jm + silicon-valley   22

I Just Love This Juicero Story So Much
When we signed up to pump money into this juice company, it was because we thought drinking the juice would be a lot harder and more expensive. That was the selling point, because Silicon Valley is a stupid libertarian dystopia where investor-class vampires are the consumers and a regular person’s money is what they go shopping for. Easily opened bags of juice do not give these awful nightmare trash parasites a good bargain on the disposable income of credulous wellness-fad suckers; therefore easily opened bags of juice are a worse investment than bags of juice that are harder to open.
juicero  juicebros  techbros  silicon-valley  funny  dystopia  fruit  bags  juice 
7 days ago by jm
The Fall of BIG DATA – arg min blog
Strongly agreed with this -- particularly the second of the three major failures, specifically:
Our community has developed remarkably effective tools to microtarget advertisements. But if you use ad models to deliver news, that’s propaganda. And just because we didn’t intend to spread rampant misinformation doesn’t mean we are not responsible.
big-data  analytics  data-science  statistics  us-politics  trump  data  science  propaganda  facebook  silicon-valley 
november 2016 by jm
Algorithmic management as the new Taylorism
'its legacy can be seen in factories, call centres and warehouses today, although new technology has taken the place of Taylor’s instruction cards and stopwatches. Many warehouse workers for companies such as Amazon use handheld devices that give them step-by-step instructions on where to walk and what to pick from the shelves when they get there, all the while measuring their “pick rate” in real time. For Jeremias Prassl, a law professor at Oxford university, the algorithmic management techniques of Uber and Deliveroo are Taylorism 2.0. “Algorithms are providing a degree of control and oversight that even the most hardened Taylorists could never have dreamt of,” he says.'
algorithms  labour  work  labor  taylorism  management  silicon-valley  tech  deliveroo  uber  piece-work 
september 2016 by jm
A poem about Silicon Valley, made up of Quora questions about Silicon Valley

Why do so many startups fail?
Why are all the hosts on CouchSurfing male?
Are we going to be tweeting for the rest of our lives?
Why do Silicon Valley billionaires choose average-looking wives?

What makes a startup ecosystem thrive?
What do people plan to do once they’re over 35?
Is an income of $160K enough to survive?
What kind of car does Mark Zuckerberg drive?

Are the real estate prices in Palo Alto crazy?
Do welfare programs make poor people lazy?
What are some of the biggest lies ever told?
How do I explain Bitcoin to a 6-year-old?

Why is Powdered Alcohol not successful so far?
How does UberX handle vomiting in the car?
Is being worth $10 million considered ‘rich’?
What can be causing my upper lip to twitch?

Why has crowdfunding not worked for me?
Is it worth pre-ordering a Tesla Model 3?
How is Clinkle different from Venmo and Square?
Can karma, sometimes, be unfair?

Why are successful entrepreneurs stereotypically jerks?
Which Silicon Valley company has the best intern perks?
What looks easy until you actually try it?
How did your excretions change under a full Soylent diet?

What are alternatives to online dating?
Is living in small apartments debilitating?
Why don’t more entrepreneurs focus on solving world hunger?
What do you regret not doing when you were younger?
funny  tech  poetry  silicon-valley  humour  bitcoin  soylent  2016 
april 2016 by jm
Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps
As I’ll explain, messenger apps’ apparent success in fulfilling such a surprising array of tasks does not owe to the triumph of “conversational UI.” What they’ve achieved can be much more instructively framed as an adept exploitation of Silicon Valley phone OS makers’ growing failure to fully serve users’ needs, particularly in other parts of the world. Chat apps have responded by evolving into “meta-platforms.” Many of the platform-like aspects they’ve taken on to plaster over gaps in the OS actually have little to do with the core chat functionality. Not only is “conversational UI” a red herring, but as we look more closely, we’ll even see places where conversational UI has breached its limits and broken down.
apps  bots  chatops  chat  ui  messaging  silicon-valley  agents  alexa  siri  phones 
april 2016 by jm
Tim O'Reilly vs Paul Graham: fight!
'In his essay on Income Inequality, Paul Graham credited me for pre-publication feedback. Because he didn’t do much with my comments, I thought I’d publish them here.'

... 'Mostly, I think you are picking a fight with people who would mostly agree with you, and ignoring the real arguments about what inequality means and why it matters.'
inequality  silicon-valley  tech  paul-graham  tim-oreilly  piketty  politics  economics  wealth  startups  history  work  stock-options 
january 2016 by jm
Pinboard on the Next Economy Conference (with tweets)
Maciej Ceglowski went to an O'Reilly SV-boosterish conference and produced these excellent tweets
twitter  conferences  oreilly  silicon-valley  new-economy  future  lyft  uber  unions  maciej-ceglowski 
november 2015 by jm
What Happens Next Will Amaze You
Maciej Ceglowski's latest talk, on ads, the web, Silicon Valley and government:
'I went to school with Bill. He's a nice guy. But making him immortal is not going to make life better for anyone in my city. It will just exacerbate the rent crisis.'
talks  slides  funny  ads  advertising  internet  web  privacy  surveillance  maciej  silicon-valley 
september 2015 by jm
Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley | TechCrunch
'Reasons abound for international entrepreneurs and top technical talent to stay away from Silicon Valley and build their startup somewhere else.'

Strongly agreed. This factoid is particularly nuts:

'As Balaji Srinivasan of a16z has observed, roughly 50%+ of the capital allocated for early stage tech investments is actually flowing into Bay Area real estate, directly through office rentals and indirectly via home rentals as a primary driver of skyrocketing salaries.'
salary  bay-area  silicon-valley  usa  tech  jobs  work  real-estate  rent  startups  techcrunch 
january 2015 by jm
Misogyny in the Valley
The young women interns [in one story in this post] worked in a very different way. As I explored their notes, I noticed that ideas were expanded upon, not abandoned. Challenges were identified, but the male language so often heard in Silicon Valley conference rooms - “Well, let me tell you what the problem with that idea is….” - was not in the room.  These young women, without men to define the “appropriate business behavior,” used different behaviors and came up with a startling and valuable solution. They showed many of the values that exist outside of dominance-based leadership: strategic thinking, intuition, nurturing and relationship building, values-based decision-making and acceptance of other’s input.

Women need space to be themselves at work. Until people who have created their success by worshipping at the temple of male behavior, like Sheryl Sandberg, learn to value alternate behaviors, the working world will remain a foreign and hostile culture to women. And if we do not continuously work to build corporate cultures where there is room for other behaviors, women will be cast from or abandoned in a world not of our making, where we continuously “just do not fit in,” but where we still must go to earn our livings.
sexism  misogyny  silicon-valley  tech  work  sheryl-sandberg  business  collaboration 
january 2015 by jm
East of Palo Alto’s Eden
What if Silicon Valley had emerged from a racially integrated community?

Would the technology industry be different? 

Would we?

And what can the technology industry do now to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?


Amazing article -- this is the best thing I've ever read on TechCrunch: the political history of race in Silicon Valley and East Palo Alto.
racism  politics  history  race  silicon-valley  palo-alto  technology  us-politics  via:burritojustice 
january 2015 by jm
How Paul Graham Is Wrong
If 95% of great programmers aren’t in the US, and an even higher percentage not in the Bay Area, set up your company to take advantage of that fact as a strength, not a weakness. Use WordPress and P2, use Slack, use G+ Hangouts, use Skype, use any of the amazing technology that allows us to collaborate as effectively online as previous generations of company did offline. Let people live someplace remarkable instead of paying $2,800 a month for a mediocre one bedroom rental in San Francisco. Or don’t, and let companies like Automattic and Github hire the best and brightest and let them live and work wherever they like.
business  remote-work  economics  silicon-valley  bay-area  vcs  matt-mullenweg  automattic  work 
december 2014 by jm
Zeldman on Facebook's "Year In Review" feature
This is a great point.
When you put together teams of largely homogenous people of the same class and background, and pay them a lot of money, and when most of those people are under 30, it stands to reason that when someone in the room says, “Let’s do ‘your year in review, and front-load it with visuals,’” most folks in the room will imagine photos of skiing trips, parties, and awards shows— not photos of dead spouses, parents, and children.

So it comes back to this. When we talk about the need for diversity in tech, we’re not doing it because we like quota systems. Diverse backgrounds produce differing points of view. And those differences are needed if we are to put the flowering of internet genius to use actually helping humanity with its many terrifying and seemingly intractable problems.
best-practices  sensitivity  culture  design  silicon-valley  youth  privilege  facebook 
december 2014 by jm
Shanley Kane of Model View Culture Challenges a “Corrupt” Silicon Valley | MIT Technology Review
If their interests were better serving the world, using technology as a force for social justice, and equitably distributing technology wealth to enrich society … sure, they’d be acting against their interests. But the reality is that tech companies centralize power and wealth in a small group of privileged white men. When that’s the goal, then exploiting the labor of marginalized people and denying them access to power and wealth is 100 percent in line with the endgame. A more diverse tech industry would be better for its workers and everyone else, but it would be worse for the privileged white men at the top of it, because it would mean they would have to give up their monopoly on money and power. And they will fight that with everything they’ve got, which is why we see barriers to equality at every level of the industry.
culture  feminism  tech  mit-tech-review  shanley-kane  privilege  vcs  silicon-valley 
december 2014 by jm
Here’s Why You’re Not Hiring the Best and the Brightest
Jeff Atwood's persuasive argument that remote working needs to be the norm in tech work:
There’s an elephant in the room in the form of an implied clause: Always hire the best people… who are willing to live in San Francisco. Substitute Mountain View, New York, Boston, Chicago, or any other city. The problem is the same. We pay lip service to the idea of hiring the best people in the world — but in reality, we’re only hiring the best people who happen to be close by.
recruiting  remote  hiring  business  coding  work  remote-work  telecommuting  jobs  silicon-valley  jeff-atwood 
april 2014 by jm
No, Nate, brogrammers may not be macho, but that’s not all there is to it
Great essay on sexism in tech, "brogrammer" culture, "clubhouse chemistry", outsiders, wierd nerds and exclusion:
Every group, including the excluded and disadvantaged, create cultural capital and behave in ways that simultaneously create a sense of belonging for them in their existing social circle while also potentially denying them entry into another one, often at the expense of economic capital. It’s easy to see that wearing baggy, sagging pants to a job interview, or having large and visible tattoos in a corporate setting, might limit someone’s access. These are some of the markers of belonging used in social groups that are often denied opportunities. By embracing these markers, members of the group create real barriers to acceptance outside their circle even as they deepen their peer relationships. The group chooses to adopt values that are rejected by the society that’s rejecting them. And that’s what happens to “weird nerd” men as well—they create ways of being that allow for internal bonding against a largely exclusionary backdrop.


(via Bryan O'Sullivan)
nerds  outsiders  exclusion  society  nate-silver  brogrammers  sexism  racism  tech  culture  silicon-valley  essays  via:bos31337 
march 2014 by jm
Paul Graham and the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker
Under Graham’s influence, Mark [Zuckerberg], like many in Silicon Valley, subscribes to the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker ideal, making self-started teenage hackers Facebook’s most desired recruiting targets, not even so much for their coding ability as their ability to serve as the faces of hacking culture. “Culture fit”, in this sense, is one’s ability to conform to the Valley’s boyish hacker fantasy, which is easier, obviously, the closer you are to a teenage boy.

Like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s role of existing to serve the male film protagonist’s personal growth, the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker’s job is to embody the dream hacker role while growing the VC’s portfolio. This is why the dream hacker never ages, never visibly develops interests beyond hardware and code, and doesn’t question why nearly all the other people receiving funding look like him. Like the actress playing the pixie dream girl, the pixie dream boy isn’t being paid to question the role for which he has been cast.

In this way, for all his supposed “disruptiveness”, the hacker pixie actually does exactly what he is told: to embody, while he can, the ideal hacker, until he is no longer young, mono-focused, and boyish-seeming enough to qualify for the role (at that point, vested equity may allow him to retire). And like in Hollywood, VCs will have already recruited newer, younger ones to play him.
hackers  manic-pixie-dream-girl  culture-fit  silicon-valley  mark-zuckerberg  paul-graham  y-combinator  vc  work  investment  technology  recruitment  facebook  ageism  equality  sexism 
january 2014 by jm
Alex Payne — Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology
Working in technology has an element of pioneering, and with new frontiers come those would prefer to leave civilization behind. But in a time of growing inequality, we need technology that preserves and renews the civilization we already have. The first step in this direction is for technologists to engage with the experiences and struggles of those outside their industry and community. There’s a big, wide, increasingly poor world out there, and it doesn’t need 99% of what Silicon Valley is selling.

I’ve enjoyed the thought experiment of Bitcoin as much as the next nerd, but it’s time to dispense with the opportunism and adolescent fantasies of a crypto-powered stateless future and return to the work of building technology and social services that meaningfully and accountably improve our collective quality of life.
bitcoin  business  economics  silicon-valley  tech  alex-payne  writing  libertarianism  futurism  crypto  civilization  frontier  community 
december 2013 by jm
It’s time for Silicon Valley to ask: Is it worth it?
These companies and their technologies are built on data, and the data is us. If we are to have any faith in the Internet, we have to trust them to protect it. That’s a relationship dynamic that will become only more intertwined as the Internet finds its way into more aspects of our daily existences, from phones that talk to us to cars that drive themselves.

The US’s surveillance programs threaten to destroy that trust permanently.

America’s tech companies must stand up to this pervasive and corrosive surveillance system. They must ask that difficult question: “Is it worth it?”
silicon-valley  tech  nsa  gchq  spying  surveillance  internet  privacy  data-protection 
november 2013 by jm
the recruiter honeypot
wow, I thought it was hard hiring in Dublin. Sounds like Silicon Valley is insane.

"Unfortunately, it’s not all about the numbers. Though external recruiters perform well for start-ups, there’s another side to this story. It pains me to write this but I think it’s important to share. Meebo employed lots of external recruiters when we were getting off the ground. We had standard 18-month no-poach restrictions with all of our contractors that specified that those recruiters were not allowed to contact Meebo employees within 18 months of our contract expiring. Most of those contracts expired in 2008-2009.

However, every recruiter and firm we’d worked with who was still in the recruiting business tried to poach [the 'honeypot' employee] Pete London."

(Another lesson: don't build a product in javascript, since it's impossible to hire engineers ;)
honeypots  hiring  silicon-valley  recruiting  coding  experts  meebo 
june 2012 by jm

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