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Travis Shrugged: The creepy, dangerous ideology behind Silicon Valley’s Cult of Disruption | PandoDaily

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Libertarian, Best PandaWhale Posts, Culture, Airbnb, @sarahcuda, Values, politics, startup, Uber, Ayn Rand, Morals

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And there’s the rub. Given their Randian origins, we kid ourselves if we think most Disruptive businesses are fighting government bureaucracy to bring us a better deal. A Disruptive company might very well succeed in exposing government crooks lining their pockets exploiting outdated laws, but that’s only so the Disruptor can line his own pockets through the absence of those same laws. A Disruptive company may give you free candy in your 50-dollar cab but, again, that’s only because doing so is good business. If poisoning that same candy suddenly becomes better business (like encouraging New York cab drivers to be distracted by their phones, or putting vulnerable people at risk of attack is better business)… well maybe that’s an option worth exploring too. After all, food safety legislation is just another attempt by the government to drive Disruptive businesses off the road.

"Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how that other poster child for disruption, Airbnb, reacted when the first (of several) homeowners had her house trashed by renters. The victim’s complaints were ignored for a full 14 hours, in line with Airbnb’s “use our service at your own risk” policy. Only when investors started getting cold feet about a cacophony of negative press did the company finally offer any assistance or compensation.

Luckily for the homeowner, Airbnb’s investors were not Rand followers, nor thankfully are all of Kalanick’s backers. And yet… we may ultimately look back on these days with misty eyes. If the current crop of Disruptive entrepreneurs continues to grow rich — Kalanick already invests up to $1 million per year in startups — the next generation of Disruption will likely by founded by Randroids, funded by other Randroids. (May John Galt have mercy on our souls.)"


A final word on hypocrisy: specifically my own. I am an Uber user. Not of UberTaxi, but of their town cars, which on my visits to San Francisco are frequently more reliable than the city’s godawful taxicabs. My self-justification for continuing to do so would make Rand grin in her grave: I’m not directly hurting anyone by using the service, nor will I protect anyone by making my life harder. It’s not like Travis Kalanick will alter his behaviour one jot as a result of my one-man boycott.

But none of that is an excuse. Ayn Rand once wrote on altruism that “the issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence.” No, it isn’t the first mortgage, but it is one of them.

I’ve written before that to be truly disruptive (small ‘d’) the startups must have a moral dimension, even when that jars with the pursuit of profit. It’s just hypocritical for me to argue that one one hand while sidestepping those same ethical choices myself. And so, as of about ten minutes ago, the Uber app has taken its place in the dustbin of services I’ll just have to live without, at least while the company’s founder continues to celebrate the ugliest face of capitalism.

My decision might not affect Travis Kalanick’s sleep one jot, but it’ll sure as hell will do wonders for mine."

Paul Carr is right.

A startup is a CULTURE that has values and a moral code.

We measure ourselves not just by financial impact but by how we make the world better.

We are what we measure.

It is hard to measure culture, values, and moral code.

Three words: Politics of FEAR -

Every time something, somewhere, somehow happens, the reason is the shortage of government bureaucracy, which needs to have a long, meaningless ans expensive process to put their rubber stamp on any human activity.

I'm sick and tired of these 'legal' cab companies, who tell you they don't take credit cards for $50 ride, who will bring you a cab with some advertisement video's spinning around or the cab driver, who has no idea how to find directions in the city.

God bless AirBnB, Uber and other teams, who find courage to disrupt.

I so hope, healthcare is coming next, because every time I visit a hospital, I get a phone call from 1950s.

I think his point is that NYC was not necessarily against innovation; however, they were on contract to Feb 2013.

I think his central premise is this: the folks innovating may say they are doing it to change the world, but they are profit-motivated. The government, however inefficient, exists to serve the people and have other things to consider than simply "disruption," or innovation.

Also, being designed to be resistant to change can be a good thing; I certainly wouldn't want to attend a university, or a public hospital where the business was up and down, bought and sold, started and failed as quickly as the average startup.

Would you?

There is nothing wrong with being profit-motivated. Yes, they are. Well proven strategy for people motivated by profit is to act in high integrity manner and build long standing business. Building business only on greed never helped building significant wealth.

The government might say it exist to serve the people, in reality easily manipulated by the people, who want it to serve them. Most of the regulations are driven by businesses themselves to protect their business interests. This actually creates the dinosaurs, which are too big to fail. Big pharma, Big oil, big food, wall street... It's all the results of businesses regulating themselves using the government as a pupet masters.

Yes, I'm looking forward for some serious disruptions in healthcare and education.

It's fine to be profit-motivated but the best companies do well BY doing good.

And in an honest way; unless you are an oil company.

Why not oil companies?

How many of these top 53 companies do we believe does business in an honest way that is beneficial to their employees, shareholders, and to society?

Unfair to Uber, Kalanick... and Rand!

It's not that 'disruption' has changed to mean bending the law... it's just that in some categories, where the incumbents and the law have become an unholy alliance, confronting outdated legal restrictions may be part of disruption.

And, given the incredible conservatism (in the sense of resistance to change) of policymakers, and the political power of incumbents, sometimes you have to stretch interpretations of the law in your favor. (The incumbents are already stretching it in the other direction.) And show the desirability of change by *demonstrating* it, because even the best explanation and theory alone can't undo bad governance/cartel habits.

Anyone can trot out the supposed rationales -- public safety! protecting the vulnerable! -- for the old regime, but novel activities should be judged on their actual risks in the modern environment, not the decades-ago fears. It's not just that "the market will quickly move to drive out bad actors" but that new technology makes many of the old worries obsolete. Every driver and rider is deeply identified and GPS-tracked. They have sticky reputations instantly updated and available.

It's a *stronger* system of regulation that traditional licensing, *especially* against threats like the 11-assaults-per-month-by-unlicensed-London-cabbies that Carr trots out. Those assaults are happening *because* the traditional system sucks at enforcement, tracking, *and* providing an adequate supply. That causes riders to risk taking anonymous cabs... or equivalently, helpless to identify the risky cabs.

With an Uber-like system, bad actors can't get assigned riders. Rider and driver can visually-authenticate each other via photos from their trusted devices -- much stronger than the 'memeographed license taped to the window' system in legacy cabs. And more info is retained to resolve disputes after the fact.

The malfunctioning legacy system bears responsibility for those assaults, and the cash thefts, and the underserved customers, and the overcharged tourists -- issues that have existed for decades before Uber arrived and will all be *less prevalent* under an Uber-like mobile-dispatched-and-paid system.

Apply all regulation and enforcement based on actual harms when they're shown, not old theories-of-harm and the protection of anachronistic privileges.

In fact, if someone actually read Ayn Rand, she was bashing the government-business hydra more than 'moochers and looters'. The whole idea that such basic service as driving people for a fee requires a taxi medallions, which cost upwards of $1mln. is mind blowing.

Many people capable of providing basic services are required to file paperwork, which is above their head.

It's getting harder to comply than do the work itself.

Is the government working for us or we are for the government?

What's the alternative to regulations?

Well, not all regulations are bad. It's just regulations need to be disconnected from the business interests and the government should be more agile in changing regulations. The government has to be completely transparent and clean of special interests. Unfortunately, corporations are people in this country, so government here is a disruption buffer, not a maker of policy for the people.

When I hear a politician, who says their job is to create jobs or protect jobs, it immediately smells like papermaster is around.

Sergey, I agree that it's weird that politicians like to talk about how they create jobs.

how did i miss this PW long ago?

Some days stories fly by on PandaWhale quickly.

Luckily the recommendation engine resurrects old pages regularly.

That's part of what makes PandaWhale brilliant.

one of many things

Aw. Jared I'm blushing!

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