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meh/analysis

Ellen Pao, Alex Kantrowitz, Eula Biss, Natasha Brown, Noam Cohen, Emily Chang, Douglas Coupland, Jaron Lanier

Extending the commercial sphere genuinely into the information space will lead to a more moderate, balanced world. What we've been doing instead is treating information commerce as a glaring exception to the equity that underlies democracy.

noooooooo it will not, it will just keep propping up capitalism and all its inherent tendencies towards inequality

—p.321 A Stab at Mitigating Creepiness (317) by Jaron Lanier 6 years, 4 months ago

But rather than offer a set of policy proposals, I would repeat a prescription for a just society that begins with “a commitment to the local, the plural, the small scale and the active.” Those are the qualities the Web must have, even if it means cutting off the flow of revenues to giant companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay. We can’t tolerate an Internet, or a society, led by a few self-proclaimed geniuses claiming to serve mankind. The Internet can and must work for us, instead of the other way around, through a diversity of voices and platforms free to organize and collaborate on their own rather than through a few centralized services. This way the Internet can help build the social connective tissue we so desperately need, as Berners-Lee originally intended.

hmmm i dont really like this tbh

—p.207 The Future (201) by Noam Cohen 4 years, 9 months ago

[...] Spending time with open, optimistic people reminded me that it might be possible to fix some of what was broken in our country - particularly the deep divisions between the rich and poor and between those at the center at those at the margins. I felt renewed and excited. I remembered why I loved tech. When I got home I felt, more than ever, committed to making a difference through my work.

what the fuck lmao

—p.60 Startup City (43) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

I knew early in my venture capital career that I might not have what it took to be a billionaire. Around me, the two managing partners who already had billions were still working their asses off, selling, selling, selling. If I ever got to a hundred million dollars, I thought, I would switch focus to raising a family, starting a philanthropic organization, and enjoying the rest of my life. But these managing partners were always competing for more—more board seats, more houses, more land, and, always, more jets. They were driven and had huge personalities. I couldn’t imagine fighting it out like that year after year. To me, the venture capital workplace had started to knew early in my venture capital career that I might not have what it took to be a billionaire. Around me, the two managing partners who already had billions were still working their asses off, selling, selling, selling. If I ever got to a hundred million dollars, I thought, I would switch focus to raising a family, starting a philanthropic organization, and enjoying the rest of my life. But these managing partners were always competing for more—more board seats, more houses, more land, and, always, more jets. They were driven and had huge personalities. I couldn’t imagine fighting it out like that year after year. To me, the venture capital workplace had started to feel like one giant Whack-a-Mole game. Every time I felt like I’d cleared the board, a new problem would pop up. Then another, then another.

good lord, talk about missing the obvious conclusion

i think what's really amazing to me about ellen pao's story is that she got to witness, from close range, the very worst predations of the industry AND YET does not come to the conclusion that it needs to be abolished

—p.107 Whack-A-Mole (107) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

I often felt like the partners were out for themelves; certainly they weren’t rooting for me. One of the less supportive Kleiner managing partners was Ted Schlein. People would say, “Here comes Ted!” well in advance of his arrival as he stormed across the building. All stomping and furrowed brows, he always seemed grouchy, but he actually was a pretty happy guy, and unlike a lot of men in his position, he didn’t seem vain. That showed up most clearly in his socks. The guy was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the part sticking up just above the back of his heel was always worn to a sheer transparency, one step away from being a giant hole. The son of a well-known CEO-turned-venture-capitalist, Ted was destined to be a VC, though he never seemed to work particularly hard at it.

(the "themelves" typo is in the actual book, both physical and ebook)

  1. of course they're out for themselves, why on earth would anyone think otherwise
  2. what the fuck is this paragraph supposed to be about
  3. Ted Schlein as inspo for a pano character
—p.107 Whack-A-Mole (107) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

Ted didn’t value any of the policy work I did—I had helped get John credit for passing AB 32, the California carbon tax law, by bringing entrepreneurs to Sacramento to talk job creation with legislators. (The fact that John had flown one of his private jets to Sacramento instead of driving 116 miles horrified the entrepreneurs, who had carpooled in a modified Prius that got a hundred miles to the gallon. To avoid that embarrassment, when John later flew to D.C. to testify in the Senate about climate policy, he took his private jet to St. Louis, hopped a short commercial flight to Ted didn’t value any of the policy work I did—I had helped get John credit for passing AB 32, the California carbon tax law, by bringing entrepreneurs to Sacramento to talk job creation with legislators. (The fact that John had flown one of his private jets to Sacramento instead of driving 116 miles horrified the entrepreneurs, who had carpooled in a modified Prius that got a hundred miles to the gallon. To avoid that embarrassment, when John later flew to D.C. to testify in the Senate about climate policy, he took his private jet to St. Louis, hopped a short commercial flight to D.C., then had his jet fly out to meet him in D.C. to bring him back to California.)

apparently this book is just a laundry list of Ellen Pao's incredible accomplishments??? jeez lady, chill, you're not on trial anymore

(also, this private jet story is liberalism.jpg)

—p.109 Whack-A-Mole (107) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

And so ambitious, money-hungry people began turning their attention away from Wall Street and toward the tech sector, idolizing the rapid ascent to billionaire status of the Google founders. Almost overnight, it seemed to me, the amount of money and money types pouring in changed the vibe. Even the new rich people were different. Famous rich guy of the earlier era Bill Gates was known for working hard and then for doing good with his money. His goal was a PC on every desktop. Famous rich guy of the new era Mark Zuckerberg was known for spitefully attending a VC meeting in his pajamas. His goal was making it easier to find women to date. The newest crop of billionaire boys included Evan Spiegel, who sent crude emails about trying to get “sororisluts” drunk enough to have sex with his frat brothers, and about peeing on a classmate. His goal was to enable nude selfies with self-deleting photos.

some interesting historical revisionism here, casting bill gates as a good guy lmao

—p.119 The Last Straw (117) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

For years, I’d tried to believe in the story of Kleiner as a place where we were really trying to help entrepreneurs to build awesome companies and products. I’d believed that we were this team of people working together and that we were trying to be missionaries, not mercenaries. But eventually I’d come to see all that talk as a big lie. My parents raised me to believe that the world was a meritocracy, that if you worked hard enough you could get ahead. But that wasn’t true at Kleiner. It just wasn’t fair.

im sorry but this made me laugh out loud

—p.144 The Last Straw (117) by Ellen Pao 4 years, 8 months ago

Let's imagine a world where women hold half the jobs in Silicon Valley. Where half of entrepreneurs, executives, venture capitalists, board members, and employees - including engineers - are women.

[...] "I think there would be two enormous differences," the longtime tech investor Roger McNamee told me. "I think Silicon Valley would be wildly more profitable. I think there would be a significant reduction in the number of absolute failures. And so I think success would go up dramatically."

i dont think this is possible without broader societal changes, and even then, im not sure how desirable it would be (depends on the kind of broader societal changes i guess). esp if the goal is for SV to become more "profitable"

—p.250 Chapter 9 (249) by Emily Chang 4 years, 1 month ago

The robots are the most visual example of Bezos’s obsession with automating whatever he can to free his employees to work on more creative tasks. “I don’t think I can remember a time where he wasn’t interested in using computing to help us achieve our mission,” Wilke said. “From the earliest days, he would look at a process, and if there was repetitive work being done by people who can be freed up to be more inventive, he would say, ‘How do we automate that process? How do we automate that routine so that our people can be as creative as possible?’”

i remember when i, too, believed this

—p.30 by Alex Kantrowitz 3 years, 2 months ago