“Thus much of this [gold] will make black white, foul fair/Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.” Shakespeare
“What happens in a society and culture where money becomes the measure of all things and technological innovation becomes just a way to make more money faster? Viewers can only imagine the fully ripened fruits of such feckless sowing.” Ken Johnson
by way of Ken Johnson “Review: Simon Denny Sees the Dark Side of Technology at MoMA PS1“
Like concurrently liking a Hegelian scholar and the writings of Kierkegaard, Kinfolk and Rocket Internet entered my life like two opposing forces of nature and without my realizing I was living a contradiction.
I had spent the previous year, lovingly gawking at the Alice Gao/ Kinfolk aesthetic of quiet corners and cups of coffee, donuts and ice cream; an aesthetic that was minimal and championed slow living. But then I found a job at a place whose main philosophical and commercial tenet was speed. Not average Joe speed, but give me the blood of your first born child speed, analogous to Amazon Am-holes, as documented in this nytimes article (during the research of this link I discovered that the Senior VP of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney was the young political pundit/ journalist I had a crush on in the mid 90s). This amalgam would result in what I will call the picture wars, workplace bullying and twitter mobbing.
I got hired by someone who craved power like no other office worker I had seen in the PR department of one of Rocket Internet’s spawn start-ups. After 4 interview sessions with 5 people and a copy test plus a social media business proposal for a country market that was like the US but not the US, a couple weeks of phone chasing through sickness and cross Atlantic trips, I finally got the job after flame hoops, quicksand, CEO refusal and reluctant final approval and written confirmations and all that LA DI DA what a party.
I found the office politics had such varied forces as the Syrian Civil War. On such a battlefield, my reading of social situations and loaded PR innuendo was so slow, it would take me a few hours to realize how low the jugular had been. Due to my new status and absolute zero power, I would liken myself to the innocent Syrian civilians. Ultimately because my ideas were initially favored by my boss, I became the persecuted and took my martyrdom in silence.
However, although I had good ideas, I started to become a liability because I not only made my own mistakes which enemy forces ran wild with (you could cut through the hate) but also I fell into every trap laid out for me. I spent the last month at war reading the 48 Laws of Power, researching Ramadan and imagining my direct colleagues as salivating dogs.
When the only person that ever wanted me there finally yawned in my face, and I knew it was over but not before I declared “I don’t want power, I want freedom” sealing shut my own fate.