Making yourself priceless // Education is the “obvious outlet for the money Millennials can spend,” Perry Wong, the director of research at the Milken Institute, told us, noting that if young people invest less in physical things like houses, they’ll have more to invest in themselves. “In the past, housing was the main vehicle for investment, but education is also a vehicle.” In an ideas economy, up-to-date knowledge could be a more nimble and valuable asset than a house.
But I’m a creative // To make an object worthy of your uncommodified hours, someone, somewhere, has to do some fucking work.
You are what you tweet // There is so much choice of what to experience and ‘how to be’ that people genuinely are different versions of themselves in different situations and different groups. Second, the way today’s thirty and forty somethings are much ‘younger’ than generation before and actively try to avoid growing up. Then there’s social media, where we’re seeing folks projecting a more ‘perfect’ social self, an idea of who they would like to be,rather than who they are. For example, it’s quite cool (people say) in the UK to have a work ethic and look disciplined, so loads of folks are exaggerating how much they go to the gym and what they do there. Just the data tends to show people claim to dismiss ‘celebrity’ yet the Daily Mail website is one of the most popular sites in the world.
Time management // I think time-regulated labor is very obsolete today, especially for knowledge work. But there are other ways of controlling output and measuring performance.
The power of being ordinary // We are tempted to have experiences for the purpose of photographing them, and apply a filter to them, because the last thing we want is for our lives to look ordinary. But when we stand before a Rembrandt self-portrait, we realise that being ordinary – being human – is where the real interest lies.
Cheating algorithms // …everything these days is a battle between algos and quants then quantified cheating is going to have to get more sophisticated. Before long insurance company analysts will be able to spot the telltale traces of sensors strapped to turntables, pets or robots. The machine cheats will have to get more sophisticated.
The morality of tech // Every big tech company begins life as a scrappy upstart, working out some kink in the system that makes it useful, and then using that as leverage to build itself into a giant, sprawling service — whereupon it becomes both invaluable and infamous. It’s a rite of passage to really fuck things up somewhere along the way. We want a thing, fast and preferably cheap. Not much else matters. We know Amazon’s not a nice company, and that the people who work there are treated poorly. We don’t always like it, but there is absolutely, definitively, nothing we will do to stop it. We are happily addicted. Whatever we do, we can’t stop ourselves from making it bigger and more successful and more terrifying and more necessary
November in London // Sometimes, London is throwing the cocktail party for you. Because of the dark, this time of year might see you cramming more into your time than you’d usually achieve: old friends, new ones, dinners and canal-walks and afternoons in the pub, using those same bloody buses to skip between two or three parties in a night. Sitting in Trafalgar Square on a Saturday afternoon, something I might never do when the weather is good, but that seems so essential in the late autumn.