“I barely recognized myself. I had turned into a trophy wife — and I sucked at it. I wasn’t detail-oriented enough to maintain a perfect house or be a perfect hostess. I could no longer hide my boredom when the men talked and the women smiled and listened. I wasn’t interested in Botox or makeup or reducing the appearance of the scars from my C-sections. And no matter how many highlights I got, Elon pushed me to be blonder. ‘Go platinum,’ he kept saying, and I kept refusing.”
“[Netflix’s] culture is meant to only attract ‘fully formed adults.’”
Juicero deserved all of the attention it got and more — it was so pure, so impossibly telling about the pre-apocalyptic American wasteland. It was also just one of a whole constellation of companies that now operate under an ingenious model: take some banal product that has been sold forever at low margins, attach the disposable part to a proprietary system that pretends to improve it but really just locks pepole into a particular vendor, add a touch screen manufactured by Chinese tweens, call it “Smart,” and sell it to schlubby dads too indebted to buy a midlife crisis car and too unattractive to have an affair.
Uber is efficiency with elegance on top. That’s why I buy an iPhone instead of an average cell phone, why I go to a nice restaurant and pay a little bit more. It’s for the experience.
Taken together, we’re observing the emergence of tech that doesn’t just augment our intellect and lives — but is now beginning to automate and outsource our humanity.
An incredible political and economic experiment is playing out within San Francisco and its metropolitan area. The tech boom and the hyper-gentrification associated with it are testing the resolve and character of the city in a way the city or any other major American city has never experienced…
We could end up witnessing a San Francisco that reflexively tightens up its tenant protections and votes overwhelmingly against condominium development projects… On the other end, the city could become a Manhattan-esque playground for the rich of haute cafes that serve $4 toast, a place where community development centers get evicted and replaced by fusion restaurants catering to the whims of the latest food trends.
The rise of the techie makes it obvious that tech industry magnates are on the cusp of replacing bankers as the robber barons of our imaginations. Maybe the next urban class war really will be fought on the campuses of Facebook and Google. Or maybe techie is just an ephemeral term, like yuppie, that will dissipate when the tech bubble bursts — only to return, like the problem it represents, under a new name.
Who knows what could happen in the long term? Uber could start using self-driving cars made by Google (one of its investors) to eliminate the need for human drivers, driving down its costs even more. It could introduce a near-instantaneous delivery service to rival Amazon’s drones. It could roll out a subscription service, akin to Amazon Prime, that would include perks like predictive transportation, so that, for example, when Uber sees an appointment on your Google calendar for a cross-town meeting, it sends a car to your office automatically at the right time …
The result of Uber’s efforts, in other words, could be the creation of a techno-metropolis, in which people and goods are ferreted around seamlessly and, perhaps, automatically. It would be like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Uber’s plan is to outgrow its car-service roots, and become, as investor Shervin Pishevar put it, ‘a digital mesh’ capable of providing all kinds of transportation and logistical services to people in the cities it serves. Once it has you summoning cars from your phone, the logic goes, it can use that same back-end technology to hook you in for all other kinds of deliveries — food, clothes, Christmas trees. And eventually, like Amazon, it can become something akin to an all-purpose utility — it’ll just be a way you get things and go places.
Uber is about orchestrating and projecting a baller experience; Lyft is about wacky serendipity that comes with hopping in strangers’ cars.
The perception of high school girls that they are simply not good at technology is simply incorrect—they are first adopters. And other data bolster this argument, as it turns out that women may be better than men when it comes to leading a technology start-up.
“Women-operated, venture-backed high tech companies average 12 percent higher annual revenues. They also use on average one-third less capital than male counterparts’ startups.”
The internet makes human desires more easily attainable. In other words, it offers convenience. Convenience on the internet is basically achieved by two things: speed, and cognitive ease. If you study what the really big things on the internet are, you realize they are masters at making things fast and not making people think.
Here’s the formula if you want to build a billion-dollar internet company. Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time. Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.
One of the reasons that Silicon Valley exists is that we have all worked next to somebody who has gone off and been successful. We know firsthand that the guy next to us that went off and was very successful was an idiot.