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Vitalik

Vitalik

2 years ago

An approximate introduction to how zk-SNARKs are possible (part 1)

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has 2 very powerful applications: Perhaps the most powerful cryptographic technology to come out of the last decade is general-purpose succinct zero knowledge proofs, usually called zk-SNARKs ("zero knowledge succinct arguments of knowledge"). A zk-SNARK allows you to generate a proof that some computation has some particular output, in such a way that the proof can be verified extremely quickly even if the underlying computation takes a very long time to run. The "ZK" part adds an additional feature: the proof can keep some of the inputs to the computation hidden.

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has two very powerful applications:

  1. Scalability: if a block takes a long time to verify, one person can verify it and generate a proof, and everyone else can just quickly verify the proof instead
  2. Privacy: you can prove that you have the right to transfer some asset (you received it, and you didn't already transfer it) without revealing the link to which asset you received. This ensures security without unduly leaking information about who is transacting with whom to the public.

But zk-SNARKs are quite complex; indeed, as recently as in 2014-17 they were still frequently called "moon math". The good news is that since then, the protocols have become simpler and our understanding of them has become much better. This post will try to explain how ZK-SNARKs work, in a way that should be understandable to someone with a medium level of understanding of mathematics.

Why ZK-SNARKs "should" be hard

Let us take the example that we started with: we have a number (we can encode "cow" followed by the secret input as an integer), we take the SHA256 hash of that number, then we do that again another 99,999,999 times, we get the output, and we check what its starting digits are. This is a huge computation.

A "succinct" proof is one where both the size of the proof and the time required to verify it grow much more slowly than the computation to be verified. If we want a "succinct" proof, we cannot require the verifier to do some work per round of hashing (because then the verification time would be proportional to the computation). Instead, the verifier must somehow check the whole computation without peeking into each individual piece of the computation.

One natural technique is random sampling: how about we just have the verifier peek into the computation in 500 different places, check that those parts are correct, and if all 500 checks pass then assume that the rest of the computation must with high probability be fine, too?

Such a procedure could even be turned into a non-interactive proof using the Fiat-Shamir heuristic: the prover computes a Merkle root of the computation, uses the Merkle root to pseudorandomly choose 500 indices, and provides the 500 corresponding Merkle branches of the data. The key idea is that the prover does not know which branches they will need to reveal until they have already "committed to" the data. If a malicious prover tries to fudge the data after learning which indices are going to be checked, that would change the Merkle root, which would result in a new set of random indices, which would require fudging the data again... trapping the malicious prover in an endless cycle.

But unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in naively applying random sampling to spot-check a computation in this way: computation is inherently fragile. If a malicious prover flips one bit somewhere in the middle of a computation, they can make it give a completely different result, and a random sampling verifier would almost never find out.


It only takes one deliberately inserted error, that a random check would almost never catch, to make a computation give a completely incorrect result.

If tasked with the problem of coming up with a zk-SNARK protocol, many people would make their way to this point and then get stuck and give up. How can a verifier possibly check every single piece of the computation, without looking at each piece of the computation individually? There is a clever solution.

see part 2

(Edited)

More on Web3 & Crypto

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

2 years ago

YouTube

This is a YouTube video:

Coinbase

Coinbase

2 years ago

10 Predictions for Web3 and the Cryptoeconomy for 2022

By Surojit Chatterjee, Chief Product Officer

2021 proved to be a breakout year for crypto with BTC price gaining almost 70% yoy, Defi hitting $150B in value locked, and NFTs emerging as a new category. Here’s my view through the crystal ball into 2022 and what it holds for our industry:

1. Eth scalability will improve, but newer L1 chains will see substantial growth — As we welcome the next hundred million users to crypto and Web3, scalability challenges for Eth are likely to grow. I am optimistic about improvements in Eth scalability with the emergence of Eth2 and many L2 rollups. Traction of Solana, Avalanche and other L1 chains shows that we’ll live in a multi-chain world in the future. We’re also going to see newer L1 chains emerge that focus on specific use cases such as gaming or social media.

2. There will be significant usability improvements in L1-L2 bridges — As more L1 networks gain traction and L2s become bigger, our industry will desperately seek improvements in speed and usability of cross-L1 and L1-L2 bridges. We’re likely to see interesting developments in usability of bridges in the coming year.

3. Zero knowledge proof technology will get increased traction — 2021 saw protocols like ZkSync and Starknet beginning to get traction. As L1 chains get clogged with increased usage, ZK-rollup technology will attract both investor and user attention. We’ll see new privacy-centric use cases emerge, including privacy-safe applications, and gaming models that have privacy built into the core. This may also bring in more regulator attention to crypto as KYC/AML could be a real challenge in privacy centric networks.

4. Regulated Defi and emergence of on-chain KYC attestation — Many Defi protocols will embrace regulation and will create separate KYC user pools. Decentralized identity and on-chain KYC attestation services will play key roles in connecting users’ real identity with Defi wallet endpoints. We’ll see more acceptance of ENS type addresses, and new systems from cross chain name resolution will emerge.

5. Institutions will play a much bigger role in Defi participation — Institutions are increasingly interested in participating in Defi. For starters, institutions are attracted to higher than average interest-based returns compared to traditional financial products. Also, cost reduction in providing financial services using Defi opens up interesting opportunities for institutions. However, they are still hesitant to participate in Defi. Institutions want to confirm that they are only transacting with known counterparties that have completed a KYC process. Growth of regulated Defi and on-chain KYC attestation will help institutions gain confidence in Defi.

6. Defi insurance will emerge — As Defi proliferates, it also becomes the target of security hacks. According to London-based firm Elliptic, total value lost by Defi exploits in 2021 totaled over $10B. To protect users from hacks, viable insurance protocols guaranteeing users’ funds against security breaches will emerge in 2022.

7. NFT Based Communities will give material competition to Web 2.0 social networks — NFTs will continue to expand in how they are perceived. We’ll see creator tokens or fan tokens take more of a first class seat. NFTs will become the next evolution of users’ digital identity and passport to the metaverse. Users will come together in small and diverse communities based on types of NFTs they own. User created metaverses will be the future of social networks and will start threatening the advertising driven centralized versions of social networks of today.

8. Brands will start actively participating in the metaverse and NFTs — Many brands are realizing that NFTs are great vehicles for brand marketing and establishing brand loyalty. Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin released NFT collectibles in 2021. Adidas recently launched a new metaverse project with Bored Ape Yacht Club. We’re likely to see more interesting brand marketing initiatives using NFTs. NFTs and the metaverse will become the new Instagram for brands. And just like on Instagram, many brands may start as NFT native. We’ll also see many more celebrities jumping in the bandwagon and using NFTs to enhance their personal brand.

9. Web2 companies will wake up and will try to get into Web3 — We’re already seeing this with Facebook trying to recast itself as a Web3 company. We’re likely to see other big Web2 companies dipping their toes into Web3 and metaverse in 2022. However, many of them are likely to create centralized and closed network versions of the metaverse.

10. Time for DAO 2.0 — We’ll see DAOs become more mature and mainstream. More people will join DAOs, prompting a change in definition of employment — never receiving a formal offer letter, accepting tokens instead of or along with fixed salaries, and working in multiple DAO projects at the same time. DAOs will also confront new challenges in terms of figuring out how to do M&A, run payroll and benefits, and coordinate activities in larger and larger organizations. We’ll see a plethora of tools emerge to help DAOs execute with efficiency. Many DAOs will also figure out how to interact with traditional Web2 companies. We’re likely to see regulators taking more interest in DAOs and make an attempt to educate themselves on how DAOs work.

Thanks to our customers and the ecosystem for an incredible 2021. Looking forward to another year of building the foundations for Web3. Wagmi.

Matt Ward

Matt Ward

1 year ago

Is Web3 nonsense?

Crypto and blockchain have rebranded as web3. They probably thought it sounded better and didn't want the baggage of scam ICOs, STOs, and skirted securities laws.

It was like Facebook becoming Meta. Crypto's biggest players wanted to change public (and regulator) perception away from pump-and-dump schemes.

After the 2018 ICO gold rush, it's understandable. Every project that raised millions (or billions) never shipped a meaningful product.

Like many crazes, charlatans took the money and ran.

Despite its grifter past, web3 is THE hot topic today as more founders, venture firms, and larger institutions look to build the future decentralized internet.

Supposedly.

How often have you heard: This will change the world, fix the internet, and give people power?

Why are most of web3's biggest proponents (and beneficiaries) the same rich, powerful players who built and invested in the modern internet? It's like they want to remake and own the internet.

Something seems off about that.

Why are insiders getting preferential presale terms before the public, allowing early investors and proponents to flip dirt cheap tokens and advisors shares almost immediately after the public sale?

It's a good gig with guaranteed markups, no risk or progress.

If it sounds like insider trading, it is, at least practically. This is clear when people talk about blockchain/web3 launches and tokens.

Fast money, quick flips, and guaranteed markups/returns are common.

Incentives-wise, it's hard to blame them. Who can blame someone for following the rules to win? Is it their fault or regulators' for not leveling the playing field?

It's similar to oil companies polluting for profit, Instagram depressing you into buying a new dress, or pharma pushing an unnecessary pill.

All of that is fair game, at least until we change the playbook, because people (and corporations) change for pain or love. Who doesn't love money?

belief based on money gain

Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Bitcoin, blockchain, and web3 analogies?

Most blockchain and web3 proponents are true believers, not cynical capitalists. They believe blockchain's inherent transparency and permissionless trust allow humanity to evolve beyond our reptilian ways and build a better decentralized and democratic world.

They highlight issues with the modern internet and monopoly players like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Decentralization fixes everything

If we could give power back to the people and get governments/corporations/individuals out of the way, we'd fix everything.

Blockchain solves supply chain and child labor issues in China.

To meet Paris climate goals, reduce emissions. Create a carbon token.

Fixing online hatred and polarization Web3 Twitter and Facebook replacement.

Web3 must just be the answer for everything… your “perfect” silver bullet.

Nothing fits everyone. Blockchain has pros and cons like everything else.

Blockchain's viral, ponzi-like nature has an MLM (mid level marketing) feel. If you bought Taylor Swift's NFT, your investment is tied to her popularity.

Probably makes you promote Swift more. Play music loudly.

Here's another example:

Imagine if Jehovah’s Witnesses (or evangelical preachers…) got paid for every single person they converted to their cause.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as their faith and wealth grow.

Which breeds extremism? Ultra-Orthodox Jews are an example. maximalists

Bitcoin and blockchain are causes, religions. It's a money-making movement and ideal.

We're good at convincing ourselves of things we want to believe, hence filter bubbles.

I ignore anything that doesn't fit my worldview and seek out like-minded people, which algorithms amplify.

Then what?

Is web3 merely a new scam?

No, never!

Blockchain has many crucial uses.

Sending money home/abroad without bank fees;

Like fleeing a war-torn country and converting savings to Bitcoin;

Like preventing Twitter from silencing dissidents.

Permissionless, trustless databases could benefit society and humanity. There are, however, many limitations.

Lost password?

What if you're cheated?

What if Trump/Putin/your favorite dictator incites a coup d'état?

What-ifs abound. Decentralization's openness brings good and bad.

No gatekeepers or firefighters to rescue you.

ISIS's fundraising is also frictionless.

Community-owned apps with bad interfaces and service.

Trade-offs rule.

So what compromises does web3 make?

What are your trade-offs? Decentralization has many strengths and flaws. Like Bitcoin's wasteful proof-of-work or Ethereum's political/wealth-based proof-of-stake.

To ensure the survival and veracity of the network/blockchain and to safeguard its nodes, extreme measures have been designed/put in place to prevent hostile takeovers aimed at altering the blockchain, i.e., adding money to your own wallet (account), etc.

These protective measures require significant resources and pose challenges. Reduced speed and throughput, high gas fees (cost to submit/write a transaction to the blockchain), and delayed development times, not to mention forked blockchain chains oops, web3 projects.

Protecting dissidents or rogue regimes makes sense. You need safety, privacy, and calm.

First-world life?

What if you assumed EVERYONE you saw was out to rob/attack you? You'd never travel, trust anyone, accomplish much, or live fully. The economy would collapse.

It's like an ant colony where half the ants do nothing but wait to be attacked.

Waste of time and money.

11% of the US budget goes to the military. Imagine what we could do with the $766B+ we spend on what-ifs annually.

Is so much hypothetical security needed?

Blockchain and web3 are similar.

Does your app need permissionless decentralization? Does your scooter-sharing company really need a proof-of-stake system and 1000s of nodes to avoid Russian hackers? Why?

Worst-case scenario? It's not life or death, unless you overstate the what-ifs. Web3 proponents find improbable scenarios to justify decentralization and tokenization.

Do I need a token to prove ownership of my painting? Unless I'm a master thief, I probably bought it.

despite losing the receipt.

I do, however, love Web 3.

Enough Web3 bashing for now. Understand? Decentralization isn't perfect, but it has huge potential when applied to the right problems.

I see many of the right problems as disrupting big tech's ruthless monopolies. I wrote several years ago about how tokenized blockchains could be used to break big tech's stranglehold on platforms, marketplaces, and social media.

Tokenomics schemes can be used for good and are powerful. Here’s how.

Before the ICO boom, I made a series of predictions about blockchain/crypto's future. It's still true.

Here's where I was then and where I see web3 going:

My 11 Big & Bold Predictions for Blockchain

In the near future, people may wear crypto cash rings or bracelets.

  1. While some governments repress cryptocurrency, others will start to embrace it.

  2. Blockchain will fundamentally alter voting and governance, resulting in a more open election process.

  3. Money freedom will lead to a more geographically open world where people will be more able to leave when there is unrest.

  4. Blockchain will make record keeping significantly easier, eliminating the need for a significant portion of government workers whose sole responsibility is paperwork.

  5. Overrated are smart contracts.

6. Tokens will replace company stocks.

7. Blockchain increases real estate's liquidity, value, and volatility.

8. Healthcare may be most affected.

9. Crypto could end privacy and lead to Minority Report.

10. New companies with network effects will displace incumbents.

11. Soon, people will wear rings or bracelets with crypto cash.

Some have already happened, while others are still possible.

Time will tell if they happen.

And finally:

What will web3 be?

Who will be in charge?

Closing remarks

Hope you enjoyed this web3 dive. There's much more to say, but that's for another day.

We're writing history as we go.

Tech regulation, mergers, Bitcoin surge How will history remember us?

What about web3 and blockchain?

Is this a revolution or a tulip craze?

Remember, actions speak louder than words (share them in the comments).

Your turn.

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Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

1 year ago

The current inflation is unique.

New Stiglitz just dropped.

Here's the inflation story everyone believes (warning: it's false): America gave the poor too much money during the recession, and now the economy is awash with free money, which made them so rich they're refusing to work, meaning the economy isn't making anything. Prices are soaring due to increased cash and missing labor.

Lawrence Summers says there's only one answer. We must impoverish the poor: raise interest rates, cause a recession, and eliminate millions of jobs, until the poor are stripped of their underserved fortunes and return to work.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/11/20/quiet-part-out-loud/#profiteering

This is nonsense. Countries around the world suffered inflation during and after lockdowns, whether they gave out humanitarian money to keep people from starvation. America has slightly greater inflation than other OECD countries, but it's not due to big relief packages.

The Causes of and Responses to Today's Inflation, a Roosevelt Institute report by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this bogus inflation story and offers a more credible explanation for inflation.

https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/RI CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation Report 202212.pdf

Sharp interest rate hikes exacerbate the slump and increase inflation, the authors argue. They compare monetary policy inflation cures to medieval bloodletting, where doctors repeated the same treatment until the patient recovered (for which they received credit) or died (which was more likely).

Let's discuss bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn of the wage price spiral, when inflation rises and powerful workers bargain for higher pay, driving up expenses, prices, and wages. This is the fairy-tale narrative of the 1970s, and it's true except that OPEC's embargo drove up oil prices, which produced inflation. Oh well.

Let's be generous to seventies-haunted inflation hawks and say we're worried about a wage-price spiral. Fantastic! No. Real wages are 2.3% lower than they were in Oct 2021 after peaking in June at 4.8%.

Why did America's powerful workers take a paycut rather than demand inflation-based pay? Weak unions, globalization, economic developments.

Workers don't expect inflation to rise, so they're not requesting inflationary hikes. Inflationary expectations have remained moderate, consistent with our data interpretation.

https://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce#/

Neither are workers. Working people see surplus savings as wealth and spend it gradually over their lives, despite rising demand. People may have saved money by staying in during the lockdown, but they don't eat out every night to make up for it. Instead, they keep those savings as precautionary balances. This is why the economy is lagging.

People don't buy non-traded goods with pandemic savings (basically, imports). Imports don't multiply like domestic purchases. If you buy a loaf of bread from the corner baker for $1 and they spend it at the tavern across the street, that dollar generates $3 in economic activity. Spending a dollar on foreign goods leaves the country and any multiplier effect happens there, not in the US.

Only marginally higher wages. The ECI is up 1.6% from 2019. Almost all gains went to the 25% lowest-paid Americans. Contrary to the inflation worry about too much savings, these workers don't make enough to save, even post-pandemic.

Recreation and transit spending are at or below pre-pandemic levels. Higher food and hotel prices (which doesn’t mean we’re buying more food than we were in 2019, just that it costs more).

What causes inflation if not greedy workers, free money, and high demand? The most expensive domestic goods produce the biggest revenues for their manufacturers. They charge you more without paying their workers or suppliers more.

The largest price-gougers are funneling their earnings to rich people who store it offshore through stock buybacks and dividends. A $1 billion stock buyback doesn't buy $1 billion in bread.

Five factors influence US inflation today:

I. Price rises for energy and food

II. shifts in consumer tastes

III. supply interruptions (mainly autos);

IV. increased rents (due to telecommuting);

V. monopoly (AKA price-gouging).

None can be remedied by raising interest rates or laying off workers.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, omicron, and China's Zero Covid policy all disrupted the flow of food, energy, and production inputs. The price went higher because we made less.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, oil prices spiked, and sanctions made it worse. But that was February. By October, oil prices had returned to pre-pandemic, 2015 levels attributable to global economic adjustments, including a shift to renewables. Every new renewable installation reduces oil consumption and affects oil prices.

High food prices have a simple solution. The US and EU have bribed farmers not to produce for 50 years. If the war continues, this program may end, and food prices may decline.

Demand changes. We want different things than in 2019, not more. During the lockdown, people substituted goods. Half of the US toilet-paper supply in 2019 was on commercial-sized rolls. This is created from different mills and stock than our toilet paper.

Lockdown pushed toilet paper demand to residential rolls, causing shortages (the TP hoarding story was just another pandemic urban legend). Because supermarket stores don't have accounts with commercial paper distributors, ordering from languishing stores was difficult. Kleenex and paper towel substitutions caused greater shortages.

All that drove increased costs in numerous product categories, and there were more cases. These increases are transient, caused by supply chain inefficiencies that are resolving.

Demand for frontline staff saw a one-time repricing of pay, which is being recouped as we speak.

Illnesses. Brittle, hollowed-out global supply chains aggravated this. The constant pursuit of cheap labor and minimal regulation by monopolies that dominate most sectors means things are manufactured in far-flung locations. Financialization means any surplus capital assets were sold off years ago, leaving firms with little production slack. After the epidemic, several of these systems took years to restart.

Automobiles are to blame. Financialization and monopolization consolidated microchip and auto production in Taiwan and China. When the lockdowns came, these worldwide corporations cancelled their chip orders, and when they placed fresh orders, they were at the back of the line.

That drove up car prices, which is why the US has slightly higher inflation than other wealthy countries: the economy is car-centric. Automobile prices account for 9% of the CPI. France: 3.6%

Rent shocks and telecommuting. After the epidemic, many professionals moved to exurbs, small towns, and the countryside to work from home. As commercial properties were vacated, it was impractical to adapt them for residential use due to planning restrictions. Addressing these restrictions will cut rent prices more than raising inflation rates, which halts housing construction.

Statistical mirages cause some rent inflation. The CPI estimates what homeowners would pay to rent their properties. When rents rise in your neighborhood, the CPI believes you're spending more on rent even if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Market dominance. Almost every area of the US economy is dominated by monopolies, whose CEOs disclose on investor calls that they use inflation scares to jack up prices and make record profits.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/02/its-the-economy-stupid/#overinflated

Long-term profit margins are rising. Markups averaged 26% from 1960-1980. 2021: 72%. Market concentration explains 81% of markup increases (e.g. monopolization). Profit margins reach a 70-year high in 2022. These elements interact. Monopolies thin out their sectors, making them brittle and sensitive to shocks.

If we're worried about a shrinking workforce, there are more humanitarian and sensible solutions than causing a recession and mass unemployment. Instead, we may boost US production capacity by easing workers' entry into the workforce.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/06/01/factories-to-condos-pipeline/#stuff-not-money

US female workforce participation ranks towards the bottom of developed countries. Many women can't afford to work due to America's lack of daycare, low earnings, and bad working conditions in female-dominated fields. If America doesn't have enough workers, childcare subsidies and minimum wages can help.

By contrast, driving the country into recession with interest-rate hikes will reduce employment, and the last recruited (women, minorities) are the first fired and the last to be rehired. Forcing America into recession won't enhance its capacity to create what its people want; it will degrade it permanently.

Nothing the Fed does can stop price hikes from international markets, lack of supply chain investment, COVID-19 disruptions, climate change, the Ukraine war, or market power. They can worsen it. When supply problems generate inflation, raising interest rates decreases investments that can remedy shortages.

Increasing interest rates won't cut rents since landlords pass on the expenses and high rates restrict investment in new dwellings where tenants could escape the costs.

Fixing the supply fixes supply-side inflation. Increase renewables investment (as the Inflation Reduction Act does). Monopolies can be busted (as the IRA does). Reshore key goods (as the CHIPS Act does). Better pay and child care attract employees.

Windfall taxes can claw back price-gouging corporations' monopoly earnings.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/03/15/sanctions-financing/#soak-the-rich

In 2008, we ruled out fiscal solutions (bailouts for debtors) and turned to monetary policy (bank bailouts). This preserved the economy but increased inequality and eroded public trust.

Monetary policy won't help. Even monetary policy enthusiasts recognize an 18-month lag between action and result. That suggests monetary tightening is unnecessary. Like the medieval bloodletter, central bankers whose interest rate hikes don't work swiftly may do more of the same, bringing the economy to its knees.

Interest rates must rise. Zero-percent interest fueled foolish speculation and financialization. Increasing rates will stop this. Increasing interest rates will destroy the economy and dampen inflation.

Then what? All recent evidence indicate to inflation decreasing on its own, as the authors argue. Supply side difficulties are finally being overcome, evidence shows. Energy and food prices are showing considerable mean reversion, which is disinflationary.

The authors don't recommend doing nothing. Best case scenario, they argue, is that the Fed won't keep raising interest rates until morale improves.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart

1 year ago

Has anyone noticed what an absolute shitshow LinkedIn is?

After viewing its insanity, I had to leave this platform.

Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

I joined LinkedIn recently. That's how I aim to increase my readership and gain recognition. LinkedIn's premise appealed to me: a Facebook-like platform for professional networking.

I don't use Facebook since it's full of propaganda. It seems like a professional, apolitical space, right?

I expected people to:

  • be more formal and respectful than on Facebook.

  • Talk about the inclusiveness of the workplace. Studies consistently demonstrate that inclusive, progressive workplaces outperform those that adhere to established practices.

  • Talk about business in their industry. Yep. I wanted to read articles with advice on how to write better and reach a wider audience.

Oh, sh*t. I hadn't anticipated that.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

After posting and reading about inclusivity and pro-choice, I was startled by how many professionals acted unprofessionally. I've seen:

  • Men have approached me in the DMs in a really aggressive manner. Yikes. huge yikes Not at all professional.

  • I've heard pro-choice women referred to as infant killers by many people. If I were the CEO of a company and I witnessed one of my employees acting that poorly, I would immediately fire them.

  • Many posts are anti-LGBTQIA+, as I've noticed. a lot, like, a lot. Some are subtly stating that the world doesn't need to know, while others are openly making fun of transgender persons like myself.

  • Several medical professionals were posting explicitly racist comments. Even if you are as white as a sheet like me, you should be alarmed by this. Who's to guarantee a patient who is black won't unintentionally die?

  • I won't even get into how many men in STEM I observed pushing for the exclusion of women from their fields. I shouldn't be surprised considering the majority of those men I've encountered have a passionate dislike for women, but goddamn, dude.

Many people appear entirely too at ease displaying their bigotry on their professional profiles.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

As a white female, I'm always shocked by people's open hostility. Professional environments are very important.

I don't know if this is still true (people seem too politicized to care), but if I heard many of these statements in person, I'd suppose they feel ashamed. Really.

Are you not ashamed of being so mean? Are you so weak that competing with others terrifies you? Isn't this embarrassing?

LinkedIn isn't great at censoring offensive comments. These people aren't getting warnings. So they were safe while others were unsafe.

The CEO in me would want to know if I had placed a bigot on my staff.

Photo by Romain V on Unsplash

I always wondered if people's employers knew about their online behavior. If they know how horrible they appear, they don't care.

As a manager, I was picky about hiring. Obviously. In most industries, it costs $1,000 or more to hire a full-time employee, so be sure it pays off.

Companies that embrace diversity and tolerance (and are intolerant of intolerance) are more profitable, likely to recruit top personnel, and successful.

People avoid businesses that alienate them. That's why I don't eat at Chic-Fil-A and why folks avoid MyPillow. Being inclusive is good business.

CEOs are harmed by online bigots. Image is an issue. If you're a business owner, you can fire staff who don't help you.

On the one hand, I'm delighted it makes it simpler to identify those with whom not to do business.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong. I'm glad I know who to avoid when hiring, getting references, or searching for a job. When people are bad, it saves me time.

What's up with professionalism?

Really. I need to know. I've crossed the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, but never on a professional platform. I got in trouble for not wearing bras even though it's not part of my gender expression.

If I behaved like that at my last two office jobs, my supervisors would have fired me immediately. Some of the behavior I've seen is so outrageous, I can't believe these people have employment. Some are even leaders.

Like…how? Is hatred now normalized?

Please pay attention whether you're seeking for a job or even simply a side gig.

Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

Do not add to the tragedy that LinkedIn comments can be, or at least don't make uninformed comments. Even if you weren't banned, the site may still bite you.

Recruiters can and do look at your activity. Your writing goes on your résumé. The wrong comment might lose you a job.

Recruiters and CEOs might reject candidates whose principles contradict with their corporate culture. Bigotry will get you banned from many companies, especially if others report you.

If you want a high-paying job, avoid being a LinkedIn asshole. People care even if you think no one does. Before speaking, ponder. Is this how you want to be perceived?

Better advice:

If your politics might turn off an employer, stop posting about them online and ask yourself why you hold such objectionable ideas.

Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 year ago

Your entrepreneurial experience can either be a beautiful adventure or a living hell with just one decision.

Choose.

Bakhrom Tursunov — Unsplash

DNA makes us distinct.

We act alike. Most people follow the same road, ignoring differences. We remain quiet about our uniqueness for fear of exclusion (family, social background, religion). We live a more or less imposed life.

Off the beaten path, we stand out from the others. We obey without realizing we're sewing a shroud. We're told to do as everyone else and spend 40 years dreaming of a golden retirement and regretting not living.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” - Shannon L. Alder

Others dare. Again, few are creative; most follow the example of those who establish a business for the sake of entrepreneurship. To live.

They pick a potential market and model their MVP on an existing solution. Most mimic others, alter a few things, appear to be original, and end up with bland products, adding to an already crowded market.

SaaS, PaaS, etc. followed suit. It's reduced pricing, profitability, and product lifespan.

As competitors become more aggressive, their profitability diminishes, making life horrible for them and their employees. They fail to innovate, cut costs, and close their company.

Few of them look happy and fulfilled.

How did they do it?

The answer is unsettlingly simple.

They are themselves.

  • They start their company, propelled at first by a passion or maybe a calling.

  • Then, at their own pace, they create it with the intention of resolving a dilemma.

  • They assess what others are doing and consider how they might improve it.

  • In contrast to them, they respond to it in their own way by adding a unique personal touch. Therefore, it is obvious.

Originals, like their DNA, can't be copied. Or if they are, they're poorly printed. Originals are unmatched. Artist-like. True collectors only buy Picasso paintings by the master, not forgeries, no matter how good.

Imaginative people are constantly ahead. Copycats fall behind unless they innovate. They watch their competition continuously. Their solution or product isn't sexy. They hope to cash in on their copied product by flooding the market.

They're mostly pirates. They're short-sighted, unlike creators.

Creators see further ahead and have no rivals. They use copiers to confirm a necessity. To maintain their individuality, creators avoid copying others. They find copying boring. It's boring. They oppose plagiarism.

It's thrilling and inspiring.

It will also make them more able to withstand their opponents' tension. Not to mention roadblocks. For creators, impediments are games.

Others fear it. They race against the clock and fear threats that could interrupt their momentum since they lack inventiveness and their product has a short life cycle.

Creators have time on their side. They're dedicated. Clearly. Passionate booksellers will have their own bookstore. Their passion shows in their book choices. Only the ones they love.

The copier wants to display as many as possible, including mediocre authors, and will cut costs. All this to dominate the market. They're digging their own grave.

The bookseller is just one example. I could give you tons of them.

Closing remarks

Entrepreneurs might follow others or be themselves. They risk exhaustion trying to predict what their followers will do.

It's true.

Life offers choices.

Being oneself or doing as others do, with the possibility of regretting not expressing our uniqueness and not having lived.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. Oscar Wilde

The choice is yours.