Readers — hello. I am finally here to sate your undying lust for my o p i n i o n
I am sorry for this late instalment of Horrific/Terrific; this week I was drowning in client work because next week I am 'going on holiday' (e.g. sitting at home and doing nothing in particular, as opposed to sitting at home and doing... work).
This week's rating: something I could have done without 👎. Why? Mostly because I'm just tired. But also:
- We don't need self-driving cars, okay??
- What's this whole Australian 'link tax' about then?
- Amazon are building a factory in India; sadness to follow
🏭 Amazon are finally manufacturing their own products
Except, they're not... because Foxconn are doing it. Amazon will be 'partnering' with Foxconn to produce Fire TV Sticks in India, for Indians. That's right, no more supply chains that are a MILLION lightyears long.
🔥 My sparking hot take 👉 'Fire Stick' has got to be the shittiest name for anything that is not kindling
Anyway, anyway: let's not kid ourselves that this is a good thing. Here are some cool facts for you to regurgitate at your next intimate e-hangout:
Who the shit are Foxconn anyway? A large, faceless corporation that builds hardware. Foxconn employees very likely assembled that iPhone you just can't seem to keep your hands off of (saucy). Here's how Foxconn 'vibes with communities':
- Buy up land from the people who live on it to make space for a factory that builds LCD TVs
- Re-house those people in shitty, interim housing
- But it's okay — all of these people will get to work in the factory
- How strange, five years have gone by, and the factory doesn't exist — not in the way Foxconn originally said it would anyway. It's much smaller, and hardly created any jobs at all, because LCD TVs are suddenly no longer in demand. Oh well.
- BTW the above is a rough account of what Foxconn did to a small town in Wisconsin.
I'm not saying that this is exactly what's going to happen in India with this partnership, but what I am saying is that IT ALREADY FUCKING HAPPENED. Foxconn are notorious for cancelling their plans, and they pulled out of building a $5bn manufacturing plant in India a year ago. The plan was five years in the works.
💦 Getting hard for job creation: Amazon are really making sure that the general public understand that this move will create jobs. Of course, they're really excited about this because citing 'job creation' does nothing but prompt the local government to douse you in tax breaks. Some even cooler facts:
- Once the tax breaks dry up, so do the jobs — Elon Musk got the ball rolling on his own version of this bullshit with Tesla last year, and now much more recently with the SpaceX move to Austin.
- Or, if the whole 'building a factory thing' no longer seems viable for whatever flimsy, capitalist reason, those in charge simply cancel the whole thing. As mentioned, this already happened in both Wisconsin and India — and Pennsylvania.
Okay so I know that Foxconn are a bag of mucus-laced turds, but maybe this time they'll behave, because they are partnering with Amazon — who, as we all know, represent the gold-standard in upholding workers rights...
🔗 Link tax?? Link tax!
As mentioned, Australia are debating this new law that says: if you're Facebook or Google, you have to pay to share links to news articles. For ONCE, I am not exaggerating for comedic effect — watching this story unfold prompted me to do some digging, and it seems that Techdirt are the only ones who are taking a stance other than 'this is all Google and Facebook's fault'.
They brought this to attention as early as April 2020, and the drafted law actually says that these rules only apply to Google and Facebook. The latest thing to transpire in this story is Facebook pulling all news links in Australia.
What's actually going on here?
Here's what I've pieced together from what I've read. Maybe you've read other stuff that makes the below bullshit? Let me know.
👆ONE: this law is just the result of aggressive lobbying from Rupert Murdoch, a shrivelled up old man who hasn't figured out any legit ways of making money by putting news online. The law is essentially demanding payment for all that free traffic legacy media outlets are getting from Facebook and Google — seems... iffy?
✌️ TWO: Most ridiculously, this law requires Facebook and Google to warn media companies of any changes to their algorithms four weeks in advance. Pretty sure these algorithms are tweaked on a daily basis; pretty sure this goes against the fundamentals of how the internet works. Is this a real law, or a something you give a child when they need a law to play with?
🤟 THREE: Facebook were actually quite clear about what they'll do if this law becomes a real thing, and now they're doing it. Their reasons for not wanting to pay for sharing news links might not align with ours but honestly... they've been saying they will block news links for months now. Google have gone the other way, and opted to actually pay News Corp.
✨ CONCLUSION: We are angry at this for all the wrong reasons; Google and Facebook are quite literally complying to a new stupid law. While they suck and should die in a fiery pit, this time please direct your anger towards Rupert Murdoch and spineless law makers in Australia.
🚙 3D mapping, a thing we apparently need for that other thing we apparently need
The LIDAR industry is now worth $29bn. LIDAR is 3D sensor technology which helps machines and devices accurately map the world around them (it's good for things like self-driving cars and smart TVs). This is the latest hot new piece of tech on the endless red carpet that is technosolutionism — and if you're seen with it, you're hot too.
🤫 Why should you care about any of this? The answer is: you shouldn't. The community of VCs in charge of what we allocate our resources to say: self-driving cars are going to fix everything — we really need them.
Okay, but grounded reality says: we have much more pressing issues to attend to. I'm getting very tired of seeing the same patterns repeat themselves; a company like Apple announce that they will also make a useless self-driving car, so naturally the shared market cap of a relevant technology bloats beyond recognition, making people who have no problems even richer than they already are.
Shout out to a really good friend of mine (I'm talking about you, Ellie 😉) who inspired me to include this today: she reminded me that self-driving cars don't solve any problems, the prospect just gives hope to rich people that they may not have to pay drivers ever again one day. She's RIGHT, and you KNOW she is.
🤹♀️ Some other stuff to heighten/lighten/completely destroy your weekend vibes
👩💻 Excel has hit puberty: it's a programming language now. I hope this means people stop using it as a project management tool, or anything else it is very much not designed for.
👩❤️👩 Yes, I am horny for your gimmicks: okay so APPARENTLY, a dating app that does nothing but gamify dating even harder than everything else, is worth seeding for $3.7m? It's called Jigsaw and it makes you do a puzzle before you get to see a potential match's face, making this app the most patronising thing I've seen so far in this decade.