1. #uberwar and the sharing economy

    "The worker becomes an "entrepreneur," and assumes the entrepreneur’s risk

    Panelists noted the various ways in which the term “sharing” most often means a systematic shift of risk from the service provider onto the precarious labor and consumer.  

    On these platforms the “product” is the software, as opposed to the experiences that result in their use. Uber refers to their drivers as “partners” as a way to alleviate any inherent risks associated with assuming an army of full time employees, as Cheng pointed out. And Rob Horning reminds us, these independent contractors are the only ones who handle the risk of depreciating capital assets. Kate Losse noted that is tied to a larger Silicon Valley ideology that drastically privileges the technical work over the emotional or creative labor that form the end user content of the platforms themselves.

    If everyone is an entrepreneur, can there be worker solidarity?

    The workers who make up these networks have structural limitations to effective forms of resistance. Workers have little time to organize when they already have to work so intensely just to break even. Whereas factory workers could coordinate a slowdown, the sharing economy creates a distributed set of workers with little collective potential, prompting the panel to question the extent to which the freedom of “working whenever you please” weakens your ability to organize against an employer.

    Such networks are in effect anti-communities, as Horning asserted with dystopic alarm, where users and independent contractors are pitted against one another, with the only unifying aspect being their use of digital technology to seek the best opportunity to exploit each other’s labor for the lowest rate. But at what cost?”

    Solidarity after “Sharing:” Notes on Internet Subjects #1 - Rhizome.org

  2. Secret app product design principles

    Secret — the anonymous secret-sharing mobile app that’s become a visual, gossip-filled addiction in Silicon Valley — Chris Bader and co-founder and CEO David Byttow, decided every design decision should be made to enable the simplest way to share, read and interact with the text (the secrets) themselves.

    Bader’s four product design principles:

    1. Start from emotion — This isn’t a new concept, says Bader, but Apple’s design team embodies this and I agree with them.
    2. Tell a story — The user should be able to fit the whole product in his or her mind at once. You should be able to think about what Secret is and not spend more than one brain cycle piecing it together.
    3. Keep a balance — Positive experiences need to outweigh the negative ones (which can be prevalent on an anonymous app). The experience needs to be a net positive.
    4. Live by constraints — It’s great to use “blue-sky thinking” to brainstorm and come up with ideas, but when it comes time to implementing design, set constraints.

    Bader’s 3 rules for building home run social products:

    1. Allow for a novel form of self expression
    2. Make it stupidly simple to express yourself
    3. Make it rewarding.

    The design decisions behind the tech industry’s beloved anonymous Secret app

  3. thenewinquiry:

The ephemerality sharpens viewers’ focus: Once received, a Snapchat count-down is a kind of time-bomb that demands an urgency of vision, a challenge to exhaust the meaning from the image before the clock runs out. Unlike a paper photo that fades slowly over the years, the temporary photo disappears suddenly. Given only a peek, you look hard.
-Nathan Jurgenson, Pics and It Didn’t Happen

    thenewinquiry:

    The ephemerality sharpens viewers’ focus: Once received, a Snapchat count-down is a kind of time-bomb that demands an urgency of vision, a challenge to exhaust the meaning from the image before the clock runs out. Unlike a paper photo that fades slowly over the years, the temporary photo disappears suddenly. Given only a peek, you look hard.

    -Nathan Jurgenson, Pics and It Didn’t Happen

  4. Introducing Chirp from chirp on Vimeo.

    Chirp makes machines sing and share data.

    chirp.io