So, there is a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon on Nickelodeon. I checked it out a few nights ago with my kids, curious to see how well it is done. I’m happy to report it is done quite well, and in fact I don’t see any drop off from the cartoon from the 1990s.
Better than that, my daughter (6 years old) was so into it, that she has already created fan art, which I provide below.
I just discovered Adventure Time. I know, I’m a bad nerd. The important thing, though, is that I did discovered it.
I’ve watched two episodes now (or is it four, as there seems to be two episodes per half hour). The first episode I saw featured the Party Bears, which was awesome in its own right.
In "Belly of the Beast," they make a new "party cave" inside the stomach of a Giant under the leadership of their chief Party Pat, not realizing where they were or the danger they were in. Though they weren’t in immediate danger of being digested by the Giant, they were hurting it with the fireworks they fired off in its stomach. The pained Giant tried more and more extreme means of stopping the pain, going so far as to drink molten lava to drive the bears out. Finn and Jake were forced to go in and try to stop the partying. Finally, after being lead out of the Giant’s digestive tract, the bears and the Giant made amends under the condition of using red laser pointers for partying instead of fireworks. The bears are known to make their own beverage, honey energy drink.
After that episode, I’d have said my favorite character was Party Pat. The dude cracked me up.
After last night’s episode I have a favorite character: Marceline (the Vampire Queen (full name: Marceline Abadeer) is one of the main characters in Adventure Time and a vampire that is over a millennium old). I loved the story of her history with the Ice King and . But what I really dug was this song they sang together in an older episode. Check out some of the lyrics and video below. That first line is great.
Marceline, is it just you and me in the wreckage of the world?
That must be so confusing for a little girl.
And I know you’re going to need me here with you.
But I’m losing myself, and I’m afraid you’re going to lose me too.
This magic keeps me alive, but it’s making me crazy.
And I need to save you. But who’s going to save me?
Please forgive me for whatever I do, when I don’t remember you
I have a decently paying job, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the value of having a strong, fairly paid middle class. It just makes sense. Plus, I bet these employees actually spend money in their place of employment because they can afford to do so.
Many employers believe that one of the best ways to raise their profit margin is to cut labor costs. But companies like QuikTrip, the grocery-store chain Trader Joe’s, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity. All three are low-cost retailers, a sector that is traditionally known for relying on part-time, low-paid employees. Yet these companies have all found that the act of valuing workers can pay off in the form of increased sales and productivity.
“Retailers start with this philosophy of seeing employees as a cost to be minimized,” says Zeynep Ton of MIT’s Sloan School of Management. That can lead businesses into a vicious cycle. Underinvestment in workers can result in operational problems in stores, which decrease sales. And low sales often lead companies to slash labor costs even further. Middle-income jobs have declined recently as a share of total employment, as many employers have turned full-time jobs into part-time positions with no benefits and unpredictable schedules.
QuikTrip, Trader Joe’s, and Costco operate on a different model, Ton says. “They start with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be maximized,” she says. As a result, their stores boast better operational efficiency and customer service, and those result in better sales. QuikTrip sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience-store chain, Ton found, and sales per square foot are over 50 percent higher.
This is worth some thought. Technology marches forward. That is what technology does.
What happens because of that technology, though, is not set in stone. And don’t trust anybody that tells you otherwise.
Everywhere. Everything, even disposable things like razors or pens, will be gathering data…about you.
We probably don’t really have a choice about whether a $0.03 wireless sensor platform will exist. Technology marches on.
But we do have a choice about how it will be employed. If we follow the path we’re on now, all those devices will be controlled by some company somewhere that is providing the service behind them. All that data that all those devices are gathering about you will be streamed back to a walled garden via an encrypted channel to end up as fodder for some big data analytics platform that will be used by someone to sell you more stuff. You will be spied on by everything around you with no rational way to understand where all that data is going and how it’s being used. We’ll create government regulations that will do little to rationalize your world or help you understand it because they will only succeed in further Balkanizing it.
There is another path: in this alternate world all the devices that are related to you will push their data into a place that you control. This will seem rational and natural because the model will follow the structure of the world you’re already used to with clear delineations between public and private spaces and easy-to-understand controls over how data is used and shared. I say “natural” in a literal way. This is the way the physical world works and we’re all used to it. In this alternate world you are in control.
There’s not much question which of these worlds most of us would want to live in, and yet most companies aren’t doing anything that will get us any closer to that better place. The short-term drivers push everyone toward closed, walled gardens fueled by adtech. But blaming companies and short-term pressures is too convenient. People run companies. People work at companies. And people pursue short-term goals all the while hoping this better world will somehow magically emerge. It won’t. Not unless we build it. We have to build it.
If you work in tech, you have an ethical responsibility to build the world you want to live in. Simple as that.