Two questions before you go Black Friday
Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
Black Friday is upon us. The day where we suddenly flok to buy all the things we can’t live without - yet have been living without since last Black Friday.
A few years ago I travelled around South East Asia for six months. For six months everything I had with me could fit into a hand-luggage approved backpack. Of course the weather was stable and warm, reducing the need for warm pullovers and heavy winter boots, yet it was quite the learning to reduce the items carried along to the bare minimum.
While I don’t believe in radical doctrines, I urge you to think twice prior to going on your shopping spree this Friday. Neither you - nor the world - needs closets and basements pilled up with things you don’t use.
To reduce my own waste-purchasing, I avoid going shopping during sales as I’ve found myself too easily persuaded by discounts. Similarly I have a rule of delaying the actual purchase decision from the research period, or in plain English: I aim always to “sleep on it” before I decide to buy something.
If you are brave and want to shop this Friday, I find the following two questions helpful in guiding any purchase decision:
Is this the last item I am ever going to buy of this kind?
Would I buy this full-priced?
My process could easily be improved, so please share if you have other tricks you use to make better purchases. Maybe some of you are frequent second-hand shoppers or are going all-in on the no-ownership trend.
Amazon - The power of tech companies.
The company that started as an online bookstore is one of the most fascinating, yet scary companies. Over the past year Amazon has been looking for a new location for its second headquarter. In the process states and cities have been pitching themselves as host of Amazon due to the promise of job-creation.
NYC came out as the winner of the rat-race, but as The New Yorker writes, it appears that the city of hustlers got hustled. In order to win the bid, NYC has promised Amazon more than $2b in tax benefits. What’s even more disturbing is how Amazon has used the process to gain unique insights into confidential information from cities and have them compete towards zero to win the deal.
For more insights on Amazon’s new headquarter, check:
Paris Marx’ recent newsletter.
Farhad Manjoo’s article on How tech companies conquered America’s cities.
Platforms - Who has the control?
Nikita Prokopov receives $729/month from backers on Patreon to dedicate time to open source development. On Medium he has published only one story, titled ‘Medium is a poor choice for blogging’. It is a timely and fun break-down on why the reading experience on Medium is far from optimal.
What’s more, the post follows some thoughts I’ve had lately on who controls the relationship between people. When I create a Facebook page, ultimately Facebook owns the relationship to the people who like the page. It appears the incentives between readers, Facebook and creator is fairly screwed, with Facebook having too much control in who sees what.
Gina Bianchini argues that this is ultimately what is going to break-up Facebook. Her recent post ‘The Facebook era is over’, resonates a lot with my own thoughts, but please note that she has a financial interest in her prediction. However, if she is right, we’ll soon have much more people like Nikita.
Pewdiepie - The end of an era.
Since 2013 Felix Kjellberg has had the most subscribed YouTube channel, PewDiePie. Pioneering the Let’s Play format and producing almost daily content for around eight years, Felix has collected more than 70M followers. However, his position as the most subscribed YouTube channel is likely to fall this week.
The challenger is an Indian music record label and film production company called T-Series. On their YouTube channel they upload music videos from popular Bollywood films, often almost 7 videos daily.
To me this marks a radical change in YouTube. Next week it is no longer an independent creator who’ll be the most subscribed channel, but instead a company. It has been fun to follow how creators like MrBeast has gone out of their ways to help maintain PewDiePie as the number one channel, but while they have been successful in postponing the shift, the change was inevitable.
Felix’ last move to stop T-Series? Bringing back his 15min long Book Review.
1,000 - That’s approximately how many followers you need to become a micro-influencer.
1,500 - The number of affordable housing units NYC is missing out on due to Amazon’s new HQ.
432,000 - The amount of USD an AI generated artwork sold for.
716,577 - That’s the number of readers in PewDiePie’s subreddit.
30,800,000,000 - The amount of USD that Alibaba sold for in 24hrs during Singles Day.
Thanks to Nikolaj, Søren, Antal, Sarah, Paul, Severin, Ianthe and Mathias for the encouragement after last week’s newsletter. It warms my heart to receive even the shortest feedback.
… so don’t forget I’m only a reply away.