Month: February 2018

On Twitter Wars

So, there’s something that occurred to me while driving recently. I should point out that I’m not living in fear of an impending war, but it does seem more likely that a (new, American) war will happen in the next three years, compared to in the Obama administration. (I’m basing this on things like the adjustment to the doomsday clock.)

And the thing is, if the Trump administration does, in fact, get involved in a destructive war, it will be the first time (to my knowledge) that Twitter may have been one of the root causes of a war. (Assuming you accept the premise that Twitter was a tool used by the Russians to interfere in the election. If you don’t think that, I’d love to hear why.)

Here’s the thing: Twitter’s users aren’t served by it being populated by up to 15% with ‘fake users’ (from the article below). And Twitter, itself, probably isn’t earning money on them. (I can’t imagine the bots clicking on ads, or, if they are, the advertisers certainly aren’t getting value for money.)

The reason the bots are still on Twitter? Money. Twitter is locked into a broken business model, and unable to kick the bots off.

This is from a Bloomberg article:

And cracking down on bots puts Twitter in a vulnerable position with Wall Street. Investors have penalized the company for failing to get more users. The more that Twitter cracks down on fake accounts and bots, the lower the monthly active user base, the metric most closely watched by Wall Street.

“I think there’s a business reason why Twitter doesn’t want to be good at it. If you have fake accounts and you’re valued around active users, the valuation will be adjusted,” said Scott Tranter, partner at Optimus, a data and technology consultancy.

Which just means that there’s one more reason why, as I wrote before, more of the Internet needs to cost money.



The Discipline of Action

We’re finally getting to the action section of the book. The perception section did seem as though it were getting repetitive, didn’t it?

This chapter starts with the story of Demosthenes, an ancient Greek orator who was orphaned young, had his inheritance stolen, was sickly… and went on to become a great orator. The story runs over a bit more than a page and is well told, but this paragraph sums it up:

Sure, Demosthenes lost the inheritance he’d been born with, and that was unfortunate. But in the process of dealing with this reality, he creted a far better one–one that could never be taken from him.

The first part of the chapter seems to be dedicated to one lesson: don’t feel sorry for yourself, get busy.

The second part of the chapter is less narrative (not as many stories) and more an inspirational speech for action, and, as the chapter draws to an end, for right action. (After all, action for action’s sake will most likely not work.)

[Fun aside, as I’m writing this, I’m waiting for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy to launch. It’s been postponed, and in the meantime, I watched this video on the 5-year delay on the Falcon Heavy. One of the lessons I took from that video was the idea that SpaceX was wise to postpone the Falcon Heavy in order to take advantage of design improvements in the Falcon 9. It makes sense, and it’s the first thing that popped into my head when talking about right action.]

At the end of the chapter, right action is defined a bit more narrowly, and a rhetorical question is asked:

Therefore, we can always (and only) greet our obstacles

  • with energy
  • with peristence
  • with a coherent and deliberate process
  • with iteration and resilience
  • with pragmatism
  • with strategic vision
  • with craftiness and savvy
  • and an eye for opportunity and pivotal moments

Are you ready to get to work?

Isn’t that a great way to end a chapter? Why did I make the mistake of tagging a bit more on at the end?

An over-abundance of action, I suppose.