Silicon Valley is stupid




Just watched the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary. Jesus fucking christ, what a shitshow. It is even worse than I ever knew. For example I didn’t know that there was some sort of event booking Fyre app this was more or less a launch event for. I also didn’t know about the RFID wristbands that they wrote scam-emails for to load with cash and use as payment methods on the Island.

Definitely worth watching.


I watched that over the weekend. The Fyre Festival was definitely a shit show and a disaster just waiting to happen. I wonder though if the Fyre event booking app would have taken off if the guy hadn’t tried to scam everyone with the festival.

Lost in all the noise and the chaos of the festival was a pretty decent idea for an app. Whether it would have turned out to be good or not, we’ll probably never know.



Here is Facebook’s response:


I stopped reading Facebook’s response at “popularity is not dominance.” Popularity is the definition of market dominance. If you have more users than other platforms combined you have market dominance. I just take solace in the fact that millennials and GenZ are using Facebook less and less.



Hey, local politics worked!


Damnit, that means they might try to come here again.


They’re already here, to an extent. I regularly get emails from their headhunters asking if I want to work in their Cambridge, MA office.

Granted, so long as they don’t demand shit tons of incentives to come here (or anywhere else), I don’t think I have a big problem with them setting up shop anywhere that works for them, assuming that good jobs for the locals comes as part of the package, of course.

It’s the shit tons of incentives that’s the issue, even if, in theory, the returns on the incentives would turn out to be greater than the incentives themselves. And to be honest, the competition was never between NYC and East Podunk, North Dakota. East Podunk doesn’t have the engineering talent they need to set up shop and no one is going to move there just to work at Amazon, no matter how cheap it may be or how many incentives they get from the locals. No, the competition was between places (in no particular order) like NYC, Silicon Valley, Greater Washington DC (which is still chugging along last I heard), Greater Boston, RTP North Carolina, and maybe a couple of other metro areas with good IT engineering talent.

The whole incentive bidding war thing is stupid anyway. Maybe if there seemed to be a shortage of good tech jobs in the area I could see that, but based on how many emails from headhunters I’m getting, Greater Boston is still doing fine. I’m sure the other tech hotbeds I mentioned are also doing just fine as well. Maybe you could argue that Amazon may attract people to move from one hotbed area to another, or a non-hotbed to a hotbed, but it’s not reason to shower them with tons of incentives.


A big part of it will be if they can effectively market themselves to the newest generation of engineers. This is totally anecdotal evidence but it seems to me like Millennials are far less willing to move for a job due to social bonds and are also far less incentivized towards overtime and other activities that devour nonwork time. The idea of “company loyalty” also seems nonexistant and pragmatic benefits like profit sharing or flex hours are at least more attractive to me than holiday parties.
I’d be interested if anyone else in the 18-30s range disagrees with me and what your values towards the employer-employee relationship is


Well, “company loyalty” went by the wayside when companies stopped offering pensions, pretty much.

Years ago, if you worked for a good sized company (think IBM, GM, GE, etc.,) you would be rewarded for company loyalty by getting a nice pension when you retire. The idea that if you stuck around with a single company for 30 years or so was actually worthwhile because they’ll help take care of you once you’re retired. I think almost anyone, no matter the generation, would be okay with that setup, provided that they also had a work environment they enjoyed over the course of those 30 years.

However, I think in the 90s or so, the companies that used to offer generous pension benefits decided to end it, and that ended any real benefit to company loyalty as far as the worker was concerned. Sure, you’d get your raises, promotions, etc., but other than sticking around just long enough for any stock options you have to vest, there really was no reason to stick with any company once greener pastures became available unless you were generally really happy with your job at said company. Certainly there was no financial incentive to stick around longer than absolutely necessary.

In my case, and I’m 42, I agree that profit sharing and flex hours are a much nicer benefit than holiday parties. Hell, a big fat pension would be nice, but good luck getting that in the private sector. At least you can still get that via the public sector, and that helps offset the lower pay that public sector employees typically get.


Largely it started with the double edged sword of the ERISA changes. On one hand, now companies can’t use pensions as easily to force you to lock into working for them for 20 years. It also creates IRAs which the employee controls that they can port around. But as a consequence, now nobody is beholden to that forced loyalty, so some businesses ended up Pikachu-faced when everyone left them when they lowered their share of those retirement plans.

Related subject I just want to bring up again:

This one further changed who gets a share and in what order in bankruptcy. One of the biggest shuffles was shareholders of common stocks went from the bottom to the middle, which drastically effects certain motivations for actually “holding” stocks… both positively and negatively depending on a context. This “sounds” good at first as well, but it also helped create things like Bain Capital and causes stuff like the way Sears has been gutted and sold… which may have gone against our overall best interests.


Meanwhile, up in Albany, IBM seems to be doing everything right:


I really don’t feel like IBM gets to be viewed in a positive light in this conversation:


How about we split the difference? IBM did something good in creating that AI center in Albany, but also is doing something bad due to age bias.

IBM is barely a tech company these days it seems. They’re mostly just a giant consulting company where they make most of their cash by having their consultants go out and tell potential customers, “Let us at IBM take care of everything for you in exchange for a big check.”

They sold off their semiconductor manufacturing unit. Actually, “sold” isn’t the right term. They literally paid Global Foundries a couple of billion bucks to take it off their hands. They sold off their x86 PC business, and later their x86 server business, to Lenovo. About the only stuff they still seem to make are their POWER-based I-series and AIX servers and the Z-series mainframes. They still seem to have a strong research arm, though.

It looks to me, based on these articles, that IBM still wants to invest heavily in bleeding edge research, but is less interested in rank-and-file employees that work on their day-to-day shipping products. Hire a bunch of folks to research bleeding edge AI? Cool. Hire folks to design the next generation of Z-series mainframe? Eh, let’s ditch the old guys and replace them with a bunch of newbies right out of college.


I can live with that.

My point in posting the article though was that IBM wasn’t demanding billions in dollars in tax subsidies to team up with SUNY Poly.


Agreed that is certainly better than what Amazon was doing.


We had an IBM office open up here in my midwestern town and they got all kinds of “special treatment” to do so, entirely on name recognition. Bigger businesses that have shown up don’t get the same deals. Existing businesses don’t get the same deals. I’m largely of the opinion there should be some kind of legislation to prevent that sort of thing, but I’m not sure how. Specifically, I wouldn’t have a problem if every company had the same opportunity as IBM. They should have to compete in the same market as everyone else. I similarly would like to get rid of all the little “good old boys club” exceptions.