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Changes Both Near and Far!

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So many glad tidings to relate, loyal blog readers! (“Bleaders”? Probably not, but since video + blogger = “vlogger,” I thought it might be worth a trial balloon.)

After being most fearfully tested at great length, with all manner of appalling tribulations, our own Richard Hendricks has been restored to his proper station of CEO! We leave shortly to celebrate this fact, at a local, modestly-priced Mexican restaurant from which Erlich has never (yet) been asked to leave.

But oh, did Mr. Jack Barker, former pretender to the CEO throne, leave a mess behind for Richard and the rest of us to clean up. His reckless expenditures forced us to surrender our offices and again work from Erlich’s humble abode. Yet despite economizing in this way—and letting go non-essential staff—our coffers remained in a parlous state, so empty we could not afford to pay the engineers we needed to finish the platform. So I had the notion to stretch our pennies by outsourcing basic engineering functions to eager young developers in the developing world. With new blood toiling away for us in India, Bulgaria, Estonia and so on**, Pied Piper has become a veritable League of Nations of compression!

Dare I say: I believe this reordering of Pied Piper might actually serve as a model for other startups? We are leaner, we are meaner and we are more efficient by virtue of geographical diversity. (Diversity! Yay!) Most of all, we are definitely more true to the original spirit of the company, with Richard back in charge. Once again, I can say that Pied Piper feels like a womb in which I float: warm, safe and, mercifully, entirely dreamless.

**A quick note, dear readers: The three new engineer bios on our site are just a sampling of the nine engineers we have hired to work remotely, some as far as India, some as near as Colorado. (Go Rockies!) You’ll find bios for three of the off-site engineers who allowed them to be put on our site: Others refused for reasons ranging from fear they’d be used by their governments to capture and torture them (for unspecified activities) to—very simply—a strong, visceral dislike of me.

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  1. Excellent work mi amigo. Keep this up and you’ll have car doors that open like this W or like this || , not like this /

Problem 1:

Single Points of Failure

Libraries are vulnerable to losing their collection because all of their books are contained at a single location. Say, for instance, that there was a fire, or a flood, or a vandal defaced John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America by giving all the Warblers human genitalia. Even worse, if the vandal recruited bird haters from other neighborhoods and got ahold of all the copies of the book in existence, it could be lost crude doodles forever. It would be a tragedy on par with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

The Problem

Because Birds of America is centralized in one public location, it’s susceptible to permanent deletion. The same goes for content on the Internet — storing all your family photos on a single account in a cloud service? They could all be wiped away if someone hacked your account or corrupted the host servers.

The Solution

Our solution: In our decentralized library, we would duplicate and distribute multiple copies of Birds of America to your neighbors — if you need a copy, you would just go to your neighbor’s house. As our Pipernet town of mobile devices grows, so do the number of neighbors who might have a copy of your book. And the more potential copies there are available, the more secure the book is.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: spread your personal files on devices across the world, so they’re completely safe from bad actors manipulating or deleting them.

Takeaways

All copies of your files in a well-known, hackable location = RISKY!

Files copied and distributed to multiple locations = SAFE!

Problem 2:

No Privacy

In order to check out books, you must have a library card — an ID that links back to your real world identity. That library card reveals all the books you’ve ever checked out, where you returned them, and whether they were returned on time.

The Problem

The tech titans collect data profiles on us too, and theirs are far more comprehensive. They amass thousands of personal data points by tracking our activities in both the online and physical worlds.

Users don’t own or control their own data, so it can be used against them. Take, for instance, Richard’s lawyer Pete Monahan, who had his probation revoked when the state retrieved his library records. Which was… probably a good idea. But for this metaphor’s purposes: bad that they can access that information!

On the web, our data profile is far more detailed, the laws around privacy even looser, and more freedoms are at stake. For example, what if Hooli sold your search data to an insurance company who then denied you coverage because you’ve HooliSearch-ed “kindest Palo Alto based Cardiologist” a few too many times?

The Solution

Replace library cards with anonymous identification cards which are impossible to connect to your real world identity. Instead of using a library card (linked to your name, address, etc.) to check out books, you would swipe a nondescript card (containing no personal details). Your activity would be tracked to keep the system stable, but your identity would not be siphoned and sold. I, for example, would no longer check out books as "Donald Dunn," but rather the nom de guerre "h3w0vbk37vpm."

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: use its apps and services without compromising your privacy.

Takeaways

Trading your identity and data for online services = RISKY!

Using services anonymously so nobody can target you = SAFE!

Problem 3:

Censorship and Manipulation

Because a town’s library is run by a small group of administrators, they could theoretically decide what books are available to its people. They could even decide to ban Birds of America, depriving young birders of Audubon’s elegant illustrations, pored over page by page under a government-issued blanket after lights out, giving you hope that even a slender-framed, shivering boy could grow to be as majestic as a Hooded Merganser.

The Problem

On the internet, multinational corporations can screen content, or even “adapt” their services to fit the local government’s requests. In both libraries and on the Web, we’re susceptible to data being censored or manipulated by intermediaries.

The Solution

A peer-to-peer lending system backed up by a fully public ledger, allowing you to send and receive books freely to anybody in the world without worrying about censorship or interference. Want to add Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, or your controversial essay on Audubon’s coloring techniques? No problem, even if the town surrounded you with pitchforks to ban them, these vital texts would be available to share neighbor to neighbor, impossible to delete.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: exchange messages and files directly with their intended receiver, disperse ideas and information free from threats of censorship.

Takeaways

Pushing all transactions through a central authority = OPPRESSIVE!

Establishing a peer to peer exchange system based on an immutable public ledger = FREE!

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