“There is a space for everyone. A space, a glass of water, and a plug socket.”
Thanks to BS reader Kelly, who was inspired by last week’s Parkdale Life piece on McDonald’s as community center to share with us this glorious appreciation of the canteen, by Rebecca May Johnson in her “Ways of Eating” email.
Matt Klein synthesizes what seems like every 2020 trend report generated by every assertively confident trend forecasting agency or consultancy, to figure out “The Meta Trending Trends”
. He does not only the magical work of making this stuff far more readable than it usually is in its swaggery, standalone, primed-for-LinkedIn-and-making-us-sad original form (a form K-Hole never quite managed to effectively kill
), he achieves what a meta-analysis should always strive to do: to take the surface level insights and figure out what’s going on systemically underneath it all. Such as, for instance, the actual human yearnings and fears these report writers might not even realise they possess, but collectively rise to the surface:
“Over my last three analyses, several trend themes continue to thrive: Environmental Concerns, Prioritized Mental Wellness, Evolving Identity Boundaries, and A Physical-Virtual Blur. For three years straight, these remain the most ubiquitous subjects. Most meaningful, I believe the thread which ties these themes together is that they revolve around humanity — our habitat, ethics, mental state, sense of identity and role alongside tech.”
Here’s an annual making-sense-of-it-all tradition that we hope never goes away: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky’s State of the World two-week gathering at The WELL
, which is still there, and still hosting fine meetings of minds. Cameos from some BS favourites.
You know movies you rewatch? Well a text we seem to go back to (all the way to 1998) is “The Macramé of Resistance” by Lorraine Wild in Emigre: “Design practice today requires the intellectual power of a think tank and the turn around capacity of a quickie printer.”
[PDF, 451 kb]. We think in 2020, you could replace the quickie printer with ‘exporting a deck’.
Longtime BS readers may recall 100 or so issues back (of course you do!), we were very down on the future of SoundCloud, and worried what its impending collapse might mean for the archives and the culture built on top of its lack of business model. So we’re intrigued to see that, at least in the public record, they might have actually found a way to make money? Like, more than $120m of revenue in 2018 and pushing towards $200m last year?
It’s hard to tell what it is truly driving this beyond the handwaving about realizing new opportunities (and finding positive ways of saying that they laid off a lot
of staff), though it does seem like a lot comes from a renewed focus on promotion and distribution tools for artists. The idea that you can build six figure revenue streams off of things your creative community want and need is kind of nice, no? If it’s true. And we’d be remissed to not point out that they’re still burning way more cash than they’re bringing in, but that’s just Valley rules, right? Even if you’re in Berlin? Anyway, we’d be interested to read some non-industry-press reporting on what’s really going on here, if any of you all either want to share it, or report it and write it and get it published and then share it!
“She apologized for her management style and stepped down as chief executive. Now, she says it was a mistake to fall on her sword and is taking her job back.” Lol, Steph Korey’s back at Away
, and suing The Verge
for reporting the behaviour she apologised for after they reported it. There’s
a Slack we’d be terrified of be lurking on right now. And we still can’t get enough of reading the ugly behind the scenes Deadspin story
—with all the accounts we’ve read, we could now reconstruct it from every angle into a perfect immersive simulation of the awfulness of much of working in media right now.
Mike Monteiro has advice for those trying to help Silicon Valley workers unionise
. It’s well intended and good, and useful, but we can’t help but feel it succumbs just a little to industry exceptionalism. The structures and power politics he lays out as particular to tech are… well… not ones unions haven’t encountered before.
“Thank you for riding the Freelancer. Go ahead and puke in the bushes. And remember to come back to visit our exciting upcoming attraction, a hall of mirrors named All Your Friends Are More Successful Than You.”