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Cry, The Beloved Company


What have I done? I fear I have destroyed our beloved Pied Piper. I fear I have destroyed us all.

I write this from Jack Barker’s office. He has called us in: Richard, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and myself, and here we wait. Jack has left us sitting here, and has stepped out for a moment. A coffee run? A bathroom break? A miniature psy-op designed to demoralize us still further? Who knows. But when he comes back, all hell will undoubtedly come with him. Why? Well.

We thought we were so very clever. We intended to subvert Jack’s Box project by feigning our assent to build it, while in secret we meant to build the platform instead.  But we were discovered, because I quite literally tripped Richard up with an appallingly filthy “joke” that, even now, I cannot believe escaped my guilty lips.

What will he do? Fire us all? Press charges for attempted fraud? Blackball us from other employment by sullying our names? Resort to physical violence? We will soon find out: I see him now, lurching in his ungainly fashion in our direction, through the glass door of his office.

This is my fault. The fault here is mine. My disgrace is utter and complete. I should have counseled Richard not to take this dark path, but instead I encouraged him, with exciting anecdotes of the Great War that strengthened his resolve. Failing that, I should not have punctured the deception with my vile toilet of a tongue. I should never use that tongue to speak again. I should tear it from my mouth. I should be made to live in a cave. No, a hole. And eat garbage and offal.  And wear rags. Or nothing at all. Like a beast. The beast that I am. For I have destroyed us all.

“Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness.” —Job 3:3-4

Comments (3,292)

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  1. That was a dirty ass joke, Jared, but to be fair he tripped on the garden hose on the floor. I think you want to be punished, a little. Naughty thing.

  2. You better starting thinking of a way out of this mess. Tell Richard to straighten up and just punch Barker’s smug face. Hahaha

  3. Cheer up Donald.It’s not your fault!I’m sure it’s gon be alright because you guys plays the leading role and the screenwriters loves the major characters.

  4. Jared, honey. Chin up. I’m sure Richard and the other guys don’t blame you for what happened. You were all in this together! Please give yourself a break and have a nice cup of tea, for me.

  5. Don’t dispair! Pied Piper is nothing without the original team. Proceed wirh a plan producing a box that will fail miserably and then force him to fall back on the old platform. You guys will have him tamed doing this. That guy is an arse and a liar!

  6. Fight the man! Stick true to your guns. Don’t let that of which you built crumble before you! Better to burn out than fade away…

  7. I’m sure you’ll be okay Jared. Surely Jack can’t kill you all with his bare hands. If he could I’d be very impressed!

    Don’t eat garbage. Or offal. It’s never worth it.

  8. Jared! This is not all your fault! Honestly, you are so good and you do so much for this company! You are not entirely at fault, and you put so much into this! You’re so lovely!

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.


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.


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.


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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