Move Fast and Break Things – Jonathan Taplin

“Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”

The title really says it all. In the last 10 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth among giant tech monopolies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. This has poured gasoline on the issue of income inequality – and has stoked the dumpster-fire that is the Presidency of Donald Trump.

Check it –

Google owns 88% of the Search Engine Market
Facebook own 77% of the Mobile Social Media Market
Amazon owns 70% of all E-Book Sales and 67% of Print Book Sales

In 2006 the Top 5 Most Valuable Public Companies were
ExxonMobil, General Electric, Microsoft, Citigroup, and BP

In 2016 the Top 5 Most Valuable Public Companies are
Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook

Since the giant marketplace launched and began pricing local merchants out of business, Amazon has forced 24,000 bookstores and 3,000 record stores to close. 

Locally sustained culture and much needed jobs are being traded for low prices and convenience.   

Since lobbying President Bill Clinton for the Internet Tax Freedom Act in 1998, which prevents any government body from imposing internet specific taxes, Jeff Bezos continues to ensure that libertarian, limited-government, tax-free ideology can flourish online.

Google, Facebook and Amazon annually shortchange the US government well over $100billion, thanks to the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

In 2003, worried about eroding civil liberties, billionaire PayPal founder and now Top-Trump aide in the White House Peter Thiel starts PALANTIR, a data-mining company. Palantir and Cambridge Analytica work together in 2016 to undermine democratic processes in both UK and USA.


To understand how these giant monopolies came to dominate Sillicon Valley and then the world, Taplin takes us back to the birth of the Internet. . . which was originally supposed to be a good idea.

Birth of the Net

For all of the libertarian lipsmacking we hear about the tyrannical oppression from government, the Internet, which has made most libertarian dreams possible, was funded by DARPA in the late 60s; aka, the US GOVERNMENT.

Pro Tip here-> The early Internet was not created by a lone genius, it was carefully researched and funded by the US government, and built by a network of wicked-smart and progressive data scientists.  It was never meant to be an IPO.

By the 70s, there are two factions within this community
– Geeks, and Counter-Cultural Humanists.

Heading into the 80s, with Apple and Steve Jobs on the scene, hackers become corporate consultants. Here, the tech world and the future Internet, meet the free-market ideology of libertarianism.

Peter Thiel

The chess wizard, math prodigy, closeted-gay genius is swept up in self-hating Libertarian ideology in the late 80s. Founds The Stanford Review, a publication which aimed to question the crippling effects of feminism, the tyrannical obsession over political correctness on campus, and fought against a multicultural society, which would subsume the powerful white man’s role. No kidding.

His book “Zero to One” on entrepreneurship, suggested everyone set-up monopolies, huge companies that would dominate the landscape. What could go wrong?

His structure was simple –

1) Build proprietary tech that dominates competition, buy-out competing tech.
2) Build businesses that have “network effects” – millions of people need to connect.
3) Scalable economies that can grow
4) Strong branding and promise

Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the business model for PayPal, Uber, Napster, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Apple, Lyft, Tesla, YouTube, Netflix, Adobe, Oracle, and thousands of other tech companies.

30 years ago, being Libertarian was a joke. Now it has become mainstream – it has become Silicon Valley – it has become the Republican Party. This connection is bringing darker ideas with it – anarcho-capitalists, paleo-libertarians, the need for authoritarian control. This is where the undermining democracy part comes through.

The aim of steroidal-libertarians is to destroy democracy, before it destroys us, our individual freedoms. When billionaires like Charles and David Koch start espousing this line of thinking, it sure isn’t to the benefit of the voting public. This quote from David Koch outlines the ideology that helped to secure a Trump presidency last November –

“We need a return to authoritarian rule. Democracy has led to moral decay, family breakdown, divorce, crime – Diversity is forced integration from the government, which brings concomitant social strife and racial tensions. We need a strong man to lead us.”

Yeah – right off a St. Petersburg pier!

Thiel’s first company, PayPal is this Libertarian philosophy made real – The government can’t touch our money.

Jeff Bezos and his tax-doging, workplace safety avoiding, small economy destroying company, AMAZON, is also built on Thiel’s disruptive monopoly model. Amazon captures 51 cents of EVERY dollar spent in America.

Sergy Lyn and Larry Page and their black-hole-like information suckingdemocracy disruptingtruth defyingadvertising revenue generating behemoth of a company, GOOGLE is also built on this model.

Mark Zuckerberg and his privacy destroyingcivilization tamperingmanipulatingbrain altering, social media company, FACEBOOK, are also built on Thiel’s model.

These guys are the richest people in the WORLD – they are making decisions that effect THE WORLD – and they are at the helms of the largest monopolies the world has ever seen, making the largest profits ever known. They rent out properties on their “land” and operate more and more like feudal lords than techno-future-wizards. These feudal lords establish political power in a web of bilateral individual contracts – these orgs have no conception of legitimate public political authority, nor any place for political society within their profit models.

This will be the coming battle -> A war between those who foresee a democracy that continues to uphold its obligations to its citizens regardless of their net worth, and one in which market imperatives have become so fully assimilated that the only citizens who count are those within a small sector – The definition of the word “plutocracy” is a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens. We are right in the middle of this.


Yes – and in addition to that, I am questioning the concept that technology and ONE SINGLE PERSON can save the world. Superhero movies are at an all time high in American culture – and why not? We want someone to save us. The real problem is, ALL of these hyper-wealthy wackos think they can save the world.

Zuckerberg is trying to eradicate diseases and promote equality worldwide, while Facebook is supposed to bring us closer together.

Page and Thiel are working on life-extension therapies and transferring human consciousness to a database, as well as establishing “floating cities,” which are supposed to be Libertarian utopias lying outside the jurisdiction of current geopolitical reach, all the while PayPal and Google have made it easier for us to learn and get paid for our gig-economy micro-jobs.

Bezos is pushing back against Trump, funding a political takedown of sorts with his Washington Post by means of “free press,” as well as pushing for the industrialization of space, while we can get cheap eyeliner delivered to our house in hours from Amazon.

Libertarianism only works for a small group of people. For everyone else, we have to care about one another to survive, we have to cooperate. Learning to cooperate and work together is how civilization survived and thrived for thousands of years! If everyone is truly the captain of their destiny, and we have no one to depend on but ourselves, ask this question . . .

If we ALL go out hunting for, who keeps the homefire burning?

In digital economies like Google and YouTube and Facebook – orgs that trade in information – the social and marginal costs for producing and distributing more content is close to zero. Facebook pays NOTHING for the content it hosts. YouTube pays NOTHING and has millions of hours of user-generated video being uploaded everyday. This is what Taplin and other economists refer to as “zero-marginal cost economy.”  The only way to make money is to scrape everyone’s data and sell it to advertisers.

Nowhere does the fixed cost to produce more content like high quality movies, art, music get factored into the equations of Google or Facebook or YouTube. Artists and musicians will not be able to survive, because no one will have the time to keep the homefire burning, there will be no culture to maintain and pass on. Artists living in this world are more concerned with gathering a fleeting slice of a distracted marketshare, than building the foundational masterpieces that future art can build upon.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – SO WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?  

A rejection of “techno-determinism” and “techno-humanism” – a breaking up of monopolies and plutocracy! We have to get a little R&R – Resistance & Renaissance

Taplin’s Solutions?

Content creators need to get PAID – Micropayment ecosystems should be set up and existing ones encouraged, “take down-stay down” laws need to be put in place in US in as strict a fashion as Europe, mandatory “opt-in and opt-out” options to limit tracking and surveillance efforts of big data mines.

Access to Broadband Internet – 
The United States has a chokehold on the Internet – those with higher funds can access higher speeds thanks to monopolization efforts from TeleCom Co’s. In our digital economies, restricted access to the Internet is a form of poverty. Out of the top 50 countries in the world that offer broadband access to their population, the US is 22nd. We are behind Japan, Sweden, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Finland.

Untether Happiness from Consumption – In his book, “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered,” the economist EF Schumacher breaks apart the modern obsession over “happiness,” and asks us to envision a world where people actually give a shit. “The modern Western economist is used to measure the standard of living by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is “better off” than consuming less. A Buddhist economist would find this irrational. Since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption”

The only barriers to living in this world of less consumption is Google, Amazon, and Facebook’s business models are engineered to continually arouse our desires. We market and create products that are “sticky,” that are basically addicting. So the short answer is – – –

FB, Google, Amazon Need to Change Their Biz Model – To protect our privacy and help thousands of artists create sustainable cultures for the future, the business model needs to change to honor content creators, not a few random billionaires. Facebook is about to make $20billion in annual revenue – and only 15,000 people work for that company. This is clearly adding to income inequality in such a drastic and massive fashion that the time for action and awareness is now.

These companies may seem like benevolent Plutocrats – but the time for plutocracy is over!


marketing blog, content marketing, advertising, digital marketing, social media marketing


“I’m looking at the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.”
– Michael Jackson

What is this life, but a striving for connection. We want to feel connected, initially to our parents/family, friends, lovers, then to our conception of society, and finally to the narratives we choose to pursue, identify and struggle with, draping them with the flimsy cloth of existence. We also want any irregularities, or unexpected changes in our narratives, to be fully explained and if possible, connected. We want to see ourselves in our surroundings, we want connection.

The Information Lords at Wikipedia have supplied us with this gem –Pareidolia (/pærɨˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-doh-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant.

Common examples of pareidolia include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse. In 2014, archaeologists in India, discovered prehistoric cave paintings, which they claim depict ‘tripod objects, flying crafts, and a race of noseless, weapon carrying aliens.’ The paintings, done in a natural tone, are thought to be over 10,000 years old.

The reportage over at the Times of India was very well balanced, and didn’t lean into non-facts, or what could explained as pareidolia. “We can’t refute possibility of imagination by prehistoric men, but humans usually fancy such things.” But do these drawings validate the theory of ‘paleocontact’, ancient aliens visiting us in the distant past, giving us our edge? Or are they the “fancy” of an ancient artist, in love with connections, trying to connect the images in his/her brain, with reality, with the narratives of her people?

We are constantly trying to connect everything, to everything else. Centaurs, chili-cheese-fries, gryphons, politics n’ religion, open browser-Twitter-iPhone-TV-Wii, Combos – we want all of it condensed and understood, smashed together in a pill, fitted into a box, all the wild hairs shellacked down to our scalp.

Connections are thought to give our life meaning. But almost all of the most meaningful moments in our life are unplanned, non-connected, beautiful, wild, and sometimes horrifying. And when nature’s had her unexplainable way with us, we get to choose how we want to connect to the information.

So the question of the cave art is this – Do you connect more with an ancient race of people, who with the assistance of extraterrestrials really turned on their cave art, maybe went to space and learned the secrets of the universe, but still died with nothing but great cave art to show for it….or do you connect more with an ancient race of people who strove for connections, who wanted explanations for the unexplainable, who saw their forms commingle with the forms inside their creative minds on a cave wall, a race of people who wanted connection with the forms of nature, a race of people trying to tame an untameable world? Sounds familiar.

marketing blog, content marketing, advertising, digital marketing, social media marketing

Emotional Analytics and the Ham Sandwich

Marketing gurus. Businesspeople. Vegans with MBAs. Social-media bottom-feeders. Picture in your mind a ham sandwich.

What you hold in your head right now is, for me, one of the key concepts to great social media strategy. Not the ham sandwich itself, but the idea that while each of you now sees a ham sandwich in your mind, none of you are seeing the SAME ham sandwich. It’s your “idea” of a ham sandwich. Now, what does that mean in regards to Social Media? Everything.

The Sandwich Multiverse

When we’re engaging with our peeps, or engaging with our client’s peeps, we have to remember the ham sandwich, we have to remember that everyone is seeing “their own sandwich.” Very briefly, the philosophical concept underpinning this idea has been referred to as “Qualia” or individual instances of subjectiveconsciousexperience. The term derives from a Latin word meaning for “what sort” or “what kind”. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. When you’re sharing and engaging any ideas on social media, you need to be prepared for the “qualia” or the multiple ways your text or links can be interpreted. When we share, we have to engage our brains in emotional and social intelligence. Get these ideas, these deals and these coupons into the social stream, while focusing on the emotional analytics of your content…now what are emotional analytics?

The Empathic Sandwich

People don’t read content in a bubble – they’re reading their News Feeds with their moods, their attitudes, and more sociological baggage in tow. Brought to light by the imitable Stephanie Walden in this article, “Emotions Analytics” is a new field that focuses on identifying and analyzing the full spectrum of human emotions including mood, attitude and emotional personality. When we pump out content, we have to be aware of what emotions we are asking our audiences to engage with, what questions are we asking, how will the reader feel after they’ve given more than a cursory look. So as you engage with these large groups, don’t bank on people “understanding” your knock-knock joke about Shania Twain, or that people will “see where you’re coming from” when you talk about the buzz in the lights while you’re on-line at the Orange Julius in Paramus, New Jersey. These are dead-ends, esoteric wastelands, inside-jokes that will kill your traffic. But this doesn’t mean you can’t be weird.

The Sandwich Unfolds

Back to the sandwich – When I post anything, I try and see the item from as many different angles as I can, before I hit send. I examine my post with the clarifying lasers of questions – “Is this engaging/funny/interesting, is there a trend I’m joining/starting/rebooting, who will catch this, who won’t, who will need extra info to make the connections, who’s gonna be offended, how risque can I get, children, grandparents, orphans…” I refer to this technique as “Unfolding the Sandwich” – Let’s see it in action, and we’ll use our ham sandwich as content –

To some, the ham sandwich killed Mama Cass (Pop Culture) to others it stands as a symbol of religious oppression (Insider Information, Sphere of the Personal/Religious), others may see the ham sandwich and picture those riveters on the Empire State Building (Historical/Educational Signifigance) some may be vegetarian and see the ham sandwich as proof of our inhumanity (Empathic/Emotional Intelligence) and still some may have never even had a ham sandwich and are picturing a large flightless bird (Non Sequiter – Attention Grabbing).


The point is, think long and hard and creatively about the content you share, and when you get responses (Retweets, mentions, Shares, Likes) follow up in the same spirit as the post. Your audience will feel like they’re being talked to, not at – and that’ll keep the billables coming.