Quick link over to Big Think where my latest piece analyzes Airbnb’s disastrously tone-deaf San Francisco ad campaign. Put simply: the residents of SF are about to vote on whether or not to restrict the short-term rental market, which is Airbnb’s bread and butter. The ad campaign’s ostensible purpose was to persuade folks to vote against the measure by detailing all the good things SF does (or can do) with Airbnb’s generated tax revenue. Unfortunately, as you can see from the image above, the tone they opted for was “simpering, smug-ass douchebag.”
The rest of the piece delves into some other recent Silicon Valley PR snafus and basically says this:
I feel like 85% of new/tech companies are run by petulant children who were told that their sociopathic tendencies were signs of genius.
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) October 23, 2015
The Ubers and Airbnbs of the world are a source of great pride for many millennials because they (we?) see themselves and their own values embodied in them. The recent Silicon Valley boom does feel like a new world order; young ideas are taking hold and (some) young people are thriving because of it.
The problem: These companies too often operate with a snotty sense of entitlement that leads to the belief that they’re above rules and decency. Remember when Uber execs were threatening journalists who dared to investigate the company? Stuff like that isn’t just because Uber’s CEO is a douche. Entitlement and swagger are important pieces of these companies’ cultures — for better and for worse.
The crux of these pieces is this: Sooner or later, the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world are due for a reality check.
Off-topic update — Since I went a few months without posting here I’ll note a few life changes:
-Recently switched jobs from Studio Theatre to the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Still living in DC. Still a House Manager. Still writing for Big Think, obviously.
-Have put myself on hiatus w/r/t playwriting as I focus on knocking down my student loans from undergrad. Tough to work 2 jobs and still put your all into writing when you’ve got other important commitments as well. I’m hoping to maybe re-emerge for Fringe 2016.
-I’m going to miss Donnie Baseball but managers are hired to be fired and life goes on.