Help people, don't disrupt them
by Dave Winer Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This is a must-read piece for anyone who has bet heavy on the tech industry. Because it isn't long before the outrage will be directed at you. Or should I say us. 

I've been warning about this forever. Users eventually figure out that you're screwing them. The tech industry is built on the idea that they don't. Contradiction. You lose, eventually. So many times we've been around this loop, and every time the tech industry thinks it won't happen again. Yet it always does. 

Look at the ad-blocker revolt for a demo. Ads aren't a good business model because the users figured it out. Finally someone gave them the software they need to stop being slaves to your business model. You might argue that ads were never a good business model. As the ads get better you might as well just let people use search. 

People want commercial information. You don't have to force it on them.  (For example, I am now contact-lens-enabled, so I can wear sunglasses for the first time. What brand should I get? How do you pick one pair over another? I've tried to provide signals to the ad services, but they don't seem to get it. I use search instead.)

2008: Perfectly targeted advertising is just information.

So if Google wants to preserve their ad business they have to cripple search. Which they are doing! Long-term that won't work. Just give me a way to tell you what I want and show me how to get it. It's really simple. Unfortunately it isn't advertising, and you can't charge for it. Ooops. 

The smart money must be exiting tech now. The Trump phenomenon is a sell signal. Find a safe place to park your money. Only thing is there really aren't any safe place, because the disease has progressed so far that it's now trying to infect the US economy, it already has infected the political system. Not sure where you park your money that's safe.

Maybe the best thing to do is to start unilaterally giving the users more power over their own online presence. Stop trying to own everything. Because there's no way to win that game. Even if you win you lose.