Show cover of Ramblings by Mason Pelt (podcast)

Ramblings by Mason Pelt (podcast)

Podcast adaptations from Mason Pelt's essays often centering on the impact marketing and media have on culture, and vice versa.


AI Enabled Greed And Stupidity (Podcast Audio Article)
Writing, like nearly all creative work, does not in and of itself generate money. Something, books, subscriptions, tickets, advertising, and so forth must be sold to turn writing into cash. So publishers, media executives, and the like exist, making money from writing (and other creative works). The content units mindset makes AI replacing human writers inevitable. This AI future won't just replace writers, when the goal is churning out more content units, ever cheaper, every creative is on the chopping block. The sword that will cut their jobs is being forged with their work.
07:42 5/28/23
The Advertising Pyramid Scheme (Podcast Audio Article)
The advertising economy is starting to resemble a collection of interconnected multi-level marketing schemes. Some kind of intermediary firm sits atop each pyramid brokering the serving of ads to eyeballs. Under that are ad agencies, and tech firms that work on sales and bid management. The bottom are ad buyers, perhaps too few to sustain all these pyramids.
05:30 5/17/23
HackerNoon Doesn't Respect Writers (Podcast Audio Article)
Today HackerNoon deleted not only my profile, and every article I've published on the site; they also deleted every article that referenced me. The reason for the erasure is a dispute about canonicalization for syndicated content. It's as dumb and disrespectful to writers as it sounds. I syndicated multiple stories to HackerNoon with a correct (according to Google) canonical URL to the original content. HackerNoon removed those canonical URLs without my consent, published the articles, and refused to add them back after multiple requests citing "best practices" that they refuse to clarify.
03:39 5/7/23
The Business Of Helping Build Businesses (Podcast Audio Article)
The Business Of Helping Build Businesses by Mason Pelt was first published in HackerNoon on January 12, 2020. While This article was published first on HackerNoon, the website's editorial team deleted it following a copyright dispute. This article is updated with more context and published in on May 3, 2023. This goes out to freelancers and those who run professional service companies. Are you building a business or helping others build theirs? It can be both. But that requires awareness, caution, and focus.
04:10 5/4/23
BuzzFeed News And Twitter Blues
To greatly paraphrase Tolstoy, you can explain anything to a complete ding dong if they know nothing about the topic, but you'll fail to explain it to the greatest minds if they start with any preconceptions. Cognitive bias is powerful. People will pay more for a worse product if they think the brand is better. BuzzFeed built a digital brand that can only be understood by living online during its heyday. The way reposted videos of TikTok fill Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, is only slightly more pervasive than the level to which BuzzFeed content once filled social feeds. Everyone knew BuzzFeed, but few loved it. The media company built traffic without an audience. BuzzFeed appeared to show you a compilation of oddly satisfying power-washing videos or a quiz to learn what kind of potato you were. Like the big-name cola that isn't Coca-Cola, people knew the brand, but it was a preference for very few. This episode is also available as a blog post:
07:17 4/24/23
Brands As People, People As Brands
People strive to be brands creating a loss of self, and often a loss of any potential brand. Brands try to be people, in programmatic and contrived ways. Both are organic as a Twinkie asking how the fellow kids are doing.On a call for a long-dead startup building its empire on Google+, someone, a person, objected to being paid to appear in a commercial promoting a class they sold because of how it would impact their brand. They were a chef, not a famous one. But in July of 2011, they had quickly amassed a following of about 6,000 in under a month on the hot emerging social network that was Google+, and they believed fame was on the horizon. This episode is also available as a blog post:
08:40 4/17/23
Get Woke, Gain Earned Media Coverage
Bud Light hired Dylan Mulvaney for a promotion. Mulvaney is trans, and while famous, not Beyoncé famous. Also, Mulvaney is not the kind of person normally associated with Bud Light, causing some uproar. The buzz has probably been incredible for Bud Light directly, but certainly for AB InBev. Bud Light is a joke among many; It's the water of beers. It's cat piss in a glass. It's also the top-selling beer in the US for 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and I stopped looking. Bud Light can handle people posting social media videos of them shooting the blue cans. This episode is also available as a blog post:
06:18 4/11/23
Why Google Search Sucks And A Tribute To Neil Gaiman
Google grants access to information kings didn’t have 50 years before. I have consumed so much content, books, podcasts, movies, articles, songs, and possibly the Ph.D. thesis of a woman from Chesapeake. I cannot remember it all. Like most, I’ll occasionally use Google to find a specific but only half-recalled crumb of content. This episode is also available as a blog post:
11:02 4/10/23
A Blue Check On A Pike Warns Us Not To Give Up The Web
Today is my seventh day of Twitter limbo. On March 31st, I became Elon Musk’s mother for several hours. But the account was put into a type of quarantine. My username replaced by a dot, my photo removed, I cannot log in. But my profile, with the years-old blue check still stands like a head on a pike warning others that Elon Musk has mommy issues. This episode is also available as a blog post:
06:55 4/7/23
How Forbes Monetizes The Frauds They Create
Forbes is the best in the business at monetizing frauds on the way up and later on the way down. Javice was the CEO of a startup called Frank that JPMorgan Chase acquired in large part because of the over 4 million users the company boasted. The best coverage of JPMorgan Chase’s lawsuit claiming Frank only had 300,000 real users and created 4.265 million fake customer records to satisfy due diligence is in Forbe This episode is also available as a blog post:
05:20 4/4/23
Stephen King’s Happiness Is A Twitter Success Metric
As a writer, Stephen King is famous, prolific, and respected. He’s published over 70 novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. Whatever brain chemicals Stephen King gets from using Twitter is all he receives from his free work to add value to the platform. Since King has perhaps the fewest reasons to use Twitter of any famous person on earth, his happiness should literally be a Twitter success metric. This episode is also available as a blog post:
07:52 4/3/23
TikTok, Drugs, Congress, and Monopoly
In the congressional hearings about TikTok, most complaints from the U.S. ruling class apply to all social media platforms. The main complaints also apply to all major internet companies monetized from collecting consumer data. The claims of TikTok being a national security threat are much the same arbitrary arguments as what drugs are made illegal. This episode is also available as a blog post:
06:05 3/31/23
AI Will Break Online Search
AI is going to give super powers to Blackhat SEO, breaking online search as we know it. RIP magic box at the top of the browser where we all reflexively type “how to [blank]”, “[blank] near me”, “best [blank] Reddit”, and anything else we seek a semi-reliable answer to at any given moment. This episode is also available as a blog post:
16:44 3/17/23
Advertising Scams With MrBeast and Cory Doctorow
Every digital advertising platform wants more revenue and less expense. Policing ad quality is an expense, whereas advertising, whether the purpose is legitimate or not, generates revenue. Only when the economic incentives shift due to public outrage, demands from large advertisers or investor pressure will the companies in a position to stop advertisements of scams do something. This episode is also available as a blog post:
06:20 2/27/23
Add Value, Not Noise: An Orwellian Social Media Post
Seeing engagement bait posts in social media groups is common. “Add value not noise” posted in a startup group on Facebook, however, is noteworthy due to the Orwellian level of using the behavior you’re cautioning not to use, to condemn the behavior you’re using. To the person who wrote this single sentence a few days […] This episode is also available as a blog post:
02:24 2/23/23
Apocalyptic Myths And The Horrible Reality Of AI
A mythology of artificial super intelligence has dominated the conversation about AI since the 80s. Constant media coverage of AI as if it’s a dark and threatening abyss likely to usher in an apocalypse is impacting how AI is developed, clouding the discourse when people bring up real flaws in the current generation of AIs. This episode is also available as a blog post:
12:16 2/20/23
How Gawker Media Once Kept Silicon Valley In Check
At one time, Valleywag part of Gawker served as a tattletale hall monitor for the startup community. But since Peter Thiel sued the publication out of existence, the startup world has run amok without media coverage until hundreds of millions of dollars are involved. That’s a problem for the entire ecosystem. This episode is also available as a blog post:
08:45 2/7/23
Learning From History To Avoid Learning From Failure Is Good
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Was said by Thomas Edison after a reporter asked him How did it feel to fail 1,000 times [when inventing the lightbulb]?” I really think failure is needed to further knowledge. But not every failure pushes the limits of human understanding. […] This episode is also available as a blog post:
01:48 6/16/22