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I cannot honestly hope for a better future, so instead I am hoping for a better present

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

This week I was in Tokyo. Since the flight there was 11 hours I went to the airport bookstore to stock up on some readings so I could avoid being frustrated with the selection of the in-flight entertainment system.

I was happily surprised to find a collection of Greta Thunberg’s writings and the handbook of Extinction Rebellion among the usual suspect of airport paperbacks. Reading those books while exhausting CO2 seemed like a proper Titanic move.

In essence each of the two books offer a collection of essays with a common theme: the current capitalistic system are causing the sixth mass extinction, exhausting human and ecological resources and making the earth unliveable for the many by benefiting the few.

It is a system where companies can be build based on future promises despite losing an insane amount of money. This year alone WeWork, Uber and Doordash are projected to lose $13 billion.

While these companies are burning endless cash, they are destroying the foundations for local businesses who have been operating steadily for many years and are turning unified employees into disconnected contractors. Only a few weeks ago one food delivery company decided to pull out of Berlin leaving behind more than 1000 riders with less than one week’s notice.

I’d like to think that society is progressing, but if progress rhymes with a burning Amazonas, I think it is time that we reevaluate what the heck we are currently doing.

Highlights from the Internet Black Hole

  • WeWork is all about Adam - In connection to the WeWork IPO, Alison Griswold totally deconstructs WeWork’s CEO and founder Adam Neumann, in the latest issue of her newsletter. WeWork is the epitome of capital and ownership concentration. And in case you don’t know Ali, she is a writer at Quartz who covers the sharing in economy in one of the best newsletters out there called Oversharing.

  • Unlimited Capital - Investor Ben Thompson explains why there is a case for investing in WeWork even though the company lost more than $4 billion since 2016. In a world of unlimited capital, WeWork is aiming to switch office space from fixed to variable cost, similar to how Amazon Web Services made server costs variable.

  • #WhereHaveYouBen - This is one of the better pranks I have ever seen. For Ben’s 30th birthday one friend made a t-shirt with his face on and donated it to a series of thrift stores around town.

  • Technology Is Slowing Down - We tend to think that everything is accelerating, however there are a number of signs that scientific progress is actually slowing down. This article is in Scientific American focuses on space flight, but I have read similar stories from the pharmaceutical industry. Is the iPhone really the greatest contribution of the last decades?

  • What is Haberman? - Nice tale of a person discovering an unknown area in New York on Google Maps. It is a story that involves human errors, maps from the 60s, an abandoned train station and results in Haberman being removed again from Google Maps.

  • Netflix is a TV Company - I always enjoy reading what a16z’s in-house researcher Benedict Evans is coming up with. This time he puts a pin into the mythology of Netflix. We tend to think of it as a tech company, but the reality is it is a TV company - not much different from Sky in the 90s.

  • The Planet Needs a New Internet - Did you know that digital technologies now accounts for 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—more than the entire aviation sector?

Naive Weekly

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

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