Month: May 2010


"For a cautionary tale, everyone cites Paul Bradley Carr." - THE SUNDAY TIMES


Never Mind The Bollocks – Why Carol Bartz Can’t Say What Yahoo Is Now

It’s Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, and while my American friends are out in the sun, celebrating some holiday or other – is this one Memorial Day or Labor Day or Arbor Day? – I’m confined to my hotel room, finishing the final edits of my book manuscript.

Specifically I’m editing a chapter that begins with me being thrown out of a Starbucks in Chicago for swearing on my cellphone. It was a strange – not unhilarious – episode, and one that caused me to consider the contrasting American and British attitudes towards profanity…

“The concept of ‘appropriateness’ is much more real to Americans than it is to Brits, despite us being the ones who are supposed to be stuffy and formal. I’ve noticed it a lot with swearing: while Brits of both genders will be quite happy, among friends, to use the word ‘fuck’ – as a verb, a noun and adjective or an adverb – a surprising number of Americans blanche at the idea. Rather they’d talk about ‘dropping the F bomb’ as if four letters were capable of levelling Nagasaki.”

And so it was this past week at TechCrunch Disrupt when Yahoo’s Carol Bartz now-infamously told Mike Arrington to “fuck off”.…

Read More...


#Ebony and #Ivory – The Brave New World of Online Self-Segregation

Waking up in my San Francisco hotel room yesterday, I immediately knew something was wrong. It was a mess.

In fact, the whole hotel was a mess. Carpets un-vacuumed, brassware unpolished, rooms unserviced, newspapers undelivered. It was a story writ large across the whole city – leaves piled up knee-deep on the sidewalk, restaurant tables uncleared and water glasses un-refilled. It was as if every essential – but mundane – service had ground to a halt, instantly and without warning.

Only when I reached the Civic Center did I realise what was going on: all the Mexicans were gathered there, protesting Arizona’s new senate bill, SB1070.

“Stop!” I cried, “stop this nonsense! Put down your bi-lingual protest signs and your American flags and get back to work!” My hotel room was not going to clean itself, and I was hungry for enchiladas. But the Mexicans ignored me – perhaps because I don’t speak a word of Spanish or perhaps because they couldn’t hear me over the chanting; but probably because I’m white. Racists.

Indeed, this week, the subject of racism is on everyone’s lips. First Arizona turned the concept of innocent until proven guilty on its head, passing a law that forces people who look Mexican to carry documentation that proves they’re not in the US illegally or face six months in prison.…

Read More...


Leave Britney Alone! (Where by Britney I mean Steve, Mark and Jimbo)

There’s the unmistakable smell of revolution in the air this week. And if I were Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Jimmy ‘Jimbo’ Wales I’d be keeping an eye out for angry French peasants dragging guillotines.

For Jobs, the rebellion  is opening up across several flanks: from once-loyal partners like Adobe bitter over Apple’s decision not to support Flash to once-loyal journalists penning op-eds about heavy-handed treatment of the fourth estate and blanket censorship of adult content on the iPad. For Zuckerberg, as I wrote last week, it’s the continuing user-generated outcry over privacy. For Wales it’s an alleged mutiny by wiki editors over his decision to unilaterally delete hardcore pornography from Wikipedia.

In each case the specifics are different but the thrust is the same: having built hugely successful and popular companies in their own image, some of technology’s leading visionaries are coming under attack from the people who were once their biggest allies.

It’s worth pointing out that, for all their ferocity, the attacks are having little noticeable effect on the performance of the companies concerned: all three continue to go from strength to strength. But clearly for the founders themselves there’s a real  impact. Last Tuesday, it was reported (although later denied) that Wales  has voluntarily surrendered almost all of his editing privileges over Wikipedia, reducing his status to that of a junior editor.…

Read More...

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén