“The crux of the “sharing economy” is that someone else’s property becomes yours for as long as you’re willing to pay for it, usually no questions asked. In the case of Airbnb, you’re going to miss out on room service, but in exchange for missing amenities, you get free reign of a stranger’s apartment, without regulation or oversight. This is terrific if you want to break the law.”—Valleywag: New York’s Prostitutes Are Saving Money with Airbnb
“For Intuit, it’s just good business. Return-free filing can only save billions of dollars because there’s billions of dollars being made preparing tax returns. And a lot of those dollars flow to Intuit.”—Vox: You are the IRS’s worst-paid employee
“I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities.”—Shabazz Napier, UConn men’s basketball guard, goes to bed hungry. Pay student athletes what their work is worth, already!
Here’s a thing: If you develop cool technology that has the potential to make people’s lives easier, it should work. If it doesn’t work, you need to have people around to explain why it doesn’t work to customers who are trying to use it.
My girlfriend and I ordered lunch on Seamless today. (It’s her birthday. Wish her a happy one, everyone.) She has a dairy allergy, so she reads menus very carefully. It’s probably obvious what happened next: Her food had cheese on it, but the menu didn’t make mention of this ingredient. So we called. And called. And called again. No answer.
Girlfriend, on not being able to reach @seamless: “I don’t understand. I’m hungry and mad at you.”
I would love to know what kind of “small technical issue” would render a company’s phones unusable. The technology that makes landlines work is pretty reliable. Maybe there was some city-wide outage early this afternoon I didn’t hear about. Or maybe Seamless uses VOIP phones, and there was somehow an internet outage at this internet-based business. But I suspect either Seamless just doesn’t make customer service a high priority or it isn’t aware I know their explanation to me is one steaming-hot pile of bullshit.
Most rants about bad customer service are boring and lacking in context. But here’s a broader point: A lot of people have invested money in Seamless, and soon it may go public. If your business uses technology to get food to people and your phones go down randomly during lunchtime in New York City, that’s a huge problem that stakeholders — including and especially investors — need to know about. And if your consumer technology makes customer service so little of a priority to the extent that a customer with a legitimate complaint can’t even reach someone to see what’s up, that too is a huge problem that stakeholders — including and especially investors — need to know about.
Eighty-nine percent of customers stop doing business with an organization after a single bad experience. Someone at Seamless will probably read this. Here’s who they should call for some help.
One: Ghost an op-ed that states Airbnb isn’t much more than lower-risk, sometimes-accidental real-estate speculation in order to make a broader point about the so-called sharing economy.
Two: Have two well-targeted outlets pass on said op-ed. Shrug. It happens.
Three: Read in Slate today: “It didn’t take long for the original hosts of the so-called sharing economy to find themselves competing with enterprising property owners.” Recognize this as the same essential point your piece made and be all like, “what the fuck?”
Four: Groan and wish for a second that you’d decided to work on cars for a living, which was the original plan, instead.
Or for god’s sake look at last year, he came out to a locker room of young SEC players and none of them gave a damn. How much of a distraction was he? Missouri went 12-2 and shocked everyone and Sam was voted MVP. Some distraction.
A vast majority of players won’t give a shit. This worry of poisoning a locker room is a myth. It’s the conservative mind set of the NFL management that is a greater threat. Thank God for Michael Sam, who will soon show how full of shit these anonymous assholes truly are.
”—A Deadspin commenter on Michael Sam, an NFL prospect who came out publicly over the weekend.
There’s a slice of the population, whether it’s the top 1% or .01% or whatever, that doesn’t just have more stuff and money. The sheer scale of the difference means they live what is simply a qualitatively different kind of existence. That gulf creates estrangement and alienation, and one of a particular sort in a democracy where such a minuscule sliver of the population can’t hope to protect itself alone at the ballot box.
“Online, each story is at best its own magazine, sent out to find its own temporary audience. … The author and the story choose their audience, and the editor’s role is to begin the conversation over who will read and share the piece — not to rework it for the group of people who happen to subscribe to your magazine.”—Ben Smith: What The Longform Backlash Is All About
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”—President Obama
“They introduce themselves as pro-life. And I say, ‘Oh, I’m so glad. You must be fighting for healthcare for the poor.’ And they look at me like I’m bonkers.”—Sheila Walsh, a Catholic nun. The quote’s from 2002, but you really wouldn’t know it. (via ereyes312)
“If he can’t even bully one little small-town mayor into submission by oppressing his constituents and get away with it, how can we reasonably believe he’s politically skilled enough to cover up national scandals like orchestrating a foreign war, illegally colluding with big business, or violating the civil liberties of millions of Americans? It’s a little scary, to be honest.”—The Onion
In a sense, the tech companies [targeted] are more like the NSA than they would like to think. Both have seized on the progress in computing, communications, and storage to advance their respective missions. (When you think of it, Google’s original mission statement—“to collect and organize the world’s information”—might also apply to the activity at Fort Meade.) Both have sought to fulfill those missions by amassing huge troves of personal information—and both offer trade-offs that seemingly justify the practice. Google, Facebook, and others argue that they can use that information to improve the lives of their customers far in excess of any discomfort that may come from sharing that data. The NSA believes that it’s necessary to draw on that information to prevent a replay of 9/11 or worse. Both have established elaborate self-policing procedures to minimize abuse and claim to strictly follow the external constraints that limit their activities. When either makes a mistake, it invariably vows to do better—at least when its overreaches become public. Of course, the comparison goes only so far. If the NSA doesn’t connect the dots, the door is open to catastrophe.
Still others are drawn to South Dakota’s iron-clad secrecy, and protections of trust assets from creditors and ex-wives. Many of these features emulate those available in Bermuda and other island havens. Some wealthy families are also attracted by South Dakota rules that enhance their control over investment decisions and make it easier for them to set up their own trust companies rather than rely on a bank trustee.
In South Dakota, a farm state that’s home to two of the 10 poorest counties in the U.S., lawmakers say they’re bolstering the trust industry to generate work for local law firms and bankers, and forge ties with prosperous families that may one day decide to build a factory or a warehouse here. The legislators are turning the Mount Rushmore State into the Bermuda of the prairie.