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.

    …. After all, empowering three major Federal regulatory bodies dedicated to old media advertising practices seems like an awful lot of liberal overkill, n’est ce pas? What waste! And speaking of waste, honestly, if you want to “target” your audience, why bother with “media outlets” anyway?! Everyone knows that Wanamaker was right — in the offline world…

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

    … most of the attention, because they confirm an easy bias that all of tech is off the rails, and deserves to be taken down a notch. Such is the case with this piece in Time — painting all of Uber’s failures broadly as the Valley’s failures. And to a point, the piece is correct — but only to a point. While the entire Valley (and let’s face…

    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

    … injustice. It rose to prominence in the 1970s as a political reaction to the civil rights movement, and has been widely discredited as social policy. But, you guessed it, Trump wants to bring it back. Oh, and war. Remember that long, Cold one? Forty years ago, it was the most critical foreign policy issue of the day. By last year, it was all but over…

    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.

    … piloted by a fellow with a knee brace or an elderly grandmother, there were ten requisitioned for moving Big People around. For a spell, I sat on a bench with my daughter and watched them wheel by. I fell into reverie, thinking about how our policy choices have led to a predictable and avoidable epidemic, and how that epidemic mirrors many others…

    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- 22 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- 29 readers -
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