I kinda hate the internet

My business partner and I were talking a while back about the internet. We’ve been working together now since 1999 in 3 or 4 different web startups. We’ve been really successful together. Grown huge teams. Made decent money and had lots of fun. And it was all based on building things for the web. So it was a big deal when he admitted to me that he sorta hates technology these days. And it was a relief because I got to express my true feelings out loud for the first time.The internet sucks.Here is a very partial list of some of the most hate-worthy aspects of the web:Trolls and cyberbullying.Fake news.Ads everywhereMobile apps that take up 50 minutes of the day.Remote/constant work.All of the killer apps that the internet has made possible seemed great at first, didn’t they? I can listen to any song I want for free on any number of apps. It’s amazing… except that I miss holding an album cover in my hands and hearing the crackle of a needle on vinyl. I can binge watch entire seasons of a million TV shows or stream one of a billion highly mediocre movies for a low monthly fee. But I really miss finding great movies at a locally owned video store. We had some great ones around here and most are gone. And frankly, binge watching isn’t a good use of the short time we have on this planet.  I miss letters and postcards. I miss newspapers. I miss reading real books. (I know I sound like an old curmudgeon).I miss going to shopping malls. Nope, I don’t miss that at all. Especially given that before the internet I couldn’t even find size 14 shoes so I just jammed my feet into 13’s. And that’s the thing, I’m sure anybody reading this is thinking of all kinds of amazing things that they love about the internet. I get it. But I hate what this thing has become. I hate the internet giants that are running the networks these days. Companies like Comcast and Verizon and AT&T.We’re huge advocates of the open web, but even with the open web, people willingly hand over so much of their private information, time, and well being to the internet giants like Google and Facebook. These are advertising companies that can afford to build useful technology by getting you to spend too much and save too little. And now people are installing them in their homes. Hey, I know these guys are recording my conversations and using it to sell me useless crap, but I can just ask Alexa what the weather is going to be tomorrow and it responds. Let’s take a broader perspective on these things people. Technology IS change by definition, but not ALL change is for the better… even when it does offer some niceties.I’m nostalgic for the early days of the internet. When you could find information quickly, but without somebody watching over everything you searched and read. When you could communicate with people, but without somebody listening. I’m nostalgic for the days when the internet didn’t suck.

I kinda hate the internet

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My business partner and I were talking a while back about the internet. We’ve been working together now since 1999 in 3 or 4 different web startups. We’ve been really successful together. Grown huge teams. Made decent money and had lots of fun. And it was all based on building things for the web. So it was a big deal when he admitted to me that he sorta hates technology these days. And it was a relief because I got to express my true feelings out loud for the first time.

The internet sucks.

Here is a very partial list of some of the most hate-worthy aspects of the web:

Trolls and cyberbullying.

Fake news.

Ads everywhere

Mobile apps that take up 50 minutes of the day.

Remote/constant work.

All of the killer apps that the internet has made possible seemed great at first, didn’t they? I can listen to any song I want for free on any number of apps. It’s amazing… except that I miss holding an album cover in my hands and hearing the crackle of a needle on vinyl. I can binge watch entire seasons of a million TV shows or stream one of a billion highly mediocre movies for a low monthly fee. But I really miss finding great movies at a locally owned video store. We had some great ones around here and most are gone. And frankly, binge watching isn’t a good use of the short time we have on this planet.  

I miss letters and postcards. I miss newspapers. I miss reading real books. (I know I sound like an old curmudgeon).

I miss going to shopping malls. Nope, I don’t miss that at all. Especially given that before the internet I couldn’t even find size 14 shoes so I just jammed my feet into 13’s. And that’s the thing, I’m sure anybody reading this is thinking of all kinds of amazing things that they love about the internet. I get it. But I hate what this thing has become. I hate the internet giants that are running the networks these days. Companies like Comcast and Verizon and AT&T.

We’re huge advocates of the open web, but even with the open web, people willingly hand over so much of their private information, time, and well being to the internet giants like Google and Facebook. These are advertising companies that can afford to build useful technology by getting you to spend too much and save too little. And now people are installing them in their homes. Hey, I know these guys are recording my conversations and using it to sell me useless crap, but I can just ask Alexa what the weather is going to be tomorrow and it responds. Let’s take a broader perspective on these things people. Technology IS change by definition, but not ALL change is for the better… even when it does offer some niceties.

I’m nostalgic for the early days of the internet. When you could find information quickly, but without somebody watching over everything you searched and read. When you could communicate with people, but without somebody listening. I’m nostalgic for the days when the internet didn’t suck.