Pyramid Schemes, Cheap Cell Phone Surveillance, and Millennials Running Companies – Monthly Link Roundup

I’m trying out something new. Since I’ve mostly stopped posting on Twitter, I’ve decided to start doing a monthly roundup of all of the interesting and thought provoking long-form stories that I’ve read recently.

That’s it for this month. If you’re interested in more stories like this check out the Monthly Link Roundup archive.

2 comments on Pyramid Schemes, Cheap Cell Phone Surveillance, and Millennials Running Companies – Monthly Link Roundup

  1. Rob says:

    ugh.

    I could write reams on my thoughts on the issues these articles cover, but I’ll try not to…

    I think MLM businesses are toxic and it’s horrible seeing people deluded into thinking they’re running real businesses. Occasionally I meet people at business fairs etc and they immediately start prospecting. Other people there are running real businesses – printers, builders, designers etc. and that these people aren’t building their own brand, aren’t building equity and are constantly scrabbling about in the dirt for commissions of some usually dubious product sucks. They get taken advantage of when they’re weak and vulnerable. Last year I lost a friend to FLP – I was advised her to think critically about what she was doing and as a result she cut me out. Prior to that her facebook became a full on pitch fest, photos of a desk in her back bedroom showing the office for her “new business” etc. I recently met a guy who runs a semi successful business that sells mostly using MLM – they’re actually giving up on that distribution method to move to direct ecommerce on Amazon and their own sites, I think their successful people with big downlines will revolt but it’s good that hopefully no new people will get pulled in at the bottom.

    The other article that I thought was particularly notable was the privacy one. I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the FBI and Apple case – now that we’re living more and more of our lives online and via smartphone I think privacy issues are becoming ever more critical. I feel like right now tech has us on the edge of huge change – either some futuristic post-scarcity utopia with 3D printers, basic income, robotic butlers & holo-VR or something that looks much more like a dictator’s wet dream, replete with listening devices everywhere, people self-censoring, increasing inequality and Tom Cruise chasing us around for thought crime…

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Great points Rob.

      I think MLM businesses are toxic and it’s horrible seeing people deluded into thinking they’re running real businesses.

      Yup. It appeals to a certain type of person that MLM businesses take advantage of.

      Last year I lost a friend to FLP – I was advised her to think critically about what she was doing and as a result she cut me out.

      Sorry to hear. I had a similar situation in college where a good friend became a part of a MLM business. He slowly started only associating with others in the business. They borderline harassed me to become a part of it and when I didn’t, well that was pretty much the end of that friendship.

      I feel like right now tech has us on the edge of huge change – either some futuristic post-scarcity utopia with 3D printers, basic income, robotic butlers & holo-VR or something that looks much more like a dictator’s wet dream, replete with listening devices everywhere, people self-censoring, increasing inequality and Tom Cruise chasing us around for thought crime…

      Well put. I have a hard time articulating my feelings on this. I do understand that law enforcement could be aided by greater access, but that opens up a pandora’s box of problems that the world has never seen because there’s no offline equivalent to encryption, and we’ve never used devices the way we use our phones. I don’t like when fear is used against us to promote government’s agenda to spy on people. There’s a technical literacy needed to intelligently discuss these problems and that’s not prevalent enough among lawmakers, law enforcement, and the general population. Usually I have a feel for where we’re going to end up, but I’m not sure how this is all going to play out.

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