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YouTube millionaires are not your friends (vox.com)
164 points by marban 77 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 138 comments

Celebrities are not your friends.

Remember all those celebrities who claimed they'd bought Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs? That was all a scam.[1] It was put together by a Hollywood agent who represented both a long list of major celebrities and BAYC. Now there's a lawsuit against all the parties involved. Kim Kardashian was already fined a few million dollars by the SEC for that sort of thing.

[1] https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/bored-ape-yacht-club-c...

That's just funny to me. Those ugly cartoons were never cool and anyone using one for their avatar looked like a moron from day 1 all the way through to day N

I loved bored apes tbh and wish they appeared in a different context. Like as a pepe alternative.

I’m so sorry. I hope you have moved on.

The best bit about the Bored Ape craze was that Seth Green (of Robot Chicken and Buffy fame) made a full-on TV-Show about an official Bored Ape NFT he owned.

...then the NFT was scammed off him before the series was released.

Then he was in a catch-22. He could've just released the show without breaking any laws or contracts, but then he would've had to admit that NFTs are bullshit.

AFAIK the show is still unreleased. But he did buy the NFT back later: https://www.ign.com/articles/seth-green-nft-show-boredape-st...

> Celebrities are not your friends.

> Remember all those celebrities who claimed they'd bought Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs?

Well, yeah... This isn't new, it's always been this way.

Remember all those people who said they'd leave the US if Trump won?

People complaining about politics isn’t the same as securities fraud.

> People complaining about politics isn’t the same as securities fraud.

I never said they were - I said that celebrities who make promises to their fans never intend to follow through on them.

Calling an NFT a security might be the most charitable definition ever.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

The fact that the thing being abstracted into a security is BS doesn’t affect the rules you have to follow when you’re acting like a thing is an investment.

Pumping and dumping nonsense Is securities fraud in plenty of cases, the legal frameworks were created to prevent that kind of behavior.

Pumping and dumping collectibles has a long history, from beanie babies to fake bodily remains of saints...

If I sell you a share the represents a beanie baby, that’s a security. It doesn’t matter what the underlying asset is, a security is a security and NFTs look a lot like securities.

Your AAPL shares are just entities in a database somewhere (or a series of databases, it’s complex), an NFT is essentially the same, database entries that point to ownership of an abstract thing which can be traded.

NFT are just lame collectibles. A security has to secure ownership of something tangible that's not just its own definition of value or uniqueness.

There are many traded securities which do not secure ownership of anything tangible. Too many.

Claiming to do $X if $Y happens and then not doing it is different than claiming to have done $X already despite this being false.

In the first case it could be hyperbole, circumstances could change, it could be a statement made in the heat of the moment, etc. In the latter it is just a lie, or if money is at play, fraud.

If I recall correctly there were many republicans that claimed their kind would be deported if Biden came to power. At least those who predicted Trump would act like a fascist got it right.

> At least those who predicted Trump would act like a fascist got it right.

When? So far, the most fascists of last 3 presidents has been Obama and Biden. They hate checks and balances and want to just rule by fiat.

It pissed me off for giving Democrats anything for politicizing Covid for electoral benefits, but Trump negotiated with Pelosi to get things done. When has Biden negotiated with Conservatives? Aside from calling them all terrorists?

Sorry, but pretending the word "fascism" has no definition that one could check the meaning of is something you can try on your social media where you preach to the choir, but on this platform such a simpleton strategy is not gonna fly. If you truly think Donald "I could shoot a guy on 5th avenue" Trump is not fascist, while Dem presidents are, you better being some examples here that meet an actual definition of the word.

I am not from the US and do not intend to travel there any time soon, so I couldn't care less about your internal quarrels, but Trump meets many of the criteria. Most famously the Italian writer Umberto Eco coined these 14 signs of fascism after having lived in fascist Italy (under Mussolini).

I quote it from Wikipedia here, follow allong and tick the boxes for each president, then count who has the most boxes. Ah and also search for critical stuff on the guy you like:

1. "The cult of tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.

2. "The rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.

3. "The cult of action for action's sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.

4. "Disagreement is treason" – fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.

5. "Fear of difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.

6. "Appeal to a frustrated middle class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.

7. "Obsession with a plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society (such as the German elite's "fear" of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings; see also antisemitism). Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.

8. Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak". On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.

9. "Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy" because "life is permanent warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to not build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.

10. "Contempt for the weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate leader, who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.

11. "Everybody is educated to become a hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "[t]he Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."

12. "Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality".

13. "Selective populism" – the people, conceived monolithically, have a common will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer represent[ing] the voice of the people".

14. "Newspeak" – fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

A definition including 14 signs every one of which is optional and vague-nonbinary -- is very similar to no definition.

So good that it is — in fact — not a definition and never meant to be one.

Definitions are too short for that kind of stuff anyways. Read some guy from the stone age the definition for any modern political system and they would not be able to imagine what it means in practise. These 14 points however make it somewhat tangible.

Eco also intended them as warning signs people can look at and check whether their own society (or parts thereof) are heading into fascism.

You know, completely tl;dr-unimportant stuff that you will totally not regret to have glossed over once your sons are sent into the meatgrinder of the Volkssturm, while your daughters are ordered to breed the next generation of disposable Übermensch /s

Celebrities marketing things isn't new

Do you think George Clooney drinks Lavazza coffee? Does that make it a scam?

Poor argument.

Coffee commercials aren't scamming people out of millions.

The FTC didn't fine Clooney for coffee commercials but it did fine Kim, Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon and many other celebrities for peddling bullshit NFTs.

Duh! He drinks Nespresso, not Lavazza

Just an aside, but I've noticed a lot of popular video trends among the younger generation revolve around watching somebody you don't really know, doing things I would I've done with friends.

Reaction videos, eating things, hanging out and making jokes, making a stupid contest, trying some new experience...

It's like there is an entire part of the children/teen population that have such a bland life they feel good while watching somebody else living it.

Just read my comment and realized how "old man yells at cloud" it sounds, but hey, maybe someone will have something interesting to answer.

It's not "old man yells" - your observation is very on point, a lot of people are simply lonely for one reason or other and I think that this kind of videos or livestreams serve as substitute for real person. There are many popular services where it manifests: twitch, youtube, vtube, OF, etc.

And of course it's not only teenagers who are feeling lonely and isolated and of course answer is not simple "just have friends, lol" There are even quite popular threads from HN, examples below in the footnote.

As I already written in other thread - I'm very convinced that this need will be a target for software developments especially with what's happening recently with AI. There are even early birds like Replika AI but I belive that more will come with more and more advanced "personal assistant/companion". Vision straight from Bladerunner https://bladerunner.fandom.com/wiki/DiJi :)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17279773 - How do you meet new people?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24492550 - How to Make Friends as an Adult

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32197381 - How to make friends in your 30s?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25817605 - Can you treat loneliness by creating an imaginary friend?

To the 4 questions:

1. Go outside 2. Go outside 3. Go outside 4. No. Go outside.

It sounds dumb, but really. I'm an introvert, I have social anxiety, I've had periods where I don't see another human face for months. On the other hand I've made good friends just from random strangers talking to me in public.

Even the most socially inept can make friends. It's just a matter of placing yourself in the physical vicinity of other human beings on a regular basis. If you struggle talking to people Like I have, have a few drinks. That's been my experience anyway.

"Go outside" is not always the solution, not every city, country, society is the same and this advice sounds similar to already mocked by me "just have friends, lol".

Even if you assume that it's not difficult to met some people then it is difficult to have really meaningful relationship, not facade with fake smiles, fake greetings and bam! contact lost on a whim. It's not coincidence that true, years-long,lifelong friendships are often forged in the school, military etc. - it's just very long process to find compatible people, become even more compatible, learn to rely on each other and learn to value that. I guess this also depends on how one's definition of "friend" looks like - there are multiple other words to chose from: coworkers, acquaintances, random people, etc.

It's certainly true that very meaningful friendships are much rarer. But the only way to find them is to wade through lots of less meaningful ones.

Hell the person I consider my very best friend was just some dude I bought hash from at some point. I basically met him by accident looking for some drugs to sit at home and be alone and depressed. Then we realised we're kindred spirits, hackers, same taste in film and music, similar yet different philosophical views. We eventually ended up working together for over a year in a startup, and though we no longer live in the same city, we still try to arrange a week or two a year hanging out together hacking away on whatever we want to.

I have almost no friends from school that I keep in touch with today at all. And the ones I have on social media look like truly boring people for the most part.

> If you struggle talking to people Like I have, have a few drinks. That's been my experience anyway.

This is a lot of people's experience... and a whole lot of us really, really, really regret it years later. Alcohol is an incredibly dangerous and insidious tool to use for social anxiety. It works great at first, so you ignore the negative effects. But over time, it makes everything worse.

Drinking alcohol decreases anxiety initially, but over time causes the body to raise base anxiety levels. It also lowers testosterone, messes with the lining of the gut and gut microbiome (which can also increase anxiety and negatively impact mood due to the strong gut-brain axis of emotional regulation and signaling) and negatively impacts numerous other parts of the body.

My education around "alcohol is bad" was either warnings about bad behavior while inebriated or vague intangible health risks in the distant future, both of which were easy to ignore. Sharing because I wish someone had informed me that the drink in my 20s to temporarily blunt social anxiety would make my life so much worse by my 30s.

I'm not suggesting becoming an alcoholic, which I am not. But I have become addicted to other drugs before for similar reasons. But to say that light-to-moderate drinking will seriously worsen your life is a bit hyperbolic. It can very much help if your anxiety is so bad you can't even bring yourself to say hello to someone and if someone does, you disappear up your own a-hole. That used to be me. Alcohol helped me take that initial step of talking to anyone at all, about anything, ever. Once I did, I got more practice and I managed to get more comfortable talking to people even when sober.

One unit of alcohol can be sufficient. No need to get drunk or even be around other people who are drinking.

Drinking is just like anything else. It can be a tool or a crutch. The really hard thing me was it was so bad I couldn't even have a meaningful conversation with a therapist. And meds were a total waste of time for me(though I very much recommend trying if you think they might help).

I don't want to trivialise your experiences, but you might be unintentionally trivialising my experiences too, though I'm not at all offended :)

Strangely enough, I never even began to approach any risk of addiction with alcohol. It's puzzling to me because I get easily addicted to just about anything else, even weed.

Somewhat of a Puritanical/ probably very American take on alcohol. Most European cultures have alcohol baked into lunch and dinner meals from the teenage years, and those countries seem to have better health metrics than Americans do.

Having a few drinks is not inebriation, that's all-or-nothing thinking.

Have a few drinks to reduce social anxiety except if you're prone to addictive behaviors (in which case there are a suite of things to watch out for).

I relate to your sentiment, and then I think about how hard it was to explain to my parents why I enjoy watching others play video games.

It's easy: people watch other people play ball on television instead of playing themselves. Sometimes they watch celebrities play ball, because they suck at it, but it's entertaining. Same thing here with video games, you might watch a pro, you also might watch a great entertainer.

> Sometimes they watch celebrities play ball, because they suck at it, but it's entertaining

That's the part I don't get.

Also, at least some celebrities are indeed professional entertainers.

But the videos I talk about, I would have thought the people in there were not funnier than my real friends, even at 12 years old. They have nothing special about it.

Maybe that's the key? That they are as average as the viewer?

I watch people play Squad to pick up tips and tricks and ettiquite. I watch people play other games to try to see if that would be a game that I would like to play. I watch people play DCS because I really want to play it, but don't have THAT much time to invest into a game. DCS is my favourite to watch, you learn so much about fighter jet tactics and technology.

In person, I get it. You chill with someone you like, you don't need to do much to enjoy it. Like reading together, or just being there.

However, I don't get watching pewdiepie playing something. I just can't groke it. You don't know the person, the person is not in the room, the person is not even currently playing since it's a recording. It's a flat image of someone else having fun. And not somebody particularly good, interesting or special.

I tried to tell myself it's like watching porn: you watch somebody else having sex, why not play video game? But something doesn't click for me.

I miss the point entirely.

You enjoy the feeling of having friends, as you develop a parasocial relationship with the person on the screen.

It is essentially a hack for the brain's social processing systems. Generally, we'd have only seen others in real life and interacted with them. This confers evolutionary advantage so we feel good interacting further with people, and perhaps even seeing people do things we find enjoyable in the first place.

Now with video, we feel good as we "spend time" with the other person, even though they don't know of our existence. Our caveman brain doesn't know about this sort of one sided relationship at all, it wasn't present in the olden days.

We will see the same with AI and chatbots as the decades pass, only at least now we're actually able to interact in a two sided way. There are already people doing this with ChatGPT or even Replika.

I've explained it to myself like this: It's exactly like watching sports.

You want to watch it live on tv, even though the fact that you're watching has zero impact on the result. You're just watching other people play a game. You could do anything else and just check the scores afterwards, but still you want to watch it.

Some people will watch a recording of the game and still enjoy it even though the scores were determined hours ago.

The younger generation does the same thing, but instead of sports they watch someone play a game.

I don't understand either, but I can live with it =)

See: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35207785

But I can live as well with it. I don't blame the kids that watch those. I just don't understand it.

After you've watched a person enough on YouTube or Twitch you start feeling that you know them (even though it's completely unidirectional). I think there is a term for this but it's for sure an established phenomena. At that point it feels like watching friends do stuff I guess

The term is "parasocial"

I've never developed a parasocial delusions myself but still frequently watch various YouTube millionaire's plays games.

For me, it's just low effort entertainment. Like I don't enjoy talking with people, but it's kinda nice to have someone talk in the background to remind me that I'm not the only human alive.

I'm in my thirties though, these parasocial teenagers might be less jaded then I am.

I get that. Humans can get close to anything or anyone.

But to get there, you have to spend time doing so before it happens.

Which means you have to watch many videos where somebody is explaining their school day or reacting to a movie trailer before you get to that point.

> Which means you have to watch many videos where somebody is explaining their school day or reacting to a movie trailer before you get to that point.

Indeed, which is exactly what these creators do. I've watched a few of their videos before and I can't get over how...mundane their content is. There really is nothing of actual substance there. But I assume watching more of that content over time cultivates the same feeling as bullshitting with your friends, hence the parasocial relationship forms.

It honestly for me depends on how deep one is in a community. I am pretty heavily part of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Clone Hero community, and I watch a decent amount of such streaming. However, I also know many of them online, and a good few of them I've even met in person.

It's okay if you don't get it, if you don't enjoy watching others game. Doesn't mean others can't

I think people like to have something to watch and something to listen to. It makes it harder for your brain to go off at a tangent because it has more to occupy it. I think this reduces anxiety and intrusive thoughts. They may even be fidgeting with something to keep their hands occupied for the same reason. Maybe it is more like meditation than porn.

Why watch sports or tv shows or anything at all? It's other people having fun.

To be honest I never got that either, somebody scream for red or blue in front of a screen.

But at least for sports, you will see a level of play that is itself can be interesting because you can't just see it in day to day life.

Watching a video of a guy opening a kinder egg or playing badly at cod for the first time.

I get people watching streamers that are good at what they do. Rankers. Speed runners. Analysts. Jokers.

This is not what I'm talking about.

They also had two of their developmental years during lockdowns with the minimal social exposure.

I've heard from some teachers that the younger children they see coming up find it very scary to interact with real kids.

I though as well, and without a doubt it added to it (I have teacher friends that give me bleak reports for the cohort that went through it), but this thing started before the pandemic.

Also, I told myself, it's like watching sport instead of playing it, but something seems different.

I think it's more like sitcoms. A cast of slightly funny and charismatic characters going through mildly interesting experiences has been a mainstay of entertainment media for some time now.

Possibly, like latino soap opera but for kids.

I never could grasp the former, so maybe that's why I don't get the latter.

I browse youtube anonymously and so I get the neutral youtube experience, with what it things the average user wants.

Today I say a video suggestion with kids in the pics and a title "we made a blind test to distinguish frozen food from real one".

It's a really easy thing to do with your friend and family, unlike the soap opera scenario. It's typically stuff I have done, and actually still do.

So there must be a component I miss.

No, I meant American sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Modern Family, etc. None of these shows show anything dramatic or larger than life - it's just a couple of friends or a family going through relatable yet sanitized everyday situations.

Many of these shows were the pillar of people's evening ritual - the whole family would gather around the TV to watch a fictional family experience life.

What happen in friends or seinfield is way more creative and dense than those youtube videos. Friends start with a depressed guy wishing fir a girl and a nlond in a wedding dress shows out, follow by a killer punch line.

It's not something you can replicate every day with just having a drink with your buds.

> It's like there is an entire part of the children/teen population that have such a bland life they feel good while watching somebody else living it.

Or consider that some portion of the population would always be interested in such videos at any time in history, and it's only in the last decade that they have unlimited access.

My browsing of internet forums has led me to understand this issue as “living vicariously” among the youth. They have outsourced even the joy of experiencing new things in life to tech. And the tech companies are also getting paid in the process. Truly 21st century stuff.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I go one step further with this logic.

Grown men watching other men play a sport that they like to play with their friends is equally weird.

This is pretty narrow minded.

I like playing basketball. I will never be as good as Lebron James. It's fun to watch someone else play at the edge of what is possible. I might even learn something I can use myself.

I like software development. I'll never be as good as John Carmack. It's fun to watch someone else talk and think about what I like. I might even learn something.

Don't steal other people's joy just because you don't understand it.

> This is pretty narrow minded

As narrow minded as claiming people who watch a certain type of YouTube video must necessarily have a "bland life"

Keep in mind, childhoods are a lot different now because you are exposed to a lot of information and people you never would have had a chance to meet when you were a child. As a kid in the 90's, my parents gave my brothers and I a choice: cable TV, or DSL once DSL came to our area of the city.

We chose DSL, and definitely the Internet experience I had growing up was way different than every other kid at school since it was actually feasible to download a few small movies or games at the time, and to talk on chat apps/message boards at a very early age. All the online activities became part of my childhood along with my friends who lived locally and my other activities, and turned out, I enjoyed those a lot more than the in person activities which I mostly just _could_ do, as opposed to wanting to do them. So I had a pretty good balance I felt between physical activities, meeting with friends locally for bike rides or playing games, and the online social life also.

Edited addition: One of the most positive parts about this was that it was so new that my parents had very little to say because they did not understand it; if I wanted to join a message board or crack a game, my parents and teachers and other authority figures in my life absolutely could not say anything about it in a reasonable way; it was brand new, there were no guides or playbooks, I had to learn this all on my own. While I was a very independent child, it was mostly stuff in a familiar scope for my parents. They "knew" that if I went on a bike ride with friends, probably we were up to some mischief, because that's what happened when they were kids. Same with if I went to a friends house to play games, to the park, etc. The Internet was (and still is) completely out of their scope along with all the tech and knowledge required to use it at the time, so it was a major point of growth for me to learn this new world and how to survive in it. That felt really nice as a child, as I'd slowly start to learn the skills that helped me succeed as an adult.

I think that the current childhood experience probably would be what most of us would have had as online is now a normal aspect of kids lives, whether it's games or various chats/message boards, etc.

When you write:

>It's like there is an entire part of the children/teen population that have such a blend [sic] life they feel good while watching somebody else living it.

(I assume you mean "bland")

I'm not sure it's about a bland life. There is a lot of social interaction, just in a different form. Some people have trouble with understanding that online light interactions don't have the same weight as in real life impersonal interactions, but that's pretty normal I think. Most adults from the previous generation still have troubles with communication in my opinion (at least a fair amount of persons from businesses I work with have weaker communication skills that most children I know), so I'm not sure it's that these children are missing anything or have a "bland" life, it's just different. A lot of my younger friends are often in shock at my childhood pastimes before I had a nice computer and access to the Internet, cause man my friends and I used to get into a ton of trouble and do really dangerous/mean stuff to each other sometimes. We meant it in good fun, but in retrospect, I think that I'd rather my children were doing social stuff and learning/reading like I did when I got Internet as opposed to the stuff I used to do as a kid, which frankly speaking, was petty vandalism at times even just because we were so bored and wanted something "fun".

So it's not really that one is worse than the other or that modern life is bland, it's just different. There are lots of videos you can watch about early 2000's and 2010's internet culture, and it's really interesting for me because it wasn't the Internet I experienced as a kid; stuff like virtual worlds or alternate reality games that pop up on message boards seem like they were a lot of fun, and looks to have sparked a ton of creativity in the kids participating. I don't think this is a bad or bland life at all; just different.

> (I assume you mean "bland")

Yeah, Frenchman here :) Let met edit that.

happens :)

What I find distasteful about these fellas is that they’re not adding anything to the world. They’re taking away.

It’s what I love about HN. Sure, most of us wouldn’t mind being rich (sorry, ‘financially independent’), but it’s not the driver. The driver is to make something cool; to make something better.

I couldn’t imagine being the sort of person who sold people cheap Chinese shit just so I could buy a ‘Lambo’. Even if, by the book, that is a successful business.

I have no envy of these people.

> It’s what I love about HN. Sure, most of us wouldn’t mind being rich (sorry, ‘financially independent’), but it’s not the driver. The driver is to make something cool; to make something better.

Is this sarcasm? If it's genuine, I can think of many reasons. Either you are too young or wearing horse blinds or not living in the valley. Practically every start up is driven by a desire to be rich. This is why everyone sells to make millions at the first opportunity. They objectively have made the tech industry a worse place.

> Is this sarcasm?

No. I’m a long way — physically — from ‘the valley’, and I’m certainly not young.

When I say ‘HN’ I mean the day to day discussion on this site. I know there’s VC and whatnot here but really, mostly, that’s not what I’m reading. Perhaps I subconsciously avoid it?

I’m reading people who are passionate about technology. I’m reading nerds who love a new thing. That’s what brings me back here day after day.

You are making judgement calls on people's personalities based on not very much. HN is a public website, the discussions can be good and genuine and we can all be the same narcissistic psychopaths that are only here to accumulate HN karma that for some reason we value higher than money.

Or we can all be dogs, it's the internet and you have no idea. I'd start taking online communities with a bigger grain of salt.

I’ve been online since ‘94, don’t worry about me. I’ll figure it out eventually.

It's not black or white. There are people in the startup ecosystem that are driven mainly by money and there are those more idealistic.

The startup industry is a great place for the people who are driven by money to prey on those that are idealistic, just like the game industry profits off of people who really like video games.

Hopefully now with more information available out there us workers can stand up more for ourselves and get more for the value of our labor and expertise!

I’m sorry, but no. Not anymore. Everything is run by being able to get money from VC investors, and to make money for them. It IS the main driver. Idealists learn pretty fast how their idealism won’t take them anywhere in Silicon Valley of 2023. Or they’re stupid or tone deaf enough to keep on going and thinking that their n-th to-do list app will change the world. I’m afraid I gotta break it to you, but your romanticized idea of Silicon Valley is dead in the water.

It can be the main driver for some, but not the only one for all :)

And the people who are mainly motivated by money greatly appreciate the second group. I think in poker jargon they're called "marks" (less politely, suckers).

Still, as a neutral observer to this, their sacrifice is greatly appreciated!

And they operate how, exactly? with the money of people who are in there for the money.

HN hasn't been geared towards VC startup founders for probably 10+ years. Compare the old HN, where PG still commented, to today's list of topics.

I admit I envy their ability to not care how they are making their money.

I was once pitched a gig that, after you boiled away the flowery tech contraptions, amounted simply to “run your own scummy leadgen business.” I felt like I had to take a shower after hearing that pitch. Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have that part of my brain that recoils in disgust at treating other human beings as “leads” to be bought and sold?

If you want to get rid of that part of your brain, check my profile and fill out the form on my homepage ...

Apart from the lack of personal fulfillment, isn't it good for society, and thus not such a bad job, that fools are parted from their money? After all, consumers decide what our society does. If a consumer is not able to recognize a scam, how can society trust them to make meaningful decisions? A hustle guru will spend their money on fast cars and thus at least support state of the art engineering.

I do wish this is a sarcastic comment, can't tell anymore these days.

Since there is no homepage linked on his profile, I would think it was sarcasm ..

Still, to adress that point:

"isn't it good for society, and thus not such a bad job, that fools are parted from their money"

It is overall bad, as it creates an atmosphere of distrust and distrusting everything costs a lot of energy.

Unfortunately the hustle gurus usually spend it on making the world even worse: more scams, content promoting scammy lifestyle, paying scam buddies, paying off politician to pass scam friendly laws etc.

I don't really care (that much anyway, I do care a bit) that some useful idiot went broke buying into yet another crypto scam. I do care about the guys running the operation getting more resources though as they will use them to make the world I live in worse.

Consumers make the world worse, too. The housing bubble exists because useful idiots are willing to pay beyond reasonable market value, destroying prices for everybody.

> What I find distasteful about these fellas is that they’re not adding anything to the world. They’re taking away.

I find that distasteful about the whole advertising industry, that celebrities are just a part of.

Including reviews and ratings industry. Advertisement is not the engine of the trade anymore, Search is. Ads and reviews only destroy what Search and old newspaper ads created and should be finally heavily regulated, in search too. It’s a legalized fraud nobody cares about.

The sigma male grindset is by the funniest meme at the moment. I love how far its been taken into absurdity. It is becoming frustrating having to talk to nephews about the realities of ecommerce and business after years in the industry and them thinking you can flick a switch to become a millionaire over night. The most worrying trend is the attitudes towards women and people of perceived lower status, a victim mindset can hold people back but so can poverty and systemic issues.

“If you’re taking AI or drop shipping startup ideas from online videos with hundreds of thousands of views, you’ve already lost.”

So nobody can find inspiration and learn about new things from YouTube videos? This seems like a fairly obtuse statement. I don’t watch these hustle porn guys on YouTube but I learn a hell of a lot from smaller tech YouTubers who produce educational content.

The author is clearly quite salty. Vox is just as bad if not worse than these guys on YouTube. Their whole schtick is riling people up for page views with no consideration for the wider societal impact.

I think you’ve missed the point of the comment.

The point is that these people aren’t making their money from what they’re preaching, they’re making it from YouTube.

Even if there were some validity to what they’re saying in the videos, if the video has 3 million views by the time you’ve watched it then you’re at least the 3 millionth fish in the packed-to-the-gills salmon farm by then and there’s no margin left for you.

Vox also doesn't make their money from whatever it is they preach, but from Vox getting clicks.

And theatres need attendees, streaming services need plays, tourist attractions need eyeballs, etc. Just because a publication needs “clicks” does not make their argument invalid, or that they can’t achieve that viewership without debasing themselves.

It’s okay to be slightly provocative to get attention to a valid story, IMO. At no point does Vox tell me I too can run my own news publication and become influential like them; if they did then I think it’s fair to doubt them and their motivations.

Because two separate things can be true at the same time?

It’s a bit like people who write financial advice books. They don’t make their money from their clever investment ideas, they make it from selling self help books.

Exactly. Which should immediately raise questions over the value of their advice.

Given that the ideas they’re shilling are inherently scalable, logically it follows that if they knew how to make it work they wouldn’t have to snake oil people on YouTube for money, therefore, they’re advice has no value.

There's lots of similar programming videos, does that mean you should not learn programming because you'll be the 3 millionth fish? Competition exists in every niche, you still have to get better than others, there's no silver bullet.

If you learn programming you can create a completely unique and useful program. Dropshipping on the other hand is thousands of different people selling the exact same product, there is no value added.

Tbf, from the economical perspective both are a lottery of marketing.

Interesting and scary take.

My opinion is that you one hundred percent should not learn programming from YouTube videos. It is tremendously ineffective.

I'm not sure how you get from

"If you’re taking AI or drop shipping startup ideas from online videos with hundreds of thousands of views, you’ve already lost"


"So nobody can find inspiration and learn about new things from YouTube videos?"

If a startup idea is good, it doesn’t really matter if someone mentioned it in a video that got hundreds of thousands of views. Execution is still the key component.

‘You’ve already lost’ implies that every idea must be completely unique in order for you to ‘win’ whatever that means.

You are stripping all of the context of the statement and then responding to the universal form of it that you created yourself, I dunno that Vox can be blamed too much in this case given how much you're working in order to be mad about it.

eh, I think you're reaching. Saying I'm working on being mad about it is as unsubstantiated as me saying that you’re a Vox fanboy who can't handle having your worldviews challenged. Bit pointless isn't it?

> You’ve already lost’ implies that every idea must be completely unique in order for you to ‘win’ whatever that means.

This is not a correct interpretation. It implies watching YouTube influencer ideas is not a way that gives you much chances of success. That there are better ways to start your business than a youtube video idea. Your interpretation is the most extreme one you can take from what is written.

It's possible for an idea to not be unique but from unique to "3m people watched on youtube" goes a long way, and the type of idea that gets 3m views is probably optimized for entertainment more than business resilience.

I was going to say the same thing as you. The article has a good title but besides that it completely missed the point. And the sentence you quoted was only the cherry on top.

Elsewhere on HN’s front page today: negativity drives engagement. Vox and others on both sides of the political spectrum turned that into a business.

Those guys sound just like those late late night infomercials you would see back in the 90s if you fell asleep in front of your tv and woke up at one am with the thing still on. Except back in the 90s nobody took those infomercials seriously. Now apparently people's defenses are down. And they take those scumbags seriously.

So here we again have the general malaise of western culture -- the fact that everything is done for money and more and more of the culture is based on tricking the content consumer into spending money. Have you ever wondered, for example, why in modern culture the paragon of femininity is considered the ability to shop for a lot of expensive stuff that you do not need and the paragon of masculinity is considered to be gambling. When you think about it those are both ways to lose a lot of money fast.

So culture or content is more and more centered on the ability to trick the consumer to lose money for no good reason and the smarter consumers try to grow an internal resistance to these tricks and the dumber ones fall prey to them.

The German TV host Jan Böhmermann recently made a similar piece [1] talking about the shady practices on how to make "success coaches more succesful".

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdDeklnVGrM

It's the path that anyone who gets into internet marketing soon learns. You start off trying to make money by playing SEO , keyword slicing and dicing and filling the internet up with affiliate links. Eventually you realise for all your hours of efforts, you have made 12 cents over the past 3 months, so you make the ultimate pivot. You start trying to make money on the internet, but selling 'products' to people on the internet, about how to make money on the internet. Your passive income, becomes selling information to others about how to make passive income. They in turn eventually do the same pivot and thus it continues.

> Drop shipping, or the practice of PURCHASING cheap goods, usually from China, and selling them on a legitimate-seeming website for profit

Vox doesn't even understand what drop shipping is. The whole point is that the goods don't need to be owned. Vox are mad people are watching dumb videos instead of their own low quality articles.

I think people might be down voting you because they also don't know what drop shipping is. To clarify: drop shipping is when you have no inventory, take customer orders, and then simply forward those orders. So, for example, If I get an order for a hairbrush on ebay, instead of shipping a hairbrush myself, I would go on alibaba or similar, and order a hairbrush shipped straight to my customer.

Or it is a customized item, say a tshirt with an artists image. They still don’t want to hold inventory (all those sizes and shirt skus), so the item is printed on demand and drop shipped from the manufacturer.

vox seems not to understand what mass retail is either. Things sold by well known brick and mortar stores are also made cheaply in China.

What's sad is that there are so many unmoored men who are drawn to this type of thing; that a true and caring network of real people and relationships eludes them, and that they were not taught to distinguish reality from artifice.

It's deeply, crushingly sad that a flimflam gimmick preying on parasocial affection is a draw - they're so low that it works on them.

How do you even undo that kind of damage?

Give parents education on parenting. In the UK at least they're sort of left to just work it out.

Often that means give the kids a smartphone or tablet because that keeps them quiet.

The worst thing about these toxic people, aside from preying on disenfranchised people in a cult-like way is that rather than use something obvious like religious talk they co-opt the language of things that are legitimate and mix in vile philosophical memes.

Like an MLM scheme that also has links to white Christian fundame.. oh nevermind.

Vox is also not your friend.

conflict of interest. The more influence youtube gets, the more the other media channels are going to say bad things about them

> conflict of interest. The more influence youtube gets, the more the other media channels are going to say bad things about them

The more influence [X] gets, the more [Y] are going to say bad things about them

You can observe this everywhere. From high school hallways to government and corporate orgs.

We get to practice this with football teams, but it bleeds over into politics.

Corporations are not your friend.

true that; regardless of YouTube.

These are the people who watch "the wolf of wall street" and take it as inspirational and motivation.

Nobody you have really befriended (in real life for a long stable period) can't be your friend. No emmotional expession in commercials or other people towards you is genuine. Its all so they get what they want from you. Money or attention. Of course the random stranger you meet can be an exception. But i never understood how people can fall in love with brands, (most) artists etc. There is no mutual feeling.

> There is no mutual feeling.

Why would you think that? That seems like a very negative world view to me.

The seller is not exploiting the buyer, it's just a mutual deal where both parties benefit.

I create a product, and some of my users really love it. They are very happy that I created it in so far that they want to pay for it. They want me to make more features.

I, on my part, am very grateful that they love my product. That means they want to pay for it and I can make a living. I love my biggest fans or hard-core users the same way as they love me and my product. Is it a real personal relationship? Probably not.

You make it seem like all people that sell you something try to rip you off. Maybe they just want to create a great product, and create a win-win relationship. I'm sure plenty of artists love their fans and want to do great things for them.

I agree with the article that those are narcissistic psychopaths but then there is this quote from the tweet:

> - 8 hours sleep

> - No porn

> - Hit the gym

> - Make lots of money

> - Have a big family

> This is the magic of life.

The author points to that like those are supposed to be bad/vain things.

Hard disagree.

Whoever wants to nudge me not to pursue the above (here: author of the article) is my enemy.

So I despise both the influencers mentioned and the author of the article.

EDIT: I would add "no social media", but that would break the influencers business model ;-)

I don't think it's mentioned as "this is bad", it's "this is what they pretend to be about to lure in young men who lack direction in life so they can exploit them".

I see.

That's because the author didn't see my youtube video on how to get rich in 2 easy steps. /s

Step 1: Already be rich.

I built Reynholm Industries from the ground up. When I started, I only had two things in my possession: A dream and six million pounds. Now I have a business empire the like of which the world has never seen the like of which. I hope it doesn't sound arrogant when I say that I am the greatest man in the world.

-Denholm Reynholm

Step 2: See Step 1

The sigma-male/get-rich-quick types (and their female equivalents in the MLM spaces) are parasites, but as with any parasite, they thrive in an unhealthy environment.

Since the 1970s, the path to even modest generational wealth has been eroded. You can play the property casino, inherit your money, or maybe luck out with joining the right startup or making the right investment at the right time - or a combination thereof. The slow-and-steady path of working hard and saving frugally for a reasonably priced home and a pension, with a decent public education for your kids and decent free or reasonably priced healthcare and social protections, has been eroded in the turbocharged neoliberalism of the past few decades.

If you are a young person looking at all of this, you could be forgiven for thinking the "study hard, work hard, have a family, buy a home, retire" ethic is for mugs, and the only way to carve out a decent lifestyle (not even talking about Lambos and mansions) is the Hustle.

The path to modest generational wealth is pretty straightforward, pay off all your debts, don't borrow money, invest at least 15% of your income toward retirement in stable low-risk index funds or managed mutuals and leave it alone. Don't waste on big toys and you'll be a millionaire in a couple decades.

It's really really that simple. If your income is not enough to achieve the above state loop, then you'll need to put effort into increasing available income; whether by reducing expenses or increasing income by way of self education, career change, etc.

It's not hard. Anyone in America with $35,000/yr is in the 1% of the world's economic strata.

> It's not hard. Anyone in America with $35,000/yr is in the 1% of the world's economic strata.

That doesn't take into account the vastly different cost of living across the world. Sure, 35k USD is a lot compared to some countries, but it's barely scraping by in most US metros.

US wages have not kept pace with the increase in cost of living and goods and services for decades.

Even if folks somehow managed to save 15% of the 35k every year for 40 years (which is really hard) they're left just touching a million with a guaranteed 8% return, and that's their retirement funds. After using those funds to live for the next ~20+ years extremely modestly doesn't leave much of anything for "generational wealth".

Unless you're already in the upper 20% the best bet remaining is to help your kids get through college and hope they get a higher paying job than you. Which is increasingly difficult as the cost of education has skyrocketed compared to wages.

If those folks are only making $35k for 40 years they're losers with no impetus for self-growth or security. If they can make $35k a year they're capable enough to make $50k a year if they work hard to improve, start a business, create value.... if you don't, then enjoy your struggles. It's a dog eat dog world, right?

Throwing Alex Hormozi into that list feels like the author just found a random person on YouTube that seems like a get rich quick guy and added him to the list? The other ones seems very shady I agree.

It was interesting to read the article after reading the top comments, which seem more based on a headline rather than tfa read. The nut graph is at the end:

If you’re taking AI or drop shipping startup ideas from online videos with hundreds of thousands of views, you’ve already lost. This is a truth of media literacy, not business or science, and it’s a lot more difficult to learn than watching a YouTube video that basically amounts to “eight easy ways to lose your life savings.”

In the programming/IT space ive noticed that the indiehackers community is somewhat in the same vein. Lots of posturing and talking about how to get rich and build a saas (with 1m ARR and No Code), courses, email lists, “masterminds”, etc, but little substance behind it.

So is there no way of actually making a good amount of money through the internet because most of the cash is in the hands of the mega wealthy? Does Vox have anything to suggest?

I don't seek friends on Youtube or online. I am looking for genuine information, better parameter is conflict of interest. A shovel seller may have best info. about gold, but they have an incentive to exaggerate and hype it. In a more relevant context, VCs may be able to give best advice to a founder but they have a bias towards to the fund.

For youtube influencers / gurus / religious gurus, they are in business of selling clicks and views so they'll be more prone to tell you what you want to listen than what will truly help you. Even likes of Jordan Peterson may give wonderful advice if consulted in person, but on Youtube he has to cater to the bias of people who are viewing his videos.

Title is misleading. This is about a particular subset of successful youtubers, not successful youtubers in general.

I've never even heard of these people.

Scottsdale seems a reasonable place for someone like that

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