Reselling gig work is TikTok’s newest side hustle

Resellers buy gig work for as cheap as $5 to resell for profit

Source: Reselling gig work is TikTok’s newest side hustle

Yes, you can make money by looking for opportunities to match up supply and demand, and legitimately take a cut of the transaction. I didn’t read the whole thing, but I doubt that they talk about the flip side of this “work.”

I read a classic Hacker News comment by a person who claimed that they were employed by 3 or 4 companies at any given time, and sent all of their work to 3rd-world countries, to be done by contractors. They “did nothing,” and collected multiple salaries. Except that… they didn’t “do nothing” at all. Managing all of this work would be a lot of work in and of itself.

See, in either the case of using TikTok to work the arbitrage, or in misrepresenting yourself as an employee (and not a outsourcing firm), this takes real work. You have to constantly be hustling. Not only that, but in doing all of these things, you’re going to frequently be getting mixed up, caught in the middle, and have people (from both sides) getting mad at you. You have to the special kind of person — e.g., a psychopath — for this to not affect you, if you want to do this sort of thing for any length of time. So this is hardly some sort of quick and easy way to get rich doing nothing.

Compelled Speech vs. The First Amendment

In the lawsuit, she argues that denying requests to allow her to ignore students’ preferred names and pronouns “deprived her of due process and equal protection of law” and violated her First Amendment rights to free speech and exercise of religion.

Source: A Kansas teacher is suing school officials for requiring her to address students by their preferred names, saying the policy violates her religious freedom – CNN

This is essentially the issue that propelled Jordan Petersen to prominence in Canada, and it seems bound for the Supreme Court. Will the Supremes find an interpretation of the First Amendment that can compel people to say things they don’t want to say, under the threat of the police power of the US Federal Government? No matter how desperately much you might want to use the government’s authority to force people to say things you want them to say — about anything; not just transgendered pronouns — the concept seems hard to square with the clear language and intent of the First Amendment. But, hey, Citizens United, so anything could happen these days.

Ricard acknowledges in the suit that despite being told that another student who was listed in school records as female preferred to be addressed by a different name, Ricard called the student “Miss [student’s last name].” Ricard was reminded multiple times to use the student’s preferred name and pronouns, but continued to call the student by their last name only.

That all being said, according to the article, the teacher in question seems to have been deliberately belligerent in addressing the student, and trying to provoke a confrontation. If that’s true, she is… how you say? A jerk. Kids get called by different names all the time. We call our youngest by his middle name, and no teacher has a problem with that.

Like the case of the no-gay-wedding-cakes baker, this case seems to have been specifically engineered to go to court. I guess the people who cheered Amazon and Cloudflare for throwing Parler off their services can thank Masterpiece Cakeshop for establishing the legal affirmation to do so, but I wonder if the people behind Parler would reconsider their (presumed) support of the baker now. I guess we’ll soon find out whether the Supremes will defend the right of individuals in the same way. I don’t see how they couldn’t, but then does the government (school) have the ability to fire her for these shenanigans, even if she has the legal right to do them? We’re probably going to find this out as well…

Disney CEO apologizes to LGBTQ employees, halts political donations in Florida

Chapek said Disney was rethinking how it approaches political donations on Wednesday; on Friday, he said the company would pause them altogether pending an internal review. However, Disney will increase its “support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states,” Chapek said.

Source: Disney CEO apologizes to LGBTQ employees, halts political donations in Florida

To be clear, Disney considers stopping political donations in Florida to be a “sanction” against the State for trying to pass this law. Regardless of any personal stance on the proposed bill, I just want people to stop and think about what this says about how our government works, the power that political donations gives to corporations, and how the press reports this threat.

Former CEO Jim Keyes: Why Blockbuster Really Died and What We Can Learn from It – D Magazine

“Contrary to popular belief, Netflix did not kill Blockbuster,” Keyes said. “Blockbuster actually had a better opportunity to be Netflix today than Netflix did, and that’s what I was hoping … to accomplish.”

Source: Former CEO Jim Keyes: Why Blockbuster Really Died and What We Can Learn from It – D Magazine

No, Keyes killed Blockbuster.

I’m watching the Netflix documentary on Prime. It paints a sympathetic picture of Netflix (at least, so far), so I don’t understand why it’s not on Netflix. I’d like to understand why this is the case. Anyway.

In 2007, Blockbuster’s foray into DVD’s-by-mail was going pretty well. They had successfully navigated bringing up a complicated service, and getting a couple million customers. Even though they were still hemorrhaging money at the time, they had something. Around that time, major Blockbuster stakeholder, Carl Icahn, refused to pay the current CEO, John Antioco, his bonus, so he left. Icahn installed Jim Keyes, formerly of 7-11. Keyes wanted to “double down” on the physical stores, and scuttled their postal offering. The documentary has Antioco and the guy running their by-mail service on camera explaining all of this, so this isn’t second-hand hearsay. Yet, here’s Keyes, 10 years later, in 2018, saying that he was trying to lean into the subscription offering, and blaming all of their troubles on banking. I mean, say that you nixed the offering because you had insurmountable debt problems, and hoped that cutting it loose would help you refinance in the current market, but don’t claim that you were hoping to be a “better Netflix than Netflix” when you killed the service.

And, of course, Keyes continued to collect his $750,000/yr salary and $500,000 bonus, in the same year as the company was filing for bankruptcy. This is the disconnect in the American oligarchy. We Americans pride ourselves on our supposed meritocracy, but if we really had a meritocracy, Keyes would only have been able to collect his bonus if he had successfully navigated the banking climate back then, and procured a better exit strategy for Blockbuster than selling it wholesale to Dish. He’s rewriting history here, and I’m betting it’s because he’s looking for another gig. Wikipedia doesn’t list his age, but the date of his MBA puts him still in his early 60’s.

We’ve reached a point with the web now that you can go back pretty far, and still get to actual, reported sources. There’s no running from history when Google makes it so easy to find, and major web sites’ content management systems have gotten so good at keeping their links working…

The Complex Creation Of Newly Needed Software Teams In The Auto Industry

With the advent of electric and autonomous vehicles, the amount of software required has grown exponentially. That means newly formed teams must grow overnight, which has two extremes of competing difficulties.

I have watched firsthand as a Napolean-esque CEO fired great talent because the CEO’s hardware background didn’t permit comprehension of building a creative, software team. I’ve seen a frustrated director literally (and dangerously) slam a glass-top, conference table while summarily dismissing managers for being honest about the overwhelming deluge of software defects. I’ve watched dozens of corporations believe a revolving door of low-cost staff augmentation from offshore corners of the world may outperform a more-expensive-per-salary team.

Source: The Complex Creation Of Newly Needed Software Teams In The Auto Industry

Legacy transportation companies making the transition from the ECM-centered software development world to the vehicle-as-a-network-of-computers world should probably rethink their software development methodology, tools, and processes as part of the move. If you adopt a completely-new development platform, but continue to use the legacy process — and the middle management that has been running it — you will transplant 25 years of technical debt into the new paradigm, right at the start. It would seem to be the very definition of the job of “information” and “technology” officers of the company to recognize that their company’s software development systems are 25 years behind the current “meta,”  reject the entrenched power structures that have restricted progress for decades, and bring in new people who understand modern software development to setup new teams, tools, and processes.

Well, I guess, that would be the approach if you wanted the company to stay relevant for the foreseeable future. However, if your goals are otherwise, it might not make sense. For instance, if you just wanted to spend the next 10 years collecting stock options to exercise at the opportune time — say, for instance, when you know the company has slid into technical irrelevance to the point of becoming an irresistible target for acquisition by a company which has its software development act together — then your approach to the technical debt problem might be different than mine. It might look a lot like doing nothing at all. Which would hardly be surprising. I mean, look at how much companies in the US are willing to sacrifice long-term success for short-term profits, and how well rewarded such behavior is. You wouldn’t be able to fault people inside the company if they look like they are following the exact same strategy, personally.

Cats and Dogs Living Together; Mass Hysteria

Remember when people said that if you changed the definition of marriage, you’d have people marrying, like, robots, or whatever? And then, like, the next year, a bunch of Japanese men did just that, in a mass ceremony? This has the same energy.

This goes hand-in-hand with my prediction that school board elections are about to get super serious.

This also goes hand-in-hand with the death of comedy, because there’s nothing you can’t make fun of any more that a non-insignificant number of people actually believe, and another, larger group of people say you can’t make fun of them for.

Top 6 Signs Your Company is Being Raided

Despite however it’s being sold by the top brass.

U.S. truck engine maker Cummins Inc said on Tuesday it will buy auto parts maker Meritor Inc for $2.58 billion in cash, to beef up its electric and hybrid vehicle parts offerings amid a boom in demand for climate-friendly transport.

Source: Engine maker Cummins to buy Meritor for $2.6 bln in electric parts push

On the occasion of Cummins buying Meritor, I find myself reminiscing about the time when Meritor “merged” with Arvin — the other Fortune 250 that used to be headquartered in Columbus, Indiana — and then proceeded to follow the plan from the university-standard textbook on corporate raiding. I’m pretty naive, so I didn’t see it coming, but as I reflected on everything that happened in the 3 years after the “merger” — until Meritor spun the last piece of Arvin out to private equity — there were lots of moves being made that should have made it obvious that the plan sold to the employees and the public wasn’t really what the top brass was doing.

In somewhat particular order, as this was how I saw it unfold…

6. Middle management creates “integration” groups of low-level people who are supposed to decide how departments will be reorganized. The problem here is that, if top brass really cared, they wouldn’t have put low level people on the committees, and left it to people who had been at the company for mere months to decide how things should be done..

5. Senior management — division VP’s — from the “bought” company start pulling the rip cords on their golden parachutes. Fortune-500-sized public companies just can’t resist sending out company-wide emails talking about these moves, regardless of the fact that relatively few people are actually impacted by them. But, in this case, they do this quietly, and spaced out, so it’s harder to detect the pattern.

4. The combined company throws away excellent, industry-recognized, practical, company-wide training for ridiculous, non-sensical “training” that means nothing, and has no effect on productivity. For instance, if the “training” has a module where everyone has to take off their shoes, crawl around on the floor on all fours, and complete some stupid group activity while a coach is yelling instructions at them, all while annoying music is playing loudly on a boom box, in order to show that “communication is ‘hard’,” that training may be useless.

3. The combined company immediately sells a strategic facility that was just completed, after literally decades of everyone telling them they should build it. Bonus points if they sell the facility to a supplier, so that they are now stuck buying a critical component at a higher price.

2. The company starts selling other non-critical, yet-highly-profitable businesses. Of course, this might make sense to the business anyway, but the timing is suspect. As time passes, you will start seeing the larger, and more important divisions go, and this should really set off your alarms.

1. Both companies are majority-owned by investment banks, but the company makes a big deal about selling the idea to the public. The deal would have already been a foregone conclusion based on the backroom deals. Why bother with the song and dance?

I only learned this last one after everything else had settled, but it wouldn’t have changed anything. Turns out that a lot of blue chip companies are majority-owned by investment banks, and there’s a whole other conversation to be had about why Wall Street banks not only run so much of the economy, but also seem to own a large portion of the “means of production” as well. I guess it’s just our modern world, but it seems like a fragility just waiting for another disaster to fall apart.