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To succeed, Uber needs to stop hemorrhaging money

Uber is the poster child for all that is wrong with Silicon Valley culture. Broculture. Disdain for the law because the company believes itself so special. Most of all, it pretends it can become profitable by blowing through billions in venture capital funding without ever making a profit or even having a remote possibility for doing so. They get bonus points for spending money on hare-brained schemes, like flying cars, rather than focusing on their core business.

Tell me again why Travis Kalanick is such a great CEO, because that makes no sense to me. Uber is losing billions of dollars. His blundering arrogance has cost them huge amounts of business and the negative PR is, gasp, hurting the bizarre valuation of $70 billion for a private company that has never made money. Investors are getting twitchy that the whole thing could crater.

Really, why is a company that is losing billions valued at $70 billion? That is completely insane.

[Uber] has been losing money at a rate that some tech analysts say is faster than any technology company ever. It lost nearly $3 billions in 2016 (and another billion or two in China), and it has already lost $700 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Uber has become stuck in a pattern of using its venture capital funding to subsidize at least 50% of every ride in order to cut fares and try to gain a monopoly position that can drive the competition out of business. In short, Uber is charging too little for each passenger ride.

Russia interfered in the election. Ordered by Putin.

Those who say there is nothing to the Trump / Russia investigation, that Russia did not interfere in the election, now need to believe that Obama, multiple intelligence services, and multiple members of Congress of both parties are lying and that Donald Trump alone is telling the truth, even though by his actions Trump has rather clearly been obstructing justice. Which is mighty peculiar behavior for someone who claims innocence.

an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow.

How to blow up your company


1) Launch a startup that does something disrupty.
 
2) Boast about how you will smite the competition. Attempt to bulldoze them. Be astonished when they fight back, wallpapering you with lawsuits.
 
3) Raise billions of dollars and blow through it, losing money in a spectacular manner. You are disrupty and have no need to pay attention to outmoded concepts like making a profit.
 
4) Treat female employees as less than equals, sex toys for the dudebros.
 
5) Foster a corporate culture where top management prides itself on being belligerent assholes.
 
6) Lie constantly about most everything until no one can believe a word you say.
 
7) Be astonished when it all blows up in your face.

Political violence is a game the Right can’t win, says a rightie

David Hines, a committed member of the right, says political violence, fighting in the streets, is a game the right won’t win because the left are way better at organizing and because, essentially, the culture and media are more sympathetic to left views. Yes, there’s Fox News, however look at what Hollywood says and implies. It’s not a right wing viewpoint. Plus, I would add, the left, via masses of apparatchiks, has control on way more levers of power than the right.

If there’s one thing righties believe, it’s that they could beat lefties in a fight.

You see this attitude reflected over and over again, to the point that it’s probably something engrained in the right-wing psyche. Pajama Boy vs. tactical deathbeast? Pffft. No contest. Look, righties have the guns, righties have police and they have the military. If one day the balloon ever goes up, righties will just organize behind a leadership of their veterans, coordinate with the active service, give all the lefties free helicopter rides, and live happily ever after. Right?

That’s pretty much what the Confederacy thought about the Yankees, and it didn’t exactly work out well for them.

Unlike many on the right, Hines studies the left, says the tactics and strategy used by the left are smart, and finds laughable, as does anyone on the left, that Soros is secretly financing us. If only…

He is genuinely concerned, as am I, that we could spiral into serious violence. (Read his Storify for more on this.) Which would not be grand and glorious as we righteously smite the enemy. Instead it would be blood in the streets, injuries, trauma, death, and your side might lose so then you get tortured. Woo hoo. Sign me up. “Dig, the time is right for palace revolution, but where I live the game to play is compromise solution” said  the Stones in “Street Fighting Man”, and that’s still good advice.

Political violence isn’t fun for the whole family: it’s long, and it’s ugly, and everybody suffers. And nobody ever thinks this when they have a Great Cause, but maybe, just maybe, your Great Cause won’t win. And then what? “It couldn’t be worse” is the sort of thing Turkish coup plotters say right before their attempt fails and leaves their bete noire in undisputed charge of writing the purge lists.

I have spent time on the far left, helped organize sometime huge protests, and agree with what he says about the strengths of the left.

The organizational capacity required to build a new world is the same organizational capacity have Lefties built to pressure government. So who’s in a better position to shape the big moment when it comes? Hell, if tomorrow civilization goes completely Mad Max: who’s got existing local networks of people who they’re used to turning out and doing stuff with on a regular basis? Answer to both questions: not the Right.

The first thing righties have to understand about Lefties is that lefties have a lot more practice building their own institutions, and assuming control of existing institutions, than their counterparts on the right do, and they share their practical experience with each other.

The second thing to understand about Lefties is how they actually function. There’s a lot of independence involved. Righties like hierarchy, so often think of the Lefties as taking marching orders from George Soros or whoever in a very hierarchical fashion. Not so much. A lot of left-wing organization is very decentralized, and they negotiate with other lefty groups as to exactly how they’ll do things and time things to not hurt each others’ work.

Lefties are excellent at protests, not because they pay seat-fillers, but because they’ve professionalized organizing them, as you’ll discover if you read any of their books. The protesters aren’t paid. The organizers are paid. The people who train the organizers and protesters are paid.

Alphabet soup of Marxist parties snoozes away

The alphabet soup of little Marxist parties in the US have been preaching for years, sometimes decades, that the vanguard needs to seize the opportunity if and when something triggers the masses into political action. Organize on that issue, then move onto to organizing on bigger issues.

 You would think the alphabet soup would be overjoyed with the Trump / Russia investigation. It’s splitting the ruling class. People from across the political spectrum are resisting Trump. Corruption and blind self-interest is exposed for all to see. The whole world is watching.
 
But instead of jumping in, helping to dump Trump, then organizing on bigger issues like systemic corruption and healthcare for all, these Marxist revolutionaries are studiously ignoring the whole thing. Go figure.