Re: Don't Be Getting Caught

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No, I think it's ok if you're an innovative disruptor.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 2:58 PM
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It boggles my mind the things people put down in email. If you want to conspire in restraint of trade is it too much to pick up the fucking phone?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:00 PM
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And the people involved will have absolutely no shame about raving on about the virtues of the free market, let alone showing their faces in decent company.

There was a similar scandal in IIRC Chicago, involving hospitals and nurses.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:09 PM
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2: They're tech company leaders. They know the phones are tapped by the NSA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:13 PM
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I don't know whether to laugh or cry that none of the big companies I've worked show up on the list of conspirators. I think maybe I'm offended.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:26 PM
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I'm missing some of the logic after skimming that post, which I guess means I should read more carefully, but teal deer:

It looks like most of the quoted material is about agreements not to call employees of these other companies to try to recruit them. How is that related to "wage fixing," which sounds like a different issue to me?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:28 PM
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6: I'm pretty sure the point is that when the bigs mutually agree not to poach from each other, that's a major reduction in upward salary pressure, hence lower wages. Profits vs. people.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:30 PM
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The short answer is that in the previous article on this topic, they mention that the companies shared their wage structure with one another. The longer answer is that by agreeing not to recruit each other's employees, they kept wages down by preventing bidding wars.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:31 PM
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From a Baffler blog post on the same issue:

In 2007, when one Google recruiter mistakenly extended an offer to an Apple employee and Jobs got wind of it, he was furious. He fired an email of complaint to Google's Eric Schmidt. Much groveling ensued--as Ames notes, "[a]pologizing and groveling to Steve Jobs is a recurring theme throughout these court dockets." The Google recruiter was terminated within an hour of Schmidt's email being sent.

As for Jobs's reaction to the employee being let go with such brutal dispatch? His response to the email, in toto, was a smiley face, i.e., : )

Steve Jobs, secular saint!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:40 PM
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It really is true about success in America: everyone knew that Jobs was a huge asshole forever, but after the iPhone, it was all underwritten by his genius, and since his death, it's been forgotten completely. No! He was a huge asshole!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:49 PM
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But that's a topic for another day, I think. This seems like a huge deal, on the merits. That's a lot of employees, and a lot of money they never saw. Meanwhile, Apple has $160 billion dollars in cash.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:51 PM
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God I'm sick of hearing about the genius of Jobs like he invented steel or antibiotics or something. It's just a fucking phone, and not even as nice as my Samsung.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:52 PM
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12: And thing is, it's not like he designed the phone. No, he had workers who designed the phone, workers whose salary he stole by conspiring with every other company in Silicon Valley.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:56 PM
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7, 8: Huh. I understand that it has the effect of keeping down wages. I guess I'm surprised that doing so in this indirect way, rather than explicitly agreeing on the wages to pay, is illegal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:57 PM
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But Walt, Jobs had the vision to tell those workers that their designs were shit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 3:58 PM
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I'm surprised that doing so in this indirect way, rather than explicitly agreeing on the wages to pay, is illegal.

Here's some on-point legalese, in very small type.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:03 PM
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Now that Jobs is dead, I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes the fall guy for all this, at least in the media.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:09 PM
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12: I am going to find you a phone that runs DOS. You'll figure it out eventually.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:13 PM
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Must no one at all, then, be called happy while he lives; must we, as Solon says, see the end? Even if we are to lay down this doctrine, is it also the case that a man is happy when he is dead? Or is not this quite absurd, especially for us who say that happiness is an activity?


Posted by: Opinionated Aristotle | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:14 PM
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I found it pretty odd that there are all these tech companies- who cares, they euthanize you when you reach 35 anyway- but then there was one company in my field too. I'm assuming it was just the software people for them because who ever wants to hire a chemist.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:31 PM
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17: That will never happen so long as Gruber draws breath.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:39 PM
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so long as Gruber draws breath

You're wrong! Dead Steve Jobs, meet John Gruber's bus. He's an Apple fanboy, not a Steve Jobs fanboy. The king is dead, long live the king!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:45 PM
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As with Frank Lloyd Wright, it's simply true that sometimes world-historical geniuses are also total dicks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:47 PM
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20: fast food chicken places, what I hear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:47 PM
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We're now calling Steve Jobs a world historical genius?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:49 PM
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We're now calling Steve Jobs a world historical genius?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:49 PM
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One little quibble with the story as it's developing: I'm pretty sure that people are running with the "affecting up to ONE MILLION employees" line, but the evidence is quite clear: the people on the Do Not Poach list were a fairly small fraction of the total employees of the relevant companies. Or maybe I misread it, but I was looking at some of the primary evidence, and it seemed to be the case that A. only certain classes of employees (project managers, upper level engineers/coders) were "protected", and B. the million employee number was about company rosters, not just the affected subset.

I'm totally fine with the broader narrative, and I'd love for these fuckers to take a big hit, but I'm kind of annoyed at the sloppy jump from (near as I can tell) 100k to 1M affected individuals.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:50 PM
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25: sure, I'll take that position, if somebody has to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:51 PM
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Probably more so than Frank Lloyd Wright, at least.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:52 PM
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25, 26: Yeah, I knew people would quibble. Whatever. Apple I, Apple II, the Mac, saving Apple/iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad. Apple retail stores - his idea that everyone else thought was stupid - are the most successful retail stores on earth, ever. I don't really see how you can draw a line that leaves him on the outside unless you want to exclude anyone involved in the consumer side of tech.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:53 PM
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27: given the proposed mechanism, isn't it possible that far fewer than 1,000,000 people need to be considered unpoachable for many more employees' salaries to be affected?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 4:54 PM
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But Walt, Jobs had the vision to tell those workers that their designs were shit.

This reads as sarcasm, but unless you want a monograph on the masons from Fallingwater, it's missing the point pretty badly.

Remember all of that industry-changing shit developed by all those guys who worked under Steve Jobs who were the real geniuses?

Yeah, me neither. Ron Johnson sure turned JC Penney around, didn't he? And remember how Andy Rubin's Android totally revolutionized smartphones?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:00 PM
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31: Huh. Maybe? I guess if the salary structures are pretty rigid, then you're right. And I'm not sure who's counted in the 1 million number. If it's really every employee of the involved companies, then clearly secretary salaries weren't being limited by what project managers were able to negotiate. But you're right that it's almost certainly far more than the specific class of off-limits employees.

Oh, and 29 is bullshit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:03 PM
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the people on the Do Not Poach list were a fairly small fraction of the total employees of the relevant companies.

These are the top level, top earning engineers in tech. There wages act as benchmarks which lesser earners are scaled against. So, when wages growth is suppressed at the top, it has a ripple effect, depressing wages farther down the food chain, at completely different companies.

Its kind of like the effect of a minimum wage hike, but in reverse.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:16 PM
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Actually chemists are pretty awesome cooks. Chemistry is a lot more sensitive than making some fancy meal. All that woo woo gastronomy agar liquid nitrogen El Bulli future of cooking is physics? That shit's like sophomore chemistry lab. Let me show you what I can do in the kitchen with a blow torch and a centrifuge.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:17 PM
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Of course I once told a restaurant manager that I was a chemist and therefore a good cook when I was applying for a summer job and she didn't buy it, assumed I meant I would poison all the food with Drain-o or something.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:18 PM
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There was an article in the baffler, I think, by a speechwriter at f/b who worked her way up through the ranks, and her salary was mist definitely suppressed on the explicit reasoning that she couldn't make more than the engineers. Whose own salaries were in fact being kept artificially low. So yep 31 is exactly right, and this sort of collusion absolutely does suppress the wages of support staff as well.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:18 PM
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Most, obviously.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 5:19 PM
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|| Mystery aircraft over Texas! |>


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 6:51 PM
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WOuldn't 12.last be a lot more effective if your fucking Samsung had come out before Jobs died, let alone before, you know, his ground-breaking phone did.

I hear the 787 is a lot nice than the Wright Flyer, those worthless fucks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 6:54 PM
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I'm a member of the class, since I worked at Google for 18 months during the period in question. From the list of job titles I saw when I registered, I'd say damn near every programmer and engineer at Google during the period in question is in the class, plus a whole bunch of other people (sales, marketing, ...). It's definitely not just project leads and above. So yeah, its a pretty big deal.

Plus, given how big the employers in question were (including the possibility of additional companies being involved as mentioned in the Pando article), there were almost certainly secondary effects on salaries at many other companies throughout the valley, not just the ones that had explicit agreements with the companies in question. Any company that was trying to recruit from Google/Apple/Intel, or trying to defend against recruitment pitches from the same, or founded in part by ex-employees of the companies in question, would have taken salary scales at those companies into account in setting their own. So there's a pretty good chance that most of the programmers and engineers working in Silicon Valley during the period in question may have been affected indirectly, even though only direct employees are part of the lawsuit.

What's unusual about this particular conspiracy is how big it was in terms of the companies involved, and how blatant some of the emails were about it. Part of our standard training at Google was email training from the legal department, that basically told us that any email we sent could be turned over to an opponent in event of a lawsuit, so here's a bunch of things not to say that could be taken the wrong way. Apparently Eric Schmidt didn't get the memo. Putting in an email "I would prefer that Omid do it verbally since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later? Not sure about this.. thanks Eric"? Dude, you just created the very paper trail you were talking about.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 6:59 PM
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Man, if this affected my graduate stipend I will be so pissed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 7:04 PM
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I don't really see how you can draw a line that leaves him on the outside unless you want to exclude anyone involved in the consumer side of tech.

Maybe you do. Thing is, he's clearly an important figure in business history and the history of design, but there are a lot of great business innovators you've never heard of and make no one's list of world historical geniuses. Jobs pretty clearly falls below Henry Ford on that list; does he surpass, say, Gustavus Swift or Phillip Armour? (Great meat packing innovators, 19th century). Coco Chanel?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 7:38 PM
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It's too bad Einstein never set himself to designing consumer electronics.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-28-14 8:57 PM
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People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.


Posted by: Circumspectly Speculative Adam Smith | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 8:55 AM
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They had something in there about agreeing not to poach employees from staffing agencies. Isn't that standard practice in temping agreements, since they're supposed to pay a fee to the staffing agency for hiring people.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 9:15 AM
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I hear the 787 is a lot nice than the Wright Flyer, those worthless fucks.

Nice, but I am in fact old enough to have worked in tech related companies since the 90's and can remember the advent of a lot of these devices, Apple acquiring Fingerworks, etc and know what a ridiculous comparison that is.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 9:43 AM
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I'm afraid I'm having a hard time getting exercised about this.

From the end of the OP's linked article:

Certainly it strains one's sensibilities to compare an exploited low-wage worker in the fast food or retail industry to tech engineers and programmers, who are far better compensated, live more comfortably, and rarely worry about putting food in their children's mouths.
In terms of pathos, there is no comparison; minimum wage earners are struggling to survive, and nearly all of the well-educated, privileged-born people in the media world agree that tech industry workers are all a bunch of overpaid misogynist libertarian bros, a caricature that makes it perfectly fine to hate the entire class, and impossible to consider them as political comrades stuck in the same predicament as the rest of the non-multimillionaires in this country.
What's more important is the political predicament that low-paid fast food workers share with well-paid hi-tech workers: the loss of power over their lives and their futures to the growing mass of concentrated power in Silicon Valley

I'm trying to see it this way. (The writer doesn't help himself by sarcastically supposing that we peons view all tech workers as a bunch of overpaid misogynist libertarian bros, as though that's the only reason one might not find solidarity with them.) But we've talked -- argued -- about all this before, in connection with Occupy Wall Street's "We are the 99%".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:04 AM
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To be clear: none of this is to say that wage fixing and suppression in any arena doesn't impact people's lives. Of course it does. Nor is it to say that I don't understand that this is about labor vs. capital. (Hey - are there unions in tech work?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:08 AM
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So, you understand all the reasons to think that it's a politically and legally important thing, you just can't make yourself care about it emotionally?

I wouldn't worry about self-policing your emotional reactions to the news like that. There's no obligation to get upset about things just because they're important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:22 AM
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37: Was it Kate Losse at Dissent?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:22 AM
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It's hard to see any reason why Jobs gets remembered, since neither he nor Apple invented the personal computer, the GUI, the MP3 player, the cell phone, or multitouch screens. He was certainly good for Apple shareholders, and excelled at the aesthetics of product design, but there's nothing that Apple did that someone else wouldn't have done.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:24 AM
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(are there unions in tech work?)

The most sustained efforts have been at and around Microsoft. Amy Dean made her bones by organizing the labor movement in the shadow of Silicon Valley but she was working with the janitors who people were trying to forget, not the tech workers in the limelight.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:30 AM
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there's nothing that Apple did that someone else wouldn't have done

Apple innovated in the realm of tech and emotional cathexis.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:31 AM
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Kind of like those guys who have sex with dolls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:33 AM
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50: So, you understand all the reasons to think that it's a politically and legally important thing, you just can't make yourself care about it emotionally?

Yeah. Ultimately I'd hope that tech workers broadly understand that they're part of the same system that affects lower wage workers (much more grievously); I keep fearing that instead they fall prey to that old "First they came for the fast food workers, and I didn't care, because I wasn't a fast food worker", etc., until "OMG it affects me! I could be making even more! Fuck those capitalist pigs!"

Not to be banal or anything.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:48 AM
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52 strikes me as transcendentally naive about the lessons form history as to who gets remembered for what.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:49 AM
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55 to 56.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:49 AM
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57 -- disagree. It's hard to get really remembered as a business innovator. Whoever came up with Ivory Soap in the 19th century created the first true mass-market consumer hygiene product, and put Procter and Gamble on the road to being a consumer product colossus that filled up maybe half of all bathroom and kitchen shelves in America for over a century afterwards. But who remembers them now? (Actually I think it might have been Procter or Gamble themselves, but no one would remember them if it wasn't for the name of the company).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:02 AM
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52 strikes me as transcendentally naive about the lessons form history as to who gets remembered for what.

It's hard to see for what reason many who are remembered are remembered, so that's ok.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:02 AM
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Also, weird use of "transcendentally", brah.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:02 AM
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I'm not part of the class, since I started at Google in 2010, but I have recently been wondering if the across the board raise that year was in any way related - an attempt to buy off/mollify potential class members and litigants, instead of just showering people with money because they had it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:21 AM
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I suspect a lot of my irritation with the Jobs worship is part of my broader disdain for the CEO and exec glorification that seems to go on in tech companies. God, the Meg Whitman fandom when I was at ebay was fucking ridiculous.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 12:05 PM
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If it helps, Whitman couldn't buy* enough fans to become governor of California.

* Literally.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 12:28 PM
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64: Something wrong with the auction design, probably.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 12:48 PM
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semi-related - is/was there a thread for hating on that Cadillac ad yet? I don't think I've seen an instance of concentrated douchebaggery that was half as potent.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:00 PM
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I think half the Internet lately has hated that ad. It's pretty douche-positive, in what I assume the makers think a knowing, ironic way that just makes me (and I like capitalism, money, big houses, expensive cars and all that stuff) want to punch that guy in the balls.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:05 PM
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66: Starting here.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:08 PM
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I drove a Caddy ELR at the LA auto show last December. It was pretty great but is WAY ridiculously overpriced. You're much better off getting a Volt, which is also a damn good car; the ELR is pretty much just a Volt with some decent luxury interior finishing, like the worst of the 70s caddys. So the guy in that add is a moron, in addition to (according to Justified) a person who enjoys raping and murdering young men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:13 PM
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A friend of mine has written a very funny parody of that ad that goes at the real reasons and rewards around American overwork, but Ford has produced a nice earnest parody.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:19 PM
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Also, Scudder, I assume you've seen the response from Ford's ad agency, but in case you haven't, here. I think I'm in love with Pashon Murray.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:20 PM
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But I hate k-sky.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 1:20 PM
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Also, weird use of "transcendentally", brah.

Maybe. "[B]eing beyond ordinary or common experience." A bit of hyperbole for sure, so I guess I can't complain about it being the target of quotidian little bitchery.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:28 PM
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Sorry I cannot do the fancy block quoting, but here is what I was referring to above:

"Unlike Sandberg, most women who work in tech startups do not have seats in the front of the rocket ship. Women in tech are much more likely to be hired in support functions where they are paid a bare minimum, given tiny equity grants compared to engineers and executives, and given raises on the order of fifty cents an hour rather than thousands of dollars. According to Sandberg's advice, these situations iron themselves out when you are on a rocket ship: women are promoted and their positions naturally improve. "What difference does going 'back' four years [in title and compensation] really make?" Sandberg writes of one woman asked to start on the ground level. But what if women, even in a company like Facebook, are still paying a gender penalty that nothing but conscious, structural transformation can cure?

I came up against such a penalty in my career at Facebook, which spanned from customer support to international product management to Zuckerberg's writer: in late 2008, after working my way up from the support team to product management in the engineering sector, I was promoted to a more demanding managerial position. But there would be no raise. "You've already doubled your salary in a year and it wouldn't be fair to the engineers who haven't had that raise" (never mind that a year earlier engineers had been earning anywhere from $70,000 to $140,000, as opposed to $38,000 like I had). Far from being equitable, the concept of fairness was being deployed to explain why I needed to work for less so men wouldn't feel resentful, as if my rapid career rise posed a threat to them, which it didn't. At Facebook of all places, there was plenty of money and career growth to go around. If this kind of salary containment was happening to women there, I can only imagine what justifications are used in less cash-flush companies to level women's salaries downward."

From a review of that wretched Lean In monstrosity found here: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/feminisms-tipping-point-who-wins-from-leaning-in

Something I find maddening from the article linked in the original post is the conclusion at the end that "there has to be some other new solution but not unions!" as if sustained collective action is now and forever the exclusive purview of blue collar jobs - ??? There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for engineers not to unionize, and in fact how the hell else are they ever going to achieve any kinds of gains against capital if they don't?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:30 PM
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Separately, this is an alert for bob - an archive of movie reviews penned by the Maoist International Movement, via Jamie k: http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/movies/

Something touching about how the reviewer(s) see her/hym/them-selves as part of an ongoing dialogue with other critics, to whit (from a review of Cold Mountain):

"So this has to do with how MIM typically sees a movie as less the actors' talents and more the logic of given social situations. Amerikans prefer to believe that individual acting makes a movie. We see more of a role for directors and writers and only then the political consciousness of the actor in a given social context. In contrast, the San Francisco Examiner took the more usual approach to such issues: "'it's difficult to tell whether Minghella chronically miscasts these epics, or if his mediocre direction stifles the cast he ends up with.'" We're just not interested in that: we're interested in what the writers' goals were to begin with. We'd say the San Francisco Examiner took an individualist approach, whichever way it chose in regard to "Cold Mountain." The individualist approach misses the whole point, especially in a war of millions against millions, because there is a definite benefit in picking characters that are typical and thus realistic.

Intense and wrenching, "Cold Mountain" reminds us of the humyn face of war and serves as an antidote for the evening news, military recruiting ads and militarist video games offering spectacular fun."

(I've decided to adopt "humyn" and "hym" in homage to the arrival on these shores of he-who-I-shall-not-name-but-he-is-a-big-pain-in-the-liberal-internet's-blogging-comment-section-butt.)


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:41 PM
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"persynal" for personal. It is too too lovely.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:51 PM
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Sorry I cannot do the fancy block quoting

<blockquote></blockquote> around each paragraph will do it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:55 PM
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Cool!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 2:59 PM
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Hmmm reading further (review of Moulin Rouge) I suspect the dude I won't name would find the MIM to contain kindred spirits, as there is a certain animus towards "uppity bourgeois wimmin" although the revolution would apparently sort the whole sexual availability of the chicks issue. Conclusion: the Maoists also liked themselves some submissive wimminfylk.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 3:03 PM
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the conclusion at the end that "there has to be some other new solution but not unions!"

I didn't catch that in the article. What did you mean? In general, I haven't found Ames to have those kinds of blinders.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 3:24 PM
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On rereading I was mistaken, it wasn't this article but somewhere else that I cannot now recall (Kevin Drum maybe?).


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 3:29 PM
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I'm having trouble squaring "Google is destroying communities with free food and luxury buses and absurd salaries that inflate real estate prices" with "Google conspired to screw over their employees by fixing wages" (even if, yeah, it looks like that's pretty much what they did). If wages in tech were X% higher across the board, you can be damn sure I'd be paying X% more rent.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:44 PM
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82: That certainly occurred to me as well. I think it is actually pretty hard to predict how it would actually play out in practice. Probably reshape those companies and the industry somewhat in other ways as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:51 PM
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I'd prefer to see high salaries that raise prices dealt with via taxes, regulation, and visible and possibly even open and democratic processes than via hidden conspiracies to depress salaries and restrain trade.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 10:59 PM
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I mean, I guess these companies could have been thinking about the community, but probably not.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:00 PM
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86

85 isn't what I meant at all. Tech workers are notably well compensated in an overall economy with high unemployment and flat wages. So I'm surprised anybody gives a shit.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:20 PM
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87

Apparently general-principle solidarity against the bosses prevails in some quarters. A few people stick up for the players' unions too.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:29 PM
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88

86: Ah, sorry, I misread you completely.

A number of the critical-of-tech people I follow on twitter seem to have gone through a "not sure how to feel about this" process but eventually concluded that secret employer agreements to depress wages are still something to fight against even if many of the immediate victims are well-off and not very personally sympathetic.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-29-14 11:36 PM
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89

The value has been created by these companies, this is a question of how it is distributed. Collusion to hold down wages just means that capital hoovers up an ever escalating percentage. And as discussed above, holding down wages for one class of workers depresses wages more generally.

Also - secrecy SUCKS around these issues, jeez does this really need emphasizing here of all places?!?

Finally - wrt housing and misallocation of other resources in the SF Bay Area, I'm firmly (and in some quarters quite unpopularly!) on record for pretty stiff densification of SF, and would loooooove to pour a ton more resources into regional transit that would be accessible and workable for everyone!!! Not just certain wage slaves who've let themselves be convinced their private buses somehow represent cossetting by solicitous management slavishly serving the needs of capital!!! Also public schools and health care and etc etc etc - all of which could be easily financed with broad-based redistributive taxes if we have lots of more highly-compensated people instead of having Ed Lee do deals with individual companies for gracious handouts to fund youth transit passes - screw that.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-30-14 10:14 AM
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as if sustained collective action is now and forever the exclusive purview of blue collar jobs - ??? There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for engineers not to unionize, and in fact how the hell else are they ever going to achieve any kinds of gains against capital if they don't?

Guilds get proposed on Slashdot, etc., surprisingly often. Partly because anything called a union is an ideological no-go, and partly (I think) out of honest ignorance of craft vs mass union organization. And probably because of Everquest, etc.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-31-14 12:22 PM
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91

The Baffler has an article on this.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 04- 1-14 12:51 AM
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