiot is just an idiot. If the gloves do not fit, you must acquit. Who will ever forget? What's depressing about Trump is how he seems to be an exemplar of the variant: the gloves do fit, but you can't do shit.

It's easy to feel helpless when we see the ugly truth exposed on a person as bad as Donald Trump and then watch him walk away without punishment.

Luckily Wei shows us justice is possible (although not guaranteed). It just requires a lot of resilience and courage.

Humans, Still Animals

The first sentence of the first paragraph from the front page of the Sunday New York Times:

Men and women still don’t seem to have figured out how to work or socialize together.

Hey! We're humans. Animals pretending to be professionals. We fancy ourselves logical beings not affected by our hormones and emotions.

The front page story continues:

For many, according to a new Morning Consult poll conducted for The New York Times, it is better simply to avoid each other.

Many men and women are wary of a range of one-on-one situations, the poll found. Around a quarter think private work meetings with colleagues of the opposite sex are inappropriate. Nearly two-thirds say people should take extra caution around members of the opposite sex at work. A majority of women, and nearly half of men, say it’s unacceptable to have dinner or drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

The Times also published a story a few days ago on women in tech on the culture of harassment in the Silicon Valley tech world.

I currently work in Sunnyvale, but I lived and worked in Manhattan for 10 years, so the bro culture out here on the west coast is still kind of new to me.

Are guys in Silicon Valley not masturbating enough? What the fuck is wrong guys out here?

Categories:

Career, Pyschology

Empathy Vacuum

Om Malik thinks Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum:

Otto, a Bay Area startup that was recently acquired by Uber, wants to automate trucking—and recently wrapped up a hundred-and-twenty-mile driverless delivery of fifty thousand cans of beer between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. From a technological standpoint it was a jaw-dropping achievement, accompanied by predictions of improved highway safety. From the point of view of a truck driver with a mortgage and a kid in college, it was a devastating “oh, shit” moment. That one technical breakthrough puts nearly two million long-haul trucking jobs at risk. Truck driving is one of the few decent-paying jobs that doesn’t require a college diploma. Eliminating the need for truck drivers doesn’t just affect those millions of drivers; it has a ripple effect on ancillary services like gas stations, motels, and retail outlets; an entire economic ecosystem could break down.

Whenever you abstract things from real, physical life, they become less real to you.

'Technological innovation' seems to supersede 'societal impact' in Silly Valley.

Peter Thiel

Kara Swisher on Silicon Valley tech investor Peter Thiel, who will speaking tonight at the GOP convention:

According to BuzzFeed: "The speech will cover why Donald Trump is better for America over Hillary Clinton because of Trump’s anti-war stance and Trump’s economic credentials. Thiel is also expected to say that he’s proud to be gay."

The last part is something socially tolerant Silicon Valley will surely cheer. But even the most diehard Republicans in tech — Meg Whitman, Mary Meeker and the always contrarian bear-hugger-of-capitalism Marc Andreessen — think Trump is insane and that any administration run by him will spell doom for the sector.

And while everyone imagines that is because tech people are so liberal, they’re really not deep down — the economic system works very well (thank you very much for the billions!) for Silicon Valley. Its denizens would rather tweak it to their advantage rather than blow it up completely as is Thiel’s bent.

Like Trump standing out from the rest of the GOP, Thiel stands out from the rest of Silicon Valley. An odd dude for sure.

Thiel is the guy who was secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.

“Silicon Valley Startups Aren’t Really Creating Many Jobs”

“One theory is that companies over the last 10-15 years, unlike in the ’90s, don’t need to hire as many people because the software — loosely described as machines — is doing the work,” he explained. “It’s the classic case of how many people actually work for Facebook versus its market capitalization. Another theory is that a lot of these companies get bought up or they fail — and if you fail, you can’t hire more workers.”

Economists Suggest Silicon Valley Startups Aren’t Really Creating Many Jobs

Technology is absolutely phasing out jobs permanently but you also have many companies that won't offer to help educate and modernize employees with skill sets and tools they need to be more relevant in today's job market.

So just learn on your own, right? Sure. For me that's pretty easy. I can look at code and read books and pick up new technologies pretty quickly, but most people are not that adept with technology. Technology is scary to a lot of people.

I see it firsthand when I go home for the holidays and I become the 'gadget fixer' for everyone. I'm also the IT department for my mother-in-law, and occasionally, her boss. My wife also has an aunt who's solution to maxing out her iPhone with thousands of photos is to just buy a new iPhone with more capacity.

I'm going off on a bit of a tangent but my point is these average, everyday people I'm describing are the same people that are susceptible to being made redundant by technology.

Categories:

Career, Finance

Money Ain’t A Thang

These startups-finding-their-way stories blow my fucking mind. Maybe they shouldn't but they do. How people can raise tens of millions of dollars without shit to show for it is beyond me (maybe this is why I've never started or worked at a startup).

Take Javascript platform, Famo.us:

Famo.us’ 15 minutes of open source fame have come to an end. JavaScript rendering engine Famo.us has pivoted away from its hardcore open sourced engineering platform which had raised over $31 million. It’s now refocused on commercializing the idea of powerful mobile web apps with a content management system for branded marketing apps.

Pivot. A brilliant word Silicon Valley loves to use. Wouldn't it be nice if we non-entreprenuers could pivot on things in our lives? Like if those pesky rent payments aren't working out, just pivot on them. The rent-paying world is ripe for disruption. Be innovative and begin paying your rent with a new currency you come up with yourself.

Back to Famo.us:

Famo.us’ ambitions were always lofty and a bit tough to explain. During the company’s debut on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 Startup Battlefield competition, rather than giving a traditional pitch, Famo.us CEO Steve Newcomb spent his whole six minutes asking people to imagine what could be done if apps were 3D instead of 2D and demoing a floating periodic table.

The judges seemed baffled, as you can see below. That’s in part because just days earlier, the team made its first pivot away from what it called BenchRank, a ranking system for people, into an HTML5 development platform. Newcomb and then-intern Mark Lu found they couldn’t build what they wanted with HTML5’s limitations, so they set out to fix them. That led co-founder Dan Lynch and much of the team to depart, leaving Newcomb and Lu to handle Disrupt.

Pick a pivot and go with it, guys.

One more nugget:

I spoke to Newcomb, who confesses that for six months the company struggled to come up with a way to actually earn money. A source close to the company tells me Newcomb pushed the engineer-heavy company into “ideation mode” that made some employees feel like the startup lacked direction. They described engineers as being “fed up.”

Newcomb himself admits it was a “divergent brainstorming process,” saying “We tried everything…we tried everything so we could create a business model around open source. And at the end of the day, we just couldn’t do it.”

Just couldn't come up with a way to earn money. Classic.