DC to SV: Get Off Your Asses And Help Us!


Money Quote Tues. Oct. 17

Plus California politics, questioning valuations of tech giants, Hawking’s reconsideration.

Newly minted Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna has a message for his constituents: Get to work! Money quote: “This is a defining moment for the valley — a chance to respond to the challenges facing our country. Techies are no longer the iconoclasts or the math whizzes who didn’t quite fit in at homecoming. They are now the largest winners in a 21st-century global economy. Their platforms are used by the vast majority of citizens. The hope is that they will answer the nation’s call to advance the common good, from expanding job opportunity to communities across the country to ensuring that online platforms do not contribute to polarization or misinformation.”

The “California Is The Future” series, a NewCo Shift produced study of the California political experiment, is off and running with its second installment. The first piece went big — it was one of the most read pieces on Medium last week. The second episode digs into parallels between California today and the US in 15 years. Money quote: “Despite a persistent reputation as dreamers and hippies, Californians are a practical people. They like to deal with reality. After a point, they couldn’t be fooled again by the false promise that cutting taxes for the rich would trickle down and lead to jobs for everyone else. They got sick of hearing the same brain-dead orthodoxies of the old conservative playbook.”

I don’t usually like to point to a lot of NewCo Shift stuff, but you’re all missing the amazing shit we edit into Medium’s membership club, because we can’t also run it on Shift proper. But here’s another example of the goodness you’re missing. Author Rick Webb argues Facebook and Google are massively overvalued. Money quote: “In short, I can think of no reason that Google deserves its PE ratio of 36.5. It has zero advantages in the one big growth area it can realistically go after: The brand budgets currently spent on TV. Furthermore, that market is not a growth market. At best, if and when it migrates to digital, it will be the same size, and Google will have no advantages. At worst, the migration to digital (if it happens), along with massive competition decimates ad rates.”

Uh oh, the smartest dude alive says we shouldn’t worry about robots (wasn’t that his last concern) and instead, we should worry about capitalism. In an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit, Hawking delivers this money quote: “If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

Maybe there is still some sanity in the world, after all. (See my piece yesterday on all of this).

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