Travis Kalanick, Radical Transparency, and the Rise of Glass Box Brands.
David Mattin

The glass box is a good insight and rings true as you’ve presented it. However, some businesses chameleon to avoid accountability. Look at Monsanto “losing” it’s disreputable name when bought by Beyer. Or when Monsanto paid trolls to harass people talking about cancer related to Round Up. Just two small examples that we KNOW about in suppressing transparency.

Amazon was just in the news again about it’s treatment of workers in Scotland. The New York article you cite may have put Amazon on alert but not to the point where they changed policies very much for workers. Amazon has got huge PR power to cloud even the worst news about it. I mean they own the Washington Post. Glass box? Maybe it’s a mirrored box.

Then there’s the recent news from Googles Eric Schmidt citing studies that future jobs are secure and/or increasing. These stats and studies don’t apply to the majority of people who are truly struggling. It feels like a tactic to stave off, or confuse public concern about a future tailor made for only the rich.

50% of Americans make less than $30,000 a year. That’s ride share/delivery drivers, that’s amazon/walmart/fastfood workers, and the growing sector of freelance/contract workers. People are only stop gap solutions until A.I. and robotics can replace 90% of them and it’s happening right now. Travis Kalanick said it himself, that drivers will be replaced by automation as soon as possible and this fact is being realized by companies like Google’s Waymo today. The layoff of millions of drivers and low pay workers in the coming years will create a new class of chronically unemployed people. Then as Mark Blyth says, we’ll see that “the Hampton's is not a defensible position.”

This has happened before: Lincoln’s Whig party, the rise of industry, Gandhi’s salt march and long before that even. When any majority of people are oppressed and abused long enough or severely enough they will gather in the face of violence and even death to demand social justice. A swell is forming right now, when will it erupt, how will it resolve? Universal income is being bandied about by billionaires like Elon Musk because he understands that the cost of appeasement is cheaper than violent, social upheaval.

These days you can feel the frantic spin from Silicon Valley and monied interests turning up facts and figures to make us all feel better about the near future. However, the poor circumstance most people find themselves in is not being fixed by apps, or by minimum wage jobs, or tucking away naughty CEO’s (Kalanick still holds the reins and major decisions are still to pass through him).

I just hope that glass boxes and transparency are eventually applied to the actual problems of actual people and not just as a salve to privileged unicorn companies.

Phew! Clearly a thought provoking article! Thanks.

Like what you read? Give GHOSTRAIN3000 a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.