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Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway

1 month ago

First Health

More on Society & Culture

Kyle Planck

Kyle Planck

1 month ago

The chronicles of monkeypox.

or, how I spread monkeypox and got it myself.

This story contains nsfw (not safe for wife) stuff and shouldn't be read if you're under 18 or think I'm a newborn angel. After the opening, it's broken into three sections: a chronological explanation of my disease course, my ideas, and what I plan to do next.

Your journey awaits.

As early as mid-may, I was waltzing around the lab talking about monkeypox, a rare tropical disease with an inaccurate name. Monkeys are not its primary animal reservoir. It caused an outbreak among men who have sex with men across Europe, with unprecedented levels of person-to-person transmission. European health authorities speculated that the virus spread at raves and parties and was easily transferred through intimate, mainly sexual, contact. I had already read the nejm article about the first confirmed monkeypox patient in the u.s. and shared the photos on social media so people knew what to look for. The cdc information page only included 4 photographs of monkeypox lesions that looked like they were captured on a motorola razr.

I warned my ex-boyfriend about monkeypox. Monkeypox? responded.

Mom, I'm afraid about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?

My therapist is scared about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?

Was I alone? A few science gays on Twitter didn't make me feel overreacting.

This information got my gay head turning. The incubation period for the sickness is weeks. Many of my social media contacts are traveling to Europe this summer. What is pride? Travel, parties, and sex. Many people may become infected before attending these activities. Monkeypox will affect the lgbtq+ community.

Being right always stinks. My young scientist brain was right, though. Someone who saw this coming is one of the early victims. I'll talk about my feelings publicly, and trust me, I have many concerning what's occurring.

my current vibe after two long weeks of monkeypox symptoms.

Part 1 is the specifics.

Wednesday nights are never smart but always entertaining. I didn't wake up until noon on june 23 and saw gay twitter blazing. Without warning, the nyc department of health announced a pop-up monkeypox immunization station in chelsea. Some days would be 11am-7pm. Walk-ins were welcome, however appointments were preferred. I tried to arrange an appointment after rubbing my eyes, but they were all taken. I got out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on short shorts because I wanted to get a walk-in dose and show off my legs. I got a 20-oz. cold brew on the way to the train and texted a chelsea-based acquaintance for help.

Clinic closed at 2pm. No more doses. Hundreds queued up. The government initially gave them only 1,000 dosages. For a city with 500,000 LGBT people, c'mon. What more could I do? I was upset by how things were handled. The evidence speaks for itself.

I decided to seek an appointment when additional doses were available and continued my weekend. I was celebrating nyc pride with pals. Fun! sex! * ‍

On tuesday after that, I felt a little burn. This wasn't surprising because I'd been sexually active throughout the weekend, so I got a sti panel the next day. I expected to get results in a few days, take antibiotics, and move on.

Emerging germs had other intentions. Wednesday night, I felt sore, and thursday morning, I had a blazing temperature and had sweat through my bedding. I had fever, chills, and body-wide aches and pains for three days. I reached 102 degrees. I believed I had covid over pride weekend, but I tested negative for three days straight.

STDs don't induce fevers or other systemic symptoms. If lymphogranuloma venereum advances, it can cause flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. I was suspicious and desperate for answers, so I researched monkeypox on the cdc website (for healthcare professionals). Much of what I saw on screen about monkeypox prodrome matched my symptoms. Multiple-day fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes. Pox were lacking.

I told my doctor my concerns pre-medically. I'm occasionally annoying.

On saturday night, my fever broke and I felt better. Still burning, I was optimistic till sunday, when I woke up with five red splotches on my arms and fingertips.

As spots formed, burning became pain. I observed as spots developed on my body throughout the day. I had more than a dozen by the end of the day, and the early spots were pustular. I had monkeypox, as feared.

a story i posted on instagram detailing my symptoms.

Fourth of July weekend limited my options. I'm well-connected in my school's infectious disease academic community, so I texted a coworker for advice. He agreed it was likely monkeypox and scheduled me for testing on tuesday.

nyc health could only perform 10 monkeypox tests every day. Before doctors could take swabs and send them in, each test had to be approved by the department. Some commercial labs can now perform monkeypox testing, but the backlog is huge. I still don't have a positive orthopoxvirus test five days after my test. *My 12-day-old case may not be included in the official monkeypox tally. This outbreak is far wider than we first thought, therefore I'm attempting to spread the information and help contain it.

*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.

I spent all day in the bathtub because of the agony. Warm lavender epsom salts helped me feel better. I can't stand lavender anymore. I brought my laptop into the bathroom and viewed everything everywhere at once (2022). If my ex and I hadn't recently broken up, I wouldn't have monkeypox. All of these things made me cry, and I sat in the bathtub on the 4th of July sobbing. I thought, Is this it? I felt like Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig (2011). I'm a flop. From here, things can only improve.

Later that night, I wore a mask and went to my roof to see the fireworks. Even though I don't like fireworks, there was something wonderful about them this year: the colors, how they illuminated the black surfaces around me, and their transient beauty. Joyful moments rarely linger long in our life. We must enjoy them now.

Several roofs away, my neighbors gathered. Happy 4th! I heard a woman yell. Why is this godforsaken country so happy? Instead of being rude, I replied. I didn't tell them I had monkeypox. I thought that would kill the mood.

By the time I went to the hospital the next day to get my lesions swabbed, wearing long sleeves, pants, and a mask, they looked like this:

I had 30 lesions on my arms, hands, stomach, back, legs, buttcheeks, face, scalp, and right eyebrow. I had some in my mouth, gums, and throat. Current medical thought is that lesions on mucous membranes cause discomfort in sensitive places. Internal lesions are a new feature of this outbreak of monkeypox. Despite being unattractive, the other sores weren't unpleasant or bothersome.

I had a bacterial sti with the pox. Who knows if that would've created symptoms (often it doesn't), but different infections can happen at once. My care team remembered that having a sti doesn't exclude out monkeypox. doxycycline rocks!

The coworker who introduced me to testing also offered me his home. We share a restroom, and monkeypox can be spread through surfaces. (Being a dna virus gives it environmental hardiness that rna viruses like sars-cov-2 lack.) I disinfected our bathroom after every usage, but I was apprehensive. My friend's place has a guest room and second bathroom, so no cross-contamination. It was the ideal monkeypox isolation environment, so I accepted his offer and am writing this piece there. I don't know what I would have done without his hospitality and attention.

The next day, I started tecovirimat, or tpoxx, for 14 days. Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide since the 1980s but remains a bioterrorism concern. Tecovirimat has a unique, orthopoxvirus-specific method of action, which reduces side effects to headache and nausea. It hasn't been used in many people, therefore the cdc is encouraging patients who take it for monkeypox to track their disease and symptoms.

look at that molecule!!! hot.

Tpoxx's oral absorption requires a fatty meal. The hospital ordered me to take the medication after a 600-calorie, 25-gram-fat meal every 12 hours. The coordinator joked, "Don't diet for the next two weeks." I wanted to get peanut butter delivered, but jif is recalling their supply due to salmonella. Please give pathogens a break. I got almond butter.

Tpoxx study enrollment was documented. After signing consent documents, my lesions were photographed and measured during a complete physical exam. I got bloodwork to assess my health. My medication delivery was precise; every step must be accounted for. I got a two-week supply and started taking it that night. I rewarded myself with McDonald's. I'd been hungry for a week. I was also prescribed ketorolac (aka toradol), a stronger ibuprofen, for my discomfort.

I thought tpoxx was a wonder medicine by day two of treatment. Early lesions looked like this.

however, They vanished. The three largest lesions on my back flattened and practically disappeared into my skin. Some pustular lesions were diminishing. Tpoxx+toradol has helped me sleep, focus, and feel human again. I'm down to twice-daily baths and feeling hungrier than ever in this illness. On day five of tpoxx, some of the lesions look like this:

I have a ways to go. We must believe I'll be contagious until the last of my patches scabs over, falls off, and sprouts new skin. There's no way to tell. After a week and a half of tremendous pain and psychological stress, any news is good news. I'm grateful for my slow but steady development.

Part 2 of the rant.

Being close to yet not in the medical world is interesting. It lets me know a lot about it without being persuaded by my involvement. Doctors identify and treat patients using a tool called differential diagnosis.

A doctor interviews a patient to learn about them and their symptoms. More is better. Doctors may ask, "Have you traveled recently?" sex life? Have pets? preferred streaming service? (No, really. (Hbomax is right.) After the inquisition, the doctor will complete a body exam ranging from looking in your eyes, ears, and throat to a thorough physical.

After collecting data, the doctor makes a mental (or physical) inventory of all the conceivable illnesses that could cause or explain the patient's symptoms. Differential diagnosis list. After establishing the differential, the clinician can eliminate options. The doctor will usually conduct nucleic acid tests on swab samples or bloodwork to learn more. This helps eliminate conditions from the differential or boosts a condition's likelihood. In an ideal circumstance, the doctor can eliminate all but one reason of your symptoms, leaving your formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin. yay! Love medicine.

My symptoms two weeks ago did not suggest monkeypox. Fever, pains, weariness, and swollen lymph nodes are caused by several things. My scandalous symptoms weren't linked to common ones. My instance shows the importance of diversity and representation in healthcare. My doctor isn't gay, but he provides culturally sensitive care. I'd heard about monkeypox as a gay man in New York. I was hyper-aware of it and had heard of friends of friends who had contracted it the week before, even though the official case count in the US was 40. My physicians weren't concerned, but I was. How would it appear on his mental differential if it wasn't on his radar? Mental differential rhymes! I'll trademark it to prevent theft. differential!

I was in a rare position to recognize my condition and advocate for myself. I study infections. I'd spent months researching monkeypox. I work at a university where I rub shoulders with some of the country's greatest doctors. I'm a gay dude who follows nyc queer social networks online. All of these variables positioned me to think, "Maybe this is monkeypox," and to explain why.

This outbreak is another example of privilege at work. The brokenness of our healthcare system is once again exposed by the inequities produced by the vaccination rollout and the existence of people like myself who can pull strings owing to their line of work. I can't cure this situation on my own, but I can be a strong voice demanding the government do a better job addressing the outbreak and giving resources and advice to everyone I can.

lgbtqia+ community members' support has always impressed me in new york. The queer community has watched out for me and supported me in ways I never dreamed were possible.

Queer individuals are there for each other when societal structures fail. People went to the internet on the first day of the vaccine rollout to share appointment information and the vaccine clinic's message. Twitter timelines were more effective than marketing campaigns. Contrary to widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, the LGBT community was eager to protect themselves. Smallpox vaccination? sure. gimme. whether I'm safe. I credit the community's sex positivity. Many people are used to talking about STDs, so there's a reduced barrier to saying, "I think I have something, you should be on the watch too," and taking steps to protect our health.

Once I got monkeypox, I posted on Twitter and Instagram. Besides fueling my main character syndrome, I felt like I wasn't alone. My dc-based friend had monkeypox within hours. He told me about his experience and gave me ideas for managing the discomfort. I can't imagine life without him.

My buddy and colleague organized my medical care and let me remain in his home. His and his husband's friendliness and attention made a world of difference in my recovery. All of my friends and family who helped me, whether by venmo, doordash, or moral support, made me feel cared about. I don't deserve the amazing people in my life.

Finally, I think of everyone who commented on my social media posts regarding my trip. Friends from all sectors of my life and all sexualities have written me well wishes and complimented me for my vulnerability, but I feel the most gravitas from fellow lgbtq+ persons. They're learning to spot. They're learning where to go ill. They're learning self-advocacy. I'm another link in our network of caretaking. I've been cared for, therefore I want to do the same. Community and knowledge are powerful.

You're probably wondering where the diatribe is. You may believe he's gushing about his loved ones, and you'd be right. I say that just because the queer community can take care of itself doesn't mean we should.

Even when caused by the same pathogen, comparing health crises is risky. Aids is unlike covid-19 or monkeypox, yet all were caused by poorly understood viruses. The lgbtq+ community has a history of self-medicating. Queer people (and their supporters) have led the charge to protect themselves throughout history when the government refused. Surreal to experience this in real time.

First, vaccination access is a government failure. The strategic national stockpile contains tens of thousands of doses of jynneos, the newest fda-approved smallpox vaccine, and millions of doses of acam2000, an older vaccine for immunocompetent populations. Despite being a monkeypox hotspot and international crossroads, new york has only received 7,000 doses of the jynneos vaccine. Vaccine appointments are booked within minutes. It's showing Hunger Games, which bothers me.

Second, I think the government failed to recognize the severity of the european monkeypox outbreak. We saw abroad reports in may, but the first vaccines weren't available until june. Why was I a 26-year-old pharmacology grad student, able to see a monkeypox problem in europe but not the u.s. public health agency? Or was there too much bureaucracy and politicking, delaying action?

Lack of testing infrastructure for a known virus with vaccinations and therapies is appalling. More testing would have helped understand the problem's breadth. Many homosexual guys, including myself, didn't behave like monkeypox was a significant threat because there were only a dozen instances across the country. Our underestimating of the issue, spurred by a story of few infections, was huge.

Public health officials' response to infectious diseases frustrates me. A wait-and-see approach to infectious diseases is unsatisfactory. Before a sick person is recognized, they've exposed and maybe contaminated numerous others. Vaccinating susceptible populations before a disease becomes entrenched prevents disease. CDC might operate this way. When it was easier, they didn't control or prevent monkeypox. We'll learn when. Sometimes I fear never. Emerging viral infections are a menace in the era of climate change and globalization, and I fear our government will repeat the same mistakes. I don't work at the cdc, thus I have no idea what they do. As a scientist, a homosexual guy, and a citizen of this country, I feel confident declaring that the cdc has not done enough about monkeypox. Will they do enough about monkeypox? The strategic national stockpile can respond to a bioterrorism disaster in 12 hours. I'm skeptical following this outbreak.

It's simple to criticize the cdc, but they're not to blame. Underfunding public health services, especially the cdc, is another way our government fails to safeguard its citizens. I may gripe about the vaccination rollout all I want, but local health departments are doing their best with limited resources. They may not have enough workers to keep up with demand and run a contact-tracing program. Since my orthopoxvirus test is still negative, the doh hasn't asked about my close contacts. By then, my illness will be two weeks old, too long to do anything productive. Not their fault. They're functioning in a broken system that's underfunded for the work it does.

*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.

Monkeypox is slow, so i've had time to contemplate. Now that I'm better, I'm angry. furious and sad I want to help. I wish to spare others my pain. This was preventable and solvable, I hope. HOW?

Third, the duty.

Family, especially selected family, helps each other. So many people have helped me throughout this difficult time. How can I give back? I have ideas.

1. Education. I've already started doing this by writing incredibly detailed posts on Instagram about my physical sickness and my thoughts on the entire scandal. via tweets. by producing this essay. I'll keep doing it even if people start to resent me! It's crucial! On my Instagram profile (@kyleplanckton), you may discover a story highlight with links to all of my bizarre yet educational posts.

2. Resources. I've forwarded the contact information for my institution's infectious diseases clinic to several folks who will hopefully be able to get tpoxx under the expanded use policy. Through my social networks, I've learned of similar institutions. I've also shared crowdsourced resources about symptom relief and vaccine appointment availability on social media. DM me or see my Instagram highlight for more.

3. Community action. During my illness, my friends' willingness to aid me has meant the most. It was nice to know I had folks on my side. One of my pals (thanks, kenny) snagged me a mcgriddle this morning when seamless canceled my order. This scenario has me thinking about methods to help people with monkeypox isolation. A two-week isolation period is financially damaging for many hourly workers. Certain governments required paid sick leave for covid-19 to allow employees to recover and prevent spread. No comparable program exists for monkeypox, and none seems to be planned shortly.

I want to aid monkeypox patients in severe financial conditions. I'm willing to pick up and bring groceries or fund meals/expenses for sick neighbors. I've seen several GoFundMe accounts, but I wish there was a centralized mechanism to link those in need with those who can help. Please contact me if you have expertise with mutual aid organizations. I hope we can start this shortly.

4. lobbying. Personal narratives are powerful. My narrative is only one, but I think it's compelling. Over the next day or so, i'll write to local, state, and federal officials about monkeypox. I wanted a vaccine but couldn't acquire one, and I feel tpoxx helped my disease. As a pharmacologist-in-training, I believe collecting data on a novel medicine is important, and there are ethical problems when making a drug with limited patient data broadly available. Many folks I know can't receive tpoxx due of red tape and a lack of contacts. People shouldn't have to go to an ivy league hospital to obtain the greatest care. Based on my experience and other people's tales, I believe tpoxx can drastically lessen monkeypox patients' pain and potentially curb transmission chains if administered early enough. This outbreak is manageable. It's not too late if we use all the instruments we have (diagnostic, vaccine, treatment).

*UPDATE 7/15: I submitted the following letter to Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. I've addressed identical letters to local, state, and federal officials, including the CDC and HHS.

I hope to join RESPND-MI, an LGBTQ+ community-led assessment of monkeypox symptoms and networks in NYC. Visit their website to learn more and give to this community-based charity.

How I got monkeypox is a mystery. I received it through a pride physical interaction, but i'm not sure which one. This outbreak will expand unless leaders act quickly. Until then, I'll keep educating and connecting people to care in my neighborhood.

Despite my misgivings, I see some optimism. Health department social media efforts are underway. During the outbreak, the CDC provided nonjudgmental suggestions for safer social and sexual activity. There's additional information regarding the disease course online, including how to request tpoxx for sufferers. These materials can help people advocate for themselves if they're sick. Importantly, homosexual guys are listening when they discuss about monkeypox online and irl. Learners They're serious.

The government has a terrible track record with lgtbq+ health issues, and they're not off to a good start this time. I hope this time will be better. If I can aid even one individual, I'll do so.

Thanks for reading, supporting me, and spreading awareness about the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. My dms are accessible if you want info, resources, queries, or to chat.

y'all well

kyle

Julie Plavnik

Julie Plavnik

2 months ago

Why the Creator Economy needs a Web3 upgrade

Looking back into the past can help you understand what's happening today and why.

The Creator Economy

"Creator economy" conjures up images of originality, sincerity, and passion. Where do Michelangelos and da Vincis push advancement with their gifts without battling for bread and proving themselves posthumously? 

Creativity has been as long as humanity, but it's just recently become a new economic paradigm. We even talk about Web3 now.

Let's examine the creative economy's history to better comprehend it. What brought us here? Looking back can help you understand what's happening now.

No yawning, I promise 😉.

Creator Economy's history

Long, uneven transition to creator economy. Let's examine the economic and societal changes that led us there.

1. Agriculture to industry

Mid-18th-century Industrial Revolution led to shift from agriculture to manufacturing. The industrial economy lasted until World War II.

The industrial economy's principal goal was to provide more affordable, accessible commodities.

Unlike today, products were scarce and inaccessible.

To fulfill its goals, industrialization triggered enormous economic changes, moving power from agrarians to manufacturers. Industrialization brought hard work, rivalry, and new ideas connected to production and automation. Creative thinkers focused on that then.

It doesn't mean music, poetry, or painting had no place back then. They weren't top priority. Artists were independent. The creative field wasn't considered a different economic subdivision.

2. The consumer economy

Manufacturers produced more things than consumers desired after World War II. Stuff was no longer scarce.

The economy must make customers want to buy what the market offers.

The consumer economic paradigm supplanted the industrial one. Customers (or consumers) replaced producers as the new economic center.

Salesmen, marketing, and journalists also played key roles (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.). Mass media greatly boosted demand for goods, defined trends, and changed views regarding nearly everything.

Mass media also gave rise to pop culture, which focuses on mass-market creative products. Design, printing, publishing, multi-media, audio-visual, cinematographic productions, etc. supported pop culture.

The consumer paradigm generated creative occupations and activities, unlike the industrial economy. Creativity was limited by the need for wide appeal.

Most creators were corporate employees.

Creating a following and making a living from it were difficult.

Paul Saffo said that only journalists and TV workers were known. Creators who wished to be known relied on producers, publishers, and other gatekeepers. To win their favor was crucial. Luck was the best tactic.

3. The creative economy

Consumer economy was digitized in the 1990s. IT solutions transformed several economic segments. This new digital economy demanded innovative, digital creativity.

Later, states declared innovation a "valuable asset that creates money and jobs." They also introduced the "creative industries" and the "creative economy" (not creator!) and tasked themselves with supporting them. Australia and the UK were early adopters.

Individual skill, innovation, and intellectual property fueled the creative economy. Its span covered design, writing, audio, video material, etc. The creative economy required IT-powered activity.

The new challenge was to introduce innovations to most economic segments and meet demand for digital products and services.

Despite what the title "creative economy" may imply, it was primarily oriented at meeting consumer needs. It didn't provide inventors any new options to become entrepreneurs. Instead of encouraging innovators to flourish on their own, the creative economy emphasized "employment-based creativity."

4. The creator economy

Next, huge IT platforms like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and others competed with traditional mainstream media.

During the 2008 global financial crisis, these mediums surpassed traditional media. People relied on them for information, knowledge, and networking. That was a digital media revolution. The creator economy started there.

The new economic paradigm aimed to engage and convert clients. The creator economy allowed customers to engage, interact, and provide value, unlike the consumer economy. It gave them instruments to promote themselves as "products" and make money.

Writers, singers, painters, and other creators have a great way to reach fans. Instead of appeasing old-fashioned gatekeepers (producers, casting managers, publishers, etc.), they can use the platforms to express their talent and gain admirers. Barriers fell.

It's not only for pros. Everyone with a laptop and internet can now create.

2022 creator economy:

Since there is no academic description for the current creator economy, we can freestyle.

The current (or Web2) creator economy is fueled by interactive digital platforms, marketplaces, and tools that allow users to access, produce, and monetize content.

No entry hurdles or casting in the creative economy. Sign up and follow platforms' rules. Trick: A platform's algorithm aggregates your data and tracks you. This is the payment for participation.

The platforms offer content creation, design, and ad distribution options. This is platforms' main revenue source.

The creator economy opens many avenues for creators to monetize their work. Artists can now earn money through advertising, tipping, brand sponsorship, affiliate links, streaming, and other digital marketing activities.

Even if your content isn't digital, you can utilize platforms to promote it, interact and convert your audience, and more. No limits. However, some of your income always goes to a platform (well, a huge one).

The creator economy aims to empower online entrepreneurship by offering digital marketing tools and reducing impediments.

Barriers remain. They are just different. Next articles will examine these.

Why update the creator economy for Web3?

I could address this question by listing the present creator economy's difficulties that led us to contemplate a Web3 upgrade.

I don't think these difficulties are the main cause. The mentality shift made us see these challenges and understand there was a better reality without them.

Crypto drove this thinking shift. It promoted disintermediation, independence from third-party service providers, 100% data ownership, and self-sovereignty. Crypto has changed the way we view everyday things.

Crypto's disruptive mission has migrated to other economic segments. It's now called Web3. Web3's creator economy is unique.

Here's the essence of the Web3 economy:

  • Eliminating middlemen between creators and fans.

  • 100% of creators' data, brand, and effort.

  • Business and money-making transparency.

  • Authentic originality above ad-driven content.

In the next several articles, I'll explain. We'll also discuss the creator economy and Web3's remedies.

Final thoughts

The creator economy is the organic developmental stage we've reached after all these social and economic transformations.

The Web3 paradigm of the creator economy intends to allow creators to construct their own independent "open economy" and directly monetize it without a third party.

If this approach succeeds, we may enter a new era of wealth creation where producers aren't only the products. New economies will emerge.


This article is a summary. To read the full post, click here.

Isaiah McCall

Isaiah McCall

2 months ago

Is TikTok slowly destroying a new generation?

It's kids' digital crack

TikTok is a destructive social media platform.

  • The interface shortens attention spans and dopamine receptors.

  • TikTok shares more data than other apps.

  • Seeing an endless stream of dancing teens on my glowing box makes me feel like a Blade Runner extra.

TikTok did in one year what MTV, Hollywood, and Warner Music tried to do in 20 years. TikTok has psychotized the two-thirds of society Aldous Huxley said were hypnotizable.

Millions of people, mostly kids, are addicted to learning a new dance, lip-sync, or prank, and those who best dramatize this collective improvisation get likes, comments, and shares.

TikTok is a great app. So what?

The Commercial Magnifying Glass TikTok made me realize my generation's time was up and the teenage Zoomers were the target.

I told my 14-year-old sister, "Enjoy your time under the commercial magnifying glass."

TikTok sells your every move, gesture, and thought. Data is the new oil. If you tell someone, they'll say, "Yeah, they collect data, but who cares? I have nothing to hide."

It's a George Orwell novel's beginning. Look up Big Brother Award winners to see if TikTok won.

TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app, and where it goes is unclear. TikTok uses third-party trackers to monitor your activity after you leave the app.

Consumers can't see what data is shared or how it will be used. — Genius URL

32.5 percent of Tiktok's users are 10 to 19 and 29.5% are 20 to 29.

TikTok is the greatest digital marketing opportunity in history, and they'll use it to sell you things, track you, and control your thoughts. Any of its users will tell you, "I don't care, I just want to be famous."

TikTok manufactures mental illness

TikTok's effect on dopamine and the brain is absurd. Dopamine controls the brain's pleasure and reward centers. It's like a switch that tells your brain "this feels good, repeat."

Dr. Julie Albright, a digital culture and communication sociologist, said TikTok users are "carried away by dopamine." It's hypnotic, you'll keep watching."

TikTok constantly releases dopamine. A guy on TikTok recently said he didn't like books because they were slow and boring.

The US didn't ban Tiktok.

Biden and Trump agree on bad things. Both agree that TikTok threatens national security and children's mental health.

The Chinese Communist Party owns and operates TikTok, but that's not its only problem.

  • There’s borderline child porn on TikTok

  • It's unsafe for children and violated COPPA.

  • It's also Chinese spyware. I'm not a Trump supporter, but I was glad he wanted TikTok regulated and disappointed when he failed.

Full-on internet censorship is rare outside of China, so banning it may be excessive. US should regulate TikTok more.

We must reject a low-quality present for a high-quality future.

TikTok vs YouTube

People got mad when I wrote about YouTube's death.

They didn't like when I said TikTok was YouTube's first real challenger.

Indeed. TikTok is the fastest-growing social network. In three years, the Chinese social media app TikTok has gained over 1 billion active users. In the first quarter of 2020, it had the most downloads of any app in a single quarter.

TikTok is the perfect social media app in many ways. It's brief and direct.

Can you believe they had a YouTube vs TikTok boxing match? We are doomed as a species.

YouTube hosts my favorite videos. That’s why I use it. That’s why you use it. New users expect more. They want something quicker, more addictive.

TikTok's impact on other social media platforms frustrates me. YouTube copied TikTok to compete.

It's all about short, addictive content.

I'll admit I'm probably wrong about TikTok. My friend says his feed is full of videos about food, cute animals, book recommendations, and hot lesbians.

Whatever.

TikTok makes us bad

TikTok is the opposite of what the Ancient Greeks believed about wisdom.

It encourages people to be fake. It's like a never-ending costume party where everyone competes.

It does not mean that Gen Z is doomed.

They could be the saviors of the world for all I know.

TikTok feels like a step towards Mike Judge's "Idiocracy," where the average person is a pleasure-seeking moron.

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Joseph Mavericks

Joseph Mavericks

2 months ago

5 books my CEO read to make $30M

Offices without books are like bodies without souls.

After 10 years, my CEO sold his company for $30 million. I've shared many of his lessons on medium. You could ask him anything at his always-open office. He also said we could use his office for meetings while he was away. When I used his office for work, I was always struck by how many books he had.

Books are useful in almost every aspect of learning. Building a business, improving family relationships, learning a new language, a new skill... Books teach, guide, and structure. Whether fiction or nonfiction, books inspire, give ideas, and develop critical thinking skills.

My CEO prefers non-fiction and attends a Friday book club. This article discusses 5 books I found in his office that impacted my life/business. My CEO sold his company for $30 million, but I've built a steady business through blogging and video making.

I recall events and lessons I learned from my CEO and how they relate to each book, and I explain how I applied the book's lessons to my business and life.

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1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

Gary Keller, a real estate agent, wanted more customers. So he and his team brainstormed ways to get more customers. They decided to write a bestseller about work and productivity. The more people who saw the book, the more customers they'd get.

Gary Keller focused on writing the best book on productivity, work, and efficiency for months. His business experience. Keller's business grew after the book's release.

The author summarizes the book in one question.

"What's the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?"

When I started my blog and business alongside my 9–5, I quickly identified my one thing: writing. My business relied on it, so it had to be great. Without writing, there was no content, traffic, or business.

My CEO focused on funding when he started his business. Even in his final years, he spent a lot of time on the phone with investors, either to get more money or to explain what he was doing with it. My CEO's top concern was money, and the other super important factors were handled by separate teams.

  • Product tech and design

  • Incredible customer support team

  • Excellent promotion team

  • Profitable sales team

My CEO didn't always focus on one thing and ignore the rest. He was on all of those teams when I started my job. He'd start his day in tech, have lunch with marketing, and then work in sales. He was in his office on the phone at night.

He eventually realized his errors. Investors told him he couldn't do everything for the company. If needed, he had to change internally. He learned to let go, mind his own business, and focus for the next four years. Then he sold for $30 million.

The bigger your project/company/idea, the more you'll need to delegate to stay laser-focused. I started something new every few months for 10 years before realizing this. So much to do makes it easy to avoid progress. Once you identify the most important aspect of your project and enlist others' help, you'll be successful.

2. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

The author quote sums up book's essence:

Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog in the morning, it's probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day. Your "frog" is the biggest, most important task you're most likely to procrastinate on.

"Frog" and "One Thing" are both about focusing on what's most important. Eat That Frog recommends doing the most important task first thing in the morning.

I shared my CEO's calendar in an article 10 months ago. Like this:

CEO's average week (some information crossed out for confidentiality)

Notice anything about 8am-8:45am? Almost every day is the same (except Friday). My CEO started his day with a management check-in for 2 reasons:

  • Checking in with all managers is cognitively demanding, and my CEO is a morning person.

  • In a young startup where everyone is busy, the morning management check-in was crucial. After 10 am, you couldn't gather all managers.

When I started my blog, writing was my passion. I'm a morning person, so I woke up at 6 am and started writing by 6:30 am every day for a year. This allowed me to publish 3 articles a week for 52 weeks to build my blog and audience. After 2 years, I'm not stopping.

3. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Deep work is focusing on a cognitively demanding task without distractions (like a morning management meeting). It helps you master complex information quickly and produce better results faster. In a competitive world 10 or 20 years ago, focus wasn't a huge advantage. Smartphones, emails, and social media made focus a rare, valuable skill.

Most people can't focus anymore. Screens light up, notifications buzz, emails arrive, Instagram feeds... Many people don't realize they're interrupted because it's become part of their normal workflow.

Cal Newport mentions Bill Gates' "Think Weeks" in Deep Work.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates would isolate himself (often in a lakeside cottage) twice a year to read and think big thoughts.

Inside Bill's Brain on Netflix shows Newport's lakeside cottage. I've always wanted a lakeside cabin to work in. My CEO bought a lakehouse after selling his company, but now he's retired.

As a company grows, you can focus less on it. In a previous section, I said investors told my CEO to get back to basics and stop micromanaging. My CEO's commitment and ability to get work done helped save the company. His deep work and new frameworks helped us survive the corona crisis (more on this later).

The ability to deep work will be a huge competitive advantage in the next century. Those who learn to work deeply will likely be successful while everyone else is glued to their screens, Bluetooth-synced to their watches, and playing Candy Crush on their tablets.

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

It took me a while to start reading this book because it seemed like another shallow self-help bible. I kept finding this book when researching self-improvement. I tried it because it was everywhere.

Stephen Covey taught me 2 years ago to have a personal mission statement.

A 7 Habits mission statement describes the life you want to lead, the character traits you want to embody, and the impact you want to have on others. shortform.com

I've had many lunches with my CEO and talked about Vipassana meditation and Sunday forest runs, but I've never seen his mission statement. I'm sure his family is important, though. In the above calendar screenshot, you can see he always included family events (in green) so we could all see those time slots. We couldn't book him then. Although he never spent as much time with his family as he wanted, he always made sure to be on time for his kid's birthday rather than a conference call.

My CEO emphasized his company's mission. Your mission statement should answer 3 questions.

  • What does your company do?

  • How does it do it?

  • Why does your company do it?

As a graphic designer, I had to create mission-statement posters. My CEO hung posters in each office.

5. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

This book is about Andrew Grove's OKR strategy, developed in 1968. When he joined Google's early investors board, he introduced it to Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google still uses OKR.

Objective Key Results

  • Objective: It explains your goals and desired outcome. When one goal is reached, another replaces it. OKR objectives aren't technical, measured, or numerical. They must be clear.

  • Key Result should be precise, technical, and measurable, unlike the Objective. It shows if the Goal is being worked on. Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly.

Our company almost sank several times. Sales goals were missed, management failed, and bad decisions were made. On a Monday, our CEO announced we'd implement OKR to revamp our processes.

This was a year before the pandemic, and I'm certain we wouldn't have sold millions or survived without this change. This book impacted the company the most, not just management but all levels. Organization and transparency improved. We reached realistic goals. Happy investors. We used the online tool Gtmhub to implement OKR across the organization.

My CEO's company went from near bankruptcy to being acquired for $30 million in 2 years after implementing OKR.


I hope you enjoyed this booklist. Here's a recap of the 5 books and the lessons I learned from each.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

Have a mission statement that outlines your goals, character traits, and impact on others.

  1. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Focus is a rare skill; master it. Deep workers will succeed in our hyper-connected, distracted world.

  1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

What can you do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary? Once you've identified it, focus on it.

  1. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

Identify your most important task the night before and do it first thing in the morning. You'll have a lighter day.

  1. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

On a timeline, divide each long-term goal into chunks. Divide those slices into daily tasks (your goals). Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly. Objectives aren't measured or numbered.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the ride!

Claire Berehova

Claire Berehova

6 months ago

There’s no manual for that

Kyiv oblast in springtime. Photo by author.

We’ve been receiving since the war began text messages from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine every few days. They’ve contained information on how to comfort a child and what to do in case of a water outage.

But a question that I struggle to suppress irks within me: How would we know if there really was a threat coming our away? So how can I happily disregard an air raid siren and continue singing to my three-month-old son when I feel like a World War II film became reality? There’s no manual for that.

Along with the anxiety, there’s the guilt that always seems to appear alongside dinner we’re fortunate to still have each evening while brave Ukrainian soldiers are facing serious food insecurity. There’s no manual for how to deal with this guilt.

When it comes to the enemy, there is no manual for how to react to the news of Russian casualties. Every dead Russian soldier weakens Putin, but I also know that many of these men had wives and girlfriends who are now living a nightmare.

So, I felt like I had to start writing my own manual.

The anxiety around the air raid siren? Only with time does it get easier to ignore it, but never completely.

The guilt? All we can do is pray.

That inner conflict? As Russia continues to stun the world with its war crimes, my emotions get less gray — I have to get used to accommodating absurd levels of hatred.

Sadness? It feels a bit more manageable when we laugh, and a little alcohol helps (as it usually does).

Cabin fever? Step outside in the yard when possible. At least the sunshine is becoming more fervent with spring approaching.

Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava. (Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.)

Alex Bentley

Alex Bentley

2 months ago

Why Bill Gates thinks Bitcoin, crypto, and NFTs are foolish

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates assesses digital assets while the bull is caged.

Bill Gates is well-respected.

Reasonably. He co-founded and led Microsoft during its 1980s and 1990s revolution.

After leaving Microsoft, Bill Gates pursued other interests. He and his wife founded one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also supports immunizations, population control, and other global health programs.

When Gates criticized Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, it made news.

Bill Gates said at the 58th Munich Security Conference...

“You have an asset class that’s 100% based on some sort of greater fool theory that somebody’s going to pay more for it than I do.”

Gates means digital assets. Like many bitcoin critics, he says digital coins and tokens are speculative.

And he's not alone. Financial experts have dubbed Bitcoin and other digital assets a "bubble" for a decade.

Gates also made fun of Bored Ape Yacht Club and NFTs, saying, "Obviously pricey digital photographs of monkeys will help the world."

Why does Bill Gates dislike digital assets?

According to Gates' latest comments, Bitcoin, cryptos, and NFTs aren't good ways to hold value.

Bill Gates is a better investor than Elon Musk.

“I’m used to asset classes, like a farm where they have output, or like a company where they make products,” Gates said.

The Guardian claimed in April 2021 that Bill and Melinda Gates owned the most U.S. farms. Over 242,000 acres of farmland.

The Gates couple has enough farmland to cover Hong Kong.

Bill Gates is a classic investor. He wants companies with an excellent track record, strong fundamentals, and good management. Or tangible assets like land and property.

Gates prefers the "old economy" over the "new economy"

Gates' criticism of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ventures isn't surprising. These digital assets lack all of Gates's investing criteria.

Volatile digital assets include Bitcoin. Their costs might change dramatically in a day. Volatility scares risk-averse investors like Gates.

Gates has a stake in the old financial system. As Microsoft's co-founder, Gates helped develop a dominant tech company.

Because of his business, he's one of the world's richest men.

Bill Gates is invested in protecting the current paradigm.

He won't invest in anything that could destroy the global economy.

When Gates criticizes Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, he's suggesting they're a hoax. These soapbox speeches are one way he protects his interests.

Digital assets aren't a bad investment, though. Many think they're the future.

Changpeng Zhao and Brian Armstrong are two digital asset billionaires. Two crypto exchange CEOs. Binance/Coinbase.

Digital asset revolution won't end soon.

If you disagree with Bill Gates and plan to invest in Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or NFTs, do your own research and understand the risks.

But don’t take Bill Gates’ word for it.

He’s just an old rich guy with a lot of farmland.

He has a lot to lose if Bitcoin and other digital assets gain global popularity.


This post is a summary. Read the full article here.