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Comment Re:Who would have thought (Score 1) 73

Exactly. If you're taking 9-figure investments, you ought to have a sustainable business model sorted out by now. At that level, raising more is supposed to be for things like accelerating growth in existing markets or expanding into lucrative new markets that have high barriers to entry, i.e., work that builds on an existing successful formula. Investing that kind of money in a business that couldn't survive without it was always a dubious proposition.

Comment interesting... (Score 1) 89

So what's the copyright on this tool? Can I embed it in the reports I write to spot if my competitors steal them? (they're not using LibreOffice or anything, if they were smart enough for basic security, they wouldn't have to steal my stuff...)

We'll see adaptations of this everywhere in the near future. I know a dozen consulting companies immediately who are afraid that their stuff is stolen by competitors.

Comment Re: It's my house though (Score 1) 220

Interestingly, on the other hand in porn and swinger societies, black men seem to be quite popular. There's probably a mix of the exotic and forbidden at work, as well as the fact that it's generally a safe environment with other people present.

Thanks for the link. I always find it fascinating how complex and full of different aspects a topic becomes once you move beneath the surface and dissect causality.

Comment Re: It's my house though (Score 1) 220

Once you use a listing service that opens it to the public then there are all sorts of rules and laws that follow.

Why? You just state that like it's an obvious fact, but compared to "the sky is blue" it does not immediately follow.

Want to keep your rules? Don't use a listing service.

Why? That I need to follow the rules of the listing service, fine. That's part of signing the EULA when you register with it. But why do these rules have to be/contain specific rules? Why can the listing service not make up whatever rules it wants? It doesn't follow.

Rent to whomever you want, but don't advertise it to people you have no intention of renting to. That is what is illegal.

Ok, so add a filter to the listing service that allows the landlord to say "no men and no asian people" if they want, or "only single mothers of african decent" if that's their preference. What's wrong with that? If you find that nobody wants to rent to group X - go and figure out what's the reason for that and put your energy into fixing that. At the same time, there's suddenly a business opportunity for people to rent specifically to that group. The more they are discriminated against, the less competition and the more interesting it is to rent specifically to them.

Suppressing prejudices doesn't work. They don't go away just because you can't say it. Addressing them in an intelligent way is a much better approach.

Comment Re:It's my house though (Score 1) 220

Oh I love it when Ignoramus Anonymous trouts of free market nonsense.

When is the last time you saw an actual free market? You know, the one with an infinite number of buyers and sellers, perfect transparency, zero handling costs and no barriers of entry?

That's right, the whole free market thing is a purely theoretical model. It is not a real economical theory. It's the economists equivalent to the physicist saying "let's ignore friction and assume a perfect sphere in a vacuum..."

You need to adapt it to the real world or you are in for a hell of a lot surprises.

Comment Re:Observation (Score 1) 220

Because we live in a post-political-correctness world, where you are shouted down as racist, sexist, nazi or whatever if you have a not-approved-by-the-mainstream-police uncomfortable opinion. Some of those opinions actually are some or all of those things, but once people realised that it's an easy way to shut someone up, the labels expanded dramatically. You are now labeled a rape-culture sexist if you point out that "equal rights" also means men have rights. You are labeled a slave-holder racist if you point out that there are cases where discrimination goes against white people. And god forbid you say anything positive about a heterosexual white male.

Sadly, people didn't understand that the reason sexism and racism and political extremism are making a comeback tour is exactly that their proponents are being shouted down, giving them this "rebel" feeling that tends to make people stick more strongly to their opinion instead of changing theirs mind.

We should engage racists and reveal - to their and our eyes - what's behind their thoughts. Most often, it turns out it's a simple mix of stereotypes and fear, and once revealed it can be healed. We don't do it because we are also afraid - that if you seriously engage the topic, you have to face some uncomfortable facts for yourself. For example that certain demographic groups actually are more prone to violence, or more likely to commit certain crimes, or other such things. Dissecting that into the parts that are inherent to whatever the trait is and those that are self-fullfilling prophecies (if everyone thinks group A is full of criminals, they are less likely to be given good jobs, leaving many of them no other option than to become criminals). So in a way, the whole shouting match is because the non-racists are afraid to face an uncomfortable fact or two that might shake their simplified world-view.

For the record: I'm a racist. My Bengal cat is different from other cat races and I won't let anyone tell me that she's the same as any street cat.
For humans, even the term is silly as there is only one human race. We extinguished the other ones (Neanderthals and such) tens of thousands of years ago.

Comment Tricky one this is (Score 1) 220

Wow, that's going to clash.

On the one hand, yes racism is stupid and backwater countryside last-century silly.
But on the other hand, this isn't some hotel room, this is, for many people, theirs home (or holiday home, or whatever). They should be able to decide who to let in, based on whatever criteria they want, including racism, sexism and I-don't-like-people-in-suits.

We will see these kind of things happening more and more as the "gig economy" blurs the line between the private and the business world.

Comment Re:You were hired to work for THEM (Score 1) 386

It's not just free overtime.

That is often very much what being on a salary means in practice: you get X money per day/month/whatever, and X doesn't increase if you work more than your normal hours. However, it's also not unusual for salaried employees to have those normal working hours specified in their employment contracts, effectively putting a lower bound on the amount of working time expected in exchange for the salary.

Again, though, this all depends very much on where you are and how your local labour laws work. For example, the US system of at-will employment is actually closer to what most of the world would consider contract or freelance work than employment, typically involving very little commitment to continuing the relationship by either side and relatively low benefits for employees beyond their pay cheque. What is particularly unusual in that case is that in much of the US such an arrangement seems to be the norm even for entry-level and low-paid work. Elsewhere, employment tends to involve much more of a commitment from both sides for those kinds of jobs, while the lighter touch arrangements tend to be used more for skilled professional work. In that context, abusive hiring and firing is usually less of a problem, and all parties may benefit from the greater flexibility, including flexibility about compensation arrangements.

Comment Re:You were hired to work for THEM (Score 1) 386

Exactly.

Obviously if it's authorised 20% time or something then it's fine (but watch the IP agreements, because anything you create on that basis might well belong to your employer legally).

Otherwise, if you want to be paid for your results and not your time, become a freelancer or start your own company and work business-to-business, and have appropriate clauses in your contract about the basis of payment and what is included and not included. Don't be an employee and then try to not be an employee.

Some of the rationalisations of this that you can see on the original Quora discussion and the related discussions today on sites like Reddit are just bizarre, and there seem to be a disturbing number of people who are mighty confident about their legal position but who probably ought to have checked with a lawyer themselves before getting into this.

Comment Re:But will it mark gmail and google.com as spywar (Score 2) 67

Why would Google have any control or visibility of anyone's connections, unless either that person also independently uses Google services in some sort of ISP capacity or the sites they are visiting independently use Google services in some sort of hosting capacity?

Comment Re:But will it mark gmail and google.com as spywar (Score 2, Insightful) 67

Since then, Google has seen a 23 percent reduction in the fraction of navigations to HTTP pages with password or credit card forms on Chrome for desktop.

Just ask yourself how Google can possibly know that and you can get a pretty good idea of where it really stands on the spyware/privacy issue.

Comment Re:Music and film are essential in two senses (Score 1) 69

I'm not sure we should be dictating commercial restrictions on the supply of all creative content to an entire continent based on the three people in that continent who are studying film or music analysis.

In any case, lots of people are commenting here as if forcing sales to the entire EU to be at the same price will bring the cheaper prices to the richer nations. It seems far more likely that it will bring the more expensive prices to the poorer nations. Your "background music" licence is exactly the kind of expendable luxury that could suffer under the more uniform regime.

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 69

Sorry, but that just isn't how economics works.

Firstly, market segmentation is absolutely routine, including by purchaser power. There are countless ways to appeal to people who can afford to spend more, and businesses do this all the time. Have you ever seen a box for a "coupon code" when you ordered something online? That's market segmentation in action. Post coupons to everyone on the poorer street in your example, and now everyone isn't paying the same price.

Secondly, as someone who actually runs some online facilities at-cost, I can tell you that it is a real problem for people in less well-off nations if your price online is the same everywhere. You can't lower the headline price because if everyone was paying the lower price then you literally couldn't afford to keep these services running at that point. However, then the people where salaries and costs of living are generally lower can't keep up, so they lose out. The kind of adjustment we're talking about here is the online equivalent of posting coupons to all the homes in the poor part of town.

The genuine, uniform market price you're talking about doesn't exist in most real markets, because most real markets are not uniform.

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