I understand the premise of this article and also appreciate that this is a fundamental of modern business.
The main issue I have is it is so heartless. Alain de Botton has incredibly interesting things to say on the subject of ‘losers’ which compliment this article beautifully.
I also think the choice of phrase, ‘Exploit it for fun and profit’, is possibly one of the saddest things I heard for a while. It also completely flies in the face of the idea of fixing it or, at best, is way too simplistic.
For example, people want to be beautiful. Start a magazine that exploits that insecurity. Exploit their fears even more by selling expensive advertising space to brands with empty promises to help with that.
Once you have enough advertising money and readers who are genuinely screwed up by that, start another service that helps with eating disorders to fix the roots causes of that suffering. Feel good about what you have done to help people.
It’s easy to exploit, it’s hard to be ethical.