“Oh goody, Paul has a newsletter now! He must have a book coming out.”
In fact, Dirt Channel is less about self promotion than about scratching an itch. Or maybe several itches. An outlet for thoughts and ideas that aren’t quite ready for prime time, and for me to try out ideas for future books and other projects.
Here’s what it decidedly won’t be: A weekly stream of polemics about the hideousness of latter day Silicon Valley. This is not (and here I adopt the deftly sneering tone of a French maître d’) a Substack.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’ve run out of things to say about the tech world, nor am I any less angry about the horrors Silicon Valley has wrought. It’s just that tech journalism and commentary – at least the kind that hopes to make A Difference (TM) – is over.
There was a time – one that lasted through the early days of Web 2.0 and into the dawn of the cult of disruption – where reporting critically on startups and venture capital could still change minds and behavior – of users, founders, and investors. An era when a series of well-reported articles about Uber accessing the medical records of rape victims, or Secret causing teens to kill themselves, or Amazon workers boiling to death in warehouses, or Facebook board members funding white supremacists could pose an existential threat to those behaviors, if not to the companies themselves.…