More on Society & Culture
1 year ago
Get Real, All You Grateful Laid-Off LinkedIn Users
WTF is wrong with you people?
When I was laid off as editor of my town's daily newspaper, I went silent on social media. I knew it was coming and had been quietly removing personal items each day, but the pain was intense.
I posted a day later. I didn't bad-mouth GateHouse Media but expressed my sadness at leaving the newspaper industry, pride in my accomplishments, and hope for success in another industry.
Normal job-loss response.
What do you recognize as abnormal?
The bullshit I’ve been reading from laid-off folks on LinkedIn.
If you're there, you know. Many Twitter or Facebook/Meta employees recently lost their jobs.
Well, many of them did not “lose their job,” actually. They were “impacted by the layoffs” at their former employer. I keep seeing that phrase.
Why don’t they want to actually say it? Why the euphemism?
Many are excited about the opportunities ahead. The jobless deny being sad.
They're ecstatic! They have big plans.
Hope so. Sincerely! Being laid off stinks, especially if, like me, your skills are obsolete. It's worse if, like me, you're too old to start a new career. Ageism exists despite denials.
Nowadays, professionalism seems to demand psychotic levels of fake optimism.
Why? Life is unpredictable. That's indisputable. You shouldn't constantly complain or cry in public, but you also shouldn't pretend everything's great.
It makes you look psychotic, not positive. It's like saying at work:
“I was impacted by the death of my spouse of 20 years this week, and many of you have reached out to me, expressing your sympathy. However, I’m choosing to remember the amazing things we shared. I feel confident that there is another marriage out there for me, and after taking a quiet weekend trip to reset myself, I’ll be out there looking for the next great marital adventure! #staypositive #available #opentolove
“Now looking for our next #dreamhome after our entire neighborhood was demolished by a wildfire last night. We feel so lucky to have lived near so many amazing and inspirational neighbors, all of whom we will miss as we go on our next housing adventure. The best house for us is yet to come! If you have a great neighborhood you’d recommend, please feel free to reach out and touch base with us! #newhouse #newneighborhood #newlife
Admit it. That’s creepy.
The constant optimism makes me feel sick to my stomach.
I hate fakes.
Imagine a fake wood grain desk. Wouldn't it be better if the designer accepted that it's plastic and went with that?
Real is better but not always nice. When something isn't nice, you don't have to go into detail, but you also shouldn't pretend it's great.
How to announce your job loss to the world.
Do not pretend to be happy, but don't cry and drink vodka all afternoon.
Say you loved your job, and that you're looking for new opportunities.
Yes, if you'll miss your coworkers. Otherwise, don't badmouth. No bridge-burning!
Please specify the job you want. You may want to pivot.
Alternatively, try this.
You could always flame out.
If you've pushed yourself too far into toxic positivity, you may be ready to burn it all down. If so, make it worthwhile by writing something like this:
Well, I was shitcanned by the losers at #Acme today. That bitch Linda in HR threw me under the bus just because she saw that one of my “friends” tagged me in some beach pics on social media after I called in sick with Covid. The good thing is I will no longer have to watch my ass around that #asspincher Ron in accounting, but I’m sad that I will no longer have a cushy job with high pay or access to the primo office supplies I’ve been sneaking home for the last five years. (Those gel pens were the best!) I am going to be taking some time off to enjoy my unemployment and hammer down shots of Jägermeister but in about five months I’ll be looking for anything easy with high pay and great benefits. Reach out if you can help! #officesupplies #unemploymentrocks #drinkinglikeagirlboss #acmesucks
It beats the fake positivity.
1 year ago
Don't underestimate the foolish
ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE
Big companies and wealthy people make stupid mistakes too.
Your ancestors kept snakes and drank bad water. You (probably) don't because you've learnt from their failures via instinct+, the ultimate life-lessons streaming network in your head. Instincts foretell the future. If you approach a lion, it'll eat you. Our society's nuanced/complex decisions have surpassed instinct. Human growth depends on how we handle these issues. 80% of people believe they are above-average drivers, yet few believe they make many incorrect mistakes that make them risky. Stupidity hurts others like death. Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo Cipollas:
Everyone underestimates the prevalence of idiots in our society.
Any other trait a person may have has no bearing on how likely they are to be stupid.
A dumb individual is one who harms someone without benefiting themselves and may even lose money in the process.
Non-dumb people frequently underestimate how destructively powerful stupid people can be.
The most dangerous kind of person is a moron.
Professor Cippola defines stupid as bad for you and others. We underestimate the corporate world's and seemingly successful people's ability to make bad judgments that harm themselves and others. Success is an intoxication that makes you risk-aggressive and blurs your peripheral vision.
Stupid companies and decisions:
Big-company bad ideas have more bulk and inertia. The world's most valuable company recently showed its board a VR headset. Jony Ive couldn't destroy Apple's terrible idea in 2015. Mr. Ive said that VR cut users off from the outer world, made them seem outdated, and lacked practical uses. Ives' design team doubted users would wear headsets for lengthy periods.
VR has cost tens of billions of dollars over a decade to prove nobody wants it. The next great SaaS startup will likely come from Florence, not Redmond or San Jose.
Apple Watch and Airpods have made the Cupertino company the world's largest jewelry maker. 10.5% of Apple's income, or $38 billion, comes from wearables in 2021. (seven times the revenue of Tiffany & Co.). Jewelry makes you more appealing and useful. Airpods and Apple Watch do both.
Headsets make you less beautiful and useful and promote isolation, loneliness, and unhappiness among American teenagers. My sons pretend they can't hear or see me when on their phones. VR headsets lack charisma.
Coinbase disclosed a plan to generate division and tension within its workplace weeks after Apple was pitched $2,000 smokes. The crypto-trading platform is piloting a program that rates staff after every interaction. If a coworker says anything you don't like, you should tell them how to improve. Everyone gets a 110-point scorecard. Coworkers should evaluate a person's rating while deciding whether to listen to them. It's ridiculous.
Organizations leverage our superpower of cooperation. This encourages non-cooperation, period. Bridgewater's founder Ray Dalio designed the approach to promote extreme transparency. Dalio has 223 billion reasons his managerial style works. There's reason to suppose only a small group of people, largely traders, will endure a granular scorecard. Bridgewater has 20% first-year turnover. Employees cry in bathrooms, and sex scandals are settled by ignoring individuals with poor believability levels. Coinbase might take solace that the stock is 80% below its initial offering price.
Fools' ledgers are valuable. More valuable are lists of foolish rich individuals.
Robinhood built a $8 billion corporation on financial ignorance. The firm's median account value is $240, and its stock has dropped 75% since last summer. Investors, customers, and society lose. Stupid. Luna published a comparable list on the blockchain, grew to $41 billion in market cap, then plummeted.
A podcast presenter is recruiting dentists and small-business owners to invest in Elon Musk's Twitter takeover. Investors pay a 7% fee and 10% of the upside for the chance to buy Twitter at a 35% premium to the current price. The proposal legitimizes CNBC's Trade Like Chuck advertising (Chuck made $4,600 into $460,000 in two years). This is stupid because it adds to the Twitter deal's desperation. Mr. Musk made an impression when he urged his lawyers to develop a legal rip-cord (There are bots on the platform!) to abandon the share purchase arrangement (for less than they are being marketed by the podcaster). Rolls-Royce may pay for this list of the dumb affluent because it includes potential Cullinan buyers.
Worst company? Flowcarbon, founded by WeWork founder Adam Neumann, operates at the convergence of carbon and crypto to democratize access to offsets and safeguard the earth's natural carbon sinks. Can I get an ayahuasca Big Gulp?
Neumann raised $70 million with their yogababble drink. More than half of the consideration came from selling GNT. Goddess Nature Token. I hope the company gets an S-1. Or I'll start a decentralized AI Meta Renewable NFTs company. My Community Based Ebitda coin will fund the company. Possible.
Stupidity inside oneself
This weekend, I was in NYC with my boys. My 14-year-old disappeared. He's realized I'm not cool and is mad I let the charade continue. When out with his dad, he likes to stroll home alone and depart before me. Friends told me hell would return, but I was surprised by how fast the eye roll came.
Not so with my 11-year-old. We went to The Edge, a Hudson Yards observation platform where you can see the city from 100 storeys up for $38. This is hell's seventh ring. Leaning into your boys' interests is key to engaging them (dad tip). Neither loves Crossfit, WW2 history, or antitrust law.
We take selfies on the Thrilling Glass Floor he spots. Dad, there's a bar! Coke? I nod, he rushes to the bar, stops, runs back for money, and sprints back. Sitting on stone seats, drinking Atlanta Champagne, he turns at me and asks, Isn't this amazing? I'll never reach paradise.
Later that night, the lads are asleep and I've had two Zacapas and Cokes. I SMS some friends about my day and how I feel about sons/fatherhood/etc. How I did. They responded and approached. The next morning, I'm sober, have distance from my son, and feel ashamed by my texts. Less likely to impulsively share my emotions with others. Stupid again.
1 year ago
A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison
Pink or blue AR-15s?
A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.
Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.
Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.
And lots more profit.
Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.
Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.
So now at school, we want to arm teachers.
Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?
Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.
Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.
Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.
Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.
Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).
This post is a summary. Read the full one here.
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1 year ago
Pixelmon NFTs are so bad, they are almost good!
Bored Apes prices continue to rise, HAPEBEAST launches, Invisible Friends hype continues to grow. Sadly, not all projects are as successful.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when buying an NFT. Is the project a scam? Will the reveal derail the project? Possibly, but when Pixelmon first teased its launch, it generated a lot of buzz.
With a primary sale mint price of 3 ETH ($8,100 USD), it started as an expensive project, with plenty of fans willing to invest in what was sold as a game. After it was revealed, it fell rapidly.
Why? It was overpromised and under delivered.
According to the project's creator[^1], the funds generated will be used to develop the artwork. "The Pixelmon reveal was wrong. This is what our Pixelmon look like in-game. "Despite the fud, I will not go anywhere," he wrote on Twitter. The goal remains. The funds will still be used to build our game. I will finish this project."
The project raised $70 million USD, but the NFTs buyers received were not the project's original teasers. Some call it "the worst NFT project ever," while others call it a complete scam.
But there's hope for some buyers. Kevin emerged from the ashes as the project was roasted over the fire.
A Minecraft character meets Salad Fingers - that's Kevin. He's a frog-like creature whose reveal was such a terrible NFT that it became part of history – and a meme.
If you're laughing at people paying $8K for a silly pixelated image, you might need to take it back. Precisely because of this, lucky holders who minted Kevin have been able to sell the now-memed NFT for over 8 ETH (around $24,000 USD), with some currently listed for 100 ETH.
Of course, Twitter has been awash in memes mocking those who invested in the project, because what else can you do when so many people lose money?
It's still unclear if the NFT project is a scam, but the team behind it was hired on Upwork. There's still hope for redemption, but Kevin's rise to fame appears to be the only positive outcome so far.
[^1] This is not the first time the creator (A 20-yo New Zealanders) has sought money via an online platform and had people claiming he under-delivered. He raised $74,000 on Kickstarter for a card game called Psycho Chicken. There are hundreds of comments on the Kickstarter project saying they haven't received the product and pleading for a refund or an update.
1 year ago
A Warm Welcome to Web3 and the Future of the Internet
Let's take a look back at the internet's history and see where we're going — and why.
Tim Berners Lee had a problem. He was at CERN, the world's largest particle physics factory, at the time. The institute's stated goal was to study the simplest particles with the most sophisticated scientific instruments. The institute completed the LEP Tunnel in 1988, a 27 kilometer ring. This was Europe's largest civil engineering project (to study smaller particles — electrons).
The problem Tim Berners Lee found was information loss, not particle physics. CERN employed a thousand people in 1989. Due to team size and complexity, people often struggled to recall past project information. While these obstacles could be overcome, high turnover was nearly impossible. Berners Lee addressed the issue in a proposal titled ‘Information Management'.
When a typical stay is two years, data is constantly lost. The introduction of new people takes a lot of time from them and others before they understand what is going on. An emergency situation may require a detective investigation to recover technical details of past projects. Often, the data is recorded but cannot be found. — Information Management: A Proposal
He had an idea. Create an information management system that allowed users to access data in a decentralized manner using a new technology called ‘hypertext'.
To quote Berners Lee, his proposal was “vague but exciting...”. The paper eventually evolved into the internet we know today. Here are three popular W3C standards used by billions of people today:
HTML (Hypertext Markup)
A web formatting language.
URI (Unique Resource Identifier)
Each web resource has its own “address”. Known as ‘a URL'.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
Retrieves linked resources from across the web.
These technologies underpin all computer work. They were the seeds of our quest to reorganize information, a task as fruitful as particle physics.
Tim Berners-Lee would probably think the three decades from 1989 to 2018 were eventful. He'd be amazed by the billions, the inspiring, the novel. Unlocking innovation at CERN through ‘Information Management'.
The fictional character would probably need a drink, walk, and a few deep breaths to fully grasp the internet's impact. He'd be surprised to see a few big names in the mix.
Then he'd say, "Something's wrong here."
We should review the web's history before going there. Was it a success after Berners Lee made it public? Web1 and Web2: What is it about what we are doing now that so many believe we need a new one, web3?
Per Outlier Ventures' Jamie Burke:
Web 1.0 was read-only.
Web 2.0 was the writable
Web 3.0 is a direct-write web.
Web1: The Read-Only Web
Web1 was the digital age. We put our books, research, and lives ‘online'. The web made information retrieval easier than any filing cabinet ever. Massive amounts of data were stored online. Encyclopedias, medical records, and entire libraries were put away into floppy disks and hard drives.
In 2015, the web had around 305,500,000,000 pages of content (280 million copies of Atlas Shrugged).
Initially, one didn't expect to contribute much to this database. Web1 was an online version of the real world, but not yet a new way of using the invention.
One gets the impression that the web has been underutilized by historians if all we can say about it is that it has become a giant global fax machine. — Daniel Cohen, The Web's Second Decade (2004)
That doesn't mean developers weren't building. The web was being advanced by great minds. Web2 was born as technology advanced.
Web2: Read-Write Web
Remember when you clicked something on a website and the whole page refreshed? Is it too early to call the mid-2000s ‘the good old days'?
Browsers improved gradually, then suddenly. AJAX calls augmented CGI scripts, and applications began sending data back and forth without disrupting the entire web page. One button to ‘digg' a post (see below). Web experiences blossomed.
In 2006, Digg was the most active ‘Web 2.0' site. (Photo: Ethereum Foundation Taylor Gerring)
Interaction was the focus of new applications. Posting, upvoting, hearting, pinning, tweeting, liking, commenting, and clapping became a lexicon of their own. It exploded in 2004. Easy ways to ‘write' on the internet grew, and continue to grow.
Facebook became a Web2 icon, where users created trillions of rows of data. Google and Amazon moved from Web1 to Web2 by better understanding users and building products and services that met their needs.
Business models based on Software-as-a-Service and then managing consumer data within them for a fee have exploded.
Web2 Emerging Issues
Unbelievably, an intriguing dilemma arose. When creating this read-write web, a non-trivial question skirted underneath the covers. Who owns it all?
You have no control over [Web 2] online SaaS. People didn't realize this because SaaS was so new. People have realized this is the real issue in recent years.
Even if these organizations have good intentions, their incentive is not on the users' side.
“You are not their customer, therefore you are their product,” they say. With Laura Shin, Vitalik Buterin, Unchained
A good plot line emerges. Many amazing, world-changing software products quietly lost users' data control.
For example: Facebook owns much of your social graph data. Even if you hate Facebook, you can't leave without giving up that data. There is no ‘export' or ‘exit'. The platform owns ownership.
While many companies can pull data on you, you cannot do so.
On the surface, this isn't an issue. These companies use my data better than I do! A complex group of stakeholders, each with their own goals. One is maximizing shareholder value for public companies. Tim Berners-Lee (and others) dislike the incentives created.
“Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” — Berkshire Hathaway's CEO
It's easy to see what the read-write web has allowed in retrospect. We've been given the keys to create content instead of just consume it. On Facebook and Twitter, anyone with a laptop and internet can participate. But the engagement isn't ours. Platforms own themselves.
Web3: The ‘Unmediated’ Read-Write Web
Tim Berners Lee proposed a decade ago that ‘linked data' could solve the internet's data problem.
However, until recently, the same principles that allowed the Web of documents to thrive were not applied to data...
The Web of Data also allows for new domain-specific applications. Unlike Web 2.0 mashups, Linked Data applications work with an unbound global data space. As new data sources appear on the Web, they can provide more complete answers.
At around the same time as linked data research began, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin. After ten years, it appears that Berners Lee's ideas ‘link' spiritually with cryptocurrencies.
What should Web 3 do?
Here are some quick predictions for the web's future.
Users own information and provide it to corporations, businesses, or services that will benefit them.
No government, company, or institution should control your access to information (1, 2, 3)
Connect users and platforms:
Create symbiotic rather than competitive relationships between users and platform creators.
“First, the cryptonetwork-participant contract is enforced in open source code. Their voices and exits are used to keep them in check.” Dixon, Chris (4)
Transacting value, information, or assets with anyone with internet access, anywhere, at low cost
Giving you the ability to own, see, and understand your entire digital identity.
Not pull, push:
‘Push' your data to trusted sources instead of ‘pulling' it from others.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Change incentives, change the world. Nick Babalola
People believe web3 can help build a better, fairer system. This is not the same as equal pay or outcomes, but more equal opportunity.
It should be noted that some of these advantages have been discussed previously. Will the changes work? Will they make a difference? These unanswered questions are technical, economic, political, and philosophical. Unintended consequences are likely.
We hope Web3 is a more democratic web. And we think incentives help the user. If there’s one thing that’s on our side, it’s that open has always beaten closed, given a long enough timescale.
We are at the start.
1 year ago
Updates From Google For Content Producers What You Should Know Is This
Every Google upgrade causes website owners to panic.
Some have just recovered from previous algorithm tweaks and resumed content development.
If you follow Google's Webmaster rules, you shouldn't fear its adjustments.
Everyone has a view of them. Miscommunication and confusion result.
Now, for some (hopefully) exciting news.
Google tweeted on August 18, 2022 about a fresh content update.
This change is another Google effort to remove low-quality, repetitive, and AI-generated content.
The algorithm generates and analyzes search results, not humans.
Google spends a lot to teach its algorithm what searchers want. Intent isn't always clear.
Google's content update aims to:
“… ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
Isn't it a noble goal?
However, what does it mean for content creators and website owners?
How can you ensure you’re creating content that will be successful after the updates roll out?
Let's first define people-first content.
What does "people-first-content" mean?
If asked, I'd say information written to answer queries and solve problems.
Like others, I read it from the term.
Content creators and marketers disagree. They need more information to follow recommendations.
Google gives explicit instructions for creating people-first content.
According to Google, if you answer yes to the following questions, you have a people-first attitude.
Do you have customers who might find your content useful if they contacted you directly?
Does your content show the breadth of your knowledge?
Do you have a niche or a focus for your website?
After reading your content, will readers learn something new to aid them in achieving their goals?
Are readers happy after reading your content?
Have you been adhering to Google's fundamental updates and product reviews?
As an SEO writer, I'm not scared.
I’ve been following these rules consciously while creating content for my website. That’s why it’s been steadily growing despite me publishing just one or two stories a month.
If you avoid AI-generated text and redundant, shallow material, your website won't suffer.
If you use unscrupulous methods to boost your website's traffic, including link buying or keyword stuffing, stop. Google is getting smarter and will find and punish your site eventually.
For those who say, “SEO is no longer working,” I dedicated the whole paragraph below.
This does not imply that SEO is obsolete.
“People-first content creators focus on creating satisfying content, while also utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value.”
The official helpful content update page lists two people-first content components:
meeting user needs
best practices for SEO
Always read official guidelines, not unsolicited suggestions.
SEO will work till search engines die.
How to use the update
Google said the changes will arrive in August 2022.
They pledged to post updates on Google's search ranking updates page.
Google also tweets this info. If you haven't followed it already, I recommend it.
Ranking adjustments could take two weeks and will affect English searches internationally initially.
Google affirmed plans to extend to other languages.
If you own a website, monitor your rankings and traffic to see if it's affected.