1/21/14
Posted at 0:15h, 21 Jan 2014 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

This is the year of the Internet of Things, and there are a few things we can do without. If you don’t want Google Nest-ing in your Connected Home, this is how to build your own Google-free Nest thermostat. But we digress. Specifically, we’re talking about the jerks in the industry. There is a preponderance of them, and they suddenly seem to be in the spotlight. Not in a good way this time and they’re no doubt being addressed, at long last, thanks in no small part to Uber and the unbridled ubris of founder Travis Kalanick and his policies, including surge (read: gouge) pricing, and not properly vetting their drivers, despite their claims to the contrary. Of course, SnapChat founder Evan Spiegel is right up there, refusing to apologize and instead, blaming everyone else for the hack that exposed the names and phone numbers of some 4.6 million snapchatters. Would you trust your, er, compromising selfies to this guy?

We have our own theory about these guys and why they’re such jerks: they steal from people, in one way or another, and so they can trust no one. Seriously – same goes for lying. The problem with lying is that if you are a liar and know that you can’t be trusted, you assume that the same goes for everyone else, so you trust no one. Steve Jobs stole from Xerox Parc – as did Bill Gates, just for the record. There’s Zuckerberg and his parting of the ways with Eduardo Saverin, not to mention the lawsuit with the Winklevoss twins. Evan Spiegel is in a lawsuit with his (ousted) co-founder, as we speak.

Once they make their billions, they become tech media stars – and not to be trusted at all.

Kalanick is only the latest in this series and like most of his ilk, it’s a one-way street: he takes no responsibility. At all. So if you find yourself being assaulted by an Uber driver – oh, wait, Uber is a technology company – they have no drivers: they’re all consultants, absolving Uber from having to pay for insurance of any sort, or be responsible for any unsavory behavior your driver may exhibit. And they’re encroaching further into our lives with UberX, which is a bona fide cabbie’s wet dream and will allow them to take advantage of surge pricing, too, by moonlighting for Uber. Which means there will be fewer cabbies available to people who can’t afford to pony up the $250 to travel ten blocks in the snow.

Speaking of one-way streets, it seems Uber may be ripping off its drivers, too.

Thanks to the tech giants our privacy is gone, which is especially troubling in light of the fact that we’re moving towards the Internet of things. Not only industries are being disrupted. So is the very fabric of our lives, thanks to people who seem to be bereft of a moral compass. It’s literally home invasion, where all of our personal information will potentially be at risk of being collected and sold off to the highest bidder/lowest form of humanity. Connected refrigerators have already been hacked (and we would like to know what sane person’s refrigerator looks like the one pictured).

Kalanick may not be alone in his attitude/hubris, but he is more or less the apotheosis of this sort. His name may not rhyme with ‘colonic’ – but that doesn’t make him any less of an asshole. Onward and forward.