All In - Show Notes - April 19, 2024

Google fired 28 protestors who were protesting the war in Israel/Palestine. Google is involved in a $1.2b Israeli government contract.
Friedberg: On the one hand, it’s good that Google took a stand but on the other, it’s reflective of a company culture that has been too tolerant of social activism to the point where these employees thought they could get away with it without consequence.
Chamath: The Golden Gate Bridge protest and the Google protest are different issues. In a democracy, being able to protest is critical. However, when a protest impedes on people’s ability to go about their lives, you cannot tolerate that. Google situation is about left-leaning employees complaining that their left-leaning companies aren’t left-leaning enough. Google is a for-profit org that is responsible to its shareholders, it did the right thing.
Sacks: Google had no choice but to fire these employees and you can’t blame them for this. These protestors weren’t unlike the Vietnam war and in the fullness of time we may look back and see that their actions were justified. It depends how we will view this war in a few years, this could become Israel’s Vietnam war. In some ways, Israel has already lost this war and they cannot stop Hamas, it’s like whack-a-mole.
Jason: These protestors may have been in the right, they are acting on their conscience. However, there are other ways to do this. This was immature and you cannot tolerate this in the workplace.
Sacks: The Google workers were just trying to get attention and it worked, after all, we’re talking about it now.

NPR Culture Wars: Katherine Maher was named CEO of NPR in January 2024. Former NPR employees came out with exposés about how NPR became far left.
Sacks: There’s nothing surprising here. NPR has always been liberal, there’s no news here. The government should not be funding this organization.
Chamath: This story only matters to journalists, the public doesn’t care.

Marques Brownlee’s review of Humane is causing a lot of waves in the tech world after he called it the worst product he’s ever reviewed. Some people say this is unethical, some say it’s honest. Almost everything about the device sucks.
Friedberg: Hardware is really hard. This company raised a quarter billion dollars but still couldn’t pull off a good product. Some founders can do this, like Elon. But this company fell flat. They don’t have the infrastructure for testing the product and getting consumer feedback.
Chamath: Motivated, dedicated entrepreneurs are not even following this. They’re building. No great entrepreneur cares.
Sacks: Again, no story here. NPR is going to NPR, Google is going to Google, and reviewers are going to review.
Chamath: If you’re concerned about this, you’re not working on something important enough. Anyone doing their job well doesn’t have time to care about this.
Jason: Everyone should read the Anxious Generation by Jonathon Haidt immediately. It’s that important.
Sacks: The opportunity is not replacing the phone, it’s layering interfaces onto the world.
Chamath: Ultimately, we will end up with some sort of brain implant that we will interact with the world through.
Sacks: Recommends the sci Fi Nexus by Ramey Naam

Silicon Valley startups are facing an R&D tax issue. Due to the tax cuts of 2017, there was a deferment and companies have to pay taxes on money made over the last 5 years.
Friedberg: Tons of startups are struggling to pay this tax burden. Businesses are borrowing money just to pay a huge tax bill on profits they didn’t even have. Software developers are being considered R&D. This is going to hurt a lot of small businesses. We’re disincentivizing innovation. We’re starting to see how hungry the US government is for taxes. This is going to get worse as the debt and spending grows.
Jason: This and the difficulty of selling businesses are creating massive headwinds for innovation.

Sports betting has gone mainstream and many states have legalized sports betting. An NBA player got suspended because he engaged in some fixed gambling.
Chamath: When he joined the NBA as an owner, he had to fill out a background about whether he had gambled before. This ban has to be a lifetime ban. Everything is being gamified at the same time that the government is giving away more and more money through stimulus checks and student loan forgiveness. Gambling apps are ruining peoples’ lives. This is going to be a big problem.
Sacks: This is analogous to cannabis. It’s new and untested but some people will abuse it and ruin their lives, others won’t care, and others will be able to use it responsibly.

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