Lewis Thomas – A Fear Of Pheromones

The following is the fourth essay in Lewis Thomas’s book, Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, published in 1974.

A Fear of Pheromones

What are we going to do if it turns out that we have pheromones? What on earth would we be doing with such things? With the richness of speech, and all our new devices for communication, why would we want to release odors into the air to convey information about anything? We can send notes, telephone, whisper cryptic invitations, announce the giving of parties, even bounce words off the moon and make them carom around the planets. Why a gas, or droplets of moisture made to be deposited on fence posts? Comfort has recently reviewed the reasons for believing that we are, in fact, in possession of an- atomic structures for which there is no rational explanation except as sources of pheromones-tufts of hair, strategically located apocrine glands, unaccountable areas of moisture. We even have folds of skin here and there designed for the controlled nurture of bacteria, and it is known that certain microbes eke out a living, like eighteenth-century musicians, producing chemical signals by ornamenting the products of their hosts.

Most of the known pheromones are small, simple molecules, active in extremely small concentrations. Eight or ten carbon atoms in a chain are all that are needed to generate precise, unequivocal directions about all kinds of matters–when and where to cluster in crowds, when to disperse, how to behave to the opposite sex, how to ascertain what is the opposite sex, how to organize members of a society in the proper ranking orders of dominance, how to mark our exact boundaries of real estate, and how to establish that one is, beyond argument, one’s self. Trails can be laid and followed, antagonists frightened and confused, friends attracted and enchanted.

The messages are urgent, but they may arrive, for all we know, in a fragrance of ambiguity. “At home, 4 p.m. today,” says the female moth, and releases a brief explosion of bombykol, a single molecule of which will tremble the hairs of any male within miles and send him driving upwind in a confusion of ardor. But it is doubtful if he has an awareness of being caught in an aerosol of chemical attractant. On the contrary, he probably finds suddenly that it has become an excellent day, the weather remarkably bracing, the time appropriate for a bit of exercise of the old wings, a brisk turn upwind. En route, traveling the gradient of bombykol, he notes the presence of other males, heading in the same direction, all in a good mood, inclined to race for the sheer sport of it. Then, when he reaches his destination, it may seem to him the most extraordinary of coincidences, the greatest piece of luck: “Bless my soul, what have we here!”

It has been soberly calculated that if a single female moth were to release all the bombykol in her sac in a single spray, all at once, she could theoretically attract a trillion males in the instant. This is, of course, not done.

Fish make use of chemical signals for the identification of individual members of a species, and also for the announcement of changes in the status of certain individuals. A catfish that has had a career as a local leader smells one way, but as soon as he is displaced in an administrative reorganization, he smells differently, and everyone recognizes the loss of standing. A bullhead can immediately identify the water in which a recent adversary has been swimming, and he can distinguish between this fish and all others in the school.

There is some preliminary, still fragmentary evidence for important pheromones in primates. Short- chain aliphatic compounds are elaborated by female monkeys in response to estradiol, and these are of consuming interest to the males. Whether there are other sorts of social communication by pheromones among primates is not known.

The possibility that human beings are involved in this sort of thing has not attracted much attention until recently. It is still too early to say how it will come out. Perhaps we have inherited only vestiges of the organs needed, only antique and archaic traces of the fragrance, and the memory may be forever gone. We may remain safe from this new challenge to our technology, and, while the twentieth century continues to run out in con- centric circles down the drain, we may be able to keep our attention concentrated on how to get energy straight from the sun.

But there are just the slightest suggestions, hints of what may be ahead. Last year it was observed that young women living at close quarters in dormitories tended to undergo spontaneous synchronization of their menstrual cycles. A paper in Nature reported the personal experience of an anonymous, quantitatively minded British scientist who lived for long stretches in isolation on an offshore island, and discovered, by taking the dry weight of the hairs trapped by his electric razor every day, that his beard grew much more rapidly each time he returned to the mainland and encountered girls. Schizophrenic patients are reported to have a special odor to their sweat, traced to trans-3-methyl- hexanoic acid.

The mind, already jelled by the advances in modern communication so that further boggling is impossible, twitches. One can imagine whole new industries springing up to create new perfumes (“A Scientific Combination of Primer and Releaser”), and other, larger corporations raising new turrets with names alight at their tops on the Jersey flats, for the production of phenolic, anesthetic, possibly bright green sprays to cover, mask, or suppress all pheromones (“Don’t Let On”). Gas chromatography of air samples might reveal blips of difference between substances released over a Glasgow football match, a committee meeting on academic promotions, and a summer beach on Saturday afternoon, all highly important. One can even imagine agitated conferences in the Pentagon, new agreements in Geneva.

It is claimed that a well-trained tracking hound can follow with accuracy the trail of a man in shoes, across open ground marked by the footsteps of any number of other people, provided the dog is given an item of the man’s clothing to smell beforehand. If one had to think up an R&D program for a National Institute of Human Fragrance (to be created by combining the budgets of the FDA and FCC), this would be a good problem to start with. It might also provide the kind of secondary, spin- off items of science that we like to see in federally supported research. If it is true, as the novels say, that an intelligent dog can tell the difference between one human being and any other by detecting differences in their scents, an explanation might be geometric differences in to-carbon molecules, or perhaps differences in the relative concentrations of several pheromones in a medley. If this is a fact, it should be of interest to the immunologic community, which has long since staked out claims on the mechanisms involved in the discrimination between self and non-self. Perhaps the fantastically sensitive and precise immunologic mechanisms for the detection of small molecules such as haptenes represent another way of sensing the same markers. Man’s best friend might be used to sniff out histocompatible donors. And so forth. If we could just succeed in maintaining the research activity at this level, perhaps diverting everyone’s attention from all other aspects by releasing large quantities of money, we might be able to stay out of trouble.

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The Tao of YungSnuggie

I loved YungSnuggie so much that I pulled out his best answers, formatted them a little (tried to make it easier to read without spoiling the vernacular) and tidied them up. Enjoy. Hit me up, Snuggie.

On the NBA ‘hoe game’:

r/NBA – Mormon faith more important to Jabari Parker than NBA stardom

Yo, if you got a thing for hot-as-shit low self-esteem white girls you need to join the NBA, it’s a fuckin all you-can-beat buffet.

And they aggressive too; they’ll find out what hotel you’re staying in and sit and wait in the lobby for you. I used to work the front desk at a swanky hotel where most of the NBA teams stay when they play here; you’d literally have to shoo bitches out of the lobby like they’re homeless people or something.

I’m just speaking on some real shit. The NBA hoe game is a literal profession for a lot of chicks. All Star Weekend is their Super Bowl. There’s literally an entire subculture of women who’s main objective is to fuck/get pregnant from/marry an NBA player (if you’re lucky you might even get a reality show; that’s like the Balon D’Or for basic bitches). Like that’s their life mission, and they execute that shit with stunning precision. So honestly, I can understand how someone like Dwight Howard has 8 illegitimate kids. I’m surprised these guys don’t have more the way the girls are on them.

These ain’t your regular gapped tooth shoeless running make up dive bar basic bitches either, these hoes is professionals. You ever see them girls on Instagram that are so bad that you just be thinkin’ to yourself like, “Man, I’d get that shit pregnant, fuck it.” Okay, imagine if you weren’t just a thirsty nigga on Instagram and hoes of that caliber were on your dick 24/7. You wouldn’t know what to do with all that booty. That’s the NBA.

These the “poke a hole in the condom” type chicks (these days they don’t even have to do that, you just convince the dude that you’re on the pill and hope that the prospect of going raw is more enticing than common sense.) But the players that do that are stupid, you can spot a thot a mile away. So honestly it’s just pretty much mostly the players’ fault for getting caught up in an obvious con game in the name of getting laid.

These young bucks don’t know. You gotta remember a lot of these NBA players aren’t even old enough to drink when they get in the league; they’re still babies. They’ve been coddled their entire life, all through school and college, and now they get out in the real world with a pocket full of cash and every type of girl you could imagine trying to pull your sweatpants off.

See, before you got that contract, while you were in school, you were just a prospect. You probably got a lot of attention from women, but your success wasn’t a guarantee. Once you start pulling in them bucks, the type of women you encounter drastically change. Straight up jaw-droppers wherever you turn. That’s not an accident.

These kids don’t understand that once you’re in the real world, sex becomes a business move, for both parties. Even for us mortals, money is a big factor in your sex life. I don’t care who you are, you know that shit is important. (Protip from Uncle Snuggie: If you got money, just don’t fuck broke bitches. Just don’t, change your phone number if you have to. Move to the other side of the country to somewhere broke bitches can’t afford to go. They will ruin everything I don’t care how pretty they are get a bitch with some capital. That’s real shit. Get a Kim Kardashian. She stupid and probably can’t read but she got money and won’t take that much from you in divorce proceedings because of that. Be with someone who can throw in the pot too.)

The Dwight Howards of the world don’t understand that there’s a price tag hanging off their nutsacks. Dwight Howard is easily shelling out 6 figures a year per baby mama. (The fuck you need 100k a year to raise a baby? I could raise my whole hood 6 times with that kind of paper all babies need is somethin to rattle and someone to wipe they ass) That’s more money than most of us will ever make in our lives, even those of us with professional and graduate degrees. 18 years, 18 years, she got one of yo kids, got you for 18 years.

I think every citizen, NBA or not, should know how divorce/family laws work, especially if you ever fuck around and get paid. You find out how much Uncle Sam will take out of your pocket cause you wanted to fuck raw and it’ll turn you into a nun; keep your dick on a leash kid.

When you’re young and naive if you believe in shit like the purity of “love” and all that other liberal hippie crap Disney shoves down your throat as a child you can fall victim to a big butt and a smile quite easily.

That’s real shit.

EDIT: I see this post got crossposted to /r/bestof, but more disturbingly /r/theredpill, and let me tell you trenchcoat wearing neckbeards something before y’all try to crown me the king of you dry dick mother fuckers. For all the colossal shitting I just did on hoes in this post, this is not in any way representative of the female population at large. I’m simply speaking on a small, super super small, minority subculture. I would never imply or suggest that all women, not even a majority, are out here throwin the pussy like a boomerang hoping to catch some rich dude sperm.

I still put ladies above everything. That’s still your mama, that’s still your sister, that’s still the mother of your children. This post is not meant to be critical of women; rather, its meant to be critical of money and the economy (created by dudes) that women are forced to live in. It’s not because women are manipulative, it’s because men are fucking retarded, I stated that from the jump. Cons come in all genders, if men could get a cozy 18 year stipend from fucking Hillary Clinton there would be a line of thirst wrapped around the White House.

Even though I shits on these hoes, I still respect them like they my own family, because they are. I’m familiar with TRP, yall the most salty, confused, sexually depraved group of misogynistic no pussy gettin dudes I ever seen, that’s real. Ain’t no need to start a war on women cause you ugly and you ain’t got no money and you fell for the sweet smell of that vaginal lining. That’s on you dude; blaming the pussy for this is like blaming video games for school violence. At some point you took the stupidity into your own hands. That ain’t the wave y’all.

You can provide all that shit on less than 100 grand. The law isn’t setup just so that the father pays for diapers; the law is set up so that the child has the same quality of living regardless of whether he’s with the mother or father. What they don’t want is for the child to be with the father in some huge mansion and then go back to his mother who lives in a shack. There needs to be a seamless quality of living so that the child’s life isn’t financially interrupted due to which parent he’s with. Financially, the law tries to create the illusion that his parents are still together.

So, when awarding child support, they also take into consideration how much it would take for that child to maintain that standard of living. If the father lives in a nice house, so should the mother. If the father got a nice car, so should the mother.

Makes sense on paper but it’s horribly and selectively applied. Some of these players have top notch lawyers who get a lowball deal on child support; I don’t think its fair that someone making 50 grand a year and 50 million a year should pay the same amount in monthly child support, but in some states it can go down like that.

But honestly, I can’t even really be mad at them girls. Most of the time these girls really don’t be the brightest crayons in the box if you know what I’m sayin’. It’s not like these hoes is high level professionals or anything like that most of the time. You rarely see some chick with a PhD or something getting knocked up by an NBA player, because they don’t need to. Them hoes got brains, and skills, and personalities, and all that shit that the average groupie probably struggles with. It’s mostly girls who, if they didn’t get pregnant, would be working at Hooters well into their 40′s.

This is their best life prospect long term; you gotta go with what you got. So if you got a lot of looks, but not a lot of brain, and you’re self-aware of that, use what you got. Just because you ain’t book smart, or you don’t know big words, or you don’t know Africa is a Continent and not a Country, that don’t mean you still can’t be a rich bitch talkin’ shit. Okay so maybe little smarty pants over there is a Doctor or a Lawyer or whatever but you can make Lebron James nut in under 30 seconds without even using your hands. She got a Law Degree but you can crack a walnut with your pussy. Skills are skills, doesn’t matter what they are. I’d much rather get paid to suck dick, do 360 spins on the dick, do backflips on the dick, jump off the top rope and stone cold stunner dicks all day, rather than have a real job. You only have a real job because nobody is willing to pay you tens and thousands of dollars to jump on their dick.

Like Pimp C said, “Get it how you live”. These hoes is gettin it how they live, so on some pimp shit I ain’t even mad. We all use people to get what we want; all of us. If anything these girls should be commended for putting their bodies on the line in the name of exploitation of other people. I mean, most of us sit behind a desk and exploit people but these girls are willing to get right into a person’s face and lie to them and extort them. That’s some next level pimpin’.

Yes, technically these girls can go work some shitty job and make an “honest” living, but you can’t sit here and tell me that just getting knocked up by a rich dude doesn’t sound awesome. You get to live the life of luxury for pretty much nothing, or not anything that most girls do with guys with a percentage of that kind of money.

If I was a good looking girl, I’d never fuck a broke dude. You broke ass bitches, get the fuck away from me. I’m in it for the C.R.E.A.M. Can’t knock the hustle. Someone wants to literally pay me to be pretty? If someone is dumb enough to part with their wallet because they’re superficial as fuck then I honestly don’t feel bad taking that check. I may be with him for his money, but I highly doubt he’s with me for my personality, so that’s on his dumb ass.

Raw pussy has crumbled nations.

The laws aren’t perfect, but they exist for a reason. Don’t get these hoes pregnant you guys are acting like thats some fucking mystical feat.

It has never been this easy to not get someone pregnant in the history of mankind. Birth control has never been this popular, proper sex education has never been this popular, access to contraception as never been this easy. If you get someone pregnant it’s because you willfully and ignorantly put yourself in that situation, and as a real man, you need to handle your mother fucking business. If you knocked up a dumb chick, that’s on you bro. Actions have consequences.

On marrying your baby mama:

That’s another thing; you just started a family with some chick you had a one night stand with. You just made a child with this chick; someone who’s going to look up to you, rely on you. You’re gonna mold that little mother fucker and the only reason he exists is because you pulled out too late.

A lot of these NBA players aren’t in the lives of these illegitimate children that much if at all; they pay their child support, send ‘em a pony on birthdays and that’s about it. That’s no way to raise a kid but these players are forced to because they never intended on having the kid, and the baby mama is more often than not triflin as well. Dwight Howard got 8 different baby mamas across the country; he even got a baby in fuckin Canada. His dick is crossin’ borders, there’s no way he can be a father to all them kids and be the NBA star that he is. No fuckin ‘way.

When you’re young and you’re rich its very easy to make brash decisions in one night that’ll affect you for the rest of your life. Get a good girl, get a girl you can trust, and stick with her. Hell get 2 girls that you can trust. 3 if you nasty. Just make sure all participating parties understand what the deal is. If you don’t wanna settle down, that’s cool. You’re young and you’re rich and you wanna live it up, godspeed. But be smart about it. If you’re too good to wear protection, watch her take her birth control every day. If you ain’t physically there with her, facetime that bitch and watch her take it. Keep a log journal of that shit, don’t play around. Register every pill with the government, do something.

Also, if you’re gonna fuck around with chicks who are basically hookers, just get a real hooker. Save you a lot of money and time in the long run, because a prostitute isn’t gonna get pregnant. A prostitute isn’t gonna run and tell all her friends she just slept with a famous NBA star. You gonna pay the lady, she’ll slob on your knob, and you guys go your merry way. Most porn stars do escort work on the side, you can have whatever you want. You can afford it. But don’t be reckless with your dick, its a bad business move. Countless heroes of generations past are now broke and homeless because they couldn’t keep it in their pants.

I also think its important to add that this mindset in women is a vestige of the old school “domestic wife” patriarchal mindset. These women don’t just want ballers; they want someone to take care of them. Not because they’re lazy or can’t take care of themselves, but because they’ve been preached to their entire life that their worth can only be measured by the man that they get, not their own personal accomplishments. They’ve been told that their purpose in life is to get married and have babies, and to get married to the richest dude possible.

This is not something that women came up with, this is what we teach them. We teach them to yearn for us, we teach them to fight over us, we teach them to value our attention over EVERYTHING IN LIFE. It’s fucked up and a conversation on how to alleviate the issue is something for another day, but in the meantime you need to be aware that these people still exist, in 2014, and how not to fall victim to that if you consider yourself more of a socially progressive individual.

r/NBA – Paul George offered  a stripper one million dollars to abort their baby.

(I originally made a whole thread for this but the mods was hatin on ya boy tryin to keep the black man down so I got redirected here.)

What’s good, it’s ya boy yung snugga, the big lova, here to talk to you kids about some real shit. If you ain’t in the mood for the realness on this fine Wednesday afternoon I would suggest you get up from your seat and find your way to the nearest exit because this is a playa’s only gathering. Champagne and lemonade in this mother fucker, step ya game up.

The internet is abuzz today with news that Indiana Pacers star Paul George got caught up in a paternity scandal. Now this is nothing new; it’s almost a requirement at this point in the game that every big NBA star get the side chick pregnant. They don’t even consider you for the HOF unless you got a couple crusty headed barefoot illegitimates walkin around, that’s how fucked up it is out here.

Having a side chick(s) in the NBA is almost par for the course, but for some reason these guys cannot understand that the game is rigged against them. Now as y’all already know, I got a PhD in these hoes, so I’m gonna take you kids play-by-play on where my mans PG went wrong, and where you little nut huggers need to take notes:

  1. PG, my man, how you get a stripper pregnant – Come on son, that’s some day one shit. Strippers are walking thirst traps for an NBA player like you; especially them south florida joints (AND you got a joint from Tootsie’s: you couldn’t spring for a KOD girl? Smh you ain’t ballin’ PG nigga you broke). A lot of strippers prostitute on the side, that’s nothing new. But just because she’s a professional doesn’t mean that you can now put your guard down. She was a prostitute allllll the way up until the point where you decided you wanted to go raw, and right in that moment she switched professions from stripper to professional baby mama. Now she on Instagram straight stuntin on you my dude. Postin’ baby bumps, baby shower pictures, just fuckin’ with you at this point. I feel for you my nigga, I really do. But you fucked up, hard, and now you gotta pay the consequences.
  2. If you get the side chick pregnant, no amount of money up front is going to make her abort it – Apparently PG offered shorty a millie up front to drop that thun dun dun and get an abortion. That’s an act of desperation; you know you’re fucked. She’s not stupid, she can do math, a million today ain’t nothin like 25% of your income for the next two decades. She know you just signed that $90 million extension, believe that. If you was a D-Leaguer maybe you’d have more leverage. Unless you ’bout to throw this bitch down a flight of stairs (which I would highly suggest against), that baby is coming. AND it’s gonna be ugly. Good looks skip a generation oooo you mad
  3. Not only did you cheat on your girl, your girl was DOC RIVERS’ DAUGHTER – Now this is where the story crosses into “bruh” territory. First of all, Doc Rivers’ daughter bad as shit. She a keeper son; she come from good people, she getting her education, she don’t be out here in these streets, she a good girl. That’s probably why you went and got some skripper. Young boy, the fuck wrong with you. When you got a good girl you don’t do shit like that. Good girls don’t come by NBA players often; 9 outta 10 you getting some money hungry thots on your D all the time and the one halfway decent keeper you fuck around and get some other bitch pregnant. And I HIGHLY doubt she gonna stick around, cause she bad as shit and some other nigga like Lance Stephenson gonna come and be that shoulder to cry on and evolve into the rebound, so you mad AGAIN. And now you done really fucked up cause Doc Rivers gonna beat your ass too. That next Pacers/Clippers game gonna be hilarious. Doc gonna let his whole bench foul out just whoopin yo ass son, you done fucked up. Everybody gonna whoop yo ass, Blake Griffin gonna whoop yo ass, Deandre gonna whoop yo ass, hell even JJ Reddick might get in a cheap shot or two.

You shaqtin-a-fool for this one PG. I know you young and you probably didn’t know it was like this out here in these streets, but now you’ve learned the hard way. You woulda thought you would of learned from D-Wade, and from Dwight, and from alllllllllll these dudes get caught up. But no. The power of the pussy was too strong, and now you gonna have to pay for that shit. Ain’t no pussy worth that much money kids, I don’t care if its diamond encrusted and does Paul Wall’s verse in “Still Tippin” in queefs. Not worth it kid, you dun goofed.

Keep it in ya pants.

Man, I could make stupid paper hittin’ niggas upside the head.

The main thing dudes do is they fuck with dumb bitches. Get yourself a smart chick and you won’t have this problem. Go get yourself a chick with some money, a chick ’bout somethin’ that ain’t just about livin’ off another nigga, a bitch with some serious contributions to society. She don’t wanna get pregnant– she got a real job, she can’t do that. Now I ain’t saying strippers don’t contribute to society or aren’t good people; they are. But in your profession as an NBA player you can’t afford to be out here bein captain save-a-hoe. You can’t be Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, that movie fucked niggas up forever. Gave niggas the impression that these hoes can be saved. They can’t, man, they can’t.

And professional girls is freaks too, don’t think just cause she got a real job that the pussy ain’t as good as one of these hofessionals. These hoes just dress it up better but pussy is pussy. Before you fuck you need to grab a piece of paper and make shorty do some long division; if the bitch dont know her binomials she needs to get the fuck up outta your hotel.
Go get yourself some Wall Street pussy. Get some Google pussy, go hang out in Silicon Valley and just kill ‘em. If you fuck within your tax bracket you won’t have this problem because they won’t be trying to take your money, because they got they own.

But naahhh these dumb ass niggas wanna fuck “bad bitches” and strippers n shit man fuck that go get a Tina Fey lookin bitch and shut up.

Why the fuck would a basketball player with a high school education want to get with the co-founder of Google?

See, if these players had any sense, then yes Marissa Ann Mayer would be what they pined for. But that’s not what they want; they want a trophy wife. As I said, it takes two to tango.

Superficial girls wouldn’t stalk around the NBA if those guys didn’t like those types of girls to begin with. They’re just as implicit, even more so, than the women are because they’re the ones in the position of power.

You can tell a lot about a guy by the girl(s) that he chooses. Usually your taste in women reflects things about yourself and how you view women. If all you fuck with is basics, you might be basic your damn self.

Some guys get it, and some guys don’t. It’s just the way of the world. Not every NBA player is a doofus looking for a trophy wife. It’s just that you never hear about them, their personal lives dont make headlines. It’s the dummies of the world who you get exposed to so it causes a confirmation bias.

On ‘fame whores’.

They’re fame whores, not gold diggers. The Kardashians are millionaires in their own right, they don’t need money. They were rich, but they weren’t famous. They use dick to up their own personal capital, not to simply leech off of someone else’s pocket. Honestly I can respect that more than just gold digging. You’re using the power of the pussy to make your own money, not take someone else’s.

Kim Kardashian got her own media empire off that ass, and it’s all in her name. She took gold digging to the next level, you’re right about that. But I think she took it in the “right” direction. She didn’t need Kris Humphries’ money, she didn’t get a dime from him because they were only married a month, but that wedding episode of her show had the highest ratings her show ever got. Bitch put like 20 million in her pocket off that wedding. That’s not gold digging, son, that’s mother fucking business savvy.

You wanna know who “leaked” her sex tape? She did. She purposefully made a sex tape with a celebrity and released it/sold it herself to up her own star. She didn’t take no money from Ray J, she just piggybacked off of his fame.

It’s like playing Super Mario World and you’re riding Yoshi and you have to jump off Yoshi and sacrifice him to do a double jump. Kim out here double jumpin’ these Yoshi mother fuckers.

Actually a lot of people don’t know this, but Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton used to be super tight. Paris Hilton showed her the ropes of this fame whore game. Actually, shouts out to Paris Hilton because that girl revolutionized the Yoshi model.

Paris Hilton taught celebrities and wannabe celebrities how to manipulate the paparazzi and tabloids in your favor. Pre-Paris, tabloids and paparazzi existed to try and catch celebrities during candid or embarrassing/shocking moments. They were simply an annoyance, they weren’t used as a part of the fame game until Paris.

Paris Hilton used to call the paparazzi on herself. She’d tell them where she was, and when to be there. She was tight with the tabloids, she kept her name in there. It was all a scheme, a big huge scheme to make a celebrity out of nothing, and you all fell for it. You really think Paris Hilton is the first pretty rich girl to party? Fuck no, then why do you think you always heard about it? Get them gears spinning kids.

You all think Paris Hilton is just some drug addicted whore but that bitch is worth more than everyone posting here combined, not counting her inheritance. Bitch got a clothing line, perfume, all off of what? Getting your picture taken as your drunkenly fall out of a bar. If you’re smart enough to convince people to pay you to party and do dumb shit and not have a real job, you’re a hustler. That’s like getting people to pay you to to sit on your couch and play with your balls. You sittin’ here doin it for free, and this bitch over here gettin hella chedda to do the same shit.

Real recognize real, and hustle recognize hustle. Paris Hilton is a hustler. Kim Kardashian is a hustler. And you mother fuckers are the johns. Every time you complained about Paris or Kim being plastered all over magazines or TV shows, you just made them more famous. Because whether or not you liked or hated them, you were paying attention to them. Your gaze is worth money to companies, and if they know Paris and Kim command a gaze, good or bad, they’ll shell out paper for that.

Those bitches played celebrity culture like a fiddle, and for that they have my utmost respect. Snake oil salesman of the highest order. Get it how you live.

On Rebounds:

If a girl is taken, you don’t go straight at her. Befriend her first, keep a distance, but keep contact. Move your way in closer as her current relationship breaks down so that by the time she decides to break up with her current dude, you’re the next logical choice. Sometimes this process can take years but if the chick is worth it, guys will do it. The secret is to have multiple long cons going on at once so eventually your investments will turn fresh fruit all at once and you’ll be drowning in it.

If you got friends that are girls, It’ll make other girls more attracted to you. It’s crazy.

Q: “Is there a male equivalent?”

I guess, but unless you’re Brad Pitt most guys really don’t have girls lining up like that. Girls really don’t chase dudes like that for the most part. If you’re a pretty girl, you can pretty much perpetually never be single because there will always be someone next willing to pick up the torch. Dry spells in those situations are self-inflicted, not due to lack of choice.

On the Booty:

She probably had a fat ass.

I feel like that whole situation could’ve gone down diplomatically if she didn’t have a fat ass.

Like if me and you got a dispute over a girl, usually guys won’t come to blows over some shit like that. I mean how many times have you seen the story where two dudes find out they’re sleeping with the same girl, then they team up on the girl and expose her and become best friends after that? We try to be as logical as possible when its pimp on pimp. Sometimes you cross streams, it happens. Handle yourself like a gent[le]sir and you’ll be aight.

Only time I’ve ever seen pimps get violent with each other is when the ass is fat. If shawty got a fat ass, you might get stabbed in the middle of the street. A nigga might run up on you while you at yo grandma house and shoot your dog. Niggas might shit on your doorstep on some Billy Madison type shit. Dudes take the ass personally, it’s not just business after that. Once you put your face in between them cheeks its like going to another dimension; its like when that astronaut went to Jupiter in 2001: A Space Oddessey and lived his whole life and died and reached out for the monolith and shit; that monolith represented the booty.

That’s why there’s so much violence in the Black and Latin communities; because there’s so much ass in the black and latin communities. Get a chart, and make a correlation between the size of the asses and the amount of violence. There’s no violence in Switzerland because none of them bony white girls got any ass, but there’s so much ass in Africa that even little kids pickin up guns and shootin each other with that nigga Kony who ran for President.

r/NFL – Example 1A: Why buying stock in a professional athlete is a bad idea.

Definite hoefessional. This is rolling out all according to plan. Let’s break down shorty’s gameplan and how she was able to completely phase out Foster’s offense:

  • Convinced a top 10 RB, who is paid millions of dollars and is one of the most recognizable athletes in the league, to cheat on his wife and the mother of his children (not that hard, see /r/nba post for why)
  • Established a relationship as the #1 side chick; most hoes would be cool with this title, but shorty went for the jugular
  • Got pregnant. Whether intentionally or accidentally, this is the jackpot. This is the golden ticket. This is what these hoes dream of. The thought of rich ass sperm doin’ laps like Michael Phelps in the pussy got these hoes gettin’ extra excited in these streets. Pissing on that stick and seeing that plus sign pop up is like scratching off the million dollar lotto ticket. Foster had to of known the perils of getting the side chick pregnant; did it anyway. If her game is like that, then you know she probably has that out the park Derek Jeter in ’03 pussy. That pussy probably so strong it could bench press 225 like 30 reps. Pussy so fat it went to prom alone. Shit so sweet you could coat your Thanksgiving apple pie with it. Got one of them fat cats that swallows thongs. God tier level hams.
  • Brought a lawsuit when the opportunity arose, mad exposure for herself. She might fuck around and get a reality show out of this. This is where she crossed into “hoefessional” territory. See, you can luck up and end up in this situation. You can just be a little girl who falls in love with an NFL player and gets knocked up; it could happen. But the second you lawyer up and start servin niggas, that’s when the gloves come off. She’s not suing bruh bruh for backed child support or anything like that, this bitch straight up bringin torts against this nigga for text messages. That’s some shit that, if you weren’t a hoefessional, you could handle outside of a court. Many couples go through this dilemma without suing each other. But once you start asking for money because someone said something to you that you didn’t wanna hear, you bout that lyfe. “Emotional distress” is the biggest crock of bullshit ever, but people get fuckin paid off that shit. She sought counsel on his ass before the baby even came out. That’s hoefessionalism at its finest.
  • Probably ruined Arian Foster’s life and family, and will probably bring an unwanted child into this world who will more likely than not have a fucked up upbringing/sore and severed relationship with his or her family. That’s a casualty of war when you’re about that C.R.E.A.M. ya feel me

Shorty followed the book play by play. The second he nutted in her she was like “talk to my lawyer” right after that. That’s the game. Arian couldn’t keep his shit in his pants and now he has to pay the price. Hopefully he won’t take out any contempt he has for the baby mama on the child; the child is the innocent victim in all of this. The biggest bitch move he could pull which he alluded to the texts is to disown the child or not try to be in its life. That’s a bigger bitch move than having the baby in the first place.

EDIT: This shit got crossposted to /r/bestof (again), and as such a bunch of no flair havin’ fuck boys comin in here lubricating the misandry cannon with their man tears. This is /r/nfl not /r/bitchniggasanonymous. I’m a dude and we don’t love these hoes but yall be on some other shit that I just cannot cosign, from any vantage point.

Niggas is in here actin’ like spermjacking is a thing. Fuck outta here, fuck out my face. dont nobody want your sperm, shit look like spoiled milk. Nigga you on reddit you probably nut .000001 of a bitcoin or something stupid like that, don’t no hoes want your fucked up chromosomes unless she wants a pro minecraft player for a son. I don’t want sex or relationship advice from none of you mother fuckers unless I’m pickin up bitches on Neopets or Gaia forums.

We aren’t about to rewrite the constitution cause your bitches be wildin’. Get your life together.

On Music

r/hiphopheads – Danny Brown is going off on Twitter right now

I definitely understand that whole “Y’all don’t love me/you just want me to be goofy” thing.
When everyone sees you as the funny guy, or the life or the party or whatever, you’re kinda forced to live with a smile on 24/7.

Nobody is that happy all the time; nobody should be. But we as fans don’t care, we just see guys like Danny as entertainers and nothing else. They are there to make us laugh and to party with us, but sometimes on the other side of that coin it’s quick to wonder whether they’re laughing at you or with you.

We don’t see entertainers as people. We objectify them, just like we objectify women. They are a means of our own personal entertainment and pleasure, and nothing more. Now objectification is not always wrong, it just needs to be consensual. A stripper is okay to objectify; that’s her job. A lady walking down the street is not. Entertainers are aware that their fans really don’t give a shit about them, but if you’re a personality that is seen as an entertainer 24/7, even off the stage, that can seep into your personal life and the people around you can seem like they’re only friends with you “because you’re entertaining”, not because they actually like you.

Danny is from the gutter. This nigga from the worst of the worst. He’s seen some shit, and for him to basically be the “funny molly dude with a missing tooth” to a bunch of suburban white kids must be kinda awkward, but nobody thinks about that. A majority of his fanbase, and probably a large chunk of his current circle cannot connect with him on some real shit at all, and that must feel really alienating.

Danny isn’t going crazy. Quite the opposite; Danny simply feels like the only sane person in the room. I hope he gets some help because he’s really talented but he’s obviously got some soul searching to do.

r/hiphopheads – Can someone explain the importance of Jay Electronica to me?

Jay Electronica was dropping some real deep shit at the height of ringtone rap. That’s the primary reason he got attention. He was a viral sensation who’s MySpace was passed around hip-hop circles. His story is fascinating, almost legend-like. Here’s a guy, a hip-hop hermit who bummed around different cities, was literally a hobo sleeping on trains who eventually lucked up and met J Dilla, and did a demo tape with him. It gets passed around, the buzz builds, he meets guys like Just Blaze who blessed him with those Exhibit joints, he ends up wifing Erykah fucking Badu (you gotta be a bad mother fucker to go at Ms. Badu, especially if you were just a hobo) and just when you think think this man can’t make any more power moves, he ends up on Roc Nation and gets with a fucking Rothschild. The head family of the banking industry. The oldest “old money” there is. If there’s a real life “Illuminati”, it’s the fucking Rothschilds. They ran all the money in the world for a hot minute. And not only did he get with one, he made her leave her husband.

What is this man’s dick made of

Personally, his story is so improbable that I’m fully convinced he’s an alien, or some kind of enlightened being, the reincarnation of Buddha, something big. Nobody just goes from hobo to Illuminati, man, that’s not how this works. And if you listen to his music, it’s like he knew this is where he was going to end up. He knew he could get to the top. Not the “celebrity” top, that’s not the real top. Jay-Z and Kanye still answer to people. The real top. That true upper echelon. That was always his aim, and he found an in. People who have worked with him always talked about how much of a tactician he was. It always seemed like there was a grand plan that he was going for that was above everyone. Trust me, if we haven’t gotten Act II yet, it’s for a reason.

Money and power are two separate concepts. You can have one and not the other.
Jay-Z has a lot of money, and a fair amount of power given what he actually does for a living. Is influencing geo-politics? Not really.

The Rothschilds, on paper, don’t have that much money. But due to their name, connections, and history, they’re the most powerful family on earth.

I really wasn’t trying to make a straight comparison between elec and Z; it’s an apples to oranges thing. But trust me, if Jay Elec has a child by this chick, oh man.

No organization, institution or weapon can defeat the power of black dick. This dick has crumbled nations.

On Kanye:

I think what Kanye realized early on in the game is that it is impossible to be fresh and new and creative by yourself. You have to be an open book and allow your sound to be influenced by whatever is hot on the block; if you don’t your sound will stagnate.

While we all have nostalgia, if Kanye still sounded like College Dropout Kanye in 2014, no way he’s as big as he is now. That progression is why he is what he is. He’s made something for every demographic, every mood, every style, everything. He has become a chameleon of music. At the same time, he understands that fans crave familiarity to a degree, which is why he’ll oversee and edit the finished product, so that it’s still Kanye. It’s much different than just having someone straight up ghost produce for you.

It’s the reason why all of his albums sound completely different from one another; especially everything post Graduation. Kanye is a master collaborator while most producers are very protective of their beats and don’t want anyone to touch them. If you take that attitude with your music it’s gonna get stale after a while.

We live in a great moment in music where everyone is collaborating with everyone. 20 years ago you wouldn’t of had the DJ Mustards of the world doing beats for Justin Bieber. You didn’t have the entire music industry basically all working together and diversifying and making music that transcends the notion of “genre.”

Within the next 10 years the entire notion of “genres” will be outdated because we will have mixed so much. You got rappers doing country songs, you got rockers that rap and make beats on the side, you got Disney Channel stars dropping 16 bars, like it’s crazy out here right now.

There’s so many artists out right now with so many varied influences that trying to put anyone in a box simply won’t work anymore. What you’re seeing is the result of the internet’s effect of the music industry and musicians. You can work with anyone, sample anything, get influences from anywhere, its honestly amazing and is going to push music into completely new territories.

On Macklemore:

It must suck to be Macklemore, man.

He’s the most popular yet most hated man in hip-hop at the same time. Plenty of rappers get hate, but what makes Macklemore’s hate even worse is that pretty much all of it is coming from within the genre, while his fans are outside of it.

Every other rapper experiences the exact opposite; it’s those that don’t listen to rap/people you don’t fuck with anyway saying you suck so it really doesn’t matter because they aren’t in your peripherals anyway. But to receieve damn near universal hate from within the same circle you admire and came up in? That must suck.

Mack can redeem himself but he’s gonna have to drop the bullshit and get back to business. Dude needs to move to Atlanta and do an entire album with Young Thug or something cause his cred is on life support and if he doesn’t get back to his roots he’s gonna go full Vanilla Ice and end up doing TMNT soundtracks.

On Labels:

If you’re the type of person that wants to micromanage their career and you want full creative control, then yes, labels are literally Satan.

However, if you’re just down to do whatever is gonna sell/make you famous, its not so contentious.

It varies artist to artist, but in 2014 if you’re successful and inventive and progressive, do not for the love of god sign straight to a major. Don’t sign to anyone really unless you get to retain full creative control, there’s no reason to give up that power these days.

On making the XXL Freshman List:

Honestly, XXL freshman list isn’t that big of a deal anymore. Simply because XXL doesn’t have the pull that it once had. It’s a nice notch on your resume but if you suck, making the list will not make you unsuck. It can sometimes give a little shine to lesser known cats, but honestly they were probably on that trajectory anyways. Plenty of people have made the XXL list to never be heard from again.

With the Internet, exposure is probably the easiest thing to obtain as an artist if you’ve got talent. Nobody holds the keys to the rest of the world anymore. If you’re good, and you hustle, and you network, you can be worldwide without a single cosign.

Ask Tyler; he pissed off every hip-hop media outlet ever and still got more famous than all of them combined.

That’s another huge problem with the list as well: they regularly pick guys who have been in the game forever. These aren’t freshmen, these are 5th year seniors. I think the list would be a lot cooler if they actually picked unheard/unsung cats instead of people who already have a fuckton of buzz.

It’s almost like XXL is jumping on the coat tails of cats who are already on a mainstream trajectory so they can be like “See we made that happen!” when they actually did jackshit.

How To Become A Legend:

  1. Die – If you die, you only need one classic album.
  2. If you don’t wanna die, you need a body of work that spans around a decade. You need to be proficient in every arena: You need to have the hit singles, you need the critical acclaim, you need to sell really well, you need to be a good performer, and you need to do all of these things consistently for around a decade. Do that, and we can start talking legend.

    Kanye is just now crossing into “legendary” territory, even if people don’t want to admit it. Drake is next. The verdict is still out on Kendrick; Section.80 came out like 2-3 years ago, chill. Let’s see if he can stay consistent. If he wins a Grammy this year, that’ll help. Chance and Freddie, hell no, nowhere near now. I’m kinda mad you mentioned Chance, the dude doesn’t even have a proper album out. That’s circlejerky as hell. Neither of them have sold anything noteworthy. Sales count. Popularity/cultural impact count. Only person right now on a certified “legend” trajectory is Drizzy.

Q: Why do most Vine videos seem to be about racial stereotypes?

  1. Minorities like racial humor.
  2. Black people popularized Vine (shouts out to Terio someone put that boy in a school pls)
  3. ???
  4. Profit

Minorities do not break into a cold sweat about race humor. We don’t have to. “Political correctness” was a concept created in the ’70s so that White people could co-exist with groups they were just recently shitting on (watch “All In The Family” for a comical analysis of the culture shift towards political correctness). It’s really not a virtue taught to minorities like it is white people, due to historical context.

Everybody likes race humor, its funny as hell. It crosses into “not cool bro” racism when you start making jokes about fucked up things like slavery/being a criminal/not having a father aka Reddit’s favorite topics. If you guys could make race humor that wasn’t so fucked up nobody would give a shit. It’s the difference between “jews liking bagels” and a holocaust joke. The “who” and the “what” in race humor are vital in whether or not it goes from “funny” to “racist”.

On comedy:

It’s not just for white people, but most of the time when we’re talking about political correctness it’s in the context of “why can’t I shit on recently oppressed groups?”

It’s why you dont find many conservative/right wing comedians. It’s only funny if you’re punching up. If the dominant group is shitting on an oppressed group, it’s a little more fucked up. When dominant groups shit on oppressed groups you get shit like minstrel shows. That wasn’t cool.

Sexual abuse in the entertainment industry period is really rampant. Any place where you have a lot of young, vulnerable people with little to no supervision and powerful people who control them, this will happen.

On Interracial Dating:

Interracial dating from the perspective of black people is complicated. It’s not so much rooted in hatred of white people (as it is when applied from the other way around) as much as it is about self preservation and fear.

Up until a generation or two ago you would literally get murdered for dating a white woman. False rape accusations against black men by white women was the easiest excuse you could make up to lynch someone; an entire town in Florida was burned to the ground and its residents ran out of town or killed/thrown in ditches based off of one false rape accusation against a black man by a white woman. Emmet Till got his shit broken in two for looking at one. There is huge precedent in the black community, especially among older black people who remember this shit, that interracial dating is literally dangerous. My dad told me a story about how a huge fight/riot broke out at his Senior Prom because one of the black kids showed up with a white girl on his arms; not just any white girl, but head cheerleader/homecoming queen. They had to cancel the prom. This was the ’70s.

Beyond that, there’s also the bluest eye syndrome where people have this perception that white people/white women are prettier than their black counterparts. A lot of black people see a black dude white a white girl and assume that “because he likes white girls, he must think black women are ugly.” This is obviously flawed logic (gasp you can like both) but that’s the rationale. They have this perception that good black men are a commodity and that they’re being “stolen” by white women.

Now you notice that I didn’t say anything about white men/black women interracial dating. This really isn’t as contentious, firstly because the relationship historically isn’t controversial due to the patriarchal nature of our society and the fact that white men simply can sleep with whoever they want with impunity. It is only white women who are told who they can and cannot sleep with, so in a sense, interracial dating is as much as a racial issue as much as it is a feminist one.

From Common’s perspective, I don’t think he hates white people or thinks that interracial dating is wrong. He’s simply viewing interracial dating with historical context. I had a black friend who dated a white girl and his parents hated it; not because they hated her, but because they feared what would happen to him. They told him he could date her but to never meet her family. The South is fucked up.

On racism in Reddit:

Jesus christ, you guys are really cringeworthy. That comment, this comment chain, all of it. You all are so fucking egocentric and have this idea in your head that “white is normal” that anyone who steps out of that fucking stupid set of rules is “trying too hard”, completely overlooking the fact that there are people who didn’t grow up in the fucking suburbs, who don’t give a fucking rat’s ass about how you talk, and do whatever the fuck they want without the consent of white people. Yes, that’s right, there are people out there who live their entire lives without worrying about how white people think of them. Crazy, I know.

You all are so stuck up your own asses that every time I speak in my natural vernacular I break this fucking website because you all cannot fathom a minority that is okay with being a minority. “Why isn’t he hiding the fact that he’s black? Why is he proud of ebonics? Why doesn’t he think my way of thinking is better? He must be a fraud.”

Fuck all of you. Sincerely.

Honestly, I’d rather deal with the trolls on /r/niggers than deal with some of you. At least they’re up front about their racism and don’t try to hide it behind a thin veil of pseudo liberalism “oh I voted for obama I cant be racist” bullshit. If a minority speaks in their natural vernacular around you, it has nothing to do with you. They are not “pandering” to you. The world does not revolve around your stupid fucking opinions.

The only reason I come back here is because I’ve gotten 2 job offers and a record deal off this website. It is a resource that 99% of you will never use to its full advantage because you’re either too stupid or not good enough to game the system to your advantage. It’s mindless entertainment until you guys go full retard and show the world how fucking uncultured and unexposed you are.

I talk how I wanna talk, there is no fucking law that I must speak like you. You can think I’m ghetto, or a thug, or whatever. You probably felt like that anyway before I opened my mouth. I do not have to “prove” myself to white people in order to gain your respect. Your respect is fucking worthless to me, because you have done nothing to earn it, besides be white. Get the fuck over yourselves, please.

Read something besides fuckin’ Richard Dawkins and Maddox for once in your life and actually learn something.

On the pussy in LA and Miami:

It’s not famous pussy, it’s the “wants to be famous” pussy that you end up drowning in. You can snatch a celebrity anywhere, that’s not a big deal when you’re a celebrity yourself. But the true draw is that these cities are full of people who’s main objective in life is to climb the fame ladder, and your dick is a very convenient ladder piece. Most guys think it’s them; lol ok.

On charging for a rap verse:

GUYS – UNDERSTAND THAT PRICES MAY VARY – ARTISTS DO NOT HAVE A SET PRICE. IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE.

If you’re a bigger artist than the person you want a feature from, you’ll probably get it for the low or free because that artist really wants to be on your tape. If you two are of equal size, a verse swap may be how you do it. Also, a lot of guys will give you a free verse if they know your song is gonna blow up because that’s a publishing check for them. If the song isn’t gonna blow up or you aren’t a big name, they’ll probably charge more up front.

Also, these major artists who are getting 100k for a feature are not putting that 100k in their pocket; their label is taking a huge chunk of that, so they have to charge that much to make up for what their label takes out. Also they probably wouldn’t charge that much to an independent guy; 100k for a feature is one major label guy getting a feature from another major label guy. The difference between label feature/indie feature can be like 50k v. 10k.

It all comes down to who you are and how much money you have. Most artists can be haggled down or worked with. It’s honestly a case by case basis, the only way you find out is to e-mail their people, tell them who you are and what you wanna use the feature for, and they’ll let you know.

On Production:

40 is a producer, and does his own beats, but he also touches up any beat that crosses Drake’s desk, therefore getting co-production on it.

Drake does this for pretty much the opposite reason Kanye does it; while Kanye wants to change his sound, Drake wants to maintain that “OVO sound” or what the fuck ever on everything he touches. 40 is that OVO sound, so every beat that comes to Drake, 40 will give it that OVO touch.

For example: Trophies. Trophies is a hit boy beat, but you can tell that the hook got that 40 touch on it. That underwater filter, them drums, thats all 40. Also, if you find the original leaked version of Trophies that doesn’t have the hook, you can tell the difference between the two.

Honestly there’s only 2 producers out there who have been able to stay fresh on their own: Skateboard P and Timbo. Each have been in the game like 20 years and are still at the top, still the most in demand producers. that’s wild when you think of all the producers who have come and gone in that time.

I think Pharrell has had staying power because he’s an artist and a producer. A lot of producers can’t rap, can’t sing, might not even be able to play an instrument. They just know their DAW’s and their hardware in and out. When Pharrell started with the Neptunes, he didnt know shit about the hardware; that was Chad. Pharrell would bang out a beat on a drum or something and Chad would make it happen. He knows how to construct songs, not just beats. When Pharrell does a beat for you, he’s not just gonna send you a beat. He’s gonna give you a hook, maybe some ad libs, coach you on your flow, how it should fit within the beat. It’s an all inclusive package.

Timbo has stayed fresh because he’s always thought out of the box with his beats. He doesnt limit himself to whats on his keyboard or computer. This is a guy that will sample anything and make it hot. This is a guy that’ll record him beating on a table with a pencil or some shit, maybe record some cups or some shit, and put it on the record. This is a guy who put a grasshopper all through “One In A Million.” He put a baby on “Are You That Somebody.” He’s still doing weird shit like that to this day which sets his beat apart from the pack.

Pharrell has the pop formula down to a science. I’ve never seen a song like “Happy” get so much play in so many different arenas. I’d never imagine a day where a song made for a kid’s movie ends up on Hot 97 but here we are.

On Music and Business:

Most (smart) entertainers have other business ventures that they are invested in. Not all of their money; probably not even a majority of it, comes strictly off album sales. Album sale money is paltry these days; rap- wise your biggest most consistent check is touring.

But even that money isn’t enough to put you in the millions on millionaire territory unless you’re in the top .01% of the game. There’s an infinite amount of streams of income you can have when you have a little money; takes it to make it.

Rick Ross owns a chain of Wing Stops in South Florida, most of them invest in small business/real estate, shit like that. Endorsing brands (50 with Vitamin Water, Dre Beats, even on a smaller level Action Bronson had a deal with G-Pen I believe, etc.)

That’s what you’re supposed to do when you make a lot of money but its not a 100% guarantee you’ll ever make that much money again. Long term investing is what separates the Jay-Z’s and the 50 Cent’s of the world from all the broke ballers of yesteryear.

In terms of the Macklemore question, that’s something you’d have to ask his accountant. Not all of that 10 million is strictly off sales. Dude had the NBA endorsement which was probably money, shit like that. Also those networth websites aren’t always accurate.

On the hiphop scene in New York:

From my vantage point, NY had a couple of issues that all kinda culminated at the same time:

  1. Too much in-house feuding. The Roc broke up, Dipset broke up, G-Unit broke up, hell even Murder Inc. fell apart, all around the same time. It created a vacuum that has yet to be filled.
  2. NY has such an illustrious hip-hop past that they are extremely stingy giving anyone the crown to the city. If you’re a local rapper trying to make it, you have to compete with the likes of Jay and Nas and Biggie; it’s simply unfair. There’s such a high bar if you’re gonna call yourself an NY rapper that rappers from NY have found more success by appealing to people outside of NY. That’s why the biggest rappers out of NY right now sound like they’re from Atlanta.
  3. The “NY sound” is dated and nobody has really tried to bring it into 2013. They’re finally starting to get it with the Pro Era/Beast Coast guys, but even they sound dated most of the time, and they’re still underground.
  4. NY radio doesn’t support local hip-hop that much. But the radio isn’t the problem; there simply isn’t that much good NY hip-hop to support that doesn’t sound like it was made in 1998. As someone else said, Action Bronson/Troy Ave get some spin on Hot 97 every now and then but for the most part, NY simply doesn’t have the stars that it once did. Guys like Jay and Nas have outgrown the city, and they’ve left shoes to fill so large that literally nobody can fill them.
  5. NY Hip-Hop is more politics than anything else, and they aren’t the only act on the block anymore. NY hasn’t “fallen off” as much as they’ve become equal with the rest of the country. Back in the day if you werent from the east or west coast nobody took you seriously. NY had damn near a monopoly on the game at one point; so compared to those days yea they’ve “fallen off”. But they haven’t really; there’s still talent in NY, it just isn’t the 1994 NY circlejerk anymore and they’re salty about that. NY stans are the hip-hop equivalent to Men Right’s activists.

Advice for a producer:

A couple of pointers:

  1. As simply instrumentals, these are really good. Almost sounds like some Trent Reznor type shit. As hip hop beats, however, they need help.
  2. The #1 thing that has to be present and forward in a hip-hop beat is the drums. Your drums are probably the most lacking part of your beats. Your kick is paltry. Layer that bitch up. Your bass really isn’t coming through that well at all, even though I can tell you put it there.
  3. Your drum rhythms would be really hard to rap on for someone to find it dope. There’s not a lot of swing in these. None of these beats make me bob my head. If you can’t get the head bobbin, go back and fix it. These drum patters are very stoic. You need a little soul in your drums, even if you’re sampling all types of crazy shit, your drums still need to be soulful. Your drums are not at all.

As I said, from a pure musical perspective, if this was a standalone instrumental project, I’d fuck with it. But if you want someone to hop on these, you need to learn how to construct beats. Constructing instrumentals vs. constructing beats that another person is going to insert themselves into are two completely different formats of creation. It sounds like you were completely focused on the beat, but not so much on how anyone would rap on it. You can’t just make anything and expect someone to wanna rap on it. You have to give them space within the beat.

But keep working. Since it seems like you’ve got a general mastery of your software down, now you need to get your musicality down. Too many producers are programmers and not musicians. If you’re a programmer, if you know how FL or Ableton or whatever works, you can make music. But you aren’t gonna make anything anyone is gonna fuck with, because being a programmer is the opposite spectrum of being a musician.

Go listen to your favorite beats. Find the instrumentals. Listen to them, and see if you can hear what they have and you lack. See if you can see strings of commonality between all the beats. Watch producer interviews on how they made their beats. And get a little more music theory in there, learn your chord progressions, blah blah. You can be a shitty bedroom producer at the skill level you’re at now, but if you wanna elevate it to the point where people care about your music and will pay you for it, you gotta become an expert in a lot of different fields.

On Beyonce & Jay-Z:

I’m pretty sure both Jay and Bey realized the business potential behind their marriage, but they had been fuckin’ with each other ever since Jay was just an average pop rapper and Destiny’s Child was still on the come up. I don’t think either envisioned they’d get as big as they got.

On Classics:

The artist does not determine whether an album is a classic; the people do. An artist can hate his record, but if the people like it, it doesn’t matter what the artist’s opinion on it is. A lot of artists hate their most popular work (mostly because they’ve had to play it so much/it defined their career even when they wanted to do other shit).

So yes, I think both can still be achieved. The making of an album has no bearing on whether or not it’s a classic; a lot of classic records were made by guys fuckin’ around, guys just goofin’ off in the studio, or straight up label creations, and the people fucked with it.

Everyone says their album is a classic; it’s how you build up hype. French Montana said his album was a classic, Wale said his album was a classic, everyone says their shit is gonna be a classic to build hype.

It’s a marketing ploy, my dude. Even if you disagree with them, you still probably had to go listen to the album to make up your mind that you disagree with them. Doesn’t matter if you agree, you still listened, and that’s all they care about.

On rappers + education:

Yes, most rappers were actually really good students. Kendrick was a straight A student, 2 chainz was a straight A student, Method Man graduated top of his class, Kanye was a good student, so was Tupac, David Banner was getting his master’s degree before he started rapping, Ludacris graduated summa cum laude, etc. The whole “rappers are uneducated” thing is just thinly veiled racism.

On record labels today:

All the big labels are pretty much throwing around deals like candy. It’s never been easier to get a record deal than it is right now, because artists are figuring out that you don’t need a label. Labels just want you to sign a piece of paper saying they own everything you do; remember, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these guys are doing 360 deals. So anything you do, whether it be touring, TV appearances, ANYTHING YOU DO, they’re getting a cut. So just because Paris Hilton isn’t topping the charts doesn’t mean she’s not generating a couple bucks in another fashion.

Out of all of those artists, if just one of them scores a hit at any point, that would be enough to cover everyone else’s overhead. They’re basically snapping up artists in the off chance that one of them, maybe, might score a hit and then the label gets like 85% of it. Keeping an artist on your label really doesn’t cost that much; they aren’t salaried workers.

Here’s an example of how desperate labels are these days:

One of my friends did this silly Macbook white girl rap with one of her friends. It was funny, but obviously they were just fucking around. XXYYXX, who’s also a friend of ours, saw it and reblogged it on his soundcloud for shits and giggles and it ends up getting a bunch of hits. Shit hit 6 figures overnight. (They’ve taken the song down for some reason idk)

No lie I see shorty like a week later and she says after XXYYXX did that, Interscope emailed them and wanted them to come out to LA. Off of one shitty laptop rap. I guess Interscope thought they were snapping up the next viral sensation when in actuality it was just some high chicks who aren’t actually rappers. They’re desperate out here.

On artists leaking albums:

Does anyone else feel like artists leaking their own albums as a supposed “fuck you” to their label is kinda childish? First of all, it feels like a thinly veiled marketing ploy. “Oh look, ____ leaked their own album! Fuck the industry! Yea, this artist is down for the fans,” when in actuality they’re just trying to build buzz.

Also, you knew when you signed your deal that your music wasn’t 100% yours. You knew that. The label put up the money for your album, not you. Whoever puts the money up retains the rights, and the label produced your album. They marketed it for you, bought you studio time, bought you beats, features, and you’re gonna go on a hissy fit and make them lose money because they wanted to push the album back to maximize profits?

If you wanna fuck the industry, then leave your label. Don’t do bad business and break contracts “4 da luv of da game” like I cant

When accused of pandering for visibility and attention:

“The thing is, you’re clearly doing it for visibility and attention, in a pandering sort of way”

This is fucking Reddit dude; that’s literally the entire point of this website. That’s why people can vote on your fucking comments. Literally every single person on here is trying to get attention; I’m just really good at it because I’m a good writer. I’ve been on this website for years, under different aliases, and they all blow up like this regardless of the subject matter.

“And the thing is, no one writes exactly how they talk”

I do. That post is exactly how I talk. Not everyone has the privilege of growing up in white bread Massachusetts. Some of us are from the muck, from the sticks, and that’s how we talk. I don’t care. It was supposed to be humorous and typing like some middle class white boy with Toms on really ain’t that funny, cause middle class white boys with Toms on really ain’t that funny.

Do I want the approval of reddit? You can say so. I got a blogging job off Reddit that is helping keep the lights on. I started a music career on here. This is one of the most visited websites on Earth; you’d be dumb not to utilize it to your best ability. But if you wanna criticize me for pandering to Reddit you need to criticize yourself and every other person who has an account.

Your opinion is noted but is ultimately unimportant to my life so good day

Dude, I know you don’t know me, which obviously you would kinda have to in order to make such a fuck boy presumption like that, but it’s not an act. This is how I am and I’m not gonna censor myself because it’s a bunch of white teens. Either they can get with it or they can get the fuck on. If someone ever steps to me sideways, I let them know hey I ain’t bout that. I ain’t no magical negro; I’m not gonna change who I am because its a bunch of little sheltered white kids. It’s the fuckin’ internet, you don’t know me. I can do and say what I want, honestly. It’s entertainment.

If you yourself are black, and you somehow view my way of speech as negative, then maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you hate yourself. I don’t exist to make white people feel comfortable; I’m over that. I’m not gonna walk on egg shells and be all Carlton Banks because some white people walked in the room. I’ll let my multiple college degrees and business pedigree speak for me, I don’t have to lower myself and deny my heritage because some fuck boys from across the world don’t like it.
I am who I am regardless of who’s watching.

If they felt that way before I said anything, then why should I care? I think its unfair that all minorities should bear the burden of being the spokesperson for their entire race anytime white people walk in the room. As I said, I do not exist to make white people comfortable. I do not base my day around “Hmm, I wonder how white people will feel about this.”

Because you know what? No matter how you talk, or how you dress, or what you accomplish, you will always just be a nigga in their eyes. Ask the President. So at this point in the game, I’m simply done with trying to impress white people. If you think I’m a thug or ghetto or whatever, cool. Just do it from the other side of your computer and stay outta my life.

Your racism is jokes at this point in the game. like it’s funny to me, because 80 years ago I would be shitless afraid of you but now its like hey, you cant do shit to me except talk shit about me on the internet. You couldnt say that to me to my face, you wouldn’t, it would end up horrible for you. You’ve been pushed out of proper society, your opinion moves further and further to the fringes of acceptability and I consider that a huge win given how little time its been.

Your kind are dying, and its glorious to watch it happen.

How to tell a rapper he sucks:

It’s really hard to tell a struggling rapper they suck. A lot of them simply will never get the hint. I don’t know how some rappers are so oblivious to how bad they are, but not everyone has that ear. I mean, if the only people who fuck with your music is your girl and your mom you got a problem, and its not “the haters” or whatever. Honestly that’s a conclusion that dudes must come to on their own.

But if you don’t wanna work with someone, you aren’t obligated to. Just say you’re looking for another sound and move on.

On Men’s Rights Activists:

It’s worse than feminism because at least feminists are coming from a lower step on the hierarchy. It’s more like White rights; they don’t want equality, they want the inequality that’s been precedent up until now to stay intact, and to feverishly deny that such inequality even exists.

The problem with feminism (and I guess TRP too) is that all women and all men are not the same, and do not face the same issues. There’s some vague shit that applies to everyone across the board, but a middle class white girl on Tumblr is gonna have a completely different definition of “feminism” than some chick gettin’ her clit chopped off in Uganda, ya feel me?

You’re over here getting mad because someone misquoted Bell Hooks while this broad over here has to deal with a society where people think having sex with virgins cures AIDS. It’s too broad to put everything under one umbrella because low key the “personal struggles” of that white girl are gonna take precedent over the chick getting raped in a gutter, which I have an issue with.

I like to define it as “Lena Dunham feminism” or “Lily Allen feminism” because that’s what it has become. It’s women’s issues from one viewpoint. Feminism only stands up for one class, one group of women, over everyone else because of cultural barriers.

So in actuality, feminism’s problems are simply semantics. I have a problem with TRP existing. Some of the issues they bring up are valid, like fucked up divorce laws, but they fail to realize that all of those issues were created by dudes. It’s dude on dude crime. I don’t care. Women aren’t the enemy, that’s so dumb. They aren’t meat, they aren’t sperm holes, they have like, feelings and shit. They like cats, a lot. And cats are cool.

Ahh shit, I knew the MRA fuck boys was gonna make themselves known eventually.
“Victim” would imply that PG had no say or no contribution to what went down. Unless shorty sucked the cum out his dick while he was asleep, he ain’t no “victim”. He dumb.

If a stove is hot, and you know it’s hot, and touch that shit anyway, are you a victim to the stove? No, you dumb as shit for touchin’ a hot stove. The stove was just doing what a stove do; be hot.

Same situation here. Shorty was a hoe. PG knew she was a hoe. She just doin’ what hoes do; be a hoe. If you get a hoe pregnant, she gonna be a hoe and take your money. Nobody forced PG to fuck her, he wasn’t raped by the bitch, he voluntarily cheated on his girl and got her pregnant.

Niggas like you seem to wanna live in this fantasy world where you can fuck whoever you want, whenever you want, and then have full say over what happens after that as well. This ain’t 1956. Thats not how the world works; takes two to tango. If you don’t trust her, don’t fuck her. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

If you aren’t man enough/smart enough to take responsibility for where you spread your seed then don’t spread it. Once you give her that semen, its no longer yours. Legally. Once that baby starts kickin’, she decides what happens to it. You know that. If you don’t, you’re ignorant and dumb and that’s what happens to ignorant and dumb mother fuckers.

On Obama:

Yea, we voted for him because he was black. No shame, take historical context into consideration. It’s not like the alternative was any better. It was an accomplishment to go from second-rate citizen to the White House. My grandparents fell on the floor in tears when he won, those mother fuckers got chased by police dogs and beaten so Obama could stand up there. His win was our win. We wouldn’t expect white people to understand that feeling, but its okay.

On White privilege:

Okay I’m gonna try to break this down as simply as possible because it seems like you really don’t understand what “white privilege” is, so I’m gonna go down a few points:

  1. Even if you are a first generation American, you still benefit from white privilege. White privilege is not just having money because your grandparents had money. It’s the fact that when you walk into a room, nobody judges you negatively due to your skin color. You belong to the statistical and economic majority at first glance. That moment right there in and of itself goes farther than you realize. You have no reason to realize it, because it’s never a factor in your life. Just because you never noticed it, doesn’t mean its not there. That has nothing to do with how long you’ve been here in this country.
  2. White privilege does not guarantee that you will be successful in life.
  3. White privilege does not mean that you will have no hardships, face no biases, or never be a victim of discrimination. What it simply implies is that few to none of those things will happen due to the color of your skin, and if they do happen due to the color of your skin, it will never be on an institutional and legal level (unless its benefiting you).

Think about life success as a lottery. The more lotto tickets you have, the better chance you have of winning the lottery. However, even if you have 100 tickets you can still lose, or someone with just one ticket can win. White people, when entering America are given 10 lotto tickets. Minorities get 2, and therefore have a lower (but still possible) chance of winning.

It’s good that you and your family overcame hardship, but what I’m saying is that a minority will have to face that same harship, and some. It’s a different level. Everything you go through, with salt on the wound.

When people want equality or champion civil rights, you have to understand that this natural disparity exists between lotto tickets. If you don’t it will foolishly give you the views that minorities are trying to get “more” than white people, or want your money and don’t wanna work for it, “hand outs”, “welfare queens” or whatever other bullshit buzzwords people use to fight against equality.

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How to build a startup

V: I found this on a comment on Hacker News, and I’m sorry to say that I’ve lost the original link. If anybody knows who the author of this comment was, or has a link to the source, do let me know.

“Sorry to say but this post really rubbed me the wrong way. Let me explain…

Her important headings for “doing a startup in your spare time”:

  - Managing tasks
  - Sharing links
  - Talking to other founders
  - Emailing customers
  - Blogging
  - Weekly catch-ups

All of this stuff sounds nice, but face it, it’s all fluff. We really need to talk about the elephant in the room, the single most important item in a part time startup: how to get stuff built. If you can’t get it built in your spare time, none of this other stuff will matter.

Building anything of value tends to be difficult; doing it in your spare time is incredibly difficult. Here’s why:

  • In spite of your best efforts, you will be too tired after your day job.
  • When you’re “in the zone” you won’t be able to work on your start-up. When your working on your start-up, you won’t be able to get “into the zone”.
  • You won’t have long enough blocks of time to get large chunks done.
  • Your attention will more easily be diverted to other things (the day job).
  • It takes so much longer to have a deliverable, you will lose momentum and interest and get easily distracted or drawn to something shinier.

So what should you do? 3 things, religiously:

  1. Determine your “Big Fat What”. Have a precise definition of exactly what you’re going to build. That’s right, you must write requirements to yourself. Following the path of least resistance simply won’t work for a part-time start-up because you will never be able to sustain enough momentum. Writing requirements forces you to have better discipline and better plan, and it’s also the kind of work that fits nicely into those 2 hour blocks of time you have during the week.
  2. Determine your “Big Fat How”. This is when you translate your requirements into technical specs. You know, program definitions and flows, page layouts, data base schemas, etc. Yes, again you will be writing specs to yourself. Steps 1 & 2 are kinda like linear algebra; you’ll spend a lot of time doing seemingly mindless unnecessary steps to get to the where you really want to be…
  3. Build it. You do this on weekends when you have large enough blocks of time to crank. But your capability to build will only be as good as your preparation. As you struggle with Step 3, you’ll appreciate Steps 1 & 2 and get better at them. Then you’ll be surprised at how much progress you can make building in your spare time.

Once you have something built (a true feat in any part-time start-up) then (and only then) do OP’s suggestions come into play.”

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0134 – the future (and ongoing) disruption of education

wrote this a while ago, on january 5th… not sure why I didn’t publish it

Here’s something that bothers and confuses me: a lot of the thinking and discussion about the future of education is, in my opinion, overly fixated on the student/teacher/school model. People claim to talk about the gamification of education or innovation in education but often they’re talking about the gamification of schooling, innovation in schooling.

The future of education cannot and will not look like school.

Public schools are a recent phenomena in the context of human civilization. Literacy used to be coupled to monarchy, clergy, aristocracy. Schools as we see them today were revolutionary when they were introduced- meant to keep children from stealing laborers jobs, meant to train them to be cogs in the machine. Mind you, this was a good thing then. The machine had a shortage of cogs, and rewarded cogs handsomely. Today, there is an oversupply of cogs. Kids understand this.

There’s a general phenomena of migrant children working harder in schools than cushy, comfy kids. There are kids in China and India who’ll whoop everybody’s asses with their incredible work ethic. I’m tempted to see this more as a consequence of their circumstances rather than any intrinsic quality- they work harder because it is rational for them to do so, the payoffs, etc favor that. Maybe it’s dependence on parents and a need to prove themselves. A greater sense of responsibility, burden, purpose. Maybe it’s a clearer sense of “I can improve my station in life by working hard.” I don’t know. It’s complex.

The point is we have an oversupply of cogs now- and for a lot of the newer cogs, it’s rational to work hard to be the best, because the improvement in quality of life is tremendous. For the middle class cogs, its just misery- a lifetime of shitty work for a not-much-less-shittier life. Who wants that? It’s really more rational to seek the simpler, more inmediate and dependable pleasures- cigarettes, tv, reddit, porn, etc. There are hundreds of thousands of young people like this in the world and I see them on reddit and tumblr everyday. School, in its current incarnation, is just a shitty deal for them. They suffer from learned helplessness- something the migrant kids don’t have, because the relationship between efforr and payoff is clearer for the latter group. (This is just armchair analysis- I could be wrong. I invite your criticism. Specifically, I’m eager to hear your alternate theories to the general malaise and ennui of today’s young students in the developed world. Why are so many of them so miserable?)

On to disruption. We’re starting to develop a clearer picture of how disruption happens. Self-disruption almost never happens. Industry leaders are invested in their built-up solution, and are unable to take the risks necessary to try a primitive, childish, untested new industry… until it wipes them out. Kodak would never have invested in digital cameras. Railway companies did not get into air travel. Nokia’s dominance in phones got crushed when smartphones came about. None of the traditional media companies were particularly involved in social media initially.

Similarly, schools will get disrupted by something outside of the existing school paradigm. How will that play out? I can’t be sure, because disruption is never clearly obvious until it’s too late. But here’s how I see it happening. Some small group of people is going to have remarkable results. It’s members are going to be more creative, more skilled, and most importantly, more valued in the marketplace. Maybe a bunch of musicians are going to become marketing maestros, creating a ton of value. Maybe a bunch of after-school coders are going to build startups and get acquired, bypassing the entire degree-resume industrial complex. Degrees and resumes communicate pathetically little information in a search-savvy world. I’m not saying they’re entirely useless- being skilled with a sword is an indicator of physical strength, discipline, practice and a bunch of other virtues. But you’re still probably going to get screwed in a gunfight. Thing is, in this metaphor, guns are still toys- little entertaining oddities. The airplane was initially thought to have no military value.

All that matters for survival in this massive human farm is your ability to create value. Schools don’t really teach you that, they teach you to follow instructions and to be interchangeable. To be a cog. In the past, being a good cog was synonymous with being a value creator. Today, I’m not so sure.

What is the value you create in the world, which you ultimately exchange for goods and services, security? How did school help you do that?

There will always be room in the world for institutions of learning and skill acquisition. Doctors will need to go to medical school. Until, maybe, we have machines and robots render large quantities of them irrelevant. Lawyers will need to go to law school. Until we develop superior means of resolving disputes. Neither of those things is going to happen overnight, of course, but we have to remember that professions, jobs don’t last forever. They didn’t always exist- they were a recent human invention- and their golden era may be up, or at least waning.

If I could go back in time, I’d have spent more time writing. I’d have spent more time playing music, practicing. I’d have read more books. I’d have taught myself enough programming to do some data mining. I’d have taught myself enough design skills to make simple infographics.

Consider the convergence of academia and business. As things get more data driven- consider how Facebook and Twitter and OKCupid have access to social data that social scientists can only dream of- it will be clear that the best place to study such social phenomena will be within those organizations. Musicians no longer need to depend on record labels, writers can now self-publish, and a lot of learning- both for pleasure and personal economic gain- can and will happen outside of school.

I hated school as a kid. I much prefer the “real world”, even with bills, because I am much closer to the value I create in the world. Increasingly, education will move away from the artificially cloistered tutorial/training zones of schools. I imagine it’ll look more like a general layer over the world. I’ve noticed students from UNT on multiple tweet chats, learning about marketing and social media from industry practitioners.

I saw a tweet by somebody saying that they had expected social networks to come from Microsoft. But it was never going to happen.

“This is classic disruption in the sense of Clayton Christensen. An initially low-quality marginal market product (iron) getting better and eventually taking down the mainstream market (bronze), at a point where the incumbents could do nothing, despite the extreme sophistication of their civlization, with its evolved tin trading routes and deliberate metallurgical practices.”

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0132 + 0133 – Tesla Motors, Neil Tyson, Singapore, Vision and Benevolent Dictatorship

There are few things I’m more excited about than Tesla Motors. The company is committed to pulling the future forward to meet the present by accelerating the development of electric cars.

Tesla’s Model S is the safest car on the planet. Despite this, the few accidents and fires that the cars have gotten into have received a disproportionate amount of media coverage. In response, CEO Elon Musk wrote this blogpost which details how the cars are getting a defensive upgrade, despite already being the safest car in the world.

I find that exhilarating. Here’s  a comment on Hacker News that perfectly explains why:

This is what you get when a company/group/effort/community is lead by a “benevolent dictator” – someone with an absolutely pure vision of what they want their output to look like and the autonomy and strength to make it so no matter what.

I love this… I actually love that it probably pissed off Musk to no end the amount of attention the fires got and out of spite he went totally over the top and added ballistic plating to the bottom of the car as a super-constructive “fuck you” to everyone that bitched about it.

I am picturing this same thing happening at Chrysler or GM and I think 9 out of 10 CEOs would just let the whole non-issue blow over and go back to business – and the 1 CEO that would try and push for a ridiculous over-engineering solution like this would probably get shot down by the board.

That’s why I like this, it’s going way above and beyond because he can and because he believes in the vision he is selling so firmly that there is no wiggle room: “My cars are the best and goddamnit, I’m going to make them the best.”

I can think of two other examples that remind me of this. Apple under Steve Jobs, and Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew.

I’ll talk about Steve Jobs first. A lot of people have pointed out on multiple occasions that Steve Jobs could be a very rude, hostile, unlikeable person. He cheated Steve Wozniak out thousands of dollars, and did a bunch of really nasty things. Hardly a “benevolent” guy.

But “benevolent” in this case isn’t about personality. It’s about the relationship that a person has with the company or organization that she’s helming. The conventional dictator (think of any failed state) is one who extracts value from the State or Company to fatten her own wallet, at the expense of everyone else around her.

A benevolent dictator is one who uses her influence and power to enrich the State or Company. I don’t think anybody can dispute that this is what Steve Jobs did. His relentless commitment to “insanely great”, however pathalogical it was, put Apple on the map. It catalyzed and midwifed the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone.

Sure, in all of those cases Jobs got more credit than was due, but I think that’s just a common human failing. The media can always take the trouble to emphasize how many people are involved in Apple’s success, but it’s easier to  I think it’s reasonably fair to say that Apple was better off with Jobs than without him. I’m writing this blogpost on a MacBook Air. I am a benefactor of Steve’s reality distortion field.

It’s pretty clear to me that Elon Musk today has similar tendencies. His ridiculous obsession with making electric cars work goes above and beyond the call of duty. You can see him get emotional and tear up when talking about how car dealerships are cheating the American people. To quote Jalopnik:

 Even when it brings out his Nixonian tendencies, Musk is more than just a CEO — he’s a passionate defender of his company and his product, and he deeply wants to see it succeed.

Watching Elon Musk get emotional about his belief and his vision and his idea about what is right makes me want to work for him, so bad. Here:

Watching Elon Musk cry reminds me of, you know…

I’m also reminded of Neil Tyson’s passion for science and education, and how outraged he gets, how frustrated he is that the world doesn’t fully appreciate the splendour of Space. Watch “We Stopped Dreaming“.So. Much. Passion. Tyson doesn’t run an organization, though. He’s an educator. So that makes him a bit different.

Another guy who’s like this is Jiro from Jiro Dreams Of Sushi. We’re talking obsessive, relentless commitment to quality that goes beyond anything that’s ‘rational’. Insanely great.

In all of these cases, we can sense what pisses these guys off. Elon Musk hates the idea of democracy being perverted and the consumer being held back from the future of transportation. Neil Tyson hates the idea of ignorance limiting us from exploring the stars. LKY hated complacency and weakness and anything less that relentless. Jiro hates anything less than perfect sushi. Lee Hsien Loong hates… ? C’mon, he’s a human being, he’s bound to be pissed off at something. If we can all agree on something that pisses all of us off…

Here’s what I’m getting at, that I’ve been sort of skirting around for a long time. I feel like life should be purposeful, meaningful, exciting. I feel like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Neil Tyson, and yes, Lee Kuan Yew, all embody/embodied that. These are leaders that I’d drop everything to work for, because their vision is so solid, so unwavering. You wake up in the morning and you’re raring to go, beause you have an opportunity to make a dream become reality. I’m reminded of LKY’s “even if I’m being lowered into my grave” comment. He had fire in his speech.

A couple of LKY quotes:

  • “I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn’t be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn’t be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters – who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.”
  • “Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.” 1988 National Day Rally, when he discussed the leadership transition to Goh Chok Tong in 1990.

Now, I disagree with LKY about a whole bunch of things. But I would have loved to have had him as a boss. I’ve read enough about him to believe that he had Singapore’s best interests at heart. He could have been wrong about certain things, just as any of us would be wrong about certain things if we were in charge. But he was also clearly, emotionally committed to the country in a way that I find very inspiring. (Now I’m thinking about Michio Kaku’s passion for physics, and how I was enthralled for 40 minutes while he talked about the fundamental forces of nature. Passion and purpose is unmistakable.)

I’ve had the privilege of meeting PM Lee Hsien Loong before, and he’s a really, really smart guy. I honestly believe that he cares very strongly about Singapore. But I’m going to talk emotions here. I can’t help but get the sense that he’s a protector, a guardian. He’s been handed something precious, and he has to keep it from breaking, from falling apart. (This is of course inaccurate in reality, but I’m talking about perceptions here).

It’s hard to be passionate about keeping something from breaking. That’s just depressing! It’s like being passionate about goalkeeping. Nobody really notices when you get it right, and everybody hates you when you get it wrong. Of course, goalkeeping is really important, but offense is really the best defense. LKY was more of a striker. He communicated that he knew what he wanted for the country, and he went out and got it. And we cheered as Singapore won the Malaysia cup.

I feel like that’s what Singapore needs, to become a more exciting place. We need Elon Musks and Steve Jobs(es?) and Neil Tysons. We need wins. The closest thing I’ve encountered to this is Tong Yee from School of Thought. That guy is inspiring as heck for the work he’s doing.

Now I’m sure that LHL and folks in government are working their butts off trying to make Singapore great. But I wish I felt it more. I wish we could all feel it more. We need something to live into, something to chase after, something to fight for. We need leadership that says “This is what I believe, and this is what I’m going to fight for, come with me, let’s go there.” For better or worse, LKY did do that. We have the luxury of fixating on the bad stuff only because the good stuff worked out.

I don’t mean this to be a criticism of the Government, though it could certainly be read as such. I think everybody needs to rise up and lead by example. I haven’t written very much about Singapore in a while because I’ve been busy with work, and I just got really tired of all the silly bickering that was happening on Facebook and on blogs.

I joked to some friends that Singaporeans really are like children, the way we bicker over MRT seats and hawker center ceilings. LHL and the government/civil service folks are worried about things like the Arctic Shipping Route, a possible Kra Isthmus Canal and Nuclear Security. Watch LHL’s interview on Charlie Rose and listen to how concerned he is about China, Burma, etc. (I can’t seem to find the full video anymore, but here’s the transcript). Imagine coming back from a Nuclear Security Summit and then having to worry about hawker center ceilings!

nuclear-pm-lee

“I wonder how those hawker center ceilings are doing back home…”

Extreme case, I know. I don’t mean to imply that it is acceptable or excusable for PM Lee to be imperfect or tardy or to say stupid-sounding things (I heard something about Opposition Parties being Chilli Sauce recently). I don’t mean to say that hawker center ceilings are trivial and unimportant, either. (Well…) I’m just find myself empathizing with the PM a little. I’m reminded of how my boss (another really smart, hardworking guy) was slipping on little details when he was busy with things like fundraising and hiring new people. And of course he would be! The human mind has a limited bandwidth, no?

Paul Graham wrote a couple of relevant essays about this- one is The Top Idea in Your Mind, which describes how distractions from your central focus sap your ability to think well about what matters to oyu, and another is Good and Bad Procrastination, where he talks about how the “absent-minded professor,” who forgets to shave, or eat, or even perhaps look where he’s going while he’s thinking about some interesting question. His mind is absent from the everyday world because it’s hard at work in another.”

Given how smart LHL is, I’m pretty damn sure that he doesn’t make silly chilli sauce analogies because he’s dumb. I think he does it because he doesn’t have the time and/or energy to sit around and craft those messages, because he’s probably focused on bigger things.

Of course, LHL has an team that keeps him updated and manages his schedule and all that, but still. I’m sure hawker ceilings aren’t anywhere near his top 10 list of concerns. And you know, I just wish Singaporeans would be a little more cognizant of that. I’m not saying it’s Singaporeans’ fault, or that it’s the Government’s fault… I’m really sick and tired of assigning blame. I think we all need to have a clearer sense of priorities. If somebody could set up priorities.sg, that would be great.

What’s the most critical, important thing for us to work towards together as a nation? My personal answer is- I think we need to fix our internal communications. I think we need to be more effective at making sense of reality. I think we should air our feelings, but when we’re done with that, we should figure out what’s the best course of action, find a reasonable amount of compromise and take that. I(My wife’s answer: Improving education, and/or public understanding of policies.)

What do I want? I want to be goddamn proud of being Singaporean. I really don’t think it’s too much to ask. I want to hear about Singapore making all sorts of progress at all levels. I want to hear more stories of us being kind and compassionate. I want to see toxic cesspits like Stomp losing their hold on popular Singaporean imagination. I want to hear about Singaporeans killing it in innovation. I want to hear about Singaporean startups kicking ass and taking names (I’m trying to help with this one!). I want to hear that our kids are getting smarter, are creating great art.

I want to see vision and purpose, and I want this place to be talked about with admiration and envy. I think we are completely capable of doing that. I think we have all the resources we need, all the quality people we need. We’re just waiting for a spark that sets us off in the right direction, a controlled explosion like an internal combustion engine rather than uncontrolled chaos.

may the good we achieve as one nation
be shared with the world

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0132 – two thirty am

(moar old stuff 2013)

It’s 230am and I can’t seem to get to sleep so I figure that I might as well do a word vomit and get as much out of my head as possible.

I didn’t really do a year – in – review for 2013, which is something I might regret years down the road when I wish I had some signposts to look back on. So maybe let’s do a quick summary now.

I’ve been married for a year. Marriage is hard, even with your best friend. Because people are just hard, period. It’s hard enough to live with oneself, it’s amazing that we manage to live with others. I think I’ve learnt to be a little more responsible. I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m still a very selfish person who needs to learn to think about others before myself. I was never really trained to, I never really learned to.

I think getting employed has helped me with that. I’m incredibly privileged to have the colleagues and working environment that I do. My work feels significant, I feel significant. Re-reading The Mundanity of Excellence makes me realise that my new group of peers might just be the best thing in my life for my personal development, across pretty much all spheres. My colleagues are teaching me to be more focused, more disciplined, to have a more can-do attitude. I’m learning so much. The only thing that sucks about work is my daily commute, and I think I’ve kinda ameliorated that by using the time to read and/or write. I think I’ve become a better writer and thinker, and I’ve learned quite a bit. Maybe I should write an internal essay about what I’ve learned from a year’s work.

Life has been hard, but in a good way- the way life for a wild animal is harder than life for a domesticated one. There are more stressors, but they make me feel alive. The central challenge of not letting the world dehumanise you still remains, but I think rose-tinted glasses make me underestimate how much of a problem that used to be, and what I used to get stressed about. I used to panic every morning that I hadn’t done my homework. I used to panic when I woke up late to go to camp during my NS. This sort of guilty panic has been a regular feature of my life and I intend to systematically eliminate it by being more responsible about the things that matter and by giving less of a shit about things that don’t matter.

Which brings me to Facebook. I started using it in 2007, became a “power user” around 2010, and I was completely hooked. I’d stay up late to be on Facebook. I’d be late for stuff because I was arguing with people on Facebook. I developed a bunch of useful skills during that time which I think are serving me pretty well in my line of work, but I think I started experiencing major diminishing returns. Facebook is all about co-creating identities, and it’s very easy to get caught up in it. For me, at least. I was the equivalent of a Facebook alcoholic- it was the lens through which I was viewing the world. I would scheme and plan and figure out how to game the system, how to play to the audience and win their approval. I’m okay, you’re okay. I got sick of it when it started to get really intense- people getting very personal about political stuff, lots of angry arguments and attacks- it was affecting my work. I couldn’t focus. So I deactivated my account, and the months that followed were characterised by bliss. Once you walk away from it all, suddenly anybody spending time on it looks really silly, like an addict or substance abuser of sorts. I know that sounds unfair and spiteful and holier-than-thou, but that was my experience.

I would later experience something similar when I stopped smoking cigarettes- suddenly everybody smoking cigarettes looked really sad and pathetic, dependent on an abusive substance. Again, I’m no better than anybody else, but I experienced myself thinking those thoughts, having those perceptions. It’s probably some kind of defensive mechanism that my pathetic ego puts up to feel better about itself, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a damned shame. I reactivated my Facebook every so often since, but time and space away from the herd allowed me to disengage, and it no longer felt like a comfortable space for me. I felt like the blinders had been taken off and I could no longer find comfort in the reassurance of the Likes of others. A beautifully crafted status update might entertain others for a little bit, but it has diminishing returns- you’re better off using that time to build something truly meaningful to you. For a while I wanted to write a sort of “guide out of Facebook” or something of the sort but now I feel like I don’t have the time- I need to focus on doing stuff that matters more, ie. my work. Only after I truly crush and dominate what I’m doing at work will I truly feel like I have the legitimacy to say what I want to say- until then it’s still a circlejerk.

A blogpost I wrote for work made me realise or rediscover that asking good questions is a phenomenally powerful skill. Everybody should be asking questions everyday. Questions are how we explore and discover ourselves and the world around us. When we stop questioning we fall into rigid routines and patterns, we go through the motions of saying what we think we ought to say. A good question upsets all of that. A good question inspires curiosity and excitement, encourages thinking and tinkering. The best questions trigger conceptual collisions that create nothing short of Art. Knowing this, I think it’s everybody’s civic duty to ask as many questions as possible. I think we should be farming and cultivating questions. Quora, Reddit and Hacker News are all doing this to some degree, as do most forums of all kinds around the world, but I think it could still be a little more deliberate.

We can and should encourage better questions, unique questions that probe into previously unexplored territory. The role of the artist is to help us look at things with new eyes- to see the familiar in an unfamiliar light, and the vice versa. Many questions get repeated. Google gets tonnes of searches every second- what are the most common questions? What are the most common questions that have the least satisfactory answers? What are the best questions ever asked in the history of humanity? How do we ask better questions? How do we encourage more people to ask better questions? Quora has top writers, for instance, but who are the top askers? We’re often limited by our own experiences and perspectives, which is why people travel, take drugs, watch movies, read novels- we want to be confronted with questions that sweep us away in their magnificence, questions that make us lose ourselves in the fascinating pursuit of answers.

This can sound all spiritual and new-agey but it has some very practical applications. At the simplest, questions are “ooh, what does this button do?” Or what happens if we push it harder? Faster? Use more power? What if we had to do it in half the time? That’s how we learn, right? What happens when we tweak the input? How does the output change? What is the relationship between the variables? Under what conditions does it break or fail? Why? What does that tell us about how it’s made, how it works? What are the flaws? How can we make it more robust? More powerful? More palatable? What are the tradeoffs? What are the limitations?

Questions are the tools we use to carve out understanding from imprecise, vague chaos and noise. Questions give us power. They help us make sense of things. So you’re screwed when you stop asking questions.

So here are my questions to you:

What are the best questions anybody’s ever asked you? What made those particularly memorable, useful or important? What do you think it was about them that made them ask you that?

What are the best questions you’ve ever asked? Why did you ask them? What were the circumstances or conditions that led to you asking them?

What are the questions you ought to be asking yourself now, but aren’t? (Why aren’t you asking those questions? What can you do to fix that, now and in the long term?)

What are the questions you ought to be asking your peers, your colleagues, your boss, your spouse, your friends, your family? What’s the most important question nobody’s asked you? What are you going to do about it?

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0131 – future of education

Here’s something that bothers and confuses me: a lot of the thinking and discussion about the future of education is, in my opinion, overly fixated on the student/teacher/school model. People claim to talk about the gamification of education or innovation in education but often they’re talking about the gamification of schooling, innovation in schooling.

Great new things come from the margins” -pg

Public schools are a recent phenonena in the context of human civilization. Literacy used to be coupled to monarchy, clergy, aristocracy. Schools as we see them today were revolutionary when they were introduced- meant to keep children from stealing laborers jobs, meant to train them to be cogs in the machine. Mind you, this was a good thing then. The machine had a shortage of cogs, and rewarded cogs handsomely. Today, there is an oversupply of cogs. Kids understand this.

There’s a general phenomena of migrant children working harder in schools than cushy, comfy kids. There are kids in China and India who’ll whoop everybody’s asses with their incredible work ethic. I’m tempted to see this more as a consequence of their circumstances rather than any intrinsic quality- they work harder because it is rational for them to do so, the payoffs, etc favor that. Maybe it’s dependence on parents and a need to prove themselves. A greater sense of responsibility, burden, purpose. Maybe it’s a clearer sense of “I can improve my station in life by working hard.” I don’t know. It’s complex.

The point is we have an oversupply of cogs now- and for a lot of the newer cogs, it’s rational to work hard to be the best, because the improvement in quality of life is tremendous. For the middle class cogs, its just misery- a lifetime of shitty work for a not-much-less-shittier life. Who wants that? It’s really more rational to seek the simpler, more inmediate and dependable pleasures- cigarettes, tv, reddit, porn, etc. There are hundreds of thousands of young people like this in the world and I see them on reddit and tumblr everyday. School, in its current incarnation, is just a shitty deal for them. They suffer from learned helplessness- something the migrant kids don’t have, because the relationship between efforr and payoff is clearer for the latter group. (This is just armchair analysis- I could be wrong. I invite your criticism. Specifically, I’m eager to hear your alternate theories to the general malaise and ennui of today’s young students in the developed world. Why are so many of them so miserable?)

On to disruption. We’re starting to develop a clearer picture of how disruption happens. Self-disruption almost never happens. Industry leaders are invested in their built-up solution, and are unable to take the risks necessary to try a primitive, childish, untested new industry… until it wipes them out. Kodak would never have invested in digital cameras. Railway companies did not get into air travel. Nokia’s dominance in phones got crushed when smartphones came about. None of the traditional media companies were particularly involved in social media initially.

Similarly, schools will get disrupted by something outside of the existing school paradigm. How will that play out? I can’t be sure, because disruption is never clearly obvious until it’s too late. But here’s how I see it happening. Some small group of people is going to have remarkable results. It’s members are going to be more creative, more skilled, and most importantly, more valued in the marketplace. Maybe a bunch of musicians are going to become marketing maestros, creating a ton of value. Maybe a bunch of after-school coders are going to build startups and get acquired, bypassing the entire degree-resume industrial complex. Degrees and resumes communicate pathetically little information in a search-savvy world. I’m not saying they’re entirely useless- being skilled with a sword is an indicator of physical strength, discipline, practice and a bunch of other virtues. But you’re still probably going to get screwed in a gunfight. Thing is, in this metaphor, guns are still toys- little entertaining oddities. The airplane was initially thought to have no military value.

All that matters for survival in this massive human farm is your ability to create value. Schools don’t really teach you that, they teach you to follow instructions and to be interchangeable. To be a cog. In the past, being a good cog was synonymous with being a value creator. Today, I’m not so sure.

What is the value you create in the world, which you ultimately exchange for goods and services, security? How did school help you do that?

There will always be room in the world for institutions of learning and skill acquisition. Doctors will need to go to medical school. Until, maybe, we have machines and robots render large quantities of them irrelevant. Lawyers will need to go to law school. Until we develop superior means of resolving disputes. Neither of those things is going to happen overnight, of course, but we have to remember that professions, jobs don’t last forever. They didn’t always exist- they were a recent human invention- and their golden era may be up, or at least waning.

If I could go back in time, I’d have spent more time writing. I’d have spent more time playing music, practicing. I’d have read more books. I’d have taught myself enough programming to do some data mining. I’d have taught myself enough design skills to make simple infographics.

Consider the convergence of academia and business. As things get more data driven- consider how Facebook and Twitter and OKCupid have access to social data that social scientists can only dream of- it will be clear that the best place to study such social phenomena will be within those organizations. Musicians no longer need to depend on record labels, writers can now self-publish, and a lot of learning- both for pleasure and personal economic gain- can and will happen outside of school.

I hated school as a kid. I much prefer the “real world”, even with bills, because I am much closer to the value I create in the world. Increasingly, education will move away from the artificially cloistered tutorial/training zones of schools. I imagine it’ll look more like a general layer over the world. I’ve noticed students from UNT on multiple tweet chats, learning about marketing and social media from people actually working in the field. This is going to be a more widespread thing, I think.

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