Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber Are All Legitimately Dead
Over the past two months, I’ve published a series of articles that have been major hits on Medium:
- Facebook Is Dead (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)
- Instagram Is Dead (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)
- Mailchimp Is Dead (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)
- Uber and Lyft Are Dead (They Just Don’t Know It Yet)
- Airbnb Is the Next Groupon (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)
Don’t let the headlines fool you: I put a huge amount of effort and research into each post, plus I’m a 3X published author-filmmaker with a decade of professional writing experience under my belt. I really did try to over-deliver on each and every story, and I think it worked.
The series has been a smash hit for a blogger of my size:
- Over 170,000 views
- Re-shared by Nir Eyal (!!)
- Translated into Spanish, Japanese, and French (coming soon)
- Hit the front page of Medium
- Earned over $5,400, which is nice
So far so good, right?
Then came the shark
I cracked my knuckles and clicked through to the article. LET’S GO!
You can read the full piece here, but basically, Todd chucked me under the bus, ran back and forth across my corpse a few times, then puffed a load of smoke as he sped off to spend his Medium money on margaritas in Martinique. (I presume.)
Here’s my email response in full:
I’m the writer of that notorious “Is Dead” series. Sure, it’s slightly click-baity, but I wrote it in good faith, and more importantly, you’ve missed the deeper point entirely.
About fifteen years ago, my friend Kevin and I were driving down the busiest street in our hometown and Kevin just looked at it and said, “yo, Upper James is dead.” I looked around, confused — great coffee shops, independent restaurants, a great cinema, everything you’d ever want.
Fast-forward to last year. I was driving down that same street. Cinema gone. Much of the retail gone. Most of the restaurants replaced by chains. But still just as busy and full as ever.
And it hit me: this place is dead. Spiritually dead. Morally bankrupt. Worthless in all the ways that truly matter.
That’s Facebook. That’s Instagram. That’s Airbnb. That’s Uber and Lyft and Robinhood. Predator companies, leaders in the menace economy. They create nothing, contribute nothing, mean nothing. They just take, broker, skim, flay. They’re dead in the future, yes, but also dead to me right now, and dead to a world that wants to flourish.
Hope you’re well, bro. I love your stuff.
And that was that.
I honestly didn’t think I’d hear back from him. Why would a celebrity like Todd write back to an up-and-coming blogger when he could sip Mai Tais on Maui and write blog posts from a hammock? (Full disclosure: I think the poor sod actually lives somewhere in Middle America.)
A few hours later, Todd hit me back:
Gotta tell you… my heart started hammering as soon as I saw your name. I expected this message. I didn’t know where I’d see it, though.
He thanked me for not blasting him on his blog and shared a moving story about how his own hometown died at the hands of the corporatocracy.
Although your series triggered my headline, I actually did read your pieces and found them incredibly thoughtful, well-reasoned, and above all, true.
Looking back, I found this line in an earlier draft:
“Although Jared uses the word ‘dead’ fairly, most headline writers stuff it in to achieve an extra tinge of undeserved dramatic flair.”
Ultimately, the goal was to target writers who are NOT you, appealing to the general hyperbole that goes on in our world.
Todd then informed me that he purchased a copy of one of my books, and we’re scheduling a phone call so we can become real-life friends instead of digital frenemies.
Just a few thoughts:
- This is what civil discourse looks like, folks. Two people can disagree, or see things from a different point of view, and still be respectful, rational, reasonable, and cheeky.
- Todd and I both have the same goal. We want to blow the socks off our readers, put meaningful messages in the world, provide extreme value to our subscribers, and speak to our audience as creatively as possible. I’ve said it before: Quality is the ultimate form of marketing.
- Oh, and one more thing — Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber are all legitimately dead.
I stand by those words.
I think Todd does, too.