People care about people
People don’t care about Technology.
People don’t care about POTS or DSL or GSM or CDMA or WiFi or 3G or LTE or 4G or UWB or 5G or 6G. People don’t care about SMS or MMS or RCS or A2DP or HFP or SBC or AAC or LC3 or BLE. People don’t care about email or iMessage or Google Chat or Facebook Messenger or Slack or WhatsApp or Signal or WeChat or SnapChat or LinkedIn Messages. People don’t care about Apple or Google or Facebook or Amazon or Microsoft or FCC or IEEE or 3GPP or Bluetooth SIG or XRA.
People care about people.
There’s a difference between connecting with a fellow human and exchanging ASCII or emoji or memes in the pre-metaverse (the prinverse (πριν), you might call it but won’t). We once called this rudimentary virtual world “cyberspace” but now we just call it the Internet. You might’ve heard of it 😜 lol jk #nerdalert
Humans are social-emotional beings, and the Internet has devolved from a fun night at the bar with a few friends to a bloody bar fight across the entire planet.
We’re never going to find a way to come together by growing the divide. We need to bridge the gap, and we can’t wait on people & politicians to come to their senses. The stakes are too high and we simply don’t have enough time.
Technology got us into this mess, and Technology better get us out of it.
Otherwise we’re all doomed in short order, save for the tiny elite sliver of our species barricading themselves from the masses. Do we really want their genes to be the ones that represent humanity after the human race is over?
Think about this - we have created & upheld a society wherein being a mere human being is insufficient for acceptance & survival.
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” — Gandhi
If you found yourself tragically disabled so as to be incapable of gainful productivity, without a penny to your name and a debilitating mountain of debt from student loans & medical bills… how might you be treated today?
I believe strongly & whole-heartedly in the potential of every living human, no matter their limitations (or often because of their limitations).
The failure of a human to fulfill their potential is not a failure of the individual, it is a failure of the society.
Throughout the pandemic, Apple pumped its employees full of motivational messages of resilience & sacrifice. The costs incurred to us as individuals was the cost of doing business, and we paid the price. Admittedly, I rallied to the cause. After all, the world was literally depending on us. Not just because the technology products Apple makes became even more critical during the pandemic-fueled metaoffice. But also because AAPL and its MAANG stock peers literally move markets. One misstep could bring a giant down, and the entire global economy with it… felt a bit like 2009 to me.
So I charged ahead, despite middle management’s near complete lack of empathy & leadership. Don’t get me wrong, the whip was cracking and the schedules were holding. We were shipping product and hitting pre-pandemic targets. But as an employee, if you slip… you’re done. Nothing was more resilient and steadfast as the schedules.
Schedules don’t slip. No matter what.
Global pandemic, widespread social unrest, historically destructive natural disasters, the attempted coup of American Democracy… this is fine.
Again, don’t get me wrong. I love Apple and I believe strongly in the mission & values of the company.
I just wish that management did too…
Minimum wage in Cupertino is $16.40/hr, which equates to $34k for a person working 40hr a week for 52wk a year. I dunno what a typical Apple engineer in Cupertino makes, but total compensation of $340k/yr seems reasonable. I don’t mean that paying someone 10x more than minimum wage is reasonable, I just mean that it seems like a reasonable estimate of the Silicon Valley pay scale. 10x may or may not be a reasonable delta between minimum wage & engineer salary, but it’s an important consideration. However, of arguably greater importance is the imbalance further up the scale.
This means that in the pandemic’s 2nd year, Tim Cook was paid ~285x a typical engineer at his company and ~2853x a minimum wage worker in Apple’s hometown.
I’m not sure what magical individual contributions Tim Cook made in 2021 and the years prior, but I know that it’s a joke to pretend that $34k/yr is enough to survive in Cupertino. And I know that it’s a sick lie to pretend like Apple’s “pay for performance” culture is legitimate or equitable.
You know, there have been many silver linings throughout the pandemic. The other day in the office on site, as Silicon Valley begins to emerge from its remote cocoon, a thought occurred to me.
I’d love to see the data revealing the number of instances of sexual assault in office vs remote. What did Trump say again? Grab them by the what? Turns out it’s hard to grab anyone by anything through a computer screen. Siri save us from perverts in the metaverse!
Anyway, might the sexual assault data from 2021 vs 2019 reveal a silver lining of the pandemic? Or might you call this a dirty little secret of the pre-pandemic corporate old boys club?
They didn’t do either.
This is important so please listen up - as the fabric of our society is stretched taut, the importance of our online social fabric has never been higher.
The role of technology is to be a magic wand for people, not a brick wall. No matter how pretty the bricks are, a cell is still a cell. And a cell phone has become somewhat of a cell as well.
People don’t care about iOS or macOS or iPadOS or watchOS or iPhone or PC or Mac or Apple Watch or android watch or android phone or Facebook phone or Fire tablet or iPad.
Tech Titans pay attention: Stop trying to steal peoples’ attention. Stop trying to trap them in your ecosystem.
Just make great products. That’s all.
You’ll make enough money in the process, trust me.
Conservative politics hijacked the Catholic Church. They literally exploited Jesus Christ.
Capitalist Greed has hijacked the Tech Industry. They’re literally exploiting everyone.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I am a person. You are a person.
I live on planet Earth. You live on planet Earth.
Let’s imagine that you’d like to communicate something to me directly, not publicly. Do you know me? Do I know you? Do you want to get to know me? Do you want to sell me something? Do you want to make sweet love to me? Do you want to teach me something? Do you want to learn something from me? Do you want to share something with me? Do you want to express something to me?
These are thoughts thought on sidewalks across planet Earth, as human beings pass in & out of each others’ peripheral vision.
These are thoughts thought in the metaverse across real & virtual time & space, as human beings pass in & out of each others’ virtual vision.
In hindsight, we’ll be shocked by the barriers historically established between human beings in the Age of the Internet. Sure, the ancient physical barriers had broken down. No longer did you have to get on a plane, board a train, make a “long-distance call,” write a letter, mail a photograph.
In the Age of the Internet, dangerous additions & crude malicious digital barriers grew the social divide between fellow human beings on planet Earth, while simultaneously connecting people like never before.
We grew smaller as a planet but drifted further apart as humans.
In the Age of the Internet, plenty of people still flew on airplanes, but trains had long since been supplanted by private automobiles spewing exhaust from fuel made of fossil juice. You could make a telephone call for free anywhere in the world, but few people did unless necessary. People still wrote letters, but they were sent electronically rather than through the post office. Photographs were captured and near instantaneously sent all over the world to millions of people simultaneously.
Yet, people in communities weren’t listening to each other as much. When they talked - really talked - it often quickly fractured into polarizing discussion and then devolved from there.
Things got ugly.
Let’s imagine that you wanted to communicate something to me directly, not publicly, using the Internet. Let’s say you didn’t know me, but we had some mutual acquaintances from school and at work. Let’s say you wanted to share something with me.
The answers to the following list of questions would be retrieved from your brain with either minimal or terrific effort, depending on various circumstances.
Do you have my email address? Do you have my phone number? Do you have an Apple device? Do I have an Apple device? Are you on Facebook? Am I on Facebook? Are we connected on Facebook? Are you on LinkedIn? Am I on LinkedIn? Are we connected on LinkedIn? Are you on Instagram? Am I on Instagram? Are we connected on Instagram? Have we previously emailed each other, iMessaged each other, or sent each other messages through Facebook or LinkedIn? If so, which one should you use? If LinkedIn, do you remember your login name? If not, do you remember which email address you used to set up the account? Do you remember your password? If not, can you reset your password through email verification? Did you turn on two-step verification? Do you know what two-step verification is? Do you know why you’re using two-step verification? Do you even remember who you were trying to contact? Do you remember what you wanted to share with them? Was it a photo, a link, a song, an app, a video, a thought? Are you as exhausted reading this as I am writing it?
Oh the things we tolerate when we don’t know any better.
There is a better way. I’m not saying that I’ve invented a better way or that I know what a better way is. I’m saying, with absolute confidence, that there is a better way.
We have to start by recognizing that there IS a problem and also that WE have a problem.
In fact, we have a great many problems. The role of technology is to solve these problems, not create new ones. We move society forward by moving people forward, not by holding people back.
We improve the world not by changing the world, but by making the world a better place.
And we make the world a better place not by destroying a planet and exploiting foreign & virtual ones.
We make the world a better place by first being human beings, and then being better than human beings. Rather than worse.
This article is the second of a 2-part series, paired with the first here.