Friday, March 8th, 2019


Breaking Up is Hard to Do

"Today's big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation." Even for those of us in the tech industry, it's hard to argue with that sentiment expressed by Elizabeth Warren. There might be less agreement about what to do about it. But even when it comes to that, there are plenty of people wondering if today's version of living big is living too large. Here's how we can break up Big Tech. (Maybe Warren will call for breaking apart the NextDraft merger of insanely useful links and hilariously entertaining content. She'd have a point. It can be a bit much...)

+ "Eye contact parties, cuddle puddles, conscious dance..." According to Vice, Silicon Valley's Latest Bizarre Craze Is Organized Intimacy. (OK, I think we can all agree on this one: Break it up.)


Your Cash is No Good Here

While cash is no longer king, some cities are enacting legislation to make sure cash at least stays in the kingdom. CityLab: Some New Yorkers believe cash-free businesses violate civil rights and want to join cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington in banning them.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Paddleton, starring Mark Duplass and Ray Romano is a small movie with a pretty depressing plot right from the outset. But those aren't the only reasons I'm recommending it. It's also a really thoughtful look at friendship. Check out Paddleton on Netflix.

+ What to Read: "What we need is not to disagree less, but to disagree better. And that starts when you turn away the rhetorical dope peddlers — the powerful people on your own side who are profiting from the culture of contempt. As satisfying as it can feel to hear that your foes are irredeemable, stupid and deviant, remember: When you find yourself hating something, someone is making money or winning elections or getting more famous and powerful." Arthur C. Brooks in the NYT: Our Culture of Contempt.

+ What to Hear: There's a good chance you've heard Maren Morris's biggest hit, The Middle, or heard her vocals on a pop or hip hop track. And that's a testament to how versatile she is. Her just-released album probably fits most snugly into the country genre, but, really, who cares about genres? It's good.


Watt It Is

"When you take out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with LEDs, the amount of electricity you consume goes down more than 80 percent. There's nothing else like that." The NYT with an enlightening (give me a break, it's been a long week) look at America's Light Bulb Revolution.


Chimp Change

"Imagine that an alien species landed on Earth and, through their mere presence, those aliens caused our art to vanish, our music to homogenize, and our technological know-how to disappear. That is effectively what humans have been doing to our closest relatives—chimpanzees." Ed Yong in The Atlantic: Chimpanzees Are Going Through a Tragic Loss.


Watch Your Six

"Mr. Shine, who held the title of deputy White House chief of staff, was the sixth person to accept the job to manage communications chief for this White House ... But as time wore on, Mr. Shine never developed a close relationship with Mr. Trump. The president frequently criticized him to other advisers, saying that his own press coverage had not improved." NYT: Bill Shine Resigns as White House Message Chief. (With Bill Shine out as Communications Director, you can say goodbye to the disciplined, focused White House messaging to which you've grown accustomed.) Shine lasted the longest of anyone in the role, or about 22.3 Scaramuccis.

+ The unexpectedly brief sentence handed out to Paul Manafort got a lot of people talking about the inequities in the criminal justice system. (Manafort got 47 months for bank fraud, money laundering, and cheating the American people. Half the country got 48 months for losing the electoral vote.) Here's Franklin Foer on The ‘Otherwise Blameless Life' of Paul Manafort.

+ And today in synergy: Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted. (Ay, there's the rub ... and tug.)


Terms and Conditioning

"In 2017, 22,000 people who signed up for free public Wi-Fi inadvertently agreed to 1,000 hours of community service — including cleaning toilets and 'relieving sewer blockages,' ... A few years earlier, several Londoners agreed (presumably inadvertently) to give away their oldest child in exchange for Wi-Fi access." When Not Reading The Fine Print Can Cost Your Soul.


Barbie’s Q Factor

"For a doll who was once programmed to complain that 'math class is tough' on command, it's all quite impressive. But then, she didn't have to do a lot to exceed expectations. Like most women born in 1959, she was underestimated from the start." Mattie Kahn in Glamour: There's Something About Barbie.


Feel Good Friday

"Passengers on a delayed Air Canada flight are praising their captain to the skies after he went out of his way to keep them informed — and even ordered pizza directly to their plane stuck on the tarmac." (I should call this section Canada Friday.)

+ "An unemployed New Jersey man who won last Friday's $273 million Mega Millions jackpot said he wants to reward the mystery person who returned the tickets to a store where he'd left them a day earlier."

+ "There is bark and moss on the walls, caves with blue fairy lights where kids can hole up and read, and a large tree sculpture where visitors can dangle messages." The SF Chronicle on 826 Valencia's new Mission Bay Center. (Full disclosure: I'm on the board of 826 Valencia, though that sounds more like a brag than a disclosure...)

+ Colin Hanks shared a nice story about Luke Perry.

+ Runners around the world helped a woman conquer 100 marathons in 100 days for water conservation.

+ William Bush, 12, started a petition to bring Metallica to New Zealand. Enter sandman...