Wednesday, March 20, 2013


And the latest entry in the Techies Ruin Everything genre comes from......The East Bay Express!  The East Bay Express, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Please hold your applause.

Their entry is called, for some reason, "The Bacon-Wrapped Economy."  Here's a sample:

And that brings with it a whole host of disparate side effects: The arts economy, already unstable, has been forced to contend with the twin challenges of changing tastes and new funding models. Entire industries that didn't exist ten years ago are either thriving on venture capital, or thriving on companies that are thriving on it. It is now possible to find a $6 bottle of Miller High Life, a $48 plate of fried chicken, or a $20 BLT in parts of the city that used to be known for their dive bars and taco stands. If, after all, money has always been a means of effecting the world we want to bring about, when a region is flooded with uncommonly rich and uncommonly young people, that world begins to look very different. And we're all living in it, whether we like it or not.

Yeah, I know, we've all read this article before.  Maybe even last week!  Anyway, it goes on in the usual vein for a while - People are throwing lavish parties! Newly rich kids aren't very smart about money! - without ever reaching any firm conclusions.  No biggie, there'll be many more of these to come.  MY PERSONAL FAVORITE PART was about TaskRabbit and those other services where you hire people to do things.  Specifically:

According to Molly Rabinowitz, a San Franciscan in her early twenties who briefly made a living doing this kind of work — though she declined to reveal which service she used — many tech companies give their employees a set amount of credit for these tasks a month or year, and that's in addition to the people using the services privately. "There's no way this would exist without tech," she said. "No way."

At one point, Rabinowitz was hired for several hours by a pair of young Googlers to launder and iron their clothes while they worked from home. ("It was ridiculous. They didn't want to iron anything, but they wanted everything, including their T-shirts, to be ironed.")

Well, yeah, Molly.  Maybe you missed the WHOLE FUCKING POINT.  The idea of these services, as I understand it (but which perhaps Molly is not clear on) is that you hire someone to perform a task that you don't want to do.  Shockingly, one of these tasks could be IRONING.  Perhaps Molly thought TaskRabbit paid you to drink coffee and lazily thumb through US Weekly? 

DISCLAIMERS: (1) I do not mean to suggest that there are no problems with the current tech boom; there most certainly are, but recycling the same article over and over isn't getting us any insight. (2) You should never iron your t-shirts.


GG said...

The sad thing is that I can remember when the EBX used to carry some really good feature/investigative reporting (Google, for instance, their stories on the death of Lookout Records or employment law violations at Cafe Gratitude). There are so many idiotic parts of this article that I won't begin to critique it, but for me the most obvious point was, where was the author, Ellen Cushing, back in 1999, when this exact same story was written the first 100 times? The answer, after looking at her bio picture, her listed status as "fresh to death," and her LinkedIn page that has her graduating from undergrad in 2010, is: She was apparently still barely out of the womb. So while that's an explanation, it's obviously not an excuse -- wasn't there ONE SINGLE ADULT at EBX willing to take her aside and tell her about how we went through this thing called "The Tech Bubble"? Explained what Webvan was? Showed her some video from the IPO party? Forced her to read at least 10 stories like this?

TK said...

It is hilarious to consider that the author of this article was maybe 11 years old when the Slate article you linked to came out. But yeah, that's the problem when you let 2010 grads write articles like this: no historical context. Her wide-eyed wonder was adorable, though.

GG said...

Best quote: "More young people have more money in a more concentrated place than perhaps ever before." Yes. EVER BEFORE.

Tamagosan said...

Everything old is new again, but my concern is that I guess I've never understood what a taco *stand* is. It's clearly not a taqueria, right? And it's most likely not a truck or a cart, because those are not standing, but rather rolling... Is it like an exhibitor booth at a trade show? A corndog seller at a county fair? Are there taco stands that used to be in the Mission that I don't remember? Admittedly, I'll be clueless about anything that went on there, taco-wise prior to the late-80s. HELP!

Stoney said...

Shaming journalists for beating this dead horse is a very worthy pursuit. Possibly even more so than your recycling poacher crusade.

Addie said...

I really just want someone to iron my t-shirts now.

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