Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘silicon valley’

Silicon Valley Sees The Pavement Approaching At Terminal Velocity

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

As mentioned here before, the dot-com 3.0 and Silicon Valley economic miracle is about to come to a crashing end. The internet simply is not worth as much money any more, and instead of contracting, the market expanded, and now the economy will balance the ledger by destroying fake value.

The primary driver for this is the failure of internet advertising as it becomes clear that in addition to not paying much attention to internet ads, people of the sort wanted by advertisers are finding ways to avoid them or the internet entirely. Ad prices have been steadily dropping and now advertisers are ditching them for TV and radio:

“The major issues in digital is that the supply chain still has way too many touch points in it and it lacks transparency,” says Pritchard.

In January, Pritchard threatened to boycott spending with the digital ad behemoths (Google, Facebook, major ad networks etc.) unless they worked to make the system more transparent. He now says the ecosystem is about 40% of the way there, largely thanks to the pressure major advertisers (P&G, Unilever, etc.) are putting on the system.

Pritchard says radio and out of home (billboard) marketing have also been showing increasingly positive results.

The majority dollars don’t even make it to publishers:Citing industry studies, Prichard says that only 40% of dollars reach publishers after payouts to ad tech vendors, and up to another 25% of dollars could be wasted on ad fraud and problems with ad viewability (ads not loading right or ads that aren’t actually viewed by humans).

In other words, the dot-com companies are hiding how ineffective ads are, how much fraud there is and how much those big FANG — Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google — companies are taking as middlemen. These are all signs of a failing ad regime.

The “Myspace effect” has kicked into full gear where the upper half of society — the desired group for advertisers, because they are responsive to advertising for more than low-end consumer goods — are fleeing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media and hiding out in messaging apps instead.

Internet companies told us that television and radio were dead, but this was wishful thinking. In actuality, television and radio have a better chance of reaching their audience because they are linear formats, so people are less likely to navigate away from ads. In addition, they tend to be local, instead of spammed across the internet, and people can keep their privacy with them.

Newspapers are the only real losers here, since people read those online, but it is unclear how much people even care anymore. The news content is light and the headline usually tells the story, so skimming Drudge or Real Clear Politics provides most of what these consumers need.

In the meantime, Google has become a victim of its own success. Its PageRank algorithm, which gives massive preference to popular sites, effectively disenfranchised people from putting content on the web to have those sites — including Wikipedia — simply scrape it. All the good content is going behind paywalls. This means that Google searches are less effective these days.

While all this is crashing down, the savvier investors are noticing that this looks a lot like a bubble right before a crash and bailing out:

It’s a bubble that is different — but the same — as the last time. In 2000, start-ups like pets.com were able to go public and jack up share prices even as they were losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

…Venture capitalists and private equity investors keep the bubble going by buying into it at higher and higher valuations. The smartest ones guarantee their own success by taking rich advisory fees along the way and exiting before disaster via the secondary market for private shares. And this is, as behavioural economist Peter Atwater recently pointed out to me, unusually liquid thanks in part to central bank-enabled easy money.

…These days, a glut of money eager to bolster gains in a low-return world has lifted the economy of Silicon Valley to ridiculous heights. Yet the real winners are likely to be the small number of platform groups such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple that can use their network effect to capture and control the data, which have become the new oil in our digital economy.

The middleman effect is revealed: large companies take the profits, and everyone else is using Silicon Valley as an investment for the purpose of sale, not as a long-term investment. A pyramid of hype rises from the sweaty, neckbearded wasteland of digital royalty, and other than a few who got in early, everyone is going to lose.

As the mom and pop investors figure out that digital is a ruin, they are going to shatter the value of those stocks which are purchased merely to speculate and resell them, and this will in turn create a domino effect of closures in Silicon Valley. That in turn will have consequences for America’s economy, built in part on anticipation of more easy wealth from the digital demesne.

That leaves us with a country top-heavy in debt, built on top of false expectations, that has sacrificed its productivity for this dream because by claiming it was an “ideas and services economy” it could justify globalism to itself. After the first set of dominoes fall, another larger set will begin its collapse.

Dot-Com 3.0 Collapse Is Here And Will End Western Economies

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

As mentioned frequently here before over the past few cheerfully oblivious years of manic investment in technologies of dubious value, the great collapse has finally gone mainstream:

Last month Robert Bouroujerdi, chief investment officer at Goldman Sachs, and most definitely someone who does remember the last dotcom boom, published a report in which he cautioned of the growing risks presented by the meteoric rise of the Big Five tech behemoths: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft.

Bouroujerdi noted that in the year to the start of June, these companies added a total of $600bn of market capitalisation – the equivalent of the gross domestic product of Hong Kong and South Africa combined. Parallels to the 1999-2000 crash are becoming increasingly evident, he said.

…Tech companies are deeply intertwined: when one falls it often takes scores of others down with it and often psychology dictates that the more a stock falls the more likely it is to fall further. Imagine rats scuttling for the exit on a sinking ship. No one wants to be caught inside a cabin and sink.

In other words, it is like a really successful strike when bowling: you hit the middle pins hard enough that they knock the outer pins down. Already we are seeing second- and third-tier tech companies quietly shutting the doors and sending everyone home, and a resulting mass exodus of those who lost the employment lottery in California to other states. But that is nothing compared to what is coming.

Bubbles in the market — huge wealth booms created between the time when the herd becomes fascinated with a New Thing and the time when they realize it is worthless — are classically compared to houses of cards. If any structural piece is removed, or the top crumbles, the whole thing falls in the classic domino effect where the fall of each piece triggers the instability of others.

On the other hand, bowling is an invisible dependency. There is no obvious link between the other pins and the central four. Yet when those pivotal pins go flying, the others go down like bystanders hit by shrapnel during a suicide bombing. Silicon Valley is a giant invisible dependency, not only within itself, but because much of our interlinked economy depends on Silicon Valley:

In 2014, Silicon Valley innovation workers produced $225,000 in added value per employee annually, according to an analysis by Collaborative Economics of federal data. The next closest in productivity was New York City, where tech workers produced an average of $205,000 in added value per year.

This creates tragic conditions where the economy cannot sustain a massive loss in value in Silicon Valley:

As a proportion of GDP, American corporate profits are higher than they have been at any time since 1929. Apple, Google, Amazon and their peers dominate today’s economy just as surely as US Steel, Standard Oil and Sears, Roebuck and Company dominated the economy of Roosevelt’s day.

…The McKinsey Global Institute, the consultancy’s research arm, calculates that 10% of the world’s public companies generate 80% of all profits. Firms with more than $1 billion in annual revenue account for nearly 60% of total global revenues and 65% of market capitalisation.

…The number of listed companies in America nearly halved between 1997 and 2013, from 6,797 to 3,485, according to Gustavo Grullon of Rice University and two colleagues, reflecting the trend towards consolidation and growing size.

And so we come to the ugly word consolidation. This happens when markets are dying, not thriving: the margins on what is being produced shrink as time goes on and the newness of the product fades, and since the big profits are no longer there, companies merge and acquire one another so that a few market-dominant firms can absorb whatever wealth is left in using ten-year-old or twenty-year-old ideas to churn out a product by rote.

We have seen radical compression of the markets over the past few years. The closing of American malls. The domination of the internet by Google (and technically non-profits that serve Google goals like Wikipedia). The tightening up of supply chains like Sysco. Grocery store mergers, and the simultaneous reduction in the number of big box store brands and increase in their territory. Everything is Walmart or Costco now.

With consolidation comes the bowling-pin effect. Hit any one of these sectors of the economy hard enough, and odds are that it will careen into another, and that into another. Hit a big enough sector and they all go down. Are you scared yet? Let us travel down memory lane to the last time that a giant bubble popped, namely the government-created housing crash of the early 2000s:

His most successful effort was to impose what were called “affordable housing” requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 1992. Before that time, these two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) had been required to buy only mortgages that institutional investors would buy–in other words, prime mortgages–but Frank and others thought these standards made it too difficult for low income borrowers to buy homes. The affordable housing law required Fannie and Freddie to meet government quotas when they bought loans from banks and other mortgage originators.

At first, this quota was 30%; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30% had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities. HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30% to 50% under Clinton in 2000 and to 55% under Bush in 2007. Despite Frank’s effort to make this seem like a partisan issue, it isn’t. The Bush administration was just as guilty of this error as the Clinton administration. And Frank is right to say that he eventually saw his error and corrected it when he got the power to do so in 2007, but by then it was too late.

…By 2002, Fannie and Freddie had bought well over $1 trillion of subprime and other low quality loans…As a result, in 2008, before the mortgage meltdown that triggered the crisis, there were 27 million subprime and other low quality mortgages in the US financial system. That was half of all mortgages. Of these, over 70% (19.2 million) were on the books of government agencies like Fannie and Freddie, so there is no doubt that the government created the demand for these weak loans; less than 30% (7.8 million) were held or distributed by the banks, which profited from the opportunity created by the government.

There are two parts to this disaster: the bowling ball, which was a relatively minor mortgage meltdown, and the pins, which were the vast investment by government and the many for-profit companies helping it. That ball was going to hit hard regardless, but the pins were set up to fall and so they took down other parts of the economy as well, stalling out the whole thing.

Imagine if that recession were a multiple of the one that is coming.

Just for fun, let us look at a true disaster scenario, the Great Depression:

This was a period when the American public discovered the stock market and dove in head first. Speculative frenzies formed in both the real estate markets and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The lead-up to October 1929 saw equity prices rise to all-time high multiples of more than 30 times earnings, and the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increase 500% in just five years.

The NYSE bubble burst violently on Oct. 24th, 1929, a day that came to be known as Black Thursday. The following week brought Black Monday (Oct. 28) and Black Tuesday (Oct. 29); the DJIA fell more than 20% over those two days. The stock market would eventually fall almost 90% from its 1929 peak.

In other words, it was a typical bubble. The markets seemed to take off, and the herd rushed in for an orgy of rampant speculation just like they did in the California Gold Rush in 1848. But just like in that feeding frenzy, most people were losers and only a few walked away with the gold, and the ones who did best were the ones who got out early and transferred that money to other investments.

In the new California digital Gold Rush, you will most likely see the same thing: the 1% of 1% who are real winners here will be the people who got in early, grabbed the easy money, and then got out and put that money into something tangible and self-renewing like real estate, industry or agriculture. They do not mind that these new investments are not high yield; they are stable, and Silicon Valley is not.

The old Gold Rush made San Francisco a major city; the new Dot-Com mania has made it the center of the world, or at least its inhabitants think so.

Now let us consider some of those outer pins. There are several debt bombs looming. The first is the welfare/consumerism debt bomb, followed by the pension debt bomb, the entitlements debt bomb, the government debt bomb, the education bubble, the consumer debt bomb and the demand-side economics bubble.

With the “Me Generation” set to clock out and trigger a 50 megaton airburst of retirement obligations for government, there is no way our economy will survive. The wealth boom of the victorious Allies in WWII is going to come home to roost in 2020-2040 as the Baby Boomers die off, and since all of our wealth since has not matched it, the markets are going to re-adjust the value of the false wealth through a recession.

Add to that the fact that we are dependent on debt, both in public and private, to international banks and foreign nations, many of which are unstable, and you can see how there is a layer of bowling pins behind the bowling pins of our economy. When we go, they go. When they go, everything goes.

The best part is that almost no one understands how our society works, and so they are all oblivious to the actual risk we face:

It seems that that never have so many known so little about so much. In areas where most of America resides, no one gives much if any thought to the seamless integration of so many moving parts that allow them to transport themselves to the grocery store, and get food – to utilize a myriad of appliances, utilities, technologies, and conveniences independent of their skills, education, resources, etc.

Most people, it seems, do not ever think about what would happen to their ideology and lifestyle after about ten days if the trucks, trains, and airplanes were unable to deliver untold tons of everything like clockwork. Look at the behavior of the people in the face of a few days’ disruption because of a snow storm.

So we have prime conditions for an apocalyptic market endgame. Our debt was borrowed to fund worthless stuff, just like the housing bubble. Our products are aging and no longer good for high margin returns. Markets are consolidating to a few big actors, and they are often dependent on government. Individual consumers have over-invested in these scheme and taken on a huge debt load. The entire structure is propped up and waiting for just the right strike to disintegrate entirely.

On the plus side, we have known for years that modernity was not sustainable. Modernity began with our notions that we as individuals were more important than social, natural or divine order. That creates the groundwork for the trends, fads, and panicked stampedes that create this market boom-bust cycle just like in the Great Depression. Not to mention consumerism, vapidity, mountains of landfill, environmental holocausts and a growing sense of existential dread. The death of modernity will be painful, but a blessing in disguise.

Let’s go bowling!

Looking Forward To The Dot-Com 3.0 Crash And Recession

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Without strong leadership, humans act as a herd. They constantly look for what is new so that they can participate, and as soon as that becomes clear to them, they rush toward it.

Nature however is not binary because it has introduced time. What is new is recognized by a gradually increasing group of people, and as they crowd it, the original participants get out and watch the formerly new thing crash as the herd converts it into the same old stuff.

You can see this with monkeys in the wild. One monkey finds a tree with lots of fruit, and starts screeching. The others then rush over, afraid of missing out and hoping to capitalize on this new popularity, and strip the tree bare.

In the meantime, some of the monkeys who found that tree earlier have moved on to new trees, and are keeping mum about it. The monkeys who screech depend for their popularity on being recognized as those who find new things, even if they find them after the really good opportunities are gone. They get their power from introducing the clueless to better options, not good ones.

Humans play the market the same way. Whatever succeeds immediately finds a whole herd of people who are very excited about it, and they invest in it, bloating it to the point where the consequences between intelligent acts and repetition of the past is blurred, so it repeats itself until it crashes and then the herd moves on to a new fascination, like a crowd at an amusement park.

As mentioned here before, our current economy is a fragile mess based on tech companies selling gadgets to morons who are subsidized by the state, in order to make our current appear “in demand” so that we can borrow and tax even more.

Now it becomes clear that the post-1990s Silicon Valley boom may be fragile and ready to pop:

During rising stock markets you can use an indicator like the advance-decline line to confirm that the uptrend is still in place. When the overall stock market is rising but more individual securities are declining than rising,, that can be a signal that the market is not “acting right” and the uptrend could be in trouble. It could be signaling that there could be a change in direction coming.

…The advance-decline line was crashing beginning in early-1999, while stocks continued to rise for another year or so. The fact that so few stocks were carrying the market higher with a falling advance-decline line was a big warning sign for the coming dotcom crash.

As we watch the leaders of the market separate from the rest, it becomes clear that we live in a house on stilts where a few of those stilts are carrying most of the weight. If anything happens to them — as seems likely as history repeats itself — we are in for a big crash.

Dot-Com 3.0 Crash Gains Momentum

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

As the ad revenues fall because people realize that a dot-com 3.0 collapse is coming because the advertising numbers are fake and the customers not buyers, the industry is waking up and taking notice of the grim fact that the internet industry is moribund and will soon fall as the markets devalue fake assets:

There’s a peculiar tone emanating from the social media space. It’s a little hard to hear, but if you listen closely, it’s there none the less. That sound is the sudden gasp of realization that the most dominating reasoning and defense that encompassed the entire social media space may in fact being laid-to-waste right before their screens. That horror?

The eyeballs for ads model doesn’t work.

…A 300% increase in readership didn’t mean squat to paying advertisers because – all they were getting was the bill for more “ad sales” and no sales. So they in-turn are now stating: Thanks, but no thanks.

The “ads for eyeballs” model reveals the core weakness of capitalism: it can be captured by commerce itself through the idea of consumerism, which is that it does not matter who the consumers are so long as there are enough of them. If a company needs 5% of the market to survive, under this theory, it needs only a certain number of warm bodies.

However, industry is discovering that not all warm bodies are the same. The ideal audience remains the American middle class, who shop carefully for good values and are loyal to brands. The new urban audience of beige people buying trendy products because of a media blitz is not working because their tastes are fickle and their loyalty non-existent. Companies will go to their graves for the mistake of choosing this audience.

In the meantime, the businesses that thrive are as always those who hit that sweet spot with the valued consumers, which means that who matters more than raw numbers. As in philosophy and politics, a wave of realization is hitting the West that “equality” is a denial of reality and will lead to our doom.

Silicon Valley Death Vigil Begins

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Humans destroy everything they touch. Something new is invented, and most people are afraid, so natural leaders take up its cause and make it great. Others see that this is a good thing and worth participating in, so they flock to it, but they do not alter their thinking, which fits the old way more than the new. In this way, these entryists bring the old into the new and bloat it while widening (destroying) its focus.

The old way involves what failed before, which is what humans always try because we are wired for individualism, which requires us to demand guaranteed social inclusion from any group. However, since our individualism makes us blind to the fact that other people are different from us, this includes the aggregate lot of incompetents, grifters and mental health cases that accumulate over time. Without the wisdom of Darwin to cut these people free, the human social group then submerges the new thing in the same patterns of failure that have been with us since the dawn of time.

Silicon Valley is such a case. A few engineers and managers invented the internet, but once it became commercialized, in came the fools. They wanted to do to it what they do to everything: dumb it down, remove what makes it unique, and by so doing, make it “accessible” to everyone and anyone, resulting in its genericization and thus, reduction to the same broken patterns that we see everywhere.

As a result, we are now witnessing as an oversold industry collapses from its own internal weight. The managers looked out there and saw a sea of hopeful faces belonging to those who depend on Silicon Valley for their own dreams of wealth, and so instead of contracting operations and keeping quality high, they expanded inclusiveness — becoming social heroes in the process — but adulterated quality, ensuring doom. This is what always happens with prole rule.

We know that Silicon Valley is doomed because it essentially follows the television model, where advertising pays for free services, and Silicon Valley advertising is based on a lie:

The updated results based on March 2009 comScore data…indicated that the number of people who click on display ads in a month has fallen from 32 percent of Internet users in July 2007 to only 16 percent in March 2009, with an even smaller core of people (representing 8 percent of the Internet user base) accounting for the vast majority (85 percent) of all clicks.

The news gets worse: most of those who click frequently are from the “daytime TV audience” of those living on invariant incomes of under $40,000 a year:

While many online media companies use click-through rate as an ad negotiation currency, the study shows that heavy clickers are not representative of the general public. In fact, heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Heavy clickers behave very differently online than the typical Internet user, and while they spend four times more time online than non-clickers, their spending does not proportionately reflect this very heavy Internet usage.

In other words, a small part of the consumer base accounts for most of the internet activity, and this group represents not healthy profit from the middle classes, but the buying habits of those who have little and will achieve little. This same type of bad measurement afflicts the entertainment industry and many consumer goods and services industries, who have calibrated their content toward the lowest common denominator without realizing the limited purchasing power of this group, and consequently find themselves in slow but steady decline.

We might even see this as a design flaw of democracy. When everyone is equal, what matter is the count of warm bodies, not who these warm bodies are. Through that metric, governments and businesses attract what is seen as a large group, but is really a small group compared to the Silent Majority, and by doing this, misses actual events in favor of symbolic events that do not represent the wider, more nuanced answer.

This decline is manifesting in reduced internet advertising and the exhaustion of social media, once viewed as the future of the Western economies, which are now presumed to be “services based” instead of oriented toward the production of goods.

As these industries fade away, it makes sense to reflect on the consequences of equality which causes us to ignore the variation in our current audience. Back in the glory days of business, the buying public was a middle class comprised of relatively similar individuals. Now it is a mix of classes, races, sexes, and lifestyles/philosophies who have nothing in common, meaning that the only statistical hits we get for popularity are in these un-representative aggregates who are not the desired consumer.

Much of the dot-com censorship we see floating about now arises from the recognition by companies that their audience has shifted, and an attempt to make “safe spaces” so even more of these zombie daytime TV watchers show up, in a vain hope to produce more profit from the people who are left over once everyone else bails out.

We are already seeing this phenomenon break into the public view as both Twitter and Facebook have admitted that they mistakenly calculated more ad impressions than they delivered. The next step is for them to reveal that these ads are being seen by non-buyers.

That phenomenon has manifested itself in a loss of the blind and blithe confidence that Americans have had in the dot-com miracle, and for that reason, an increasing skepticism has led to discovery of the fraudulent nature of many dot-com businesses:

The drama has some investors predicting more disasters. “What if Theranos is the canary in the coal mine?” says Roger McNamee, a 40-year VC veteran and managing director at Elevation Partners. “Everyone is looking at Theranos as an outlier. We may discover it’s not an outlier at all.”

Part of the problem lies in our tendency to mistake ideology for reality. We see a mental image that comports to what ideology tells us “should” be true, and then purchase accordingly, which because others follow us works for a short while. The circular Ponzi scheme allows industry to invent fake money, government to tax it heavily, and then empowers government to dump that money onto citizens through entitlements and social welfare, which they then spend on tangible goods. This keeps the economy afloat for a short while, but inevitably, a market correct begins and panic sets in as the herd searches for “the next big thing” to invest in so that we can all keep enjoying the fake value of our money.

As these different threads of the dysfunction knit together, the over-valued dot-com economy will begin its death cycle. As with earlier dot-com collapses, this will begin with a slow withdrawal by the smart money and the smarter users, then a rapidly accelerating fight over the remaining users, following by lapsing into irrelevance and being sold at low cost like MySpace.

If this hits during the first years of a Trump presidency, America will face an economic recession of massive size as the economy readjusts to cover for the fake wealth that was created by the dot-coms, especially social media. This will have rippled effects in Europe and Asia, and could result in a currency crash as it becomes clear that the economy backing those currencies was grossly over-valued and its government administrators ignored this reality.

Quotable (#8)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

On the question of city planning, the Houston Chronicle offers a fertile paradox:

Other research revealed the conditions that create pockets of poverty, and found a downside to ethnically mixed cities: People in different groups tend to live apart. “Here’s Mr. Diversity, extolling the virtues of diversity in large cities,” Florida says. “And what comes back to smash you over the head is that large diverse cities also incubate a horrific level of sorting and segregation.”

We must fix the way people are broken by forcing them to live together even if they do not want to. This requires us to assume that absolutely zero thought, or pure Biblical evil, went into their choices. In the meantime, everyone wants to live with people like them for the sake of comfort and enjoyment. This is because people befriend, work with, date and marry people who understand their worldview, most of which is genetic.

This brings to mind another mental health moment (via Outside In) in which reality confronts human social intentions:

Silicon Valley, the 50 square miles of land in the US that has created more wealth than any other place in human history but has still achieved very little in becoming a more inclusive, truly diverse place.

Luckily, this problem is ending as the Silicon Valley bubble popped. SiVal was probably adding value to the economy up until the 2000s as it made tedious tasks more efficient, but since that time, it has been dedicated to producing more services which add no value and instead replace functional parts of the economy. When the bubble pops, many formerly useful functions will have to be rebuilt at a time when the economy is recapturing false value as losses. At that point, it will be unwise to walk in the city without looking up for falling bodies.

The Camera Lies

Friday, September 9th, 2016

elizabeth_holmes_-_theranos

So… which one of these is closer to reality? Fascinating, the gulf between them.

In the meantime, the article about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is both tragic and disturbing. How do such fake valuations get passed along so easily? Or is that the case?

And then there is this:

In some ways, the near-universal adoration of Holmes reflected her extraordinary comportment. In others, however, it reflected the Valley’s own narcissism. Finally, it seemed, there was a female innovator who was indeed able to personify the Valley’s vision of itself—someone who was endeavoring to make the world a better place.

The old question: did history make the person, or the person make history? She came along at the right time to inherit $4 billion from investors and valuation of her company. And yet, it seems, it was vaporware all along.

And, is it worth giving up your soul, for twenty pieces of silver?

Aiming The Google Nudge

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

obey_trigglypuff

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Meet the new media; same as the old one. I suggested the probability of social media conglomerates joining the SJW convergence and thereby attempting to steer the direction of Amerikan politics to the favored direction in which Cthulhu insists upon swimming. Some days I hate it when I turn out to be absolutely correct in my negativity.

I first opined the following:

Perhaps the terms Google Nudge, Google Auction or even worse; Google Veto need to be added to the lexicon. This new anti-democratic influence on political decision-making is emerging because of a confluence of technology, ideology and material means to effect said dominance. The technology is the internet search engine, the ideology is Progressive Liberaltarianism* and the material means is the obvious wellspring of vast wealth that has been accumulated in Silicon Valley.

So, no, you are not paranoid if you believe that Facebook is just another boring, predictable font of leftist propaganda. It, like every other so-called news outlet, perceives a mission to push political discourse (even) further towards leftist memes. Former contractors for Facebook describe the exercise below.

Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

Alrighty then, you Alt-Right-Delete Paranoid. How could the good, shiny-happy people at Facebook possibly empower a Google Nudge as described in your previous histrionic screed? I mean Facebook Pinkie-Swears that this is how it works in Zuckerberg’s Magical Kingdom of Equestria.

How does Facebook determine what topics are trending? Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.

It starts with a certain non-political corporate goal. Mark Zuckerberg wanted to dominate the primary news market via the Facebook platform. Again, in and of itself, this isn’t SJW Entryism. Here’s how the corporation described its aims according to Gizmodo.

An estimated 600 million people see a news story on Facebook every week, and the social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has been transparent about his goal to monopolize digital news distribution. “When news is as fast as everything else on Facebook, people will naturally read a lot more news,” he said in a Q&A last year, adding that he wants Facebook Instant Articles to be the “primary news experience people have.” This would be accomplished via the trending news subjects of Facebook.

Facebook, however, did not think highly of journalists and treated them like galley slaves.

According to five former members of Facebook’s trending news team—“news curators” as they’re known internally—Zuckerberg & Co. take a downright dim view of the industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders.

And yet these were disposable outsiders with considerable power and a politically overdetermined view of what should constitute “trending news”. Here’s how they were left to their own considerable devices.

The trending news section is run by people in their 20s and early 30s, most of whom graduated from Ivy League and private East Coast schools like Columbia University and NYU. They’ve previously worked at outlets like the New York Daily News, Bloomberg, MSNBC, and the Guardian…According to former team members interviewed by Gizmodo, this small group has the power to choose what stories make it onto the trending bar and, more importantly, what news sites each topic links out to. “We choose what’s trending,” said one. “There was no real standard for measuring what qualified as news and what didn’t. It was up to the news curator to decide.”

But there was one black sheep amongst the Ivy League Lefty herd. Gizmodo describes his effective subversion below.

The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.

None of this surprises. The media consists of trained Cathedral functionaries who function in accordance with their training. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook may or may not have selected these people for the purpose they served. It really doesn’t matter. Nor does Facebook matter as a platform. It’s not the platform, it’s the individuals that stand on it.

The Dot-Com Boom Is Really Over Now

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

A dot-com entrepreneur admits the grim truth about the nu-internet age:

But the bigger challenge for those who love writing and reading is that advertising in the digital space is slowing—and the problem gets much worse once most reading is done on phones. It’s simply easier and more efficient to run ads on Facebook or Snapchat, which have bigger audiences and better technology to match readers with things they want to buy or do.

In his argument, we are shifting to a model where people pay for content much as they once bought newspapers and magazines.

But advertising is slowing for another reason. It is that we have created a mass of proles who buy only certain things that are trendy, and so advertising is dead to them. They are on the internet to pass the time at their unnecessary jobs, most of which are creations of Government regulations and legal incentives.

The nu-internet empire was based on the idea that we could take every warm body, hook them up to a simplified internet like social media, show them ads and have a profitable new industry. But that is no longer happening. Why? Most of these people are do-nothings, and the ads do not affect them.

His wishful thinking is merely the latest admission by this industry that it is dying. With it collapses the Clinton miracle and the Obama “recovery,” as well as the myth of STEM narcissists in California saving us from our imminent collapse.

Our New Technologies Are Worthless

Monday, March 21st, 2016

the_nonsense_of_current_tech

The hardest task of maturation is learning to resist the manipulation of others. With friends, this is persuasion about how cool something is or is not; we called it peer pressure once upon a time. It is no different with media. Whether the spreading of “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” (FUD) or relentless hype, the media distorts reality to all but the wary, cynical, realistic and reactionary person.

Its background hum for some time has been that our Silicon Valley STEM wizards are the geniuses who will save us and our economy. This has only one flaw: the products they are making are not remarkably complex, nor do they work well, and the audience they bring in — much like that of our immigration policy — is not high-end but low-end. The internet has been daytime television for about a decade now, belonging mostly to aimless children, retirees, people on disability and addicts of various substances.

Look at our vaunted inventions. Drones are remote-control helicopters upgraded with better batteries. Twitter is IRC. Google is Lexis/Nexis for the proles. iPads are flat computers. Computers now are simply faster versions of what we had in the 1980s. Operating systems are slightly fancier versions of the same. Everything works “better,” but it takes the same amount of time to do anything. All of our software types were invented in the 70s. As were the visions for things like tablets. If they could predict it in the past, it was because it was merely a shinier version of what they were shipping then.

The biggest inventions seem to be re-learning how to make old ones. We had electric cars in the 1890s and 1970s, too, but they never took off. Now, using our improved but not radically improved batteries, Tesla has sold the public on a new type of car. Or is it? Is Google’s self-driving car really anything more than 1970s military technology applied using our new, faster chips?

In fact, the main purpose of our new technology appears to be social control. Social media is an echo chamber for attention whores, which always produces virtue signaling and thus, is Leftist-dominated and incubates new Leftists. Drones let hobbyists feel edgy for buying a product and using it to do, well, no one is really sure what drones (or the web) are good for yet.

Like non-governmental organizations (NGOs), these dot-com wunderkind are political actors on the both the world stage and domestically. Amazon is a gatekeeper of “culture”; Google is a revolution-fostering political agency. This is in addition to the fact that by their size, these companies are gatekeepers of what is acceptable on the internet. Google’s changes to its search ranking have driven out of public consciousness the layer of sites that ten years ago were the go-to resources for most people, and replaced it with its own projects and allies.

At this point, the endgame emerges: the technology industry will be used as a way to instill norms in us all and to filter out deviant thought. It will provide the basis of our Potemkin economy so that the bennies and freebies get mailed out at the right time. And when it goes down, we all go down with it, and we have something to blame other than the failure of our system of government. We can blame the economy.

Recommended Reading