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That phone should have been shredded way before you got pulled over.


>35-Year-Old Unknown

First of all, that's rude.

Second, if they have a $75b valuation and no profit plan, that's not likely a good sign. I doubt China's P2P and venture capital markets are related, but I'd bet they gave a high valuation just to grab headlines. Also, it'll eventually get censored like everything else in China, so 'doing better than Baidu' is probably temporary.


>First of all, that's rude.

Real question: Is there some social etiquette rule that says describing a person to a news audience as "unknown" is being rude? Honestly, I've never heard of that.

If I created a billion dollar company and Bloomberg called me "an unknown", I'd consider it a massive compliment. It means that I was able to grow the company totally under the radar without any distracting interview requests from TechCrunch, TheVerge, Gizmodo, etc.


I guess the problem is the combination of "35-year-old" with "unknown".

Seems the 35yo bit is irrelevant to the story, that's neither old nor young: you can have a significant career by that point and you are a long way from retiring. So I can understand some people from the Valley would think this is just another case of ageism.

A bit like saying "A Black Woman left me her seat in the bus" can be suspicious even though it is factual.


Apparently he was 29 anyway, so I'm not sure what the point of the 35 is.

And to be honest Chinese billionaires not being well known in the west isn't that surprising to me, particularly when their business ventures are heavily China-facing.


FWIW I have always been under the impression that "first of all that's rude" is mostly used as a funny meme, a recurring harmless little joke (to put emphasis on what comes next in the speech).


Bit of a joke at first, but became more serious when people started to frame it as a compliment. I wouldn't blame anyone for missing humor on here.

Ultimately, it's a difference of opinion and social influences. It got an article click anyway, so mission accomplished for Bloomberg.


But... Was he a known-unknown or an unknown-unknown?


Every other founder is virtually unknown before they become known. Is he unknown because he lives in China and didn't attend Stanford? What does it mean that he is Unknown?


>Every other founder is virtually unknown before they become known

Not really. Tesla's founder was well known, for example (as a founder and exiter of another company). Ditto for the founder of NeXT.

And "unknown" here also means not born with a silver spoon, no heir, no previous positions eg. as CEO/CTO somewhere, no major tech connections, etc.


> Tesla's founder was well known, for example (as a founder and exiter of another company).

Tesla's original founders are indeed "unknown."


Maybe they intended to write

>Virtually Every other founder is unknown before they become known

.. :)


should've asked instead: "...because he lives in China and didn't attend Tsinghua?"


In this context, unknown could be pretty easily with calling someone a nobody.

A nobody, compared to who? A status quo? Innovation is about outliers getting things done.

Whereas a success like this would normally be celebrated to the moon and back. Why not here? Is this individual's success outside a self-congratulatory echo-chamber?

With media it's worth asking questions about the use of words, because they wordsmith for a living.


My real question is: do they really mean unknown or just “unknown to us”. Guy could be quite well recognised in China for all I know. There’s a lot of implicit parochialism that works its way into news stories.


"Unknown" is not an insult. It's not rude. It just means that he was not prominent before this company. It's actually somewhat of a compliment, because you generally expect gradual rises in fame and performance, not meteoric ones. So to say "unknown X does great thing Y" is more complimentary to X than saying "X does great thing Y".


whose definition of 'prominent' ? many, many assumptions there


You could say that for any word. The common people's definition of prominent. In the sense that he wasn't that known in the tech world and not a household item in the business industry either.


I am simply observing the general meaning of unknown in the context of statements like this in the English language. I suspected that the person I was replying to might be unaware of this meaning based on their reaction, and was trying to clarify. I really don't think there are many assumptions here. This is by far the most common interpretation of unknown in sentences like this.


I agree, I think this says more about the VC market in China than it does about Bytedance.


I'd wear "Unknown" as a badge of honor.


Especially with all the trading of personal information these days.

Being unknown to even Google is a huge accomplishment for a 35-yo.


I was going to say the same.


And technically he was 29 when he started it.


Honestly, we the lesser mortals do not know what goes behind the closed doors when cheques like $1.5 billion are written.

People said the same thing when Microsoft valued Facebook at $15 billion. Now, in the hindsight, it seems so funny that people frowned upon those valuations.

Power of having many consumers engaged on your platform is too much in digital age.


With a $75b valuation, the state-actors coming for their protection money might expect quite a lot of it.


Or state-actors arrive on behalf of their competitors to put an end to it...


Actually, the profit plan has been going very well and straight forward - ADs.


>Second, if they have a $75b valuation and no profit plan, that's not likely a good sign.

For whom? Because the founder will walk out a billionaire, or at least multi-millionaire, whatever happens...


Right? "Sorry this is only my first multi-billion dollar startup. I guess I need to start a second to merit having a name in your headline."


Absolutely agree. When Kevin Rose came out of the blue with Digg, they didn't call him 'Unknown'. It is just how media in the US (and rest of the world is trying to copy them mostly) tries to grab attention.

Also, it is unknown to them, but Bytedance has been around for quite some time and covered in the US. Also, it is not like they are not making money. So many things are wrong with how they cover this.


Kevin Rose was a TV host at the time Digg launched. He might not have been well known, but he wasn't unknown.


TV host of show that only geeks watched. :)


A bit off topic, but isn't you nickname FLUX-YOU a bit rude? Apart from that you are screaming does it sound quite similar to f%&$ you. And to flux means something like "flowing of fluid from the body, such as diarrhea".


I'm not so sure, one of the other space companies could start poaching talent and there's no way they can continue the government contracts with a huge loss of critical staff.


SpaceX is an extremely desirable company to work at, it's more NASA than NASA. Even without Musk that would remain the case. Talent squeeze is not a risk IMO.


>more just that retail in the Amazon era is difficult and he has demonstrated no particular talent or qualifications for running such a business

"Right, I'm smart enough to realize that Amazon will crush us, and I can't outsmart Bezos, so why not enrich myself, say fuck the world, and go retire with a cool billion?"


I would have no problem with this if so many people didn't get hurt along the way, losing jobs, pensions, and so on.


Where do you think the billions come from?


The passion/craftsman culture changed when we started selling our souls for the next ad-click or personal information collection system.

While it might have seemed good back then, we now have a massively cobbled-together web ecosystem. I know it's a cheap shot, but those same passionate people built the crap we have today. I don't think it speaks very highly of that time or the merits of passion.

(many individuals had passion back then and would be strongly against today's web practices -- I do get that)

When you start peeling away the layers of the career, the actual craft is only a portion of today's work. If I could code 8 hours a day, I would. But it's hard to spend a day in the workshop with that passionate, quiet, productive focus.


> The passion/craftsman culture changed when we started selling our souls for the next ad-click or personal information collection system.

I am really passionate about the information collection system I work on. I do my best to ensure data isn't leaked, everything is secure and encrypted. If you would like to offer a solution to the fact that the vast majority of people in this country now expect software to be free (save, some AAA video game titles), I am all ears. Until then, I am going to be passionate about what I do, but realistic as well as I have a family to provide for.


> If you would like to offer a solution to the fact that the vast majority of people in this country expect software to be free

This is critical. I think it even goes beyond this: most developers expect software they use to be open source. People have gotten used to the software from Google/Facebook/etc that they can develop and release as open source due to their essentially infinite revenue stream.


>If you would like to offer a solution to the fact that the vast majority of people in this country now expect software to be free (save, some AAA video game titles), I am all ears.

Subscriptions? I pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Github, MS Office, a VPN, and probably a few others.

If you're B2B, use price per user/customer/developer? e.g. Highcharts was worth the money vs. free options.

The problem is there's no guarantee you don't also collect info or decide to play ads even if I pay for a subscription.


> do my best to ensure

Good to hear. The next dev, manager, owner on the team is not likely to be as conscientious however.

Once information is collected it is rarely deleted, so trust in random third parties is still not wise.


I trust that we all have a general vested interest in avoiding data breaches for sake of profits and public image. I do believe that we need a tad bit of regulation around data collection not because we are all shitheads that throw your data around, but for those couple of bad actors that ruin it for everyone to bring their businesses up to par with what the rest of us are doing -- but nothing as extreme as GDPR. This is America after all, and liberty is hard, but I still believe it's the most important principle. At the end of the day you are still entering an agreement to exchange your information for the use of the services, and you are at liberty to not enter into that agreement. It's obvious to me that people are not concerned with that enough that they are willing to shell out money for their email, content, recipes, craft ideas, photo storage, social platforms, payment platforms, and until the people change the business incentives will be focused on data collection. To not sound like I am on that high horse, I too utilize many of these services. The problem however for me is not unwillingness to pay, but as it stands right now there isn't a paid product that can compete with some of the services I get for free.


It’s an unpopular viewpoint on HN, but I truly don’t believe that using personal information to deliver targeted advertisements is immoral, provided that 1) a best effort is made to make people fully aware of what information is being collected and how it is being used, and 2) a best effort is made at keeping that data safe from being leaked.

I just genuinely don’t understand how if someone gives personal consent to use their provided data in a specific way, then the company is still acting immorally.

Society has moved forward over the last few decades in favor of people using their body however they like as long as consent is given and no one is hurt, so why is it not the same with information? Why is personal consent to use my information not enough, to the point where we want to force companies into a payment/subscription/no targeted ads model that may not actually work for their business?


Consent in the digital world is fraught with difficulty:

1) Do you have to repeat consent every time the ToS or another policy changes?

2) What about repeating consent every time there is a feature change?

3) Should your consent remain after controversial events involving security (FB using 2FA phone #'s for ads; data breaches like Equifax)?

4) What about internal company changes like leadership changes at the executive level?

Unlike consent involving intimacy, there is no big red line where it clearly becomes non-consensual. You can technically delete all of the data, but no one has built something that does that and is trusted. There isn't a right-to-be-forgotten law in every country, so archiving sites can still retain this information anyway.

Plus, it could always be on some flash drive that a malicious employee passed to other companies. Large companies like Facebook have pockets where people can essentially operate with impunity or oversight for periods of time. The core issue here is that consent to one site proxies affirmative consent to share your information out to other sites.

As a hypothetical, would you give consent to Facebook knowing that they will then share all of that information with anyone who asks (every site, every 3-letter agency, every stranger from anywhere in the world who likes your bikini pictures)?

What if they say they won't share that information, but they do anyway? Tech companies move too fast for law to keep up, and once the information is duplicated to multiple parties, it's almost impossible to track down every copy with certainty.


I could agree in theory, it's just that 1 & 2 don't happen in the real world. (Outside of EU?) There are no incentives, responsibility, or consequences for folks once data has been acquired.

It's like the friend that swears they will pay you back if you would just lend them a substantial amount of money. Said enthusiasm drops 95% once the transaction has completed.


>we now have a massively cobbled-together web ecosystem

I don't think most older ecosystems were any better. For example Unix is a cobbled together mess. Autotools is a terrible mess of a build system, etc.

Big "professional" ecosystems aren't much better either. Just look at all the jokes like "fizzbuzz enterprise edition".


Most of the security bonuses feel anemic when it's still humans entering data into a system to track food vs. how cryptocurrencies use blockchains to track transactions.

But now you've also raised the technical requirements and are betting the security on non-technical farmers and farm staff. Even if they have technical chops since farm equipment is more complex these days, they likely don't have security chops.

There's already 'country-of-origin' scams in international shipping, so it's not a far stretch to apply the same concept to farming supply chains. Throw a disposable proxy farm in front of your real farms and change the origin. When it's human-entered information, blockchain doesn't prevent someone being dishonest from the beginning, and it lures people into a false sense of security because of IBM's advertising.

I guess limiting fraud to the beginning of the supply chain is a step in the right direction though. I don't think blockchain solves chain-of-custody well though.


I think there are two key points to making such a system work:

1. Packaging it in such a way that it's easy to use for non-technical users.

2. There still has to be a mechanism for establishing trust in the public keys registered in such a system.

For one I'd imagine that farmers are doing some amount of work to go from raw "lettuce in the ground" to "one unit of shipment". Once it's a unit of shipment it could have an ID/Bar/QRcode generated that is then scanned with a handheld scanner that has its own keypair. The scanners keypair would be registered with the farm and so the farm would either explicitly sign off on the package or implicitly have signed that scanners pair as trusted by the farm. So a farmer and farmstaff wouldn't need any technical know how beyond operating a scanner. Depending on the farm adding such a granular tracking system may or may not be easy to implement.

For two, I can see two options. Walmart could verify every step of the chain themselves and register/receive the public key for each step in the chain. (So a farm would register with Walmart as a verified producer, a shipping company would register, etc). Or each step of the change could make a binary decision to trust the step before it and apply pressure down chain to resolve issues, since theoretically each step could fabricate the entire chain before passing it off. In this scenario, Walmart would go to the shipping company and say "E. Coli was detected in Shipment X. We no longer want to be sourced produce from Producer Y. The shipping company then takes this into account when sourcing produce, or else Walmart discontinues business with them.

I think the big benefit is by having an associated public key, you can verify the claimed identity of any agent in the chain and build trust in that agent over time. You could keep popping up disposable proxy farms, but Walmart/Shipping provider/X doesn't have any reason to trust your proxy farm's shipments; you have to establish trust either directly with a buyer of your produce, or establish trust over time as a commodity provider. As you build trust you can probably get better prices.

I'm by no means a blockchain advocate or a supply chain manager of any kind, just doing a thought experiment of how blockchains might be effectively applied in such a scenario. There very well might be better solutions, but I think at the very least a blockchain presents an interesting or novel solution.

Just thinking through, you could also create a sort of "doubly linked list" and include who custody was given to as part of each block, so a farmer is signing a claim of who they gave their produce to. {Farm A produced unit of Lettuce X, Given to Shipper B, <no previous>}[Farm A signed]


Anything that requires hand/eye coordination is waiting on a good VR implementation.

I would totally pay $60 for a VR game that has you building a house from the ground up or doing woodworking in as much detail as possible (even if it's individual stages and tasks without a proper physics sandbox).


For building a house it should then also include the role playing aspect of dealing with building departments, inspectors, and contractors that don't show up or drill into wires that electrician had just installed. ;-)


>There may be something about alcohol that was helpful in the 1950s that is no longer so today, due to these environmental changes.

Maybe an interaction with the prevalence of leaded gasoline?


Probably a raw feeling in the brain instead of something intuitive like having a HUD with green numbers representing pitch/yaw/roll/velocity/etc. suddenly painted over your field of vision.

There's likely an encoding step that you have to teach the person before you can interpret the signals from the aircraft. I bet the process is similar to learning Morse code, but with tingling feelings instead of beeps.

Even the idea of transmitting strings to a person's brain is a massive step forward. We're likely dealing with "is this a 1 or 0?" and it takes seconds to decide that. Bandwidth is likely really low still.


>People have been awkward and people have been sociable before the internet, and people are awkward and sociable after the internet.

Yep. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was published in 1937.


Through, that one is more advanced and about how to be skilled manipulator and sleezy.


You haven't read it at all, have you?


That book is the sales bible!


i've only skimmed parts of the book, but i recall the author explicitly saying multiple times that it is not a book of "tricks", but rather tactics that can only work if there is genuine interest behind them.

idk how much time you have spent being deliberately manipulative, but unfortunately i have in my earlier years. unless you are naturally this way, it takes a lot of work in the moment and people are not usually fooled.


I have read the book and that was my conclusion from it. That it is harder to pull that actually off is true, but it it being hard does not change much on my assessment of book.

I did not tried manipulate people much and hate a lot when people try to manipulate me. People in the past did that to me. Hence my distaste with the book.


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