You know that old joke about how you need to buy two Jaguars so you’ll always have one to drive while the other is in the shop?
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This time last week I finally bit the bullet and went back to Orange Theory Fitness for the first time in 14 months.
For the first few months of the pandemic I tried to stay in shape – I ran three miles a day, kept up my Peloton-ing, and even bought some TRX things for the house. By last April, though, I was fucked. Too much work, both on Chairman Mom and NeedHop, and on finishing my book. Too much junk food. Too much anxiety about crowded parks. Too much driving back and forth to Palm Springs. End result: I’m about 20lbs heavier than I was this time last year, and none of it’s muscle.
So, yes, time to get back on the horse. And of course I would choose “Mayhem Week” for my first time back.
My fucking god. After just one hour of treads, rowing and “core blasts” my legs and arms were shaking to the point where I almost couldn’t make it back to my car. The next morning I woke up and couldn’t move my neck more than a few degrees in any direction – a side effect of my terrible core form and atrophied stomach muscles.…
“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.…
A little late to post this – a whole month in fact – but in my defense I was finishing a book and watching a coup d’etat.
So, yes, on December 7th I turned 41. Forty fucking one. I’ve been writing this blog – on one platform or another – for almost two decades. It’s incredible, looking back at those early posts, at how much abuse I habitually subjected my body to. The drinking, obviously, but also the constantly shifting sleep schedule, the junk food, the lack of exercise. Even thinking about it today gives me acid reflux.
Luckily I spent most of my 39th year – the year before the pandemic ruined everything – getting into shape. As I’ve written here before, I started going to Orange Theory and re-discovered Soul Cycle. I started eating better and doing yoga. As a result, I entered lockdown feeling pretty great, and it took a full three months for it to all go completely to shit.
Earlier this week I went for a run for the first time in months and it nearly killed me. I’m about 14lbs fatter than I should be, and my daily calorie consumption is a joke. We’re all in the same boat, of course — in fact many are in a far, far worse boat.…
Business Insider just published an exclusive(!) story about something very exciting that I’ve been working on for a few months.
The article is behind a paywall but here’s the headline and nutgraf…
EXCLUSIVE: Former TechCrunch and Pando journalist Paul Carr is starting a new publication to keep tech CEOs ‘awake at night’
In the months after [Carr] left Pando, he saw Palantir’s CEO admit to helping ICE deport undocumented immigrants, and Hootsuite terminate its contract with the same government agency amidst intense public scrutiny. Susan Fowler published her book detailing Uber’s toxic culture in February, and, a few months later, Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout protesting their company’s decision to not regulate President Trump’s posts on the platform.
This “relentless drumbeat” of events, as Carr described it, was what pushed him back into journalism—this time as the creator of a new tech publication called Tech Worker.
Techworker is a passion project – assembled during the tiny amount of free time I have while working on NeedHop – to provide a platform for stories for and about tech workers, aka the most powerful workforce on earth.
I’m beyond excited to be working on the project with a who’s who of whistleblowers, activists, journalists, organizers and general badasses, many of whom are already legendary for their work in holding big tech ceos and companies accountable for their behavior.…
I heard the news about Tony Hsieh last night by text message. The latest in a years-long string of texts about Tony, sent by various mutual friends in Las Vegas.
Tony just bought the Ferguson Hotel.
Tony is turning Zappos into a Holacracy.
Tony is starting an airline.
Tony just turned Ferguson into a Airstream trailer park.
Tony is leaving the Ogden.
Tony just invested in the Las Vegas Knights.
Tony has a pet alpaca now.
Tony is moving into his trailer park.
Zappos is abandoning Holacracy.
I think Tony just bought a mountain.
Tony just quit Zappos!
Tony is apparently buying up half of Park City.
And then last night…
Tony Hsieh is dead.
I went straight to Twitter. Of course I did. And already my feed was packed with tributes to Tony. Everyone – everyone – had a Tony story to share. How he’d backed their company when no-one else would, how he’d helped them find a vegan restaurant during a trip to Vegas, or stayed up all night to give them a ride to the airport, or sent a delightful email about some missing shoes.
Even people who never met Tony had a Tony story – how his book had changed their life, or a chance encounter with the man had inspired them to build a better company.…
9:30am in San Francisco. Smoke has blotted out the sun. Month six of the plague. Locusts scheduled for noon. Maybe a frog blizzard.