I’ve always been suspicious of how much companies that brand themselves as “tech companies” are drinking their own kool-aid, and how much is a calculated PR/branding move chosen specifically to provide an “in” for avoiding regulations. Uber can hardly be considered anything other than a taxi service — but by claiming to be a tech company they have an excuse to use this Randian mythic form to reframe any circumvention of labor regulations as a battle of smart renegade heroes of industry against an oppressive government, rather than the narrative of a large corporation systematically abusing its employees (which would be more natural if Uber identified as a tech company).

Given the trend toward creating service companies employing mostly contractors and claiming them as “tech companies” because of their use of employee management software, the suggestion that this is some kind of organic misunderstanding rather than a canny manipulation seems increasingly absurd — although it’s not unusual for intellectually incestuous communities to become prone to episodes of truly monumental mass delusion, so we shouldn’t expect the silicon valley VC industry to fare any better than the judicial system of eighteenth century Salem, nor for those forced by circumstance to implement those delusions to fare any better than the poor of any community in the middle of a witch- or werewolf-hunt.

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store