Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

1

Naïve believers make the loudest heretics. That’s me. As a kid, I taught myself to code on a dusty old Commodore 64. By rights, I should have been a billionaire wunderkind before my sophomore year of college. But I screwed up. Instead of skipping class to build a world-changing website in a dorm room, I succumbed to the temptations of music, books, and girls. How shortsighted I was! How far astray I’d wandered! My earnings potential plummeted when I stopped writing software and started writing for newspapers. In the years to come, as my ill-chosen trade succumbed to digital disruption, I looked with envy at the techies, the winners, the pioneers. They had ideas. They had momentum. Most important, they had money. Why not me?

smh this normie

—p.1 Introduction: Billionaire or Bust (1) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Naïve believers make the loudest heretics. That’s me. As a kid, I taught myself to code on a dusty old Commodore 64. By rights, I should have been a billionaire wunderkind before my sophomore year of college. But I screwed up. Instead of skipping class to build a world-changing website in a dorm room, I succumbed to the temptations of music, books, and girls. How shortsighted I was! How far astray I’d wandered! My earnings potential plummeted when I stopped writing software and started writing for newspapers. In the years to come, as my ill-chosen trade succumbed to digital disruption, I looked with envy at the techies, the winners, the pioneers. They had ideas. They had momentum. Most important, they had money. Why not me?

smh this normie

—p.1 Introduction: Billionaire or Bust (1) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
19

[...] Pelosi praised Yelp as “a model of good business” and an exemplar of the “social and economic engines that drive the American dream”—a dream “built on faith in the future, faith in the entrepreneurial spirit, faith in innovation, faith in technology, and really faith in community, because community is what Yelp is all about.” Even better, unlike the local newspapers that Stoppelman and his fellow tech execs helped to drive out of business, Yelp didn’t subsidize a small army of journalists to pester politicians like Pelosi with questions about her coziness with campaign donors, or to write honest, competent restaurant reviews.

ok, i have a lot of problems with platforms like yelp, but you can't really blame them for driving local newspapers out of business ... they were in decline anyway, and should have been a public service - ie, removed from the capital accumulation process - to begin with. (think about this criticism more tho)

—p.19 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] Pelosi praised Yelp as “a model of good business” and an exemplar of the “social and economic engines that drive the American dream”—a dream “built on faith in the future, faith in the entrepreneurial spirit, faith in innovation, faith in technology, and really faith in community, because community is what Yelp is all about.” Even better, unlike the local newspapers that Stoppelman and his fellow tech execs helped to drive out of business, Yelp didn’t subsidize a small army of journalists to pester politicians like Pelosi with questions about her coziness with campaign donors, or to write honest, competent restaurant reviews.

ok, i have a lot of problems with platforms like yelp, but you can't really blame them for driving local newspapers out of business ... they were in decline anyway, and should have been a public service - ie, removed from the capital accumulation process - to begin with. (think about this criticism more tho)

—p.19 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
34

I wandered through an expansive unfurnished wing of the office. Who was paying for this? And why? What exactly was a NerdWallet? A woman at the party had tried to explain the company to me, but since she was a newish hire, she didn’t seem quite sure, either.

[...] One described its executive ranks as “treacherous, languishing souls who want to claw as much money as possible” from investors, employees, and clients. Said another, “It’s unclear what the product is.”

This company, an enigma even to its own staff, claimed to have thirty million users, although this was impossible to verify. More interesting, it had just secured “an outsized sum” from one of the Valley’s top VC firms, Institutional Venture Partners. As Reuters reported, NerdWallet raised $64 million in its first fundraising round—“far more cash than it needs”—with a valuation in the “mid-hundred millions.” This was an indication that some big-time players in Silicon Valley hoped NerdWallet would be the next “unicorn”—a company valued at $1 billion or more. By proving its ambition with such a large investment, NerdWallet would be able to attract even more money later, which would further validate its future-unicorn status and hoover up still more money as, if all went according to plan, the company became a household name. Thus were the unicorns of Silicon Valley literally wished into being. It was the most magical thing about them.

—p.34 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I wandered through an expansive unfurnished wing of the office. Who was paying for this? And why? What exactly was a NerdWallet? A woman at the party had tried to explain the company to me, but since she was a newish hire, she didn’t seem quite sure, either.

[...] One described its executive ranks as “treacherous, languishing souls who want to claw as much money as possible” from investors, employees, and clients. Said another, “It’s unclear what the product is.”

This company, an enigma even to its own staff, claimed to have thirty million users, although this was impossible to verify. More interesting, it had just secured “an outsized sum” from one of the Valley’s top VC firms, Institutional Venture Partners. As Reuters reported, NerdWallet raised $64 million in its first fundraising round—“far more cash than it needs”—with a valuation in the “mid-hundred millions.” This was an indication that some big-time players in Silicon Valley hoped NerdWallet would be the next “unicorn”—a company valued at $1 billion or more. By proving its ambition with such a large investment, NerdWallet would be able to attract even more money later, which would further validate its future-unicorn status and hoover up still more money as, if all went according to plan, the company became a household name. Thus were the unicorns of Silicon Valley literally wished into being. It was the most magical thing about them.

—p.34 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
37

The tech boom, I had begun to see, was not a fount of opportunity, but an engine that transformed baby boomers’ pension funds into canapés and booze for millennials through the marketing budgets of venture-backed startups. Which was all well and good, but I couldn’t help feeling that there was something more unsettling going on. Were we young lambs being fattened only for the slaughter? Once we had grown dependent on artisanal breadcrumbs and tequila drippings from the table of our boomer masters, could there be any escape? Being educated through online pyramid schemes, and getting our news of the world filtered by Facebook, could we ever hope to apprehend the true nature of this mystifying apparatus that surrounded us from birth? Would we ride these unicorns over the rainbow to the land of plenty, or would we be gored to death by their sparkling horns?

—p.37 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The tech boom, I had begun to see, was not a fount of opportunity, but an engine that transformed baby boomers’ pension funds into canapés and booze for millennials through the marketing budgets of venture-backed startups. Which was all well and good, but I couldn’t help feeling that there was something more unsettling going on. Were we young lambs being fattened only for the slaughter? Once we had grown dependent on artisanal breadcrumbs and tequila drippings from the table of our boomer masters, could there be any escape? Being educated through online pyramid schemes, and getting our news of the world filtered by Facebook, could we ever hope to apprehend the true nature of this mystifying apparatus that surrounded us from birth? Would we ride these unicorns over the rainbow to the land of plenty, or would we be gored to death by their sparkling horns?

—p.37 Poor Winners (11) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
54

[...] As tech companies established their dominance over the city, more and more mundane aspects of life came to resemble Web-style terms-of-service agreements—unfair, unenforceable, vaguely threatening, and totally rigged. There were even apps for homeless panhandlers to collect Bitcoin, but more popular was an app developed to help the propertied classes report the unwelcome poor to the city’s nuisance hotline.

—p.54 Slums as a Service (43) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] As tech companies established their dominance over the city, more and more mundane aspects of life came to resemble Web-style terms-of-service agreements—unfair, unenforceable, vaguely threatening, and totally rigged. There were even apps for homeless panhandlers to collect Bitcoin, but more popular was an app developed to help the propertied classes report the unwelcome poor to the city’s nuisance hotline.

—p.54 Slums as a Service (43) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
68

A corporate recruiter explained to me the forces driving the “perks war,” an escalating tit-for-tat of such freebies as steak dinners delivered to employees’ desks, free laundry service, free bikes and bike repair, free concierge service, and of course free drinks. “They might get a twenty-dollar steak, but with the extra time they’ve stayed at work, they’ve provided an extra two hundred dollars in value to their employer,” the recruiter said. Thus the seemingly lavish enticements were a way to attract profit-producing programmers, who were in exceedingly high demand, without offering higher salaries. The perks also provided effective cover for the companies’ slave-driving work schedules.

But my intern roommates seemed happy with the arrangement, at least at first. “Everything they say about Google is true,” one intern told me after his orientation at the Googleplex. “There are twenty cafeterias, a gym—everything.” Early every weekday morning, he and the other Googlers in his neighborhood swiped their ID cards to board a chartered bus parked near the BART station, then rode thirty-five miles to Mountain View. They started working onboard the bus, which was equipped with WiFi, and didn’t leave the campus until sometime around 8 p.m., when another bus ferried them home after they ate at the company cafeteria. This was a pretty standard deal at the big Silicon Valley companies. Even rinky-dink startups in SoMa warehouses offered free catering. “The perks, man!” another roommate, a non-Googler, raved after arriving home at 10 p.m. from his first day on the job. “I worked until nine because dinner is free if you work that late … And they’ll pay for your cab home,” he went on. That became his But my intern roommates seemed happy with the arrangement, at least at first. “Everything they say about Google is true,” one intern told me after his orientation at the Googleplex. “There are twenty cafeterias, a gym—everything.” Early every weekday morning, he and the other Googlers in his neighborhood swiped their ID cards to board a chartered bus parked near the BART station, then rode thirty-five miles to Mountain View. They started working onboard the bus, which was equipped with WiFi, and didn’t leave the campus until sometime around 8 p.m., when another bus ferried them home after they ate at the company cafeteria. This was a pretty standard deal at the big Silicon Valley companies. Even rinky-dink startups in SoMa warehouses offered free catering. “The perks, man!” another roommate, a non-Googler, raved after arriving home at 10 p.m. from his first day on the job. “I worked until nine because dinner is free if you work that late … And they’ll pay for your cab home,” he went on. That became his routine, and he never questioned it. Come to think of it, like a lot of his contemporaries, he never questioned anything.

—p.68 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

A corporate recruiter explained to me the forces driving the “perks war,” an escalating tit-for-tat of such freebies as steak dinners delivered to employees’ desks, free laundry service, free bikes and bike repair, free concierge service, and of course free drinks. “They might get a twenty-dollar steak, but with the extra time they’ve stayed at work, they’ve provided an extra two hundred dollars in value to their employer,” the recruiter said. Thus the seemingly lavish enticements were a way to attract profit-producing programmers, who were in exceedingly high demand, without offering higher salaries. The perks also provided effective cover for the companies’ slave-driving work schedules.

But my intern roommates seemed happy with the arrangement, at least at first. “Everything they say about Google is true,” one intern told me after his orientation at the Googleplex. “There are twenty cafeterias, a gym—everything.” Early every weekday morning, he and the other Googlers in his neighborhood swiped their ID cards to board a chartered bus parked near the BART station, then rode thirty-five miles to Mountain View. They started working onboard the bus, which was equipped with WiFi, and didn’t leave the campus until sometime around 8 p.m., when another bus ferried them home after they ate at the company cafeteria. This was a pretty standard deal at the big Silicon Valley companies. Even rinky-dink startups in SoMa warehouses offered free catering. “The perks, man!” another roommate, a non-Googler, raved after arriving home at 10 p.m. from his first day on the job. “I worked until nine because dinner is free if you work that late … And they’ll pay for your cab home,” he went on. That became his But my intern roommates seemed happy with the arrangement, at least at first. “Everything they say about Google is true,” one intern told me after his orientation at the Googleplex. “There are twenty cafeterias, a gym—everything.” Early every weekday morning, he and the other Googlers in his neighborhood swiped their ID cards to board a chartered bus parked near the BART station, then rode thirty-five miles to Mountain View. They started working onboard the bus, which was equipped with WiFi, and didn’t leave the campus until sometime around 8 p.m., when another bus ferried them home after they ate at the company cafeteria. This was a pretty standard deal at the big Silicon Valley companies. Even rinky-dink startups in SoMa warehouses offered free catering. “The perks, man!” another roommate, a non-Googler, raved after arriving home at 10 p.m. from his first day on the job. “I worked until nine because dinner is free if you work that late … And they’ll pay for your cab home,” he went on. That became his routine, and he never questioned it. Come to think of it, like a lot of his contemporaries, he never questioned anything.

—p.68 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
69

[...] DevWeek, as everyone called it, was basically a weeklong recruitment fair sprinkled with slideshows and panel talks. It was jarring to see employers desperate to hire, not the other way around. In 2010s America, the only place that was always hiring, apart from Silicon Valley, was the local U.S. Army recruiting center. Hundreds upon hundreds of people had flocked here to look for a better job and still there were not enough applicants to fill all the openings for “Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes,” and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialties. As exciting as it was to plunge into the bustle of a boomtown hiring hall, something about the ridiculous job titles got under my skin. The West Coast techies were alienated from their neighbors, the natives, not only by habit and custom but also by language. Techies would call themselves just about anything to avoid the stigmatizing label of “worker.” They could only face themselves in the mirror if their business card proved that they were rock stars or ninjas or something romantic and brave and individualistic—anything but the truth, anything but a drone.

—p.69 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] DevWeek, as everyone called it, was basically a weeklong recruitment fair sprinkled with slideshows and panel talks. It was jarring to see employers desperate to hire, not the other way around. In 2010s America, the only place that was always hiring, apart from Silicon Valley, was the local U.S. Army recruiting center. Hundreds upon hundreds of people had flocked here to look for a better job and still there were not enough applicants to fill all the openings for “Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes,” and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialties. As exciting as it was to plunge into the bustle of a boomtown hiring hall, something about the ridiculous job titles got under my skin. The West Coast techies were alienated from their neighbors, the natives, not only by habit and custom but also by language. Techies would call themselves just about anything to avoid the stigmatizing label of “worker.” They could only face themselves in the mirror if their business card proved that they were rock stars or ninjas or something romantic and brave and individualistic—anything but the truth, anything but a drone.

—p.69 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
76

The saddest thing about people like Adrian was that they hadn’t suffered from some outsize ambition. They were only doing what they were told. Barack Obama’s White House had endorsed Silicon Valley’s “learn to code” campaign—it was an official government job-creation program. With the traditional U.S. job market still a smoldering charcoal pit after the 2008 crash, computer programming skills were promoted as one sure way to attain the sort of prosperity and stability Americans had over many decades come to expect—nice house, new car, good credit, big TV, full medicine cabinet, all the latest toys, and a retirement plan.

But why, then, were so many programmers who’d “made it” in Silicon Valley scrambling to promote themselves from coder to “founder”? There wasn’t necessarily more money to be had running a startup, and the increase in status was marginal unless one’s startup attracted major investment and the right kind of press coverage. It’s because the programmers knew that their own ladder to prosperity was on fire and disintegrating fast. They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software. The programmers also knew that the fastest way to win that promotion to founder was to find some new domain that hadn’t yet been automated. Every tech industry campaign designed to spur investment in the Next Big Thing—at that time, it was the “sharing economy”—concealed a larger program for the transformation of society, always in a direction that favored the investor and executive classes.

In the first seven years after the 2008 crash, sixteen million people left the U.S. labor force. And in that same period, thanks to Silicon Valley’s timely opportunism, the country gained an endless bounty of gigs. Tech startups, backed by Wall Street, swept in to offer displaced workers countless push-button moneymaking schemes—what Bloomberg News called “entrepreneurialism-in-a-box.” Need fast cash? Take out a “peer-to-peer” loan, or start a crowdfunding campaign. Need a career? Take on odd jobs as a TaskRabbit or pitch corporate swag as a YouTube “vlogger.” Nine-to-five jobs with benefits and overtime may be in the process of getting disrupted out of existence, but in their place we have the internet, with endless gigs and freelance opportunities, where survival becomes something like a video game—a matter of pressing the right buttons to attain instant gratification and meager rewards.

—p.76 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The saddest thing about people like Adrian was that they hadn’t suffered from some outsize ambition. They were only doing what they were told. Barack Obama’s White House had endorsed Silicon Valley’s “learn to code” campaign—it was an official government job-creation program. With the traditional U.S. job market still a smoldering charcoal pit after the 2008 crash, computer programming skills were promoted as one sure way to attain the sort of prosperity and stability Americans had over many decades come to expect—nice house, new car, good credit, big TV, full medicine cabinet, all the latest toys, and a retirement plan.

But why, then, were so many programmers who’d “made it” in Silicon Valley scrambling to promote themselves from coder to “founder”? There wasn’t necessarily more money to be had running a startup, and the increase in status was marginal unless one’s startup attracted major investment and the right kind of press coverage. It’s because the programmers knew that their own ladder to prosperity was on fire and disintegrating fast. They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software. The programmers also knew that the fastest way to win that promotion to founder was to find some new domain that hadn’t yet been automated. Every tech industry campaign designed to spur investment in the Next Big Thing—at that time, it was the “sharing economy”—concealed a larger program for the transformation of society, always in a direction that favored the investor and executive classes.

In the first seven years after the 2008 crash, sixteen million people left the U.S. labor force. And in that same period, thanks to Silicon Valley’s timely opportunism, the country gained an endless bounty of gigs. Tech startups, backed by Wall Street, swept in to offer displaced workers countless push-button moneymaking schemes—what Bloomberg News called “entrepreneurialism-in-a-box.” Need fast cash? Take out a “peer-to-peer” loan, or start a crowdfunding campaign. Need a career? Take on odd jobs as a TaskRabbit or pitch corporate swag as a YouTube “vlogger.” Nine-to-five jobs with benefits and overtime may be in the process of getting disrupted out of existence, but in their place we have the internet, with endless gigs and freelance opportunities, where survival becomes something like a video game—a matter of pressing the right buttons to attain instant gratification and meager rewards.

—p.76 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
95

[...] Don’t dig for gold: Sell shovels to all the suckers who think they’ll get rich digging for gold. To post an ad on Fiverr was to announce one’s status as an easy mark. To hawk get-rich-quick manuals to all those eager Fiverrers, however, was to join the exalted ranks of the shovel merchants. My Airbnb landlord, I realized, was a shovel merchant. As was the company that rented me server space for website hosting. As were the “startup community organizers” selling tickets to conferences and networking parties. As were the startup awards shows and Hacker News and the whole Silicon Valley economic apparatus promoting the ideal of individual achievement. We startup wannabes were not entrepreneurs. We were suckers for the shovel merchants, who were much cleverer than the thick-skulled “innovators” who did all the work while trading away the rewards. Selling shovels wasn’t the only way to make money in tech, but it was … the Silicon Valley way.

sigh

—p.95 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] Don’t dig for gold: Sell shovels to all the suckers who think they’ll get rich digging for gold. To post an ad on Fiverr was to announce one’s status as an easy mark. To hawk get-rich-quick manuals to all those eager Fiverrers, however, was to join the exalted ranks of the shovel merchants. My Airbnb landlord, I realized, was a shovel merchant. As was the company that rented me server space for website hosting. As were the “startup community organizers” selling tickets to conferences and networking parties. As were the startup awards shows and Hacker News and the whole Silicon Valley economic apparatus promoting the ideal of individual achievement. We startup wannabes were not entrepreneurs. We were suckers for the shovel merchants, who were much cleverer than the thick-skulled “innovators” who did all the work while trading away the rewards. Selling shovels wasn’t the only way to make money in tech, but it was … the Silicon Valley way.

sigh

—p.95 Gigs Make Us Free (68) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago
106

Most people in the industry were convinced that their work was moral because it increased consumer choice and therefore freedom. New technologies were evidence of progress and therefore innately good. And any criticism of the industry’s practices or motives therefore threatened freedom and progress.

—p.106 Selling Crack to Children (96) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Most people in the industry were convinced that their work was moral because it increased consumer choice and therefore freedom. New technologies were evidence of progress and therefore innately good. And any criticism of the industry’s practices or motives therefore threatened freedom and progress.

—p.106 Selling Crack to Children (96) by Corey Pein 3 weeks, 2 days ago