Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM

First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT

Uber - living the dream

¡Bong! Extra Why can’t Old Media just accept we have it beaten, lie down and die? It’s taking forever. Nothing saddened me more this week than reading that bold new data journalism initiatives from Uber were being shot down before they had even reached Seed stage.

My bromate, the Uber VP Emil Michael, has sent dead tree media Offendotrons hysterical. Michael wished he had a $1m fund to research the personal lives of tech journalists. This is a tough challenge – American tech journalists don’t have any personal lives at all. They just follow us entrepreneurs and VCs around like lost puppies, making big wet eyes at us. The same report also alleged that Uber executives had performed some citizen journalism themselves, and obtained Uber journey information on journalists before meeting them. I call that due diligence. I call that Big Data innovation.

What do you call it?

Somehow both of these startup initiatives were Bad Things, according to Old Media. But they’re surely Good Things: they show a commitment to original research that Old Media says it does best, but never actually does any more anyway. Let’s be honest, the hypocrisy here stinks. When Old Media is not scraping social media you’re scraping each other. And for research you do the same as everyone else: Wikipedia. Yet all you hear is whine, whine, whine.

And as for local news - well, I have two words for you:

"31mph wind".

They say the truth hurts, so Old Media aren’t going to like these two punches.

Firstly, you’re not needed any more. You say there was a time when you reckon you were “holding Truth to Power”, whatever that means. I think that means hounding my poor innocent Pappa into an early grave for so-called tax evasion. Or Henry Blodget and Frank Quattrone, who were never found guilty of anything. Or sneering at promising young state leaders. C’mon, guys, give Kim a chance – he’s hardly started in the job. Every first-time tech startup needs support.

Well, today it’s Twitter that does that job. Look at Emily Thornberry. One careless remark and she was outta here. Twitter dispatches an errant politician into the wilderness faster than Ernst Stavro Blofeld sending a minion into the piranha tank. Don’t think it was Labour Leader David Milliband [มาลัย - please check the names, sjb] that did that – it was the Justice division of the Hive Mind.

Secondly, so few journalists today are even capable of understanding how enterpreneurs and thinkfluencers are changing the world. With radical disruption. Through permissionless innovation. We are the new elite, but a very different one to previous elites. We're instantly and transparently accountable.

Because disruptive innovators are absolutely vital to the new digital society, it’s imperative that we are permitted to go about our business of chasing catapults, pump-prime, innovation task force chairs, social enterprise leadership roles, and Peerages, unhindered by people who, quite frankly, don’t Get It and never will.

An attack on one of us is an attack on us all. It can’t be allowed to happen. So my advice to Emil is: don’t let them grind you down, bromate. Carry on, only tool up the Uber fleet with decent artillery and drive to kill. While my advice to Dead Tree Media is: be very, very careful crossing the road. ®

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Steve Bong (official title: Lord Bong of #businessmodel) is the founder of Bong Ventures, an early stage investor and incubator focussing on innovative new technology start-ups based in Shoreditch, London. When he's not helping rear the next generation of business models, Steve enjoys parties and foreign travel, extreme cuisine, Open Data and draws his inspiration from Ayn Rand and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He advised (then hired) No.10 policy guru Rohan Silva on mindfulness and innovation, Lily Cole on innovation in giving, Mark Zuckerberg on the Perfect IPO, the Republic of Kazakhstan on emergent social media strategies, LOCOG on brand enforcement, and imagineered the Olympic Opening Ceremony with Danny Boyle, Shoreditch's #guardian coffee coffee shop with Jemima Kiss, and was the social media consultant for Edward Snowden and Lady Thatcher’s Funeral. A recent attempt to arm the Syrian rebels with iOS7 sadly failed, however. He emphatically declined to assist the Islamic Caliphate in creating viral and engaging content, however.

At the personal invitation of Kim Jong Un, he is a strategic consultant on the Nextification of North Korea. Steve wants to pivot the BBC into the 22nd Century, blue-skying its hugely successful Digital Media Initiative, and advises the UK Government on icon design and the new National Curriculum. He favours Small Government but Large Catapults, the Soft Power of Tiny Coding Fingers, and wants more taxpayers to engage in Ambient Crowdsourcing.




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