Tech is Public Enemy #1. So Now What? | John Battelle

John Battelle; Tech Is Public Enemy #1. So Now What?; In His Blog, white-labeled as NewCo, centrally-hosted on Medium; 2017-09-10.
Teaser: If tech wants to reverse the crushing tide of negative public opinion, it must start creating public good commensurate with its extraction of private profit.

tl;dr → Agree, perhaps. But it’s not clear to what one is agreeing at all. Whereas the lede is buried; that being the promotion of Richard Florida’s book The New Urban Crisis.
and → Unto the hook of the title: For the sin, The Nostrum. To wit:

  • Enumerate.
  • Confess,
  • Repent,
  • Restitute, reparate.
  • Return.


John Battelle interviewed Richard Florida towards a book promotion.


Richard Florida The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It 1st Edition ; Basic Books; 2017-04-11; 336 pages; ASIN:0465079741: Kindle: $18, paper: $12+SHT.


  • Where “tech” is Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and maybe Netflix (rly?).
  • And JB foresaw it in a vision of 2017-01; fair. he also “saw” it in 2011-12, had Microsoft in the cohort, and pitched “The Internet Big Five” as a gushing chronicle-of-the-times, only-time-will-tell honorific of boosterist veneration. indeed though, it’s okay to change one’s mind upon further reflection.
  • Richard Florida is granted 191 words at the end to speak as a threat.
    Whereas Richard Florida has a direct line to Congress.
    Unless his demands are met … something will happen
  • Google Apple Facebook Amazon (GAFA),
    Google Amazon Facebook Apple (GAFA)
  • Facebook Amazon Netflix Google (FANG),
    Facebook Apple Netflix Google (FANG)
  • No Wintel.  The PC Revolution is over O.V.E.R.
    • No Microsoft?
    • No Intel?
Definition: the “tech” is an enumeration
  • Apple → fabless. Purveyors of phones & some laptops.
  • Amazon → Retail reseller. Cloud (billed as a service).
  • Facebook → Entertainment. laid against advertising.
  • Google → Fabless, phone designs. Cloud (billed as a service), Advertising marketplaces.  And 25 other hobbies as “Alphabet.”
  • Netflix → Licensed video entertainment. An Amazon cloud customer.
    …can’t really seriously belong in the class of the first four can it?


  • Uber — a company that proved a perfect exemplar of tech’s most sociopathic characteristics*.
  • <quote>The bro culture long parodied in popular culture proved to be virulently on display at the world’s most valuable startup — misogyny, tone deaf management, winning at all costs, ignorance of social and political consequence.</quote>
  • Everything Store
  • <quote>rapacious and robotic approach to platform capitalism</quote>
  • Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods
  • Big Tech
  • fake news
  • Russian information ops
  • <quote>They’re extracting — but giving nothing back.</quote>


New bogies for new panics, not the old bogies from old panics…


Anyone that actually makes things out of actual atoms. No one is afraid of companies that fabricate things out of atoms.

  • Industry (even so called “light industry”)
  • Big Defense (denizens of ‘I’ in Military-Industrial Complex)
  • Big Oil
  • Big Food
  • Big Finance, a.k.a. “Wall Street”
  • Big Auto
  • Big Semiconductor
  • Big Telecom
  • Big Blue, a.k.a. IBM
  • Big Mining
  • Big Ads, a.k.a. “Madison Avenue”
  • Big Media, a.k.a. major market television
  • Big Music, a.k.a. “the Record Labels”
  • Big Hollywood, a.k.a. “The Movie Studios”
  • Big Newspaper
  • Big Cable
  • The Diamond Cartel, e.g. de Beers
  • Railroad Trusts
  • Anyone on the Conference Board.
    Remember the “interlocking directorate” research of ‘ago?
  • The QSR, as a self-conscious class.
  • Disney
  • Microsoft
  • Walmart
  • McDonald’s


  • No Japanese conglomerates. Remember MITI-managed organized markets?
  • No European national champions. Remember the ’90s?


In archaeological order, newer outbursts on top, older opinements below…


In His Blog


The publishing pile-on exponentially increasing across 2015, 2016, 2017. There are many more than are presented here. Everyone is sayin’ it, doin’ it; walkin’ the walk, talkin’ the talk. Yet presented here in archaeological order, newer outbursts on top, older opinements below…

Previously filled.

Structural and semantic deficiencies in the systemd architecture, another jeremiad | V.R.

Some dude using the self-asserted identity token V.R.; Structural and semantic deficiencies in the systemd architecture for real-world service management, a technical treatise; In Some Blog; 2015-10-11.

tl;dr → A jeremiad; 8100 words; systemd is bad, he doesn’t like it.


His point, and he does have one, is that
  • There are simply too many notes
  • And there is insufficient reference to the priors in the art
  • Oh! and it’s full of bugs! Lots! Of! Bugs!
Not shown:
  • the way forward
  • a complete viable alternative
    • complete in a technical sense of solving the problem
    • complete in a cultural sense of having an adiabatic transition to the new phase
  • that sticking with tangled masses of stylized /bin/sh (ahem, the SysV initscripts), better, possible or even an option.  That system worked “well enough ” that you knew getting away from it would be messy.
And yet
  • Mel Conway’s Law is iron
  • Lennart Poettering & Kay Sievers operate as a single organization.
  • Therefore systemd evolves onward as a single-process central-element architectural solution to the problems it addresses; all-in or out.
    Similar to the monolithic_macrokernel-vs-microkernel culture wars of the ’90s.  The Linux kernel is … go on, say it.


  • Preface and disclaimer (!)
  • Everything is a Unit (but it doesn’t mean a lot)
  • Job queuing
  • The transaction manager
  • To live is to depend
  • Every problem can be solved by a layer of indirection
  • Bus APIs, connections and object interface duplication
  • cgroup writing
  • Parsing in critical paths
  • Non-generic fd-holding and socket preopening
  • Inexpressive unit file options
  • Imbalance between promoting laziness or eagerness
  • Targets over milestones for synchronization
  • The (system-specific) problem of readiness notification
  • Intertwining of global system and service state
  • journald, central I/O bottleneck
  • In conclusion


In order of appearance in the piece



And for a guy interest in respect for the elders who have trod the trails before stand silent

Via: backfill.