All posts by Jon Evans

The Uber and the frog

 How the mighty are fallen. Travis Kalanick is out, and Uber has become something of a headless horseman, with no current CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, VP of Engineering, or general counsel. Its alleged valuation has fallen by $18 billion and counting. How did this happen? Or maybe a better question is: how could this not have happened? It really wasn’t so long ago, believe it or not, that Uber… Read More

How to kill a golden age

 So I was sitting in the Theatre of Salt in Florence with my friend Jo discussing golden ages, as one inevitably does when in Florence — it having been the birthplace of that most famous and most consequential of all golden ages, the Renaissance — and I found myself speculating that Silicon Valley’s own ongoing golden age is at real risk of ending soon. I don’t think… Read More

The new new things that weren’t

We’re always looking for the New New Thing in tech, since long before Michael Lewis coined the phrase. Often we are entirely too successful. There are so many New New Things — and so many of them fall from the sky like burned-out flares soon enough, to further litter the graveyard of Old New Things. Can we learn from them? Probably. Will we learn from them? Probably not. But… Read More

Facebook is broken

 The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles. The way Facebook’s… Read More

Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new Internet

 Cryptocurrencies are booming beyond belief. Bitcoin is up sevenfold, to $2,500, in the last year. Three weeks ago the redoubtable Vinay Gupta, who led Ethereum’s initial release, published an essay entitled “What Does Ether At $100 Mean?” Since then it has doubled. Too many altcoins to name have skyrocketed in value along with the Big Two. ICOs are raking in money hand over… Read More

Google in, Google out

 Call it the Triumph of the Stacks. I attended Google I/O this week, and saw a lot of cool things: but what really hit home for me, at the keynote and the demos and the developer sessions, was just how dominant Google has become, in so many different domains … and, especially, how its only real competition comes from the four other tech behemoths who dominate our industry’s… Read More

Pattern recognition

 I helped work on a thing last weekend that I can’t write about, yet, and then last week I found my way to San Jose for Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference, and fine, all right, OK, I’m convinced: now that the smartphone boom is plateauing, AI/deep learning is the new coal face of technology — and, at least for now, Nvidia bestrides it like many parallel colossi. I use… Read More

This dystopia is completely ridiculous

 We live in dark and darkly hilarious times. Our world has grown so bewildering and complicated, in no small part because of the finger jammed on technology’s fast-forward button, that many people have given up trying to make sense of it — or to make sense at all. That’s honestly my only explanation for some of the craziness out in the tech world these days. I once saw Cory… Read More

Reasons to be cheerful

 I know, I know, it’s been a rough year. Fury, discord, and hatred seem to be on the rise. The super-elite keep getting richer, while young workers keep getting poorer, and economic mobility has plummeted. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” And yet. Quietly, stubbornly, defying the headlines, bit by bit, around the world, slow… Read More

Hope and rapture on West Broadway

 We were just outside the Marriott on the edge of downtown when the conference doors opened. I remember saying something like “Those people… they seem a little different…” And suddenly there was a horrible strident laughter all around us and the street was full of what looked like hairy steampunk neohippies, all vaping and toking and comparing tattoos in clusters around… Read More