Without Instructions

Congratulations. You Know How To Read an Email.

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Every two-three years during my childhood Yo-Yo’s would become the thing. In a matter of months the classroom would go from zero Yo-Yo’s to literally every single child flexing their tricks.

On the Internet one of the circular patterns that seems to come back again and again is the rather simple question: What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? I’ve seen modification of this question blossom on every single social media platform, multiple times.

The answers are often related to work. Not too surprisingly given that work is what we spend most of our waking time on.

I was thinking about the question again the other week when we were spending a weekend in the small Italian town Urbino. Our home felt basic: simple furniture, gas-stove, few electricity plugs, no central heating and no wifi.

Living in that place I suddenly felt foreign. I hesitated before making coffee and never fully understood how the warm shower worked. I looked at the furniture and realized that although it was made very simple, I’d not be able to make anything like it without watching instruction videos on Youtube.

It might be cool that I can jump on a panel about trust in technology (thanks for the invite Nicholas), curate a series of talks on the next social web (thanks for the opportunity Cecilia) or facilitate a workshop on community centers (thanks for the trust Lukas). But I am not sure whether it is cool that I don’t know how to build and maintain a home, grow food for a family and work without breaking down.

What can you do without instructions? And more importantly, what do you do without being instructed to do so?

The Internet Black Hole

  • Everything Is Getting Louder
    I grew up with church bells reminding me of the progress of the day. I remember finding it funny when two newcomers complained about the noise of the church. After all the church had been there for 900 years. Today our world is getting louder. It is no longer ambient bell sounds, but rapidly expanding data centers and technology making the background noise. This long-read is about the very real health issues of our world getting louder.

  • Time Is Broken
    It is the turn of a year and the turn of a decade. One of the things that changed in the 2010s is that the Internet is no longer a place we go onto, it is a place that is constantly here. News no longer happens daily, but every single minute. This excellent article argues we have lost the sense of time in our always on algorithmic feeds.

  • 10 Years Ago
    This week I came across this blogpost about smartphone sales from 10 years ago. Back then the total global smartphone market was less than 50m. I think we can only underestimate the political, cultural, social and economic impact of this change. Meanwhile, I agree with Farhad Manjoo and find it hard to see what technologies besides the smartphone changed our lives in the 2010s.

  • How To Steal a Billion
    Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, made an exit package with his main investor providing him with roughly USD 1 billion. Not a bad deal considering he basically destroyed the company. In fact it is so good that Ali Griswold calls him a genius in her latest newsletter, more than any other person in the world, Adam figured out how to play the hyper-growth startup game.

Too Short

Congrats to Uber who managed to increase revenue to $969 million by spending $1.2 billion, impressive. I really dig the billionaire tax calculator Elizabeth Warren launched so the rich can see how much they’d have to pay if she was to rule. Meanwhile it still worries good old Bill Gates who apparently find it hard to live from only $7 billion.

Facebook announced their new branding and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey was quick to mock the Facebook by Facebook logic. On Twitter one lead product manager teased new potential features for next year and Airbnb’s CEO (and head of community, lol) Brian Chesky promised that all listings should be verified by end of next year following the murder of five people during Halloween. When the two YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul had their second boxing match with millions of viewers I was sound asleep.

Reader’s Corner

I really enjoy how the conversation on horizon continues to spark thoughts. This week Antal shared his appreciation for Emily’s comments a few weeks ago.

“I read this newsletter the week when it came out but Emily's message really struck me - and since then I started taking more walks with my phone put away wondering with my eyes on the horizon, let that be objects at a distance, or buildings across the street or the sky.

Really felt uplifting and relaxing on my eyes to not constantly keep my focus short-sighted. Eye exercise is something I neglected lately and this was a good wake up call.”

Ps. happy birthday to Emily who turned older yesterday!

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

It has been a couple of months since the last new paying subscriber, but Saturday evening I got an email from Substack saying that a new person decided to pay for my weekly ramblings. This time it is a person I don’t know, so you’ll have to wait to be introduced to the latest naive friend until I know more. Until then, thank you. It really touches me deeply and I still really don’t get why you decide to pay.

As always a big thanks to the eleven Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: NikolajAntal, SørenDriesMikkelTina, Aydo, Lukas, Hans, mystery person & Angela!



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