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One Step Back, Then a Giant Leap in the Right Direction

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That is not only a description of a possible way to evade an assailant when a small crevasse or stream presents itself, but also of recent events here at ol’ PP.

At first it seemed as if a détente had been achieved, between our little group and the hand-picked CEO Raviga had set above us. An agreement that, if we delivered Mr. Barker his cursed Box, we would then be free to build the broad platform we had always intended. And our engineering team of Richard, Dinesh and Gilfoyle outdid themselves, exceeding by an order of magnitude the specs required by “Action Jack”—a show of good faith if ever I saw one.

What did they get for their trouble? A contract with ’90s-era tech dinosaur Maleant Data Solutions that **exclusively** licensed the Pied Piper algorithm to them for use in said Box for five long years! I suppose it should hardly come as a surprise that a usurper should also be a double-dealer, but I had hoped that Jack’s soft, jowly smile was not merely the mask it proved to be.

Once again, Fortuna had decided to use our hopes as a punching bag, our dreams as a urinal. Whence should our salvation come? From a most unlikely quarter: the same VC firm that forced Richard out and installed Barker! Thankfully, Laurie Bream came to her senses after Jack’s crass Box was thoroughly discredited by Hooli’s acquisition of the Endframe platform.

Unlike when Richard was deposed, in this case it was fortuitous that the bottom line means far more to Raviga than innovation. Thus, when it became clear a platform strategy in compression was more valuable than an appliance play, Mr. Barker was shown the door. The last action of “Action Jack” was to slink out with his tail between his thick, oddly shaped legs. So dear readers: We are not out of the woods yet, but we have taken a step in that direction, and a step away from that terrible, windowless shed under the pines.

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  1. Jared, you should totally come live at Baghead’s place. There are a lot of people you can be denmother to here! Great Today show appearance!

  2. Dear Mr. Dunn,
    You should be careful about airing out your company’s internal grievances publicly. As former head of HR at Hooli you should be aware of the wrongful termination possibility as well as the potential for damage seeking litigation against you or your Pied Piper ownership.

  3. The next CEO will probably ship the algorithm to an unfriendly country illegally and the whole company goes on trial for treason.

    Wait, that must be season 4…

  4. Does Erlich’s incubator have a spare room? I need a place to crash. Oh wait, never mind…Bighead just called with a better space.

  5. Jared, I don’t know who told you about the EndFrame acquisition, but that’s under a strict press embargo until 10.30 EST this evening.

  6. I would like to speak with Erlich about “Aviato”
    We do have some news for him. We’ve replicated it and it’s getting a total success down here. We called it “Aviato, an Argentine company in February 30. It didn’t exist, so we made it”

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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