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September 20, 2013

the theory of conspicuous likes

Tags: Everyday Life — 12:22 pm Comments (2)

(JPEG Image, 323 × 156 pixels)

On the web, the act of liking something serves as currency and is a good enough substitute for actually knowing a person, knowing a subject, purchasing a good or service, or participating in an event, allowing a person to maneuver upwards within his or her social class.

“Like” tools or companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Apple, Pandora encourage their customers to like posts, events, people, products, thoughts, all sorts of different things. The goal for them is to generate money for these “likes” through advertising and also getting the transactions or “conversion” for actual goods. For companies that advertise, the goal isn’t necessarily to get the transaction, it can be more the branding play which may encourage a future transaction. An example is encouraging people to like Aston Martin even though only a small subset of people can actually buy that car. For the person who buys the Aston Martin, it’s made even more valuable because people or even friends that person knows values the brand highly.

What’s not obvious is that the act of liking something is enough. I only need to like the Aston Martin and not purchase it. I only need to like President Obama, I don’t need to have met him or know him. I only need to like marathons, I don’t need to run the actual event. Just liking something gives me similar cachet versus an actual transaction.

The measure of where you sit within a social class can be defined by traditional achievements, level and breadth of knowledge, level of wealth, health, level of influence, amount of friends. The ability to articulate preference and taste via “likes” maybe another measure that trumps some of these traditional achievements.

Do you now then “like” more things? Sure, participate. There will be a point where your level and collection of “likes” is saturated and there’s no additional gain in your social status. To be clear, “liking” something however is not always a flippant or subconscious act by most people. People are aware that “likes” make a statement, they’re conspicuous and they’re attempts at increasing one’s social status. Not only does liking something serve as a cheap substitute for acquiring and owning something, it’s a cheaper way to gain more Facebook likes and status.



June 2, 2013

conspicuous likes

Tags: Everyday Life — 11:16 am Comments (0)

Stuff2

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power — either the buyer’s income or the buyer’s accumulated wealth. Sociologically, to the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means either of attaining or of maintaining a given social status.

I’ve been reading up on The Theory of The Leisure Class and the concepts of conspicuous or invidious consumption by Thorstein Veblen. Just as the Internet has amplified other systems, flows, and experiences, conspicuous consumption is heightened with apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If not items or goods that are bragged about, it’s vacations and trips to the gym/golf course and other leisure activities — perhaps building and flying a plane.

Two thoughts.

1) It might be that “conspicuous likes” is enough – the act of liking something on Facebook or the act of pinning an object. Can you really afford that Aston Martin Vanquish? But it’s certainly easy to like and that might be enough. These days you might not actually need to purchase or consume anything if you want to impress your friends or gain status. You just need to like it. It’s your taste that matters and will move you up and down on the so-called social ladder, wherever you seem to have placed it.

2) It also seems that the ultimate “conspicuous consumption” is your health status and athletic endeavors. In the Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen writes “success as an athlete presumes not only a waste of time, but also a waste of money as well as the possession of certain highly unindustrial archaic traits of character and temperament.” Well, that’s Ironman training, ultramarathons, triathlons, and other ultra endurance events in a nutshell. With the motto “2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile marathon, brag for the rest of your life”, that’s about inconspicuous as you can get. This is also what you eat, how skinny you are (really how healthy/strong you are), workouts for the day, if you’re disease free or overcame an illness, and how mentally strong you are.

Of course people shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about being healthy and striving for lofty fitness goals. But they should be aware that pursuit of these physical feats puts them at the very top of the leisure class society. Or, you could just “like” events like a marathon, Ironman race, cross fit challenge, etc instead of actually trying to do them. Might just be enough if all you want to do is impress your friends.



November 5, 2012

clean diet and core training

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Working on the “clean” diet and “core” training routine to get into snowboarding shape for this Winter and hopefully launch me back into Ironman triathlon training.

Clean diet – “clean” foods, clean meals, simple ingredients

Core training – shoulders to thighs training with emphasis on developing ab and back strength



June 12, 2012

what’s after .mp3?

Tags: Everyday Life — 2:23 pm Comments (0)

vinyl to mp3 image

We’ve quickly evolved from vinyl records, 8-track, cassette tapes, CDs to .mp3s  and streaming radio. What’s next? The question is always what’s next? So what’s after .mp3 is nothing, no files except a receipt and an access rights file to a song that’s available on a server through the devices you choose. Let me elaborate.

Let’s say you want to buy Rhianna’s “Rude Boy”. Instead of buying and downloading the .mp3 file, what you’ll get instead is a receipt and the access rights to the song. From there you’ll be able to add it to some playlist and then you can play “Rude Boy” on your computer, your wife’s computer, your phone, your wife’s phone, your Xbox, PlayStation, home DVR, the iPod in your car, your other car’s navigation device, kitchen radio, nightstand radio, etc.

What you don’t have to do is download a file and synchronize it across multiple devices, share, nor back up that file. You could also have the right to download the actual .mp3 file but why would you want to? Why take the time to have to manage that file and have it take up space on your computer and other devices? Why should millions of people have to store that same file on their computer and take up space?

There are some issues. The limitation is that not every device is network enabled for instance the iPod that’s in my glove compartment, my navigation system in my car, or the music device I want to take jogging with me. There’s also the desire to have something physical, I purchased something so I want that thing not just the rights to it and it’s getting less and less physical (right?) if we’re going from vinyl to .mp3 and now I’m saying you’re not even going to get the .mp3. And finally the issue of companies having to work together which is always fun when we’re talking music, or accounts/subscriptions, or cloud, or services, or digital rights management. In other words, this will never happen.

We’d be in a better place though if we could remove having to download music files, synchronizing and backing up those files and just press play and put whatever song we’ve bought on a set of master play lists that’s accessible from any device we choose.

 

 



May 9, 2012

ramen

Ramen shops:

 

 



March 26, 2012

philosophy

Tags: Everyday Life — 9:37 am Comments (2)
  • make every day matter
    • keep learning
    • hack away at the unessential
    • nothing lasts, nothing is perfect
    • make an impact


March 20, 2012

Spring 2012 is here!

Tags: Everyday Life — 2:52 pm Comments (0)

Finally looking to get out of hibernation mode and into Spring mode, shedding Winter fat (about 25lbs) and getting ready for the Summer.

New diet to include loads of steel cut oatmeal, lots of tea, no sugar, no sweets, more vegetables, little to no bread, more sweet potatoes, less meat, more rice, and more fish.

Training this year will probably pick up some time in June, a lot of running and maybe back to spin class.



July 1, 2011

butcher, baker, candlestick maker

Tags: Everyday Life — 10:11 am Comments (0)

People that we depend on

  • butcher/fish monger: Berkeley Bowl, Marin Sun Farms @Market Hall
  • baker: Acme Bread, Henry@Tucker’s Ice Cream, It’s All Good Bakery
  • plumber: Michael Your Plumber, Raul@Pelican Plumbers
  • electrician: Eduardo Miramontes, Early Light Electric
  • HVAC: Harry Clark
  • general contractor: Eric Angress
  • farmer: Eatwell Farm, Straus Creamery

Personal

  • tailor: Thomas Mahon@English Cut
  • shoemaker: George Glasgow@George Cleverley
  • barber: Nick Vlahos@Temescal Alley Barber Shop
  • doctor: Dr. Don Weinreich
  • dentist: Dr. Robin Levi
  • coach: Chris Hauth@AIMP Coaching
  • massage therapist: Johnny Wong
  • insurance: Manny Reburiano@AllState
  • garage: Bavarian Professionals, Weatherford BMW


April 28, 2011

Eatwell Farm

This is our box for the week from Eatwell Farm.  We’ve got apples, oranges, lemons, strawberries, lemon balm, parsley, sugar snap peas, green garlic, spring onions, spinach, carrots, mixed greens.

We’re on the 12 week program (13th week is free) w/ a half dozen eggs, which comes to about $29 a box.  Considering we get our box next door, the fruits and vegetables are organic AND they’re picked the week of delivery, it’s a no brainer value — and ridiculous from a freshness standpoint.

You also get things you might not normally buy at the store like romanesco, daikon, rainbow chard, jerusalem artichokes, rutabagas, and watermelon radish.  And you learn to eat seasonally, which makes you realize we actually do have seasons in Northern California.

There are a few drawbacks.  It’s not always easy to eat everything in a week, and you do have to cook.  You might get weeks of weeks of something you might not like for example red cabbage or kale.  You might not have enough of something to finish a recipe — need one more eggplant or one more onion, so you’ll have to supplement that at the store.  You’ll also never get bananas (obviously) and probably some other “non-standard” vegetable.

Sign up with Eatwell if you’re in the Bay Area or I’d encourage signing up for another Community Support Agriculture (CSA) program like Eatwell Farm.  A lot of them are popping up all over California and the rest of the United States.

* Hard to say whether or not CSA is scalable, I’m sure less than 1% of the country subscribes to a CSA.  But it would be great to see because in practice we feel healthier and feel better knowing where our  food comes from and the knowing the people who farm it.



April 5, 2011

some good drinks from Oakland

Oakland has some pretty good drinks.  A few that I really like:

Haven’t really tried Numi tea, another Oakland company.  We want to but just haven’t pulled the trigger we have so much tea in the house.  I get tea from Teance in Berkeley, their ba bao chao and pu-erh teas and we also get tea from Republic of Tea, Ginseng peppermint and several other kinds.  We’ve got a lot of tea.  We’ll try Numi eventually.

 



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