Things of note for the week ending April 28th, 2017.
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Now… to the things!
1. ECHO JUNCTION
Adam Fraser, of Echo Junction, runs a smashing tech/digital/social podcast down under and, a few months back, asked yours truly if I fancied jumping online and recording an episode with him.
Since putting my own podcast on hiatus, any excuse to jump in front of the mic and chat with like-minded folk is always a super attractive idea.
And so we did!
The initial topic proposed was a review of the Key Digital Trends presentation I co-authored at the end of last year; we started there and then went where the conversation took us.
I enjoyed it, I hope you do too.
2. THAT UBER PROFILE PIECE + UNROLL.ME
Well, a lot has happened on this since I first added it to my drafts.
First thing first: if you haven’t read Mike Isaac’s profile of Uber founder, Travis Kalanick, in the New York Times yet, that should be your first port of call. Covering everything from [successfully] pulling the rug over Apple’s eyes (when it came to tagging individual iPhones – worth reading for the audacity alone) to sabotaging Uber’s competitors, and a whole lot in-between, it is 100% worth your time. Especially if you would class yourself as being in the dark when it comes to exactly how Kalanick’s start-up operates and where that specific modus operandi comes from (clue: he’s in the gif above).
Second thing, in among a whole bunch of other nefarious stuff there’s this amazing morsel:
“They spent much of their energy one-upping rivals like Lyft. Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft’s business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)”
If you’re unfamiliar with the service, Unroll.me is an email tool that claims to ‘clean up’ your inbox by identifying, and ‘unsubscribing’ you from, spammy emails.
Except it doesn’t. Not really. It just creates a new folder and bumps everything there instead. Oh, while at the same time reading the contents and then selling that content on to those that would want to buy it.
Like Uber, for example.
The fallout of this has not been minor. Many people have deleted their Unroll.me accounts (including me, for what it’s worth – if you want to too, here’s a useful guide on how). So many in fact that the founder felt like he should say something. That something was basically ‘Sorry we got found out, maybe y’all should read your T&Cs sometime‘ – which is fair enough, I guess.
Oh, then a co-founder weighed in and probably made things worse.
The latest? Well, of course, there’s a lawsuit on the way.
Point being, Uber is a car crash waiting to happen. And the collateral damage occurring en route will only just build from here… Seriously, read the NYT piece above, you’ll see.
🚗 🚙 🚗 🚙 🚗
Sidenote: I uninstalled Uber back in February. The final nail in the coffin was this post, ‘Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber‘. At SXSW earlier this year, Anil Dash argued that if start-up founders had ethics training, Uber wouldn’t exist. After reading all the above, it’s hard to disagree with him.
3. LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE
There’s only one way to follow a piece about Mr Kalanick and that’s to point y’all in the direction of some AMAZING WOMEN out there for you to go find out more about.
This list of 101 London Women in Tech to follow on Twitter is a MUST READ and y’all should go follow them.
Sidenote: good list to keep on file next time you’re faced with an #allmalepanel or something similar.
4. SPEAKER STUFF
A couple of things for the public speakers out there.
Thing one: Ben Donkor (he who also connected me to Adam Fraser – see Echo Junction, earlier in this issue) recently sent out a survey asking public speakers to submit answers to questions around being paid to speak; the hows, the whats, and the whens.
This is pretty solid research (with over 500 people getting in touch with their responses) and, even if you’ve not really looked at public speaking before, it’s worth having a look.
Thing two: I am a growing fan of Mr Jason Miller. Since hearing of his rather smashing turn at Social Media Week London last year, I’ve been keeping an eye on him and he even turned up on an in-flight magazine I was reading the other day too.
One of Jason’s latest piece, ‘Confessions of an Accidental Keynote Speaker‘, is a great read. If you’re dancing around speaking or if you have a gig coming up, then go give this one a look over. Good words, Jason. Keep it up.
REMINDER: me, and some AMAZING people (people who have worked at The White House, Pixar, and Coca-Cola – to name but three), are speaking at next month’s ONE QUESTION event. Tickets are still available and my lovely readers can get 15% off the face value by using the code ‘OQJamesW2017‘ at checkout.
Long story shot: Silicon Valley start-up makes a juicer that turns out to be the epitome of Emperor’s New Clothes.
Case in point:
FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A JUICER THAT YOU DON’T NEED.
Point being (and for the second time this edition), the note from the CEO is ridiculous/hilarious.
Go and read it. And then, when you’re done, read the responses (they are SOLID GOLD).
That is all.
BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Literally, loads this week; I dare you to click them ALL:
- This is amazing. But this build is incredible.
- Tropes vs Women in Video Games is coming to an end. Know nothing about this incredible series? Change that.
- I was reminded of this ‘Faking Cultural Literacy‘ piece from a few years back the other day. Still a great read. Worth [re-]visiting.
- Stellar GIF work.
- Star Trek VR looks hilarious.
- Slightly NSFW takes on technology + modern life. Arresting.
- Snapchat world lenses look interesting.
- Two of my comedy/intellectual crushes (both of whom I’ve wanged on about at length in this newsletter before) HAVE MET AND INTERVIEWED EACH OTHER – read this.
- Austin Powers at 20 (GOD I AM OLD): the definitive history.
- David Byrne remembers Jonathan Demme.
- Amazon’s earnings: Wowsers. Next: Alexa will help you get dressed.