Maybe Accept That The World Is Fine Without Your Store Being Open
Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
Cast away on a side street of Copenhagen we found a newly opened vintage store. Flamingos and tigers were a persisting theme throughout the tightly curated store featuring hand selected items from the past 50 years of human production.
Unlike most stores, you won’t find the opening hours printed on the door nor on Google Maps. In fact, the owners have decided not to have regular opening hours. Instead they are posting when the store is open on Instagram week-by-week.
On any given week the store is open two-three times. It is not because the owners are lazy that the store is not open more often. Instead it is because it is a love project by the two owners who both work full-time on other matters.
In another side street of Copenhagen you find a minimal clothing store run by another couple working full time on other projects. This couple sell a very limited collection of unisex clothes, nothing seasonal. Their opening hours? Saturdays.
Both the vintage store and the clothing store could probably hire a student to sell their items while they are working their full-time jobs. Or maybe they could even find an unpaid intern to save money.
Then again, maybe not everything we do has to be treated with the importance of a hospital or fire station. Maybe it is okay we are not constantly available. Maybe it is okay that we don’t desire to grow and optimize for profit. Maybe the world would be more in balance if we actually wanted to do the jobs we create ourselves?
The Internet Black Hole
David Heinemeir Hansson noticed that the algorithm of his Apple Card gave him 20x the credit compared to his wife, despite them sharing financials. This resulted in a larger scandal and fortunately the algorithm now has been changed. Yet it is annoying that it requires a powerful white man’s tweet to change something that has been covered in academics for years by women and POC.
Gig Work Is Slavery
Okay, I am extrapolating with this headline, but I do think there is a conversation about online gig work that we are not having at this moment. In this Twitter thread one freelance audio-transcriber explains how the shitty work rates just got even worse. As she states, “the algorithm that sets the pay rate begins and ends with human beings. In this case, it ends with freelancers fighting to get by. And it begins with executives, product managers, and engineers.”
1Password announced that it has raised $200M to accelerate growth. As you might have noticed, I’m getting increasingly annoyed with our constant desire to grow bigger and more impactful. I think our greed blinds us of the sacrifices and negative externalities of hyper-growth. Maybe not every book we read needs to change our life? And I wonder what our children will think when we show them artist Benjamin Grosser’s 47:15min video of Mark Zuckerberg talking of magnitude.
Growing Ad Revenue After GDPR
With the introduction of GDPR last year, websites were challenged on how to track the behaviour of their visitors. As a consequence many American news sites decided to entirely block visitors from Europe. The New York Times responded differently by simply stopping their tracking. Instead of making their offering less attractive to advertisers, it seems advertisers don’t mind not being able to buy targeted ads. Maybe editorial curation is the way to battle ad bitting algorithms of Google and Facebook?
I love looking at the videos showing Chilean protesters taking down a drone using laser pointers. (Although I can’t confirm that this is what actually happened)
Søren shared this intimate non-fiction book club launching early next year with me. I think the reading list looks extraordinarily good. Unfortunately I don’t have headspace for any new ongoing commitments, but maybe some of you have?
The other week when I mentioned that I’ve been diving into good old physical books much more, Nikolaj asked me what I was reading. Sharing the books I finish here feels like a good way to keep track. These are the last three:
Haruki Murakami - 1Q84
It took me weeks to finish Haruki’s 1Q84 and the roughly 1000 tightly packed pages left me with more questions than answers. In classic Haruki style you don’t realize how the story is slowly slipping from ordinary to uncanny until you start to question your own reality.
Ursula Le Guin - The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
I absolutely loved this short essay on what stories we shared by science fiction writer Ursula. The story of finding a mushroom won’t give you the same applause as the tale of how you killed the bear. Yet, it is not the great, risky battles that move civilization forward, but the steady, repeatable foraging.
Ocean Vuong - On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous
This book was almost poetry. Occasionally it literally was poetry. It is written as a letter to a mom who cannot read. It plays on the importance of language, the parallel world of immigrants and the radical shift in societal values over the last thirty years. More importantly, it is an enjoyable reading experience.
One of my favorite aspects of this newsletter is when I suddenly receive a reply from a person I haven’t heard from in a long time. This week Juliano jumped back into my inbox after a year’s pause reflecting on the past weeks newsletters.
“I must say I have a similar feeling as Alice. I feel bad when I don't read e-mails but your newsletter is in that group of messages that I wanna read with intention and time to go through the links. Sometimes it takes me two-three weeks to read them. I never reply to them maybe because I'm ashamed that I'm reading it three weeks later.
Aydo mentioned how we are looking at our screens all the time and how this is probably affecting our eyes in the long term. A friend of mine went to the ophthalmologist due to some headaches. The doctor said that she actually was getting cockeyed - probably because she was using the computer and her smartphone too much. So she had to take some exercise: for every 20 minutes on the computer, she had to look on the horizon for 10 minutes. It was a nightmare for her but I think it worked.”
Please never feel ashamed of replying, not even to those emails from one year ago. And let’s all agree to not read these emails when we have the opportunity to look at nature and those we love instead.
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 eleven Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, Antal, Søren, Dries, Mikkel, Tina, Aydo, Lukas, Hans, mystery person & Angela!