In that post, I made two predictions: first, that the Invisible Special Friends, who give you 100 personalized texts per month as part of your $25 package, would be staffed by gig economy freelance writers.
Second, that people would inevitably fall in love with these writers who are being paid to simulate affection and interest.
Are we surprised that both predictions came true?
It’s been nearly six years since I’ve had to go through the job-hunting and interview process and hope I don’t have to do so again for a very long time (if ever again). On Backchannel, Deborah Branscum examines why the way we typically hire for jobs is all wrong.
For one, employers are often flooded with hundreds of resumes, so they often narrow down choices by searching for keywords:
Sheeroy Desai, CEO of Gild, a company with a platform that matches employers with candidates, has observed those biases in person. “You see filters like, ‘A lot of the people at our company came from Ivy League schools, so we are only going to look at people from Ivy League schools,’” Desai says. “It seems reasonable, but it’s actually really arbitrary.”
And then there’s the whole “cultural fit” aspect that’s become highly popular:
Max Levchin, co-founder and former CTO of PayPal, tells a story of a time when PayPal rejected a candidate who aced all the engineering tests but who said he liked to play hoops. “No PayPal people would ever have used the word hoops,” Levchin told a class of would-be entrepreneurs. “Probably no one even knew how to play hoops. Basketball would be bad enough. But hoops?”
I mean, how mad would you be if you discovered that the reason you weren’t hired was because you mentioned that you played basketball during an interview. READ MORE
On Sunday night, I got an email from United Airlines to let me know that my Tuesday evening flight to Newark had pre-emptively been canceled due to Blizzardy Storm Juno.
(This’d be the flight that I had planned to take for The Billfold LIVE.)
At that time, they weren’t offering any other flight options; however, this morning they did offer to rebook me on another Tuesday flight: UA302, scheduled to arrive at LaGuardia at 11:26 p.m.
They also rebooked me on this flight for free, which I appreciate.
However, if I were a betting person (which I am not because THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS), I would bet that this flight gets canceled this evening.
This also means I will very likely miss The Billfold LIVE, which is crushing my heart. But I won’t feel those feelings until I’m absolutely sure that I’m going to miss the show.
Instead, let’s look at how much money I’m likely to lose.
good news, i’m officially the kind of guy who buys his cat a robot
— Rob Dubbin (@robdubbin) November 13, 2014
Rob! So what happened here?
Like anyone afflicted with toxoplasmosis, I care about my cat. His name is Fernando. We share a one-bedroom place, and I felt like he was getting bored with his small arsenal of feather wands and self-articulating lasers. He used to do these huge, four-foot X-Games backflips going after the feather thing, but those kind of stopped once he realized climbing up a chair would give him most of the benefits of jumping.
He was getting a little lazy, and I wanted to get him back some edge, you know? Fernando was a rescue but not like a mean-streets rescue; someone had left him and his littermates in the basement of a nice Upper East Side building before calling the Upper East Side of animal shelters. It wouldn’t shock me to learn they’d nursed him on tiny bottles of almond-butter smoothie, like the protagonist of a children’s book sold exclusively at Barneys.
At least according to Yelp, the best food in America is, generally, Food You Can Afford. And a lot of it can be found on or near the west coast.
Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015
1. Copper Top BBQ – Big Pine, CA
2. Art of Flavors – Las Vegas, NV
3. Soho Japanese Restaurant – Las Vegas, NV
4. TKB Bakery and Deli – Indio, CA
5. Ono Seafood – Honolulu, HI
6. Shark Pit Maui – Lahaina, HI
7. Gaucho Parilla Argentina – Pittsburgh, PA
8. Bobboi Natural Gelato – La Jolla, CA
9. Golden Bear Trading Company – San Francisco, CA
10. Little Miss BBQ – Phoenix, AZ
11. Dat Cajun Guy – Haleiwa, HI
12. Sweet Dogs – Miami, FL
13. Aviva by Kameel – Atlanta, GA
14. Sweet Spice – Savannah, GA
15. Royal Taj – Columbia, MD
16. Arun’s Indian Kichen – Coral Spring, FL
17. Hall’s Chophouse – Charleston, SC
18. Bronze Cafe – Las Vegas, NV
19. Saffron and Rose Ice Cream – Los Angeles, CA
20. Buddha Thai Bistro – Vacaville, CA
Wait, there are BBQ joints in the top twenty, and they’re not in Texas? Or St. Louis? READ MORE
As many of you know, I occasionally earn extra money performing geek music at conventions and selling CDs, T-shirts, and hoodies in the dealers’ room when I’m not onstage.
When I wrote about my experiences at convention dealers’ rooms for The Penny Hoarder, I noted that I earned “anywhere from a few hundred dollars to around $1,000″ selling merch at conventions. Well, turns out I’m on the low end of the average: the Devastator/Beat survey reports that the average convention dealer earns $1,000 per convention. Of course, they also note that if it’s an indie con (as opposed to what they call a “comic con”) the average dealer earns $615, which is more on line with my experiences.
These income reports represent gross earnings and not net profit; it would have been nice to include information on what each convention is charging for a dealer’s table, and it would have been interesting to ask the dealers surveyed whether they came out ahead after the costs of travel, lodging, food, etc. were subtracted out. (One of the reasons I play many fewer conventions than I used to is that I rarely came out ahead, cash-wise.)
But now let’s look at the fun part: which individual conventions perform the best.
How honest is too honest, when it comes to money? This weekend, author Ann Bauer caused a digital snowicane with a piece in Salon called “Sponsored” By My Husband: Why It’s A Problem That Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From.
I attended a packed reading (I’m talking 300+ people) about a year and a half ago. The author was very well-known, a magnificent nonfictionist who has, deservedly, won several big awards. He also happens to be the heir to a mammoth fortune. Mega-millions. In other words he’s a man who has never had to work one job, much less two. He has several children; I know, because they were at the reading with him, all lined up. I heard someone say they were all traveling with him, plus two nannies, on his worldwide tour.
None of this takes away from his brilliance. Yet, when an audience member — young, wide-eyed, clearly not clued in — rose to ask him how he’d managed to spend 10 years writing his current masterpiece — What had he done to sustain himself and his family during that time? — he told her in a serious tone that it had been tough but he’d written a number of magazine articles to get by. I heard a titter pass through the half of the audience that knew the truth. But the author, impassive, moved on and left this woman thinking he’d supported his Manhattan life for a decade with a handful of pieces in the Nation and Salon. …
In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed. I can’t claim the wealth of the first author (not even close); nor do I have the connections of the second. I don’t have their fame either. But I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.
Reactions ranged from “At last!” to “WTF?” READ MORE