- Keynes was wrong: Generation Z will have it worse Long, thoughtful essay on Keynes’s famous 1933 essay on “The Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”.
- Raspberry Pi celebrates its 30 millionth sale The little computer that could. It’s the one great British success story of our times.
- The Very Respectful Wikipedia Battles Over “OK Boomer” Another illustration of the intrinsic wisdom of Wikipedia’s methodology for separating fact from fiction. And it was invented long before anyone had heard of fake news.
- How to Control a Conversation Without Saying Much at All When one speaker is monopolizing a discussion, use a tactic called ‘cognitive incision’.
“The problem is our brains are intuitively suited to the sorts of risk management decisions endemic to living in small family groups in the East African highlands in 100,000 BC, and not to living in the New York City of 2008.”
- Bruce Schneier
Announcing their decision to step down from directly managing the company they created, the Google co-founders wrote:
With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!
John Gruber is having none of it:
This whole “Alphabet” thing is a joke. I still don’t get what they’re even trying for with it. The company is Google and we all know it. The subsidiary owns the parent and everyone knows it. No one is fooled by this. Nothing has changed regarding the goofy super-class shares that Page and Brin hold that give them complete control of the company. Google is a privately-held company that trades as a publicly-held one.
Here’s the thing that’s always rubbed me the wrong way about Google. They’re insulting. Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates — I completely believe they’re all geniuses. But they never seem(ed) condescending. Tim Cook and Satya Nadella aren’t founders but they’re both great examples of what a CEO should be: smart, honest, respectful.
Brin and Page are almost certainly smarter than you and me. But they’re not as much smarter as they think they are. Read this whole announcement through the filter of “they think we’re dumb” and it makes a lot more sense. And if they were as smart as they think they are, they’d therefore be smart enough to recognize how tone-deaf this plays.
- 2019: the year when revolt went global Martin Gurri’s answer to the question implied by Tyler Cowen’s observation that “As 2019 enters its final quarter, there have been large and often violent demonstrations in Lebanon, Chile, Spain, Haiti, Iraq, Sudan, Russia, Egypt, Uganda, Indonesia, Ukraine, Peru, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Colombia, France, Turkey, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Brazil, Malawi, Algeria and Ecuador, among other places.” Why the frenzy of protests – and why now? Is this just a random series of coincidences? Or is there something more systemic at work?
- How the Iranian regime shut off the Internet Balkanisation proceeds apace. The New York Times also has a good report
- Why private equity should not exist Terrific essay by Matt Stoller on one of the most pernicious types of capitalist exploitation.
- The American Room Paul Ford’s great essay on the rooms in which YouTube videos are made.