TWIG 759: The Posters Will Rise

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

Phew. I have to say: the style and emotional texture of this episode kind of went off the rails for me. There’s fun and salty (like Windows Weekly often is) and then there’s salty, bitter, and sour melange with a condescending twist on almost everyone in the industry. That’s just not fun to listen to. Of course, that’s sometimes just the result of that particular day, but… man. Turned it off after the first half hour. Don’t mean to be too critical, but… an outlook on tech and society also needs some sort of lightness and fun.

That said: Enjoy your vacation, Leo! Thoroughly deserved and you can, at the same time, rest assured that you make all the difference when you’re back - well rested and comfortable. It’s interesting to observe how some chemistries work very well - Paris, Jeff, Leo - and others turn into a downward spiral. Again: Maybe it was just a dark day or possibly the episode brightened up later on. Ah well.


I agree with your analysis. The vibe I got from the first 10 minutes, particularly the from the guest but also the regulars, caused me to decide to skip this week’s episode. The indignation could’ve been taken down a couple notches.


Interesting, I actually found it refreshing that they were calling out tech bros and pointing out where some journalists have lost the plot. All too often, tech journalism praises the venture capitalists and CEOs of large tech companies, when they are doing good things, but they all too often gloss over the bad stuff, or let them slide.


Sure, that’s a reasonable alternative for looking at it. Maybe it just rubbed me the wrong way on Thursday. I started noticing it around the time that Google was called an incompetent vampire or something. Makes me reflect on what makes good criticism in my ears. I love very critical commentary if it has some wit and humour to it. In that way, I, e.g., enjoy Ian Thompson’s contributions a lot - very dark coffee with lovely biscuits of British humour. I have a feeling that most things Ian says are critical bombs with sugary flourishes, making the whole thing palatable. In so far, Ed seemed to be like Ian’s even more critical brother in mind who freshly ran out of sugar coating. They both might say the same thing, but you come away from one comment more light-hearted than from the other.

Let me put it in a different way: quite possibly none of the statements on this episode were far from the truth. But two hours of hard, uncut, and non-diluted truth is hard to listen to without some playful sweetness in between, especially for a “recreational listening experience”.


While this show has always been “deeper” than many of the TWIT shows, losing Stacey, & to some degree, Ant, has taken this show to more of a weekly judgement on tech, rather than a show having some semblance of useful information. I’ve found myself clicking away early, which I never did in the past.

That’s happened on other TWIT shows for me too. The constant “we are in financial trouble” talk has me weary. Lots of vacations tho….

I think you need to separate the personality from the business. Leo had drawn a pay cheque from the business, as would any hired talent. He invested the money into retirement funding, and put some in savings, as would any employee of a business. The fact that he’s not going into a corner and hiding as his business is showing signs of decline is a personal decision, and not a business decision. Apparently Leo and Lisa weren’t actually drawing any salary during the hardest of times, and so were using their savings to survive. This is basically still funding the business to keep it afloat. I see nothing wrong with Lisa running the business such that it needs to fund itself without anyone paying back in their personal savings to keep it afloat. And I see nothing wrong with spending their savings to take a some vacation too… it has to be pretty stressful dealing with running a business that is slowly being killed by external forces while you try to find a way to make the necessary changes to keep it operating.


I see everything right with Leo taking a vacation. I don’t want him or Lisa to get burned out and disgruntled on their mission. He adds so much mojo to each show - this needs replenishing and you cannot replenish creativity from an empty gas tank. He can only share light and warmth if there’s enough candle left…


I suppose this is what I actually want twig to be, I enjoy the commentary on tech from this show, and actually find quite a bit of the show to be somewhat humorous as well.

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They’re calling out enshitification, which I think is spot on! Good for them.


Interesting thought! I partially agree. This sent me on a thought trail, alright: rambling.

I wonder if the inshittification idea is not blown out of proportion to garner agreement among listeners because who does not like to complain and yell at the clouds a bit?

The fact of the matter is that the lion’s share of modern life - commercial, professional, private, industrial, etc… - runs on digital platforms that have radically lower cost of use and radically greater functional benefit than anything before it or any alternative. We love - and depend on - those platforms.

At the same time, these platforms have come up on either thoroughly dubious - ok, let’s call them innovative - business models that lean heavily on many other things than actually turning a profit. While inshittification is a fun and risqué term, you could call most modern business models of the digital industry simply a glacial bait and switch. What comes looking like a miraculously free convenience turns out to need to turn a profit at some time, and while digital solutions can push down many, they cannot eradicate all costs.

But there’s an upside: savvy consumers can bypass much of inshittification through the services of those who identify inshittification. There are plenty of ad- and tracker-blockers, there are plenty of VPN services. If a platform turns out to be inshittified far enough, people will seek alternative offers. My favorite, of course, is Microsoft Windows. Seemingly not inshittified enough for most of the world’s industrial administration to switch, but if you have a choice and are even slightly interested, many pick Apple or Linux. Facebook is far less interesting to younger generations - hello TikTok for entertainment. Twitter has been mutilated to live on as a maimed animal by its new owner - hello BlueSky or Mastodon. Just like Uber will likely never make back its investment - welcome back taxicab.

So, all in all, shittification is there, but is it really surprising? Tech bros waved with their hands and shouted innovation in a moment of low-interest rates, and got billions. They invested in “innovative” business models and burned a lot of money. Then they woke up to the fact of necessary profitability and tried to wring more money out of the business, decreasing the quality of service - et voilà! Magic did not work. Magic never worked, except for when you could pivot to the “advertising business model” which is hundreds of years old. Those companies who are leading in value, now, build on those ancient business models, not modern snake oil.

So inshittification is a fun word, but the mechanism does not seem surprising. The mechanism leading to it brought momentary free convenience and fun to consumers (before things went to shit). And consumers can help themselves by either using tech to avert the shit or simply switch to a less shitty offer. Until that turns to shit, or even one that has a different business model that does not require it to ever turn out that way. A well-informed consumer has a lot to gain from this circle of innovation.

I wonder if, when we are worrying about inshittification, we are not that dog that chases its tail: we’re worrying about the downward part of the trajectory of a business model that never flew because our eyes became so big while looking at the “FREE SERVICES THANKS TO INTERNET MAGIC!” sign.

But it’s a fun word. And who does not like to complain a bit? And there’s the opportunity for the podcast to turn fun and positive again: if offer A turns sour, let’s find offer B. Maybe that’s even a decentralized, free/libre, community-based one? No guarantees that it will not go off the rails, either, but… Where to swim next? That, to me, is the heading of an (at least partially) optimistic discussion. Rejecting the status quo is just a dark cul-de-sac. Let’s find the alley past the end of the road.

In a way, I am glad for inshittification. If there were none, we’d all end up in a commercial aristocracy of shiny Apple clones with diamond grade customer retention, continuous dumbing down of products, and nothing but convenient appliances left. I like inshittification. Keeps us on our toes and makes being a nerd more rewarding. Most plattforms need to sink before we can achieve continuous and actual innovation. Inshittification is the first step in creative destruction. If we have one problem today in internetland, then that we have too great a tolerance toward inshittified products. If it’s shit, let’s not complain - let’s just not use it. If too many citizens use shitty products and that’s the reason we can’t get rid of them: that’s an educational problem. Which brings us to the need for podcasts which both entertainingly roast the status quo AND show us great alternatives to get excited about.

I COULD go on and on. But for the love of god, I’m going to start to work now. :smiley:

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