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Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of 'Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator'
Off the Media

Is Google’s Product Strategy Dumb, Brave or Both?

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There’s no question we live in one of the harshest media environments in history. Not that it’s necessarily always critical but rather, if you’re someone doing something in the public eye, you face a million media outlets all shouting to be louder than the others, publishing in real time, with little editing, little fact checking, and complete subjectivity.

In other words, it’s the mob. Read More

Off the Media

Skimming Off The Top: Social Giving Sites Take a Huge Cut Of The Check

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Last week, a friend from elementary school’s house burned down. She lost everything. Since they were renters, none of the stuff in the house was insured. Worse yet, it was the cherry on top of an already heartbreaking week in which her little dog had been killed by another dog.

Due to the marvel of social media and social tools, another friend immediately set up a campaign with the site Give Forward to raise $12,000 for a “Start From Scratch Fund” on my friend’s behalf. Almost immediately, the first $10,000 was raised. Read More

Digital Publishing

Tim Ferriss Publishes Betabeat Editor Under New Audiobook Venture

Tim Ferriss (Photo: Virtual Business Lifestyle)

In 2013, I bumped into mega best-selling author Tim Ferriss at a hotel in Amsterdam. I’ve known Tim — who sometimes writes for Betabeat sister site New York Observer, as well as being an occasional subject 0f their fascination —  and worked with on several occasions. We were both speaking at the same conference. But I was there for another reason: a few days later I would be heading to Rome to put the final touches on my book about stoicism, The Obstacle Is The Way.

I showed Tim the book, as a friend. He read it that night and approached me the next day: He was starting an audiobook publishing venture and would I want to be one of the first authors to participate. Of course, my answer was YES, YES, YES. Read More

Sad Things

Personal Science Pioneer Seth Roberts Passes Away

Seth Roberts (sethroberts.net)

Yesterday I got the most unexpected and most awful of texts.

My friend, the peerless professor and scientist Seth Roberts had died. According to his sister, who posted on his popular blog, Seth collapsed while hiking over the weekend.

The news hit me extra hard because on Wednesday Seth had submitted what was to be the first of a long awaited column here at Betabeat called “Personal Science.” And worse, I was overloaded and I put off responding. I starred the email and intended to respond today. Read More

Off the Media

I Was Plagiarized By Arbitrage Magazine, But I’m The One Who Feels Terrible About It

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A few weeks ago, my work was shamelessly plagiarized by a staff writer at the Toronto-based Arbitrage Magazine.

I know this not because I am an Arbitrage reader, but because the writer tweeted the article to me.

But honestly I feel terrible that it happened. I’m not angry at the writer (to the point that I have decided not to include his name here to spare him a bad Google-Scarlet-Letter forever). Though he clearly made mistakes, it was really his magazine and its negligent and cowardly leadership that failed us both. Read More

Airbnb and Me

Airbnb Etiquette: A Wake-Up Call to Unprofessional Hosts

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A few months ago my company rented a place on Airbnb for four nights during a business trip to San Francisco. The Dreamforce conference happened to be going on so even the mediocre hotels were north of $300 a night.

All was well in our two-bedroom, $400 a night condo until it came time to leave. The host sent me a lengthy list of “checkout duties”: strip the sheets, put the towels in the laundry, wash the dishes, put the keys in some special envelope, and on and on.

Of course, this is the definition of a first world problem, but I did take issue with it. I’m usually a very polite guest when I stay in someone’s home, but this was too much for me. Why? Read More

sxsw 2014

Get Out of Town: Why SXSW Isn’t Worth It

Having a blast. (Photo: Getty)

Two years ago, I came up with new rule that I’ll basically accept any offer if it will tie me up and keep me away from Austin during SXSW week. The results have been awesome: Last year I spoke at a small event in Australia. This year I spoke at one in Ireland

 It’s not because I live in Austin now and can rent out my place for a lot of money if I’m gone (although that is nice). It’s clearly not because I have a problem with conferences in general, or I wouldn’t have spent time at others. It’s not even SXSW, though since 2007 I’ve seen it undergo some changes and transformations that I can only shake my head at. Read More

Off the Media

Sourceless: Online Reporting Becomes a Race to the Bottom

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Online journalism has always had a sourcing problem. From using unverified “anonymous tips” to repeating whatever rumor or speculation people are chattering about, the general ethic is “we’ll publish just about anything.”

But I think it’s fair to say that when blogs start using anonymous secret sharing apps like Secret and Whisper as sources for news stories, we’ve hit a new low. Read More