Essays

  • Amazon’s HQ2 Isn’t a Headquarters. So What Is It?

    … Crossposted from NewCo Shift. Everyone’s favorite parlor game is “where will Amazon go?” Better to ask: Why does Amazon needs a second headquarters in the first place? It’s the future! Rendering of Amazon’s new Seattle HQ. The first and original one. Why does Amazon want a new headquarters? Peruse the company’s RFP, and the company…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 13 readers -
  • This Is What Happens When Context Is Lost.

    … (Cross posted from NewCo Shift) Facebook and Google’s advertising infrastructure is one of humanity’s most marvelous creations. It’s also one of its most terrifying, because, in truth, pretty much no one really understands how it works. Not Mark Zuckerberg, not Larry Page, and certainly not Russian investigator Robert Mueller, although…

    John Battelle's Search Blogin Social- 15 readers -
  • Uber Does Not Equal The Valley

    … Now that the other shoe has dropped, and Uber’s CEO has been (somewhat) restrained, it’s time for the schadenfreude. Given Uber’s remarkable string of screwups and controversies, it’s coming in thick, in particular from the East coast. And while I believe Uber deserves the scrutiny — there are certainly critical lessons to be learned — the hot…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 22 readers -
  • Is Humanity Obsolete?

    … image Upon finishing Yuval Harari’s Homo Deus, I found an unwelcome kink in my otherwise comfortably adjusted frame of reference. It brought with it the slight nausea of a hangover, a lingering whiff of jet exhaust from a hard night, possibly involving rough psychedelics. I’m usually content with my (admittedly incomplete) understanding…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 16 readers -
  • Dear Facebook…Please Give Me Agency Over The Feed

    … (cross posted from NewCo Shift) Like you, I am on Facebook. In two ways, actually. There’s this public page, which Facebook gives to people who are “public figures.” My story of becoming a Facebook public figure is tortured (years ago, I went Facebook bankrupt after reaching my “friend” limit), but the end result is a place that feels a bit like…

    John Battelle's Search Blogin Social Facebook- 18 readers -
  • Please, Let’s Not Go There Again

    … to take power costs to zero, all while driving far more jobs than coal. Do we really want to go back? Well, Trump certainly does. WTF? The EPA was established in 1970, when our rivers were on fire and kids had to hide inside from killer smog attacks (I was one of them). Now, Trump’s EPA has repealed decades of regulations, and it’s run by a guy who…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 12 readers -
  • Pick Up the Phone and Call.

    … (cross posted from NewCo Shift) People in business who like to Get Shit Done fall in love with each version of The New. When I was a kid, new was the the Apple II. Then the IBM PC, digital phones and voice mail, the Mac — oh God, the Mac! — word processing, email, the cell phone, the Internet — mmmmm, the Internet! — and then the iPhone — oh…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 20 readers -
  • Bad Policy Makes Us Sick. Business Must Lead Us Back.

    … (Cross posted from NewCo Shift) Walking around Disneyland with my daughter the other night, I found myself face to face with one of our country’s most intractable taboos. (Disneyland is still awesome for me, as a kid from 1970s LA. Truly magical.) If you’re an observer of crowds, one of the more prominent features of the Disneyland crowd…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 16 readers -
  • The NewCo-BigCo Shift or, These Nine Things Will Change Business Forever

    … (cross posted from NewCo) Thanks to NewCo, I’ve gotten out of the Bay Area bubble and visited more than a dozen major cities across several continents in the past year. I’ve met with founders inside hundreds of mission-driven companies, in cities as diverse as Istanbul, Boulder, Cincinnati, and Mexico City. I’ve learned about the change these…

    John Battelle's Search Blog- 24 readers -
  • Transparency vs. Infotainment

    … In the world of startups, few topics have garnered as much buzz as transparency—the act of sharing previously private company information with the inquisitive public. You can now find dozens if not hundreds of companies sharing, well, nearly everything. It’s an exciting development. After all, does anyone want more secrecy from the businesses…

    Gregory Ciotti/ Sparring Mind- 21 readers -
  • 50 Must-Read Psychology Books

    … Reading is the supreme “lifehack” — distilled knowledge that often took years to assemble can be consumed in just a few hours. And the more you know about social psychology and human behavior, the better. At Help Scout we have learning stipend (here’s why) for our teammates so you can buy as many books as you need. You’re probably not surprised…

    Gregory Ciotti/ Sparring Mind- 27 readers -