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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Home Demo at Google VC's House on Potrero Hill
Sunday morning, a group of fed-up service workers descended on the house of Kevin Rose, professional asshole. They unfurled two banners, one read "Kevin Rose Parasite," given that he makes an obscene amount of money to fund people to create nothing, leeching off our actual work, and another banner read "Ima Snip Snip yr Ballz," a reference to Kevin's televised "joke" about cutting off women's breasts with scissors. About ten minutes into the demonstration, Kevin arrived with a couple of his bros, and the group got a chance to confront exemplars of the latest round of tech misogyny. A video will follow shortly.
Kevin Rose: Leech
We are here to tell you about Kevin Rose, an employee of Google. At a glance, he might appear to be any other hipster techie walking down the street, but there is something deeper and far more sinister at play below his well-manicured hair. But first, we have to give you some background.
Behind every gentrifying hipster techie there is a tech company. In the beginning, each of the tech giants was nothing more than a startup, and behind every startup there is always a venture capitalist. Ram Shriram once invested in a startup called Google, the love-child of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two Stanford students with a search algorithm for the internet. This venture capitalist gambled on the Google startup in 1999 and now he is on the board of a company currently worth around 400 billion dollars. Without venture capitalists like Shriram, there would never have been a Google.
As a way of honoring the system that brought them their wealth, Brin and Page created Google Ventures, the venture capital wing of the corporation. The employees of Google Ventures select startups and existing companies to either fund or acquire. Many of these investments are located in the Bay Area and the employees of these newly funded or acquired startups have moved to San Francisco and parts of Oakland.
It has now come to the point where even Diet Coke advertisements are referencing the influx of techies and their startups. With venture capital in their pockets, these wealthy professionals with few attachments are able to pay hyper inflated rents and property prices, displacing long time residents and increasing the cost of living. Tech-workers on average earn four times the wages of a normal service worker.
Venture capitalists enable these tech-workers by funding their startups. With the success of each startup, more and more ambitious tech-workers flock to the city and displace underemployed service workers to the cities at the far reaches of the BART line. These workers must then commute back to San Francisco or Oakland every morning, in most cases to perform menial tasks for the entitled scum who drove them out in the first place.
Which brings us back to Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com and current venture partner at Google Ventures. He has already helped Google acquire Nextdoor.com and invested his own money in Foursquare, hoping to cash out when a giant buys it. We are here today because a few of the thousands low-paid, underemployed service workers got fed up with Kevin Rose treating them like the shit one scrapes from their boot, not even worthy of eye contact or the basic pleasantries generally taken for granted in our culture.
Recognizing that Kevin Rose is not just another techie asshole, but rather a meta-leech funding and profiting off the gentrification of San Francisco, we chose to bring the class war to his doorstep on our own terms. Rather than be subservient and do his bidding in exchange for the currency we need to commute home and back, we are here today in uncompromising solidarity with every person forced out of the city by the insane hyper-gentrification created through the tireless efforts of people like Kevin Rose.
Kevin Rose: Serial Entrepreneur
Kevin lives in an expensive duplex atop Potrero Hill. His address is 2004 19th Street in San Fracisco.
Kevin calls himself a ‘serial entrepreneur’ and is very proud of his business accomplishments. In 2004 he helped establish Digg.com, a website that ranked news stories according to number of reader “diggs”. From this, he created a spinoff video podcast called Diggnation, a show he hosted for six years that is widely considered to be the first clear articulation of the current tech-bro culture.
For example, in 2008, Kevin and his cohost began sermonizing on when it would be appropriate for a man to hit a woman. It was determined that if a woman kicked a man in the balls, it was okay to punch her “tit.” Kevin took it all a step further when he connected the expression tit-for-tat to their discussion and then announced, while making a cutting motion, “it hurts them, it does too - or take a scissors to the tit.” His comment was met with widespread criticism and Kevin became the poster boy for tech-misogyny, even after he apologized by saying, “obviously, violence against women is serious and something we don't advocate in any way.”
Eventually the world forgot all about Kevin Rose and Digg and Diggnation. Around that time, Kevin and some of his bros started a company called Milk. This company in turn created an app called Oink. This app allowed anyone to take out their smart-phone and see a map of every nearby restaurant, café, and bar with ratings of specific items at each establishment. In essence, Oink allowed people to consume more according to their own specific tastes and needs, allowing them to browse prices and rank establishments.
Oink meant to capitalize on the way people tend to listen to the recommendations of friends by convincing them to use an ad-laden platform, rather than go out together or discuss favorite restaurants in conversation. Through mechanisms like Oink, Yelp, and Foursquare, people can now drive down business in establishments that no longer serve their luxurious needs by mobbing them with unfavorable reviews and rankings.
And then one day in March 2012, it was announced that Kevin and half of the Milk team were to become Google employees. The Oink app was terminated and Kevin briefly worked at Google+ before moving on to Google Ventures. Based on the various startups that he has funded through Google Ventures or on his own, we can see more disturbing evidence of Kevin’s technological derangement.
Nextdoor.com is a website that helps alienated urban and suburban home-dwellers learn about their neighbors and network their private surveillance feeds together. Like some of Kevin’s other investments, Nextdoor allows residents who use the website to gang up on anyone they do not like (or who does not have a Nextdoor account) and hound them into compliance or eviction. It allows the alienated to connect with others like them who would rather electronically complain than speak to an offline neighbor in real life. Nextdoor.com is a major new platform for the snitch-world, a bubble machine for people who never learned social skills. And it is something Kevin Rose and Google think is a really good idea.
But let’s take another one of Kevin’s investments, the popular app Foursquare. A previous manifestation of it, Dodgeball, was bought by Google in 2005 but then terminated in 2009. That year, the creators of Dodgeball started their new Foursquare app and by 2012 they had collected over 45 millions users. The app allows disconnected and alienated smartphone users to check-in to restaurants, hotels, and bars and in the process alert other Foursquare users of their location. In the world of this app, people can become the “mayor” of an establishment based on how often they check-in and how many “badges” they earn.
After performing fellatio on Foursquare for ten ridiculous pages in his book Smart Cities, Anthony M. Townsend writes, “the city of Foursquare might look like a lattice, but is it becoming an elaborate tree traced by hidden algorithms? Instead of urging us to explore on our own, will it guide us down a predetermined path based on what we might buy?” The answers to his questions are an undeniable yes. Foursquare gathers isolated and unimaginative people and gives them a way to connect without having to think beyond a glance at the food rankings on their smartphones. The system through which Foursquare enables people to connect is called the capitalist system and thus Foursquare will always connect people as consumers, customers, and tippers. It was designed to do this and nothing else.
Kevin Rose: OK Glass, Now Take Over The World!
Unfortunate people like Kevin Rose have never known a world without capitalism and in their ignorance they only know how to fortify it. Everything they do helps to extend the suicidal reign of this world system that renders all life into a commodity and replaces real life with digital distractions that lead people into narcosis, gluttony, and sociopathic greed. Kevin Rose and his employers at Google represent one part of a larger structure that keeps people enslaved to this single economic system that is literally killing the planet and decreasing the chances of continued life.
Tech entrepreneurship is not a harmless or benevolent force. The industry is built directly on the exploitation of millions of faceless people in the global south who are driven off their land and forced to do the dangerous and thankless work of extracting (at great ecological cost) the precious metals and other raw materials that enable the tech world to exist. Once the technology has been shoved down our throats through merciless advertising campaigns, mandatory cell phone upgrades, and jobs requiring instant connectivity of smartphones, we find ourselves tied to their world.
Unlike us, this beast has a head that can be targeted. Kevin Rose and other venture capitalists like him literally design and implement this entire exploitive system. They do it because they are drunk on their own power, caught up in a sense of importance bestowed upon them by the type of wealth most of us will never interact with. Kevin Rose will rise and fall with the elites of the dominant order. While we struggle to be included in the trickle-down of wealth through dehumanizing menial labor, these techies, entrepreneurs, and capitalists take over the world. Knowing that at the vanguard of this tech invasion are people like Kevin Rose only increases our desire to completely stop the current insanity.
Taken as a whole, Kevin Rose invests in startups that perpetuate the process of alienation under the guise of social technology. It is, admittedly, genius: create the technological conditions of alienation that drive people to desperately consume technological products that claim to combat the alienation produced by contemporary technological society. Tech is now about creating and selling the new indispensable commodity that everyone must have in order to be less bored, less lost, less ridden with anxiety. We want no part of this disgusting and creepy game being played by a bunch power deranged man-children.
To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible. If given the chance, most humans will pursue a course towards increased freedom and greater liberty. As it stands, only people like Kevin Rose are given the opportunity to reshape their world, and look at what they do with those opportunities.
We know that your security advisors are taking our analysis seriously, so if you are confident that your system is the best, it would be wise to give us three billion to see if we fail. Our wager is that you are scared of the viable alternative we would create. If you are not scared, contact us at our Wordpress website. Send us a message and we can go from there. Otherwise, get ready for a revolution neither you nor we can control, a revolution that will spread to all of the poor, exploited, and degraded members of this new tech-society and be directed towards you for your bad decisions and irresponsible activities. We advise you to take us seriously.
For a world without bosses, rulers, or cops! Down with the Empire, up with the Spring!
PS: The following devices and programs were used in this action: Microsoft Word (for Mac) MacBook Samsung Nexus (powered by Google) Gmail Youtube Electrical Socket