Some thoughts on the Blog Post Bribe Scandal

Photo courtesy of Manolo Chertien via Unsplash.

The Outline, an often forgotten but exciting web publication, exposed a widespread practice at publications such as Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Huffington Post and Forbes, wherein freelance writers were taking payments in exchange for favorable coverage. It doesn’t surprise me — when publications pay as little as $25 per post; the freelancers are going to be wide open for exploitation by marketers. But the problem is much larger and insidious and goes beyond these payola like tricks. The whole ecosystem of information is highly compromised, thanks to a need for cheap page views, fast.

The sad part is that tomorrow or the week after, we will move on. It will soon be forgotten, and the digital marketers will be back in the swing of things. We will never ask the question — why is this happening. So, to understand the why, let me share a story from recent history.

You are stressing me out…. Man!

Right there on the corner of Brannan and Fourth Streets, there is a billboard advertising some marijuana brand, saying “Hello marijuana, goodbye stress.” It got me thinking about stress and what is that is making people stressed out? Also, what does it say about people living in this tech town — are we so stressed, because of work? 

Will AI match randomness of a human mind?

The other Sunday, I was sitting in Sightglass, chatting with a friend and having coffee. It is what I usually do on the weekend, talk to friends in real life. He stepped away for a few minutes and all I heard between the strains of rock music, the constant rhythmic noise of the belt of the coffee roaster. It was a very mechanical and sweet sound. It was only a few seconds, but I was immediately taken back to when I was six years old.

Omakase: November 2017

Omakase is a monthly selection of products, services, applications, and art I have enjoyed. These are not reviews. Instead, they are my recommendations. I don’t mind endorsing these products because they are of high quality, and in general have been a positive addition to my life. I am sorry that the November 2017 edition is a little late.

Why we (the riders) are not Uber’s customers

I have been using Uber since the day it went into service. It has been a godsend for me — I don’t drive and almost always have to go to the far corners of the city to see the medical practitioners who have to keep me ticking over past ten years. I would be remiss in saying that Uber is not a net addition to my creature comforts. And that is saying a lot because I have twisted and turned over its ethics, corporate ethos and constant crossing the line.

But lately, I have been thinking — if I (like other riders) am really the customer for the company? Its actions display a certain level of “taking riders for granted” attitude, that reminds me of cable companies, phone companies, and certain web giants. Uber is yet another example of a company, where we are merely the product.