The Eye is the Jewel of the Body - Henry David Thoreau
Go for the eyes.
That’s the path to victory.
We live in a world with a new, quasi-finite, yet ever flowing resource.
You are monetizable and what is monetized is your attention.
Thinking about the internet as the attention economy is a useful way to interpret what all these tech companies are trying to do to you [ostensibly for you] every day, but I prefer to think of the great online game as an endless competition for a fleeting chance to dip a bucket into the never-ending eyeball stream that constitutes the real time internet.
The everlasting eyeball stream is the most powerful force in the modern world. This is true because it is the direct conduit to the clickstream actions that result from an instance of "attention paid". The clickstream is the direct conduit to the two dominant variables in social dynamics: 1. Capital (Positive Feedback) 2. Complaints (Negative Feedback) This facilitates the construction of Feedback Loops. (Action -> Feedback -> Iteration -> Next Action) This is valuable because Feedback Loops are the only repeatable way you can make things better.
Think of any of the most successful, non-legacy companies in the world.
The company formerly known as (the) Facebook.
These all control some subset of the eyeball stream during some critical portion of the eyeball carrier’s life patterns.
Apple owns the physical interface to participate in the eyeball stream.
Google owns the query and browser layer to participate in the eyeball stream.
Microsoft owns the operating system to participate in the enterprise eyeball stream.
Amazon owns the coordination and the physical infrastructure layer that facilitates the fulfillment of expressed desires of the western eyeball stream.
Tencent owns the entertainment and communication layer for much of the eyeball stream.
Alibaba owns the coordination and the physical infrastructure layer that facilitates the fulfillment of expressed desires of the eastern eyeball stream.
Tesla’s founder owns the conviction layer - the thoughts, sense of self worth, and dreams - of a significant chunk of the eyeball stream and uses that power to achieve industrialist goals.
Meta owns the social competition and interaction layer of the eyeball stream.
I turned off my wifi to write this. It’s only been 30 minutes and I’ve already tried to check other applications 6 times. I shudder to think about how I act when I’m not actively fighting that compulsion. Now imagine if I never tried to fight the urge.
That’s how effective the eyeball stream perpetuation complex’s enticement mechanisms are at getting you to assimilate.
Horrifying in a way, but also pretty neat.
And something you can leverage.
The eyeball stream exists. It is constant and it knows nothing and everything at the same time. It’s Society, but it’s also a tool.
Remember that most things get worse over time through entropy.
Some things get marginally better by accident.
A few things are lucky start out as pretty good.
But nothing becomes the best by accident.
It takes focused, humble, concerted trials.
It’s an iterative effort.
Repeated ad infinitum.
I hope this added value to your day.
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