Ever since Amazon’s country-wide fishing expedition, the question has drawn incredible vigor and debate. Even after the selection and their withdrawal from New York City however, the discussions seem to have died down but the answers are no closer. Those in favor argue for the long-term benefits, and worship it almost as a surefire way for economic growth. Those against are not much better— regarding any offer as a deal with the devil hellbent on gentrification and socioeconomic inequity.
To step away from the extremes of both ends, I want to restart the argument from ground-up. Or as the now turned-corporate-buzzword would be “from first principles.”
To start off, we need to make some basic assumptions on what the goals of the deal are. Though not exhaustive, I will think of them as:
Introduce a new stream of future tax revenue
Encourage the local/regional entrepreneurial and technological economy by employing locals to the new high paying tech jobs
Help transform the existing infrastructure towards a forward looking culture and system to make it more resilient and strong against future economic and technological/social shocks
The company investing in the area has such positive effects on points 2 and 3 that it brings in more companies that themselves have positive feedback effects for all points
Though it’s easy to quantify point 1 (as it is often the number thrown around within the arguments for the deals), it’s much harder to define or even make concrete goals for the others. I think it fair to say however, that the point of the latter three are to create an almost second Silicon Valley— as defined as a central tech hub associated with job and quality of life growth.
With the goals in place, let’s have a brief examination on possible outcomes. For simplicity’s sake, I have but two outcomes in mind: success and failure. Success means that the company takes the deal offered. Failure means they don’t.
The scene may be familiar to many of you. A chat in your family’s app of choice— LINE, WeChat, etc— is created to get everyone in one centralized communication channel. It was meant for logistics and updates. Was.
Now it’s full of clickbait links and the “um”s and “ah”s of audio messages. A 1254 notifications badge scares away any hope for a visit.
Why does it seem like there’s such a wide disparity in how chat apps are used? It seems like on one hand there are the young— with curt and succinct responses, punctuated by heavily contextual content like memes— and on the other, are the older— superfluous and verbose, preferring audio, and seeming to replicate real life conversation directly onto chat.
We know different users use services differently, but for something like communication— which is so basic and foundational to our species— how is it so reliably different? Is it just an issue of age?
It’s no secret that the giant minds of the world are thinking themselves silly over what to do about the future of employment. Will AI replace all humans in their jobs? Will new industries and services rise up to create new jobs uniquely manageable by humans only?
In recent news, Taylor Swift partnered with TicketMaster to introduce a new ticket-buying system that would help fans “beat the bots.” Instead of a standard queue as instituted for some events such as New York’s infamous Comic-Con however, the fan’s position in line could be advanced and authenticated through shows of “real fandom.”
Because the factors that would change the fan’s position in queue include things like posting about the event in social media, buying other Swift merchandise, and just about anything that would either give them more money or help them market. If it does help beat the bots, it’ll make people go back to the good old fashioned “beating other people.”
As an avid gamer, the news of GREE shuttering its international offices last week came as a shock. In a bit of snark schadenfreude, the news of their international titles not doing well wasn’t anything unexpected– I’ve played some of them before and seen their respective rankings in the App store. Yet what really caught my attention was the plan that their executives had mentioned going forward: “[to shift] to a “Japan-first content strategy” – the plan being to launch games in its home territory, then localise and distribute the most successful ones in other markets around the world.”