Personal Management

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Hello, friends. I am writing to you from my cozy corner of Erlich’s garage (although the photo above depicts otherwise). Which, thanks to a helpful and reasonably priced exterminator, is now almost primarily rat-free, judging by the decreased instance of both droppings and bites on my extremities as I sleep. I gave you an excellent Yelp review, Mr. Yaruslav!

Oh, I can hear those eyebrows raising; I know it doesn’t sound like much. But I’ll have you know none of my foster homes were remotely this luxurious, and my dorm room at Vassar was nearly as Spartan. Furthermore, Erlich is still not charging me rent, which could not be said of my college lodgings and the crushing debt I incurred there, nor of the attics and semi-enclosed porches of my childhood, which I paid for with endless, backbreaking chores and things no child should see. But I digress!

In any case. My topic today is “personal management.” Which is a fancy way of saying a concerted effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. An example: Shortly after being rightfully reinstated as Pied Piper’s leader, my CEO Richard Hendricks embarked upon a liaison with a highly suitable senior Facebook engineer. Their relationship unfortunately ended after a disagreement over an arcane question of coding protocol. Engineers, am I correct?

Nonetheless, I took Richard’s dip into the dating pool as a cue to relaunch my brand in that arena, as it were. Because devoted as I have been to the company’s well-being, I’ve found if I fail to devote myself to to my personal well-being to some extent, I am doing the company a disservice. And since I started “getting out there” and meeting potential romantic partners, my productivity at work and my general well-being have both skyrocketed: I am getting more done, and the frequency of my night terrors has slightly decreased. As for Dinesh, who once told me in a very fresh manner, “Jared, if you ever actually got laid, I bet you’d ejaculate for six hours, and afterwards you’d be four feet tall and translucent.” Well, Dinesh…still just as tall, and no paler!

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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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