(Jonathan Taplin is Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab and a former tour manager for Bob Dylan and The Band, as well as a film producer for Martin Scorsese. An expert in digital media entertainment, Taplin is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the California Broadband Taskforce and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Council on Technology and Innovation.
Fake news. Digital monopolies. Stealth Marketing. This is the story of how the internet, which began as a dream, has become a nightmare and the people that did it.
The modern world is defined by vast digital monopolies turning ever-larger profits. Those of us who consume the content that feeds them are farmed for the purposes of being sold ever more products and advertising.
Those that create the content – the artists, writers and musicians – are finding they can no longer survive in this unforgiving economic landscape. But it didn’t have to be this way.
In Move Fast and Break Things, Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel and Larry Page who founded these all-powerful companies.
Their unprecedented growth came at the heavy cost of tolerating piracy of books, music and film, while at the same time promoting opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users to create the surveillance marketing monoculture in which we now live.
It is the story of a massive reallocation of revenue in which $50 billion a year has moved from the creators and owners of content to the monopoly platforms.
With this reallocation of money comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook and Amazon now enjoy political power on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which in part explains how such a tremendous shift in revenues from creators to platforms could have been achieved and why it has gone unchallenged for so long.
And if you think that’s got nothing to do with you, their next move is to come after your jobs. Move Fast and Break Things is a call to arms, to say that enough is enough and to demand that we do everything in our power to create a different future.
Taplin wields his axe mercilessly…by the end of this book you will agree with Taplin that the tech firms are abusing their monopoly power to rip us off and debase our culture – breaking the world as he sees it…It is time for consumers to break back. This manifesto is a punchy start. * The Sunday Times *
A bracing, unromantic account of how the internet was captured…Move Fast and Break Things is a timely and useful book * The Observer *
Taplin is angry as hell about the immense size and power of the tech giants, and has a compelling pitch for why we should all be worried too * The Evening Standard *
Comprehensive…Where Taplin excels is by putting all this into the context of the changing global economy * The Times *
A new analysis of the dark side of the digital revolution…Taplin goes beyond familiar critiques * Financial Times *
Taplin’s sense of outrage is palpable and his case is often compelling * The Guardian * A nuanced look at the downside of what is glibly tossed around as “disruption” by various cyber-messianic blowhards.
Taplin is hunting big game; it is his contention that the giants of the cyberworld-from Google to Amazon-are threats to the fundamental foundations of democracy and that they also cement inequality into our systems in new and dangerous ways * Esquire *