Podcast Of The Week: The Current New New Things (With Ben Thompson)

Ben Thompson is one of the writers who have most shaped my thinking about technology and culture over the past 10 years or so (!!!). I like to think of it as earning some type of Stratechery MBA. His insights have been very valuable to me.

He’s got a piece and podcast out called, “The Current Thing.” Click the link or look up Stratechery to read or listen. 

A snippet I think is very important (he can be a bit jargony, I’ll translate for a moment below):

Here is the problem: it turns out it was much easier to believe in the value of dissidents in a world of meaningful marginal costs for the propagation of ideas. Most people never encountered contrary opinions when spreading said opinions entailed publishing them on paper and spreading them in the physical world; on the Internet, on the other hand, bad ideas are only a search away. Moreover, the means by which to suppress those opinions are far more obvious: instead of having to shut down a printing press, one only needs to pressure those same centralized Aggregators that arose for economic reasons to suppress “wrong” speech.

The end result is a world where the ability for anyone to post any idea has, paradoxically, meant far greater mass adoption of popular ideas and far more effective suppression of “bad” ideas. That is invigorating when one feels the dominant idea is righteous; it seems reasonable to worry about the potential of said sense of righteousness overwhelming the consideration of whether particular courses of action are actually good or bad.

The internet has made it easier for ideas to spread, but also easier to shut voices off. Who gets to be the judge of right and righteousness is the existential question of our days. I highly recommend taking this piece in and giving it some thought.

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