Steve Faktor Profile picture
Futurist author—, entrepreneur—, podcaster—, ex—#innovation #finance exec @AmericanExpress @Citi @Mastercard
5 May
This is a harbinger of things to come, some already here.

On the surface, Epicurious eliminating beef recipes is like when CVS stopped selling cigarettes, cutting off some recurring (addicted) foot traffic.

Just a calculated business decision?

Whatever you think of the urgency of climate change, the best solutions, or effectiveness of this specific move (⬇️ beef), this move is the product of powerful climate narratives manifested in the real world by adherents (Epicurious employees/mgmt).

This is just the start.

I suspect it's just a matter of time before Google adjusts its algorithms to make finding beef recipes as hard as they did to find funny photos of portly people (to make fun of myself).

Read 7 tweets
4 May
Top 5 reasons educated people crave indefinite lockdowns:
40% Education=conformity, not critical thought
30% Valid excuse for failure
20% Politics as religion
5% Get off on controlling others
5% Self interest, live how/where you want, skip work (teachers)…
Education=conformity, not critical thought
Read 7 tweets
13 Apr

"Data wants to be free." a common but silly trope.

Data was briefly liberated by bad decisions of analog companies navigating the .com boom.

Now, #data returns to its native protected state. (And not for the best.)

A thread... Image
First let's start with data itself. It has no ambitions or aspirations. It doesn't want to go to college or have a baby by age 30. Data's "desires" are those of its creators, purveyors & consumers.

Offline, there are few private sector examples of free information because of friction & cost.

Even online, most "free" data is used to sell something.

"Free" services sell our data or monetize our attention.

And Wikipedia relies on patronage by people & companies.
Read 11 tweets
4 Apr
Officially, inflation is 1.5%, below the Fed's 2% target.

In reality, some assets, esp financial ones & homes, are ballooning, as are some cherry-picked commodities, but not the overall commodities index.

What's going on...?
👇 ImageImage
There are several ways govt measures CPI (Consumer Price Index), which is the price of a "basket" of goods tracked across time.…

The official calculation is controversial because it excludes energy & food. There's also lots of issues w/housing calculation.
Also, there was a secret bipartisan effort in the 80's to underreport inflation & lower official CPI as a stealth cut to entitlements (social security, medicare, medicaid), which are tied to inflation.

You can hear @EricRWeinstein discuss this on his latest @joerogan appearance.
Read 13 tweets
23 Feb
Verifiable, digital-only art is the trend of the moment.

AKA “crypto art” or “#NFTs” (non-fungible tokens), this work lives on the blockchain. Here's one of the better arguments for it.

A few critical thoughts...…
1) I'm all for artists having more ways to make money from their work & access more buyers who value it, in whatever form or medium.

2) There are two main perks crypto brings to the table: verifiability of ownership & elimination of middlemen, eliminating friction.

3) The downsides of #NFT are linked to the purpose art historically serves: a) investment, b) status, c) decoration. (Order varies per collector)

The immediate problem is (c), which precipitates problems with (b). You need to print it out to show off in meatspace. In digital...
Read 6 tweets
18 Feb
I was a huge radio fan growing up. Listened to Howard Stern, sports talk (WFAN), liberal (Lynn Samuels, Alan Colms), conservative (Bob Grant), crappy sex talk (Dr. Ruth) hosts. Even tried catching far away stations late at night.

I first heard Rush Limbaugh in college.

A friend from NYU made me Rush cassettes, hoping for a conversion.

Unlike cranky local NY conservative Bob Grant, Rush was a showman. He had the flair of a preacher. Not hard to see why he attracted evangelicals.

Unlike preachers, there was no feigned piety or niceness.

Rush was more menacing, with a thin veil of what he considered humor, like bad puns ("Feminazis") or cliche jokes about Chinese or blacks.

Having listened to Howard & watched standup on TV, I was not amused. Nor did I care about his targets. Back then, life wasn't politics.

Read 7 tweets
16 Feb

There are 3 types of games all of us play:

1) Foundational
2) Covert
3) Willful

Each is different, but they share one very important characteristic that rules our lives and emotions. And it's wrecking us!
1) Foundational games are ones we can't opt out of. For example, procuring money to buy essentials - food, clothing, shelter. In fact, survival is the ultimate foundational game & capitalism its economic avatar. Traffic laws (really, most regulations) are mandatory games.
We may not be happy playing foundational games, but opting out is virtually impossible since they are enforced to one degree or another everywhere.

2) Covert games are ones we don't realize we're playing. Most social norms fall under this category.
Read 11 tweets
21 Jan
Since my poem was not selected for the inauguration, I'll post it here:

My sister, my wife, we've had a good life
But America beckons to end its great strife
Heaven can wait as I rise to the cause
To strengthen our union with great ointments and gauze

Er, appointments and laws.
With Bernie behind me and troops all in front,
Is this still America or an active manhunt?
Still, I am honored to follow these honorable names
Lincoln, Carter and Gaga and her Hunger Games
Speaking of hunger, disease and despair,
It is time for a leader with wonderful hair
Not orange, not Tweeting, not licking his wounds
But killing off Covid with vaccines and prunes
Read 8 tweets
18 Jan
By embracing the righteousness of a singular worldview & morality, the tech industry, Hollywood & corporate media expedite their own demise & possibly America's.

It incentivizes competing platforms, indie artists & dissenters to chase forbidden fruit, taboo ideas & badboys.
The new "badboys" will be badder, craftier & less civil than their predecessors.

Pariahs & outcasts aren't bound by corporate bosses, fat paychecks & pristine reputations that once moderated them.

The force needed to contain them will not be democratic.
One solution is diffusion
-reducing federal power (see below)
-breaking everything (companies, communities) into smaller, viable units
-declawing mass social media
-migration from cities/population diffusion

The HOW is nontrivial, to say the least.

Read 5 tweets
14 Jan

I randomly looked up the bio of Itzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, who was assassinated in 1995 - at the age of 73!

What a badass way to go!

When you're young, assassination sucks. Too soon. If you're lucky, your kids get a box of 100's from Tony or Igor.
But to get assassinated at 73 or 80? What a compliment! To still be considered relevant or a threat at that age!

"They still care, they really do!"


In a way, it's your last surprise party. Surprise! No prolonged suffering. No diapers. No grandkids forgetting your birthday. No watching your friends go.

There will be investigations, Wikipedia pages, Alex Jones conspiracy theories. Talk about legacy! You will be remembered.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jan

I've worked with countless CEOs, senior execs & professionals across industries like finance, tech, consumer goods. I've hired, employed & promoted dozens from every background.

This is the relationship between discrimination & power I've observed.

1/8 Image
Undoubtedly racism, sexism & other biases still exist. I've heard some crazy stories from female & black colleagues. However, their incidence is fading. I'm profoundly optimistic about our trajectory for one simple reason: SURVIVAL.

We talk about tolerance. In business, one thing that's rarely tolerated (for long) is failure.

EVERYONE wants to do a good job, get promoted, get a raise, look good in front of peers & bosses.

THAT impulse is the single most powerful anti-racist tool we have.

Read 10 tweets
14 Dec 20
This is really important and everyone should understand how economists are directing the US economy effectively towards MMT (eg unlimited money printing).

I'll take this on point by point.…
Until now, we've been living under perverted Keynesianism, where govt spends during busts but fails to save during booms.

The prevailing alternative, austere Austrian economics of limited debt & balanced budgets got hot air, but no liftoff.

Even perverted Keynesianism once feared inflation. Print too many dollars, prices go up, interest rates skyrocket, debt servicing becomes impossible & we default. This has not happened for many reasons. The biggest is debt & $'s are our #1 export.
Read 19 tweets
14 Dec 20
#IWasWrong, a running thread

It's easy to get caught up in our own dogmas & biases. It's also unfashionable to admit mistakes, not knowing something, evolving on an issue, or dismissing someone you shouldn't have.

Here, I'll try to track my mistakes, changed opinions & lessons.
I didn't know much about Malcolm X, nor did I try to learn. I knew of his 'by any means necessary' mantra but defaulted MLK's vaunted alternative. Having watched hours of his speeches, I realize how much truth there is in Malcolm & his ideas.

Despite going to Yeshiva, I thought atheism, scientism & skepticism were more evolved than faith. As I watch them devolve into soulless, unforgiving dogmas, I now value faith as a vessel for meaning, values & compassion. Albeit from a distance.
Read 6 tweets
2 Dec 20
The Apple strategy with its new M1 computer chips is analogous to iPhone vs Android.

iPhone's integration of hardware + software + app store has a cohesion that dozens of 3rd party hardware manufacturers can't have with multiple Android versions & loosely-regulated app store.
Google has tried to reign this in by mandating manufacturer standards to get Google Apps, but it leaves much to hardware makers, who are also desperate to differentiate.

#tech #strategy #mobile #innovation
The M1 chip w/integrated RAM/GPU/APU performs better, lets Apple retain premium pricing, but unlikely to shift share.
-market is mature
-*most* software runs well on 6 yo PCs
-new ones are cheap

The 1 exception: if Apple goes HARD after gaming market, where performance matters.
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov 20
Now that YouTube stuffs ads into non-monetized videos, been thinking of uploading to alternatives.

Looking at Peertube, BitChute, DTube & DailyMotion. Trying to figure out how good/bad performance & discovery are.…
So I've looked into alternatives to YouTube. Here's what I found.

Overall, there is no alternative to YouTube, unless you have a very narrow use case.

I'll sum up my thoughts on each:

1) DailyMotion
2) BitChute
3) DTube
4) PeerTube
5) Vimeo
1) DailyMotion is the closest YouTube alternative

+ease of use
+mass-market content (music & entertainment focus)
-depth by category is low

For creators not looking for discovery:
+good place to park public or password-protected videos
-some uplaod limits ImageImage
Read 8 tweets
13 Nov 20
Hear the enslaved, heed the emancipated

I explored why profit-seekers are unreliable truth-tellers:

I didn't say what to do about it...until now.

A thread on finding TRUTH...
The Emancipated

Very few in society are truly FREE.

Even the richest & most successful are bound by
- social norms
- personal/business obligations
- their perceptions of themselves (remember this one...)

But some are closer to speaking - or SIGNALING - truth than others.
Qualities of The Emancipated:

✅Wealthy (don't have to work)
✅Perpetual learners
✅Public (seek media/social media attention)
✅Clear motivations

People with this profile are *best positioned* to speak truth & model essential patterns.
Read 9 tweets
12 Nov 20
Real problems, atrocious solutions

My response to Elizabeth Warren's thread

1. Paris accord was toothless & symbolic. Yes, we should absolutely be at the table, but hard commitments will only come from clean innovation w/real ROI

2. College debt forgiveness is regressive pandering to elites, where the 70% who don't go to college subsidize the 30% who CHOSE to go & will soon out-earn them. It;s obscene & doesn't solve the real problem.

Some real solutions:

3. Yes, drug prices must be lowered but NOT by removing all incentive to work on important diseases by invalidating patents! (I evaluare negotiation, importation, patent reform & others in The McFuture universal healthcare podcast

Read 11 tweets
17 Oct 20
Online voting could be done w/bank SSO. You'd sign into a secure, private voting site using your bank's credentials, where you're already verified. Like Google or Facebook login on 3rd party sites. This can also be an opportunity to give accounts & benefit xfers to poor/unbanked.
This is not unprecedented. Companies like Intuit (TurboTax) and Yodlee access your bank, broker and ADP (paycheck) accounts to pull in W-2s and financial account data.
If done on mobile, additional sensors/camera can be used to aid in the verification/authentication process.
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct 20
Proposal: New Framework for Section 230 Protections

As social networks increasingly make editorial decisions, are they still "platforms" that should be protected from illegal acts by their users?

My 2 main criteria:
—banning people beyond legal requirements
—post selection

If banning people and choosing posts (whether human or algorithmic selection), they are publishers and should have comparable legal exposure.

Same even if they don't ban people beyond legal mandates.

If they do neither, section 230 should protect them.

Trickiest one is no post selection (other than user-controlled), but accounts are banned.

If there's clear banning criteria ("hate" likely too mushy & has no legal standing) AND clear path to redemption, plus some sort of follower portability, a version of 230 should apply.

Read 6 tweets
31 Jul 20
I'll double-down on my unpopular opinion on the "all-teachers-are-heroes" narrative.

I like heroes who don't let our kids rank 25th in the world on math, science and reading.

Earn your moniker.

#education #educators #school
To the HEROES killing standardized tests:
Instead of fixing kids' performance, WE SEE YOU burying measures of your massive failures!

I want 1000X MORE standardized STEM tests!
Get to #1, then you losers can improvise. Even Picasso had to draw fruit first.
And we don't need more arts & crafts. Americans will be plenty creative on our own.

Teach STEM. That's it.

If you can't, you're a babysitter. And you need to step aside.

"Educators" have failed this country. Now we need to find & mobilize real teachers.
Read 4 tweets
29 May 20
Profit-seekers can't be reliable truth-tellers.
And I say that as a capitalist.

TV News
BS corporate campaigns

Truth always loses to profit.
Sellers are compromised appeasers.

What makes truth possible?
-FU $'s
-meaty direct patronage
Whether you diverge from your employer's interests by organizing a protest or compromise the profits of a platform you're on, you're done. You are a dependent, bound to their interests, not truth.
Even wealth isn't a perfect buffer. Truth can quickly alienate you & your family from social circles. There's too much at stake. These become your boundaries for truth.

Anonymity can liberate, but it's nearly impossible to gain moral authority or build reputation behind a veil.
Read 5 tweets