What Could Twitter Be?

All of the revelations about government directed shadow banning on Twitter of conservatives and other opponents of various government policies is very interesting and may help to convince some few remaining idiots who haven’t already seen what’s perfectly obvious to most people of normal intelligence.  But I don’t see that it will accomplish any practical result.

But what would be really useful is if Musk decides that providing a legitimate commercial platform for non-Leftists is a profitable business model.  Of course, this is a question that hasn’t been answered.  Now, Jeff Bezos was eventually able to make Amazon very profitable.  But he had the advantage that he was able for many years to provide his customers with a product line that avoided all state sales tax.  And Google was able to capitalize on government contracts to fund their capture of the worldwide advertising market.

But what’s left for Musk to capture?  Twitter is a political gossip column and little else.  If kept in its current form it’s really not good for much.  So, what was Musk thinking when he spent $44 billion for it?

For that kind of investment, he must be looking at something enormous.  My guess is that he’s looking at some kind of integrated on-line service platform.  The question is how he plans to steal a march on his competitors.  So, if you are eying the revenues that Apple, Google, Facebook, PayPal and Amazon have, how do you steal away some of them?

His first step was easy.  Fire the worthless two thirds of your employees that spend their time in yoga and meditation rooms and demand results from the remaining people.  Right there he’s practically made the company profitable.  But after that he needs to find the future of digital enterprise.

And it’s not going to be something idiotic like Zuckerberg’s ridiculous metaverse.  Thinking the world is going to be revolutionized by everybody walking around wearing VR headsets is close to moronic.  It’s going to be something that uses artificial intelligence for something more than advertising.  Currently Silicon Valley has just been shilling for the woke powers that be who are looking to eliminate the great unwashed (meaning us).

A way to utilize artificial intelligence in a profitable and useful way is to provide those who are currently being ostracized and silenced with a platform to organize and accomplish useful things.  And not just political organizing.  In fact, the cultural and commercial aspects are even more important and desperately needed.

In fact, what Musk could make the most money on is streaming entertainment.  There is such a drought of enjoyable content that he could get his whole $44 Billion back on that alone.  When was the last time there was anything actually funny put out on television or in the movies?  Other than Dave Chapelle everyone is so afraid of offending someone by saying something actually funny that they’re reduced to just insulting straight white men, the only allowable target for abuse.

And there are many other forbidden enterprises that Musk and his partners can get involved with.  Being one of the original creators of PayPal makes it certain that he could add financial functions to his platform.  It could include payment processing, crowd funding, and even normal banking services.  Grateful customers would be more than happy to throw their other on-line business his way.  He just has to make it simple to get started.

He could steal a page from Amazon and get into self-publishing.  He could build a better smart phone.  I’ve heard he’s even considering starting his own news network.  There are all kinds of opportunities.  He could even become a site host for all the folks who’ve been de-platformed.

And these are just the things that occur to a regular guy like me.  Surely super-genius Elon Musk can produce ideas that are a thousand times better and more lucrative.  So come on, Elon get cracking, we’re getting tired of waiting.

Welcome to the Hotel California

 

So I’ve returned from the dead.  And it was a transcendental experience.  Like one of those California, peyote fueled spirit journeys that most of the Eagles indulged in back in the 1970s I faced my demons and have come back with enlightenment.  Or at least, I’m five pounds lighter from profuse sweating.

Yes, I have new insights.  For instance, I’ve discovered that every third news story involves Elon Musk, Twitter and Hunter Biden.  And what I realize is that none of this stuff will move the needle at all.  Now sure, Elon Musk can do a lot of good if he turns Twitter into a meaningful business.  And the first thing he should do is come up with a better name.  Twitter just sounds hopelessly lame.  Musk is a tech guy who makes rocket ships.  He should rename it “Atom Smasher” or “This Island Earth” or something cool like that.  But whatever.  The main thing is he needs to make this expensive toy a money maker and a business opportunity that does something useful.  Telling me about past management shilling for the Democrats is fine but it’s old news.

And all the rest of the news is the Republicans reporting on how hated Joe Biden is and the Democrats reporting on how beloved Joe Biden is.  Not exactly must see tv.  There was a little bit of news coming out of Florida.  DeSantis continues to telegraph his legislative and administrative actions.  And that makes him sound more and more like a 2024 candidate.  And that is problematic.

Hopefully DeSantis is smart enough to recognize that the GOP establishment is setting him up to be the Trump-killer.  And hopefully he realizes that attempting to fulfill that role will make him radioactive to at least twenty percent of the Republican electorate.  That is not a good look for him.  A better idea would be to have a sit down with Trump and thrash out a path forward for both of them.  That’s what grownups would do.  And DeSantis would have to swallow a lot of pride because Trump has already attacked him pretty hard in the last month or so.  Let’s face it Trump is one of the prickliest personalities in the world.  He needs a press secretary whose job should be to prevent him from saying anything about people who could do him some good.

But there’s no way around it.  Unless Trump is imprisoned by the Justice Department, he will be the 2024 Republican candidate for president.  And DeSantis is a very young man.  He’s doing extraordinary work in Florida.  Some might say being the governor of Florida is more powerful that being a Republican president of the United States.  He can continue to make Florida the envy of the nation.  And honestly, being Trump’s running mate would be a much, much better idea.  Since it seems that the Democrats have managed to game the Electoral College permanently there’s not much upside to going to war with Trump to possibly get the nomination but certainly alienate the Trump voters and lose in the general election.

So yes, I’m back and I’m surrounded by boring and stupid stuff as far as the eye can see.  By tomorrow I should be energized back to 75%.  And I’ll be able to opine on some of this dreck.  Today, this is what I could do.  Enjoy your weekend.

Elon and the Deplorables

Elon Musk has jumped into the middle of the culture war with both feet you could say.  He’s spent fifty-five billion dollars buying a company that the Left thinks must belong to them and that has ticked off the powers that be.  He’s refused to disenfranchise the various deniers; COVID, climate, election, you name it.  He’s even pardoned Donald Trump.  And now he’s unbanned everyone who hasn’t broken the law getting kicked off.  He’s a heretic and must be punished!

Essentially, he’s embraced the deplorables.  Why?  I have a theory.

I think Elon Musk sees an opportunity.  The cultural divide in the United States is a powerful force.  And power, if harnessed correctly is one of the most valuable commodities there is.  The endless conflict between the Left and Right on Twitter is far from a useful activity.  Nevertheless, it is an energetic process.  It doesn’t produce much light but it does produce heat.  And heat is a kind of energy.  And it attracts attention and in some ways that was the main product that Twitter sold during the Trump presidency.  Even with the biased treatment of the two political sides there was an active interest in the antics on Twitter.

And yet Twitter never made any money.  And as the field of battle on Twitter became more and more tilted against the Right it lost more and more money.  I think Elon realized that Twitter was run by very stupid people that had no clue how to harness the tool they’d been given by the government.  After all, the big tech companies exist because the intelligence agencies subsidize their operation in order to use their data feeds as surveillance resources.

I think he realized that if someone smart were running things a profit could be extracted from the operation.  And I’m only guessing, but I suspect he would like to use the outsider status of the deplorables as a marketing mechanism.  Here is an enormous pool of people who have been demonized, mocked and whose purchase preferences have been the target of a campaign of eradication.  Think about it.  Hollywood, television and the major corporations have outlawed anything that doesn’t wholeheartedly embrace and display the woke message.  Old movies and shows have to be remade just to insert abnormal sexual lifestyles and minority characters.  In fact, Hollywood has an actual quota system for actors and production crew.  Straight white men need not apply.

Suppose Elon has decided that this large unappreciated market that is just sitting, waiting for someone to embrace it could make him a lot of money.  Wouldn’t he be the obvious person to take advantage?  And the beauty of it is he doesn’t even have to lose the other part of the market.  He doesn’t have to reject the woke.  All he needs to do is provide an option for each side.

Door Number One could be the present woke system.  It would have all the rainbow and BLM flags flying in the breeze.  There would be trans this, trans that and trans the other thing as far as the eye could see.  Basically, he just links to Disney and Amazon.  But to take advantage of the other half of the world it would require Door Number Two.

It could be a tiny button with a huge warning label that cautioned the general public that down this path are forbidden things.  Books and movies where the cowboys are the good guys and Thomas Jefferson isn’t a monster.  There would be historical dramas about Rome and Greece, Tudor England and the Age of Exploration, where all the actors were (gasp!) white.  It would have an explicit bias toward normalcy and it would be unabashedly proud of the western tradition.  Even Christopher Columbus would still have a place of honor.  Every boy meets girl plot line would feature a real boy and a real girl.  Oh, the horror.  Someone alert GLAAD.

So, Elon Musk is positioned to take advantage of almost half the population looking for someone to sponsor them and sell them things that somehow are now forbidden.  He could be the Jeff Bezos of the Right. His Lord of the Rings series wouldn’t have to have trans-hobbits and boss-girl Galadriel.  He could just follow the books.  His payment system could be PayPal or it could be his own.  And it could be a bank and a crowd funding platform too.  As he’s said he could have his own cell-phone company too.  None of this stuff is rocket science and he is a rocket scientist!  All these things could be packaged to people who currently feel left out by the woke business world.  All he has to do is take our money and get richer.

So, think about it Elon.  Currently you’re losing a billion dollars a year catering to woke snowflakes who spend all their time complaining about their feelings and are too cheap to pay eight dollars a month to be certified on your website that they spend all their time on.  Or you can sell things to people who like to pay cash, believe two plus two equals four, can tell the difference between a man and a woman and only ask for the minimum of respect.  It’s a pretty easy choice.

Twitter Becomes the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club. Good!

I think this is highly significant.  As a veteran of tech startups I think Elon Musk has discovered why these companies end up as bloated SJW-infested day care centers.  Women.

Nerds are socially inept with women.  When nerds who found successful companies introduce women into their workplaces they soon allow themselves to be manipulated into handing over control to these parasites.  Maybe this will be the beginning of a wave of change in Silicon Valley; social media platforms that provide an actual service that people will be willing to pay a few bucks for as opposed to crappy sites that spy on you for the feds, regulate what you say and provide no meaningful social interaction.

Bring on the Geniuses.  Bring on the Future.

Today I had to get in the asset statement for my business.  The government gets to tax the assets of a business.  Now if your business is selling books and photographs what are the assets of that business?  I would have said my brilliant mind.  There was no column on the form for that.  So, I put down the computer I type the words out on and the camera and lenses that I take the pictures with.

When I brought in the form the town official who looked it over asked me how much the desk and chair cost that I sit at and on.  She had me there.  Those things are so old that I really didn’t know how much they cost.  And by now the depreciation must have whittled them down to pennies.  So, we settled on a guestimate.

The fact that I’d waited until the last day is a feature of my psychology.  It’s one of the reasons I have been acclaimed as possibly the laziest man who ever lived.  It is also true that it sometimes makes my life rather difficult.  But having accomplished the task it renders me almost euphoric for having overcome the unimaginable gravity of sloth.

Here we are only a week out from the election.  I think the pundits and readers are almost beyond caring.  Fetterman, Oz?  Warnock, Walker?  Mastro, Laxalt?  Who are these strange people haunting our waking hours and promising to be able to solve all our problems?  To be fair, if the three Republicans listed are elected then suddenly Creepy Uncle Joe won’t be able to inflict anymore horrible judges on us.  We won’t have to pay even more trillions of dollars to Democrat friends selling windmills and solar panels.  So, I guess there is some reason to play this game.  But it does seem like a carnival act we’re exposed to every two years.

I just wish we had our own party and didn’t have to depend on Mitch McConnell and the other clowns like Mitt Romney that parade around and sell us out for graft and power.  But I guess we know that over time the next party will fill with rats just like the old one.  But even if we don’t replace the party, we should have a “sub-party” that allows just the normal people to get together and thrash out our thoughts on what needs to be done and decide who we want and don’t want to represent us.  And now that Elon Musk paid 44 billion dollars to liberate Twitter maybe he’ll be smart enough to build it into something that organizers can use to communicate with those people.

I mean if this social media is supposed to be good for anything it’s to allow tech geniuses to figure out what people want to buy and then put it in front of them to buy with the click of a mouse.  So come on Elon.  Sit down with your old PayPal buddy Peter Thiel and build an app that let’s non-progressives build a virtual town square where they can decide what they want in the real world and then make it happen.

I’m pretty sure we’d all pay five bucks a month for Twitter if it had some of the features of LinkedIn and Facebook.  Maybe it could have a movie feature like Netflix where premium entertainment could be ala carte.

And when you get around to it add our own PayPal and GoFundMe and while you’re at it our own Amazon.  We don’t care if you cheat us just a little just as long as we don’t have to hear the word “your pronouns” ever again.

The Metaverse?  Really?

I read today that Meta (Facebook) is tanking on Wall Street because the Metaverse (Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a virtual reality existence for his customers on the internet) is meaningless nonsense that nobody would waste his time on.  So untold billions of dollars of corporate value has evaporated as supposedly one of the most valuable corporations in the world had thousands of highly paid computer scientists playing around with Oculus 3D headsets and video games.

I don’t know about anyone else but I have to wonder whether these geniuses maybe aren’t really all that bright.  I’ve always suspected that the federal government has used its seemingly inexhaustible supply of fake money to make Amazon, Google and Facebook horribly rich monopolies in exchange for the data that they mine from us.  Amazon was allowed to drive their brick-and-mortar competition out of business and Google strangled newspapers, television and every other advertising outlet.  And Facebook was allowed to get a piece of that action, as was, to a much smaller extent, Twitter.  But I think in the back of his mind Zuckerberg has always thought that eventually the jig would be up.  Google takes care of all the ads.  What is Facebook for?

So, he tried to answer that question by imagining a new world that was so flashy and fun that everyone would be glad to waste all their time just being CGI versions of themselves and flying around.  The only thing is it turns out it’s really just boring and ridiculous.  Who wants to sit around all day with a 3D headset on doing basically nothing?

Maybe the good news about all this is people are starting to wake up to the limits of living on-line.  What is accomplished by staring through a headset for hours at a time.  Is anything being produced?  Is anyone benefited?

It’s probably time for on-line companies to concentrate on a subscription model for services that people actually want.  Amazon at least sells stuff and ships it to you very quickly.  What does Facebook do besides spy on you?  Really, not very much.  At least when they weren’t suspending and banning conservatives, they had some rationale for saying they were a social networking medium.  Now they’re some kind of nanny state surveillance bureau to stop normal people from communicating with each other.

So, I’m interested to see what Elon Musk starts doing with his new domain after tomorrow.  Right now, Twitter is even more pathetic than Facebook.  But at least it knows it.  It doesn’t make enough ad money to show a profit and mostly it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone actually there watching.  Although it’s hard to tell because anyone I’d be interested in is shadow-banned by definition.

I’m hoping Musk starts out by unbanning everyone and eliminating the algorithmic bias against normal people.  Just starting with that might cause some interesting things to happen.  It might not make any people on our side suddenly stars but it might turn off the spotlight that currently shines on the Left.  I’d enjoy that.

But long term we might find out whether someone smart could make money running a town square for real and without a big government subsidy to pay the bills.  Somehow, I’m still hopeful that the idea of on-line communities can have some value.  Maybe all that’s needed is an honest broker allowing likeminded folks to form communities that can benefit each other.    Or maybe that’s a mirage and only government money keeps these things like YouTube afloat.  But it’s time to find out.

One thing I know for sure is that the Metaverse as Mark Zuckerberg imagines it, as some kind of free floating Holo-deck on the cheap isn’t an actual thing that millions of people will pay to inhabit.  And the idea that people will pay money to purchase virtual land in this absurd dreamscape is beyond ludicrous.  To me this exposes the juvenile sensibilities of the people running these companies.  The industry is deeply in need of adult supervision.  Maybe Musk will show himself to be in that category.

Twitter Cries Out!

Supposedly Elon Musk is going to buy Twitter on Friday.  I don’t know if he is.  Things seem to go back and forth on the sale so often it’s hard to say for sure.  But I was interested in an article that quoted an open letter that some Twitter employees have released.  It addresses a rumor that Musk is going to lay off 75% of the employees of the company.

Now that caught my attention.  What a marvelous idea!  Reducing Twitter’s payroll to two thousand employees sounded like a brilliant way to focus the attention of those remaining employees on doing their jobs instead of practicing social justice.

But apparently not everyone views this situation the same.  The employees who wrote this open letter to Musk are not as thrilled as I am.  Here are some excerpts:

We, the undersigned Twitter workers, believe the public conversation is in jeopardy.

Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation. A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation…….

We demand of current and future leadership:

Respect: We demand leadership to respect the platform and the workers who maintain it by committing to preserving the current headcount.

Safety: We demand that leadership does not discriminate against workers on the basis of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. We also demand safety for workers on visas, who will be forced to leave the country they work in if they are laid off.

Protection: We demand Elon Musk explicitly commit to preserve our benefits, those both listed in the merger agreement and not (e.g. remote work). We demand leadership to establish and ensure fair severance policies for all workers before and after any change in ownership.

Dignity: We demand transparent, prompt and thoughtful communication around our working conditions. We demand to be treated with dignity, and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires.

You know, that’s a lot of demanding going on there.  I have to assume they are speaking from a position of great strength.  Otherwise, it might seem that they are painting bullseyes on their backs with respect to the new boss firing them.

Now the interesting thing is that they released this letter but refuse to release the identity of the signatories until some critical mass is reached.  My guess is that will be never.

So, what will Musk do?  Well, I can’t tell the richest man on Earth what to do.  But if I could I’d tell him to change it to 80%.  I’m on Twitter and as far as I can tell the algorithms are so rigged in favor of the wokesters that getting rid of almost everybody working there would be an enormous improvement.

I think the real challenge is to find the real bottom number for employment there.  After all isn’t the whole point of automation and artificial intelligence that you leverage machines to do the work.  Maybe the real number is one thousand or a hundred or even fifty.  I think that’s where Elon should invest his time.  He should figure out just how small a company is needed to run Twitter and that may tell him whether the whole thing even makes sense at all.  Maybe he needs to change the “business model” for Twitter altogether and build in something more useful than just a message board for random humans.

And I think that’s what he intends to do.  My guess is he thinks he can do better than Meta, YouTube and even Amazon.  Maybe we’re about to find out if he’s right.

04MAY2022 – OCF Update – A Week on Twitter

So I’ve been “tweeting” for about a week now.  I think I begin to get the attraction.  I think it’s the ease of putting an idea in front of a large audience very quickly and easily.  And also the speed with which you can see results.  Seconds after I put up a photo it’s been clicked on.  The downside is that there’s so rarely much feedback.

Another facet of the experience is seeing people you know or you’ve heard of putting up their thoughts.  Maybe you even interact with one of these well-known characters.  There is an attraction to that.

So the experiment continues.  Elon Musk hasn’t invited me over to share my thoughts on improving Twitter yet but I’m sure he will in a day or so.