Jon Evans, TechCrunch

Jon Evans

TechCrunch

Berkeley, CA, United States

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Recent:
  • TechCrunch
Past:
  • The Walrus
  • Quartz

Recent articles by Jon:

Technology is anthropology –

The interesting thing about the technology business is that, most of the time, it’s not the technology that matters. What matters is how people react to it, and what new social norms they form. This is especially true in today’s era, well past the midpoint of the deployment age of smartphones and the Internet. People […] → Read More

The marketplace of ideas is a weapons market now –

The most interesting thing I saw online this week was Venkatesh Rao’s “Internet of Beefs” essay. I don’t agree with all of it. I’m not even sure I agree with most of it. But it’s a sharp, perceptive, well-argued piece which offers an explanation for why online public spaces have almost all become battlefields, or, […] → Read More

R.I.P. Goofy Times –

A strange new sensation has settled across the tech industry, one so foreign, so alien, it’s almost hard to recognize. A sense that some great expectations are being radically revised downwards; that someone has turned down a previously unquenchable money spigot; that unit economics can matter even when you’re in growth mode. Could it be […] → Read More

Software and the war against complexity –

Look around: what is happening? Australia, AI, Ghosn, Google, Suleimani, Starlink, Trump, TikTok. The world is an eruptive flux of frequently toxic emergent behavior, and every unexpected event is laced with subtle interconnected nuances. Stephen Hawking predicted this would be “the century of complexity.” He was talking about theoretical physics, but he was dead right […] → Read More

It’s The Jons 2019! –

Happy New Year! It’s been another wild and wacky ride of a year in the tech world: breakthroughs and disgraces, triumphs and catastrophes, cryptocurrencies and starships, the ongoing rise of utopian clean energy and dystopian cyberpunk societies, and most of all, the ongoing weirding of the whole wide world. In other words it was another […] → Read More

Whatever happened to the Next Big Things? –

In tech, this was the smartphone decade. In 2009, Symbian was still the dominant ‘smartphone’ OS, but 2010 saw the launch of the iPhone 4, the Samsung Galaxy S, and the Nexus One, and today Android and iOS boast four billion combined active devices. Smartphones and their apps are a mature market, now, not a […] → Read More

The new new weird –

Neo-Pentecostal gangs in Brazil, driving out other faiths at gunpoint. A mob of 100 lawyers attacking a hospital in Pakistan to revenge themselves on violent doctors there. Anti-vaxxers, neo-Nazis, and red-pillers. Sometimes it seems like the world has fragmented into a jagged kaleidoscope of countless mobs and subcultures, each more disconcerting than the last. Much […] → Read More

Away with them –

Every so often a story comes along which is unremarkable on its face but erupts into wider attention because it seems to represent some larger social fracture zone. …And then there’s the recent story of mismanagement and malfeasance at Away, which has caught the tech world’s attention because it seems a shibboleth for all the […] → Read More

Mass media vs. social media –

In the waning years of the last millennium, at my university, one of the cause célèbres of the progressive left was a concept known as “Manufacturing Consent,” the title of a book and film, by and starring Noam Chomsky. Its central thesis was that US mass media “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry […] → Read More

Reasons to be climate cheerful (ish) –

The International Energy Agency published its annual World Energy Outlook ten days ago. In this era of climate crisis, that outlook includes, as you would expect, stern warnings of catastrophic warming. But it also includes interesting nuggets of hope and optimism — and they aren’t alone. Global warming is a slow-motion in-progress planetary train-wreck, true; […] → Read More

Bored of the coins –

Something strange is afoot in the world of cryptocurrencies. For the first time since Satoshi dropped Bitcoin on us like a benevolent bomb, this painfully new, highly bizarre field has become … well … boring. The true believers will tell you that great strides are being made, and the mainstream breakthrough is just around the […] → Read More

The post-exponential era of AI and Moore’s Law –

My MacBook Pro is three years old, and for the first time in my life, a three-year-old primary computer doesn’t feel like a crisis which must be resolved immediately. True, this is partly because I’m waiting for Apple to fix their keyboard debacle, and partly because I still cannot stomach the Touch Bar. But it […] → Read More

The surprisingly boring road to self-driving cars –

At last, it is here! The truly self-driving car, no human behind the wheel! For the public! …A few hundred of them, in a closed beta, in a small corner of sun-drenched (never snow-drenched, almost never water-drenched) suburban Phoenix, five years later than some people were predicting six years ago. Few new technologies have ever […] → Read More

Stochastic disaster –

As I write this, massive fires are erupting all over California, and massive protests are erupting all over the world. Is the former a facet of the climate crisis? Is the latter a symptom of hyperpolarization caused by hyperconnectivity? Yes, I mean no, I mean it’s impossible to say. That’s what it means to live […] → Read More

Facebook isn’t free speech, it’s algorithmic amplification optimized for outrage –

This week Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech in which he extolled “giving everyone a voice” and fighting “to uphold a wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible.” That sounds great, of course! Freedom of expression is a cornerstone, if not the cornerstone, of liberal democracy. Who could be opposed to that? The problem […] → Read More

Surfing the reverse mullet with Alexis Ohanian –

For many years the allure of Silicon Valley was contingent on the ability to move here. Its ecosystem didn’t work remotely. “We see a very strong indication that where you’re located does matter… come to Silicon Valley,” intoned Joe Kraus of Google Ventures at the first Disrupt conference I ever intended, speaking for essentially all […] → Read More

Armenia and the technology of diaspora –

It’s a tough world out there for small countries. Technology is the future, everyone knows that; but how do you claim your share of that future when you’re competing with America, China, the EU, and India? How do you build a thriving ecosystem of tech wealth and tech education — successful international businesses whose alumni […] → Read More

The siphon and the forge –

The tech industry has won at capitalism. From America to China, from Amazon to Alibaba, from Alphabet to Tencent, the most valuable and most dynamic companies in the world are technology companies. But what kind of capitalism? Because there are really two different modes, two ways to get rich. One is to claim a share […] → Read More

Facebook’s plan for our post-web future –

Let us connect some dots. Five years ago, Facebook acquired VR pioneers Oculus for $2 billion. This week, it snapped up neural-interface pioneers CTRL-Labs for somewhere north of $500 million, and announced that its own massively multiplayer VR shared universe Horizon will launch early next year. Oculus became (somewhat creepily named) Facebook Reality Labs, headed […] → Read More

Our motto: Dronepocalypse Now –

Last week someone knocked out 5% of world oil production with a small swarm of drones and cruise missiles, and in doing so, inaugurated “a change in the nature of warfare globally,” to quote The Independent. These were relatively crude drones, too. Let’s pause a moment to imagine what happens if and when sophisticated autonomous […] → Read More