The 16th-century financier Sir Thomas Gresham famously observed that bad money drives out good. The same, I’d suggest, is true about illegal business models. If we allow an illegal business model to flourish in one sector, soon businesses in that sector and others will see that the shrewd strategy is to ignore the law, seek forgiveness rather than permission, and hope for the best.
Benjamin Edelman is here for Uber.
This is Edelman in the Harvard Business Review, and he’s talking about Uber. Well. In this particular paragraph he’s talking about Lyft, which was the first ridesharing company to use unlicensed vehicles. His point is that, once one company (i.e. Lyft) “got away” with lawbreaking, others ran in to copy (i.e. Uber). His wider point is that Uber is unsalvageable as a company; its business model is built wholly on breaking laws, and evading capture/prosecution for said lawbreaking, and the side-effect of this is that its entire management structure is toxic.
What’s the opposite of a submarine? Because someone made one for goldfish. Basically it’s a fish tank sitting on wheels–a tank tank you could even say–with a camera suspended over the top. The camera watches the direction the fish inside the tank is trying to swim in, and it steers the robot in that direction. Speed is dictated by how close the fish is to the edge.
Goldfish are not, despite popular perception, stupid. There’s no reason one couldn’t learn to “drive” a robotank around, although the limiting factor would be the water, given the lack of a filter.
I, for one, welcome our new aquatic-robotic overlords.
So, holy shit, where did the year go? Apparently “somewhere else”, meaning Conflux season is hurtling towards us, fast.
Conflux, for the uninitiated, is Canberra’s local specfic (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and associated genres) convention and, unlike its sister-cons, e.g. Continuum, Conflux’s main Thing is that it tends to be more focused on the writing and craft side of things than the fannish side. Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of fannish things to do and see–there totally always are–so much as that it’s also The Writer Con, meaning there’s always a pretty strong programming track for craft and publishing.
Anyway. Confux’s program has gone up, so this is the part where I pretend I do some kind of scheduling and/or planning for where I’m going and what I’m seeing. Neat.
So this will be tremendously obvious to anyone already reading this at alisfranklin.com, but for those of you who aren’t: we have a new website layout! Gone are the beachy blues and oranges, instead replaced by opulent sunset purples.
Look, I will not lie: I didn’t really intend to change the site layout. I was actually fiddling around with something for a totally different website and, well. I just really, really liked the result. So… sorry, secondary website. You’ll get a new layout one day, but that day is not today.
Two facts I didn’t know. One, apparently Rotten Tomatoes was originally made by a dude to catalog reviews for Jackie Chan films. And two, apparently Hollywood is absolutely freakin’ terrified of the thing.
Which is… weird? Like, I’ll check RT sometimes out of interest, but I wouldn’t say it figures heavily in my decision on whether or not to see a film. It’s more like, it helps me feel vindicated with a film I already enjoyed got a high score (or, let’s be real, a film I don’t like didn’t). So maybe this is a case of Hollywood confusing correlation with causation.
The article does have one interesting point, though, made by an anonymous Hollywood exec:
When you take the 140 Rotten Tomatoes critics, you’re talking about a lot of men, a lot of white guys, a lot of people over 40. A 17-year-old girl is making a decision about what she wants to see based on that aggregate decision? I don’t think it actually mirrors their own taste.
For what it’s worth, the publishing industry has a similar relationship with sites like GoodReads, even though it likes to pretend it doesn’t…