Problems and Pinch Points
Last updated: Feb 5, 2020
I had a hard time picking between a couple different problems to address. The two that draw my attention most are related to how speculation and quick changes in markets can adversely affect those who depend on what’s being bought or sold.
One is housing. My slide deck is attached here, but to sum up: tech booms in cities can lead to rising rents and contribue to gentrification. This is a difficult problem because homes are big, they are expensive, and building them takes a long time—even buying them takes a long time. Tech companies are making some effort to address it but the problems seem to be based on public reluctance to change zoning laws and spend money to push for more affordable housing.
If the problems are regulatory or economic, I don’t necessarily have the resources or policy know-how to address them. My solutions might be awareness-based or focus on promoting legislation. I don’t know what it would look like to make the affordable housing lottery system easier to use, but I do know it wouldn’t address a shortage in units or Cuomo’s omission of public housing from the budget this week.
The other is the changes in the digital media industry that the modern ad-based model has brought about. I have a slide deck for this one here. Since this is a problem with technology, or that technology intersects with broadly, I think I have a few more ideas for how to approach this one.
I interact with this one on a more regular basis: I read writing on the internet and I write things people read on the internet. I browse the web with an ad-blocker on and I subscribe to a few publications and freelance writers through a number of different services. Newspapers used to be a huge industry because they were one of few spots to get news and one of few spots to advertise. As Facebook and Google become larger players in advertising, outlets that want to succeed by publishing writing on the internet are going to have to figure out another way to stay afloat.