“Side Hustle” as a Sign of the Apocalypse

Uber and Seamless ads reveal how Silicon Valley is screwing us

Matt Ruby
Matt Ruby
Jan 10, 2017 · 4 min read

An essay by comedian/author Matt Ruby. Want more? Sign up here to get my newsletter.

“These days, everyone needs a side hustle,” starts the Uber commercial recruiting new drivers. And it’s got bouncy music and the dude is hip and it makes it sound like this is super fun and I’m sitting there thinking: Are they seriously trying to make a “second job” sound like a sexy thing!? “it’s not my second job, it’s my mistress occupation.” Next, we’ll just start saying bipolar people have a side personality.

And WTF has happened to our culture when we just take it as fact that everyone needs to have multiple jobs and work as a cab driver and rent out every square inch of space in their apartment and be a task rabbit gopher who waits in line for tickets when they’re not walking dogs or temping and we all just chalk it up to “progress”??? In the old days, this meant your life was falling apart. Now it just means you’re part of “the sharing economy.”

Nothing is cooler than Earning/Chilling!

Remember when technology was gonna save us? All these time-saving devices will lead to more efficiency so huzzah, right? And yet everyone is out there relentlessly complaining about how busy they are. Technology didn’t save us. It’s eating us alive. We don’t get any time back, it gets sucked up. Unfettered capitalism doesn’t give you time back or freedom or relaxation. It drills every orifice you have until a few more pennies drop out so the Q4 numbers look good for shareholders.

These tech companies position themselves as heroes. They talk about “changing the world” constantly. Yet all they do is churn out technology for rich, white dudes in their 20s/30s who live in big cities and want apps to fill in the blanks for what mommy used to do.

Mommy used to pick me up from soccer practice. A: Uber.
Mommy used to do my laundry. A: Flycleaners.
Mommy used to clean my room. A: Handy.
Mommy used to buy me groceries. A: Blue Apron.
Mommy used to cook me food. A: Seamless.

And they even call it “mom-tech.” We’re letting our lives be dictated by brogrammers who want to breastfeed forever.

And speaking of Seamless: Ugh, how I hate those revolting Seamless ads on the subway. The ones where they mock people who cook and sum up New Yorkers by saying:

You should only cook when you’re dead or living in the suburbs…
and you hate seeing other people…
and you know your delivery person’s name but not your neighbors…
and your friends in the midwest have photos of their kids but you have photos of your dinner…
and you use your oven for storage…
and you have strong biceps because your work bag is so heavy…
and you have someone subletting your kitchen…

Gross. is this an ad for Seamless or school shootings?

And this is supposed to be some combo of aspirational and “I get you, New York” but I’m just aghast because it reads like a fucking dystopian nightmare of people completely disconnected from family, friends, food, community, and anything else that you’ll actually care about when you’re on your deathbed.

“New Yorkers agree: Airbnb is great for New York City.” Lesson from former Communist countries: The more evil you are, the more you need to put up billboards saying how great you are.

This unending hamster wheel of capitalism and technology is driving us all to the brink of insanity. “These days, everyone needs a side hustle.” Now that I think about it, that should be Elizabeth Warren’s campaign slogan in 2020.

Startup culture is full of crap. More from Vooza.

If you enjoyed this, you should check out Vooza, a video comic strip I create that mocks startups and the tech world. You can watch episodes here or sign up for the Vooza email list.

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Thoughts from NYC comedian Matt Ruby.

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