This isn’t really entrepreneurship, per se …

… but it does raise some interesting questions about the way technology is designed, how we use it, and how much say we (as users) have in the entire process. Here is a quote from the article:

“Right now, Apple, Google and Facebook are kind of like these private companies who, collectively, are the urban planners for a billion people’s attentional landscape,” Harris said. “We all live in this invisible city, which they created. Unlike a democracy, where you can have some civic representation and you could say, ‘Who’s the mayor?’ or, ‘Should there be a stoplight there?’, we don’t have any representation except if we don’t use the product or don’t buy it,” he added. “And that’s not really representation.”

Here’s the full article: 

2 thoughts on “This isn’t really entrepreneurship, per se …

  1. The concept of engagement has created a spectacular opportunity for new market entrants. Although focused on the ethical implications of persuasive tech, I think the interview does a good job of capturing the variety of challenges and opportunities by asking those questions, “who is the mayor? should there be a stoplight there?” These questions are deceptively legal insofar as the answer to both is, “it depends.” Ethics aside, the challenges are numerous and varied, and aren’t strictly limited to the human factors such as information asymmetry, ethics, or empathy. Take, for example, White Ops (, which is a company targeted not on human engagement, but on detecting the fraudulent automated consumption of video advertisements through the use of bots; in a recent case, the company discovered a scheme that fraudulently generated 3 to 5 million dollars in revenue per day.

    This interview reminded me of when Facebook conducted a mood manipulation experiment on its users without their knowledge (

  2. Very interesting post. Riley, that Facebook article is spot on, and points out some of the ethical problems in tech and marketing.

    Here is an article about the “dark side” of knowing one’s audience in the context of the casino industry, and :

    As Tristan Harris states in the Recode article: “Product design used to be about building a product that functions well, that helps people…Now I recognize that design became subsumed into, ‘How do I get people to use it? How do I get people’s attention? How do I hold them here?’” The casino industry has made a fortune off of capturing and maintaining people’s attention through both marketing and technology. Indeed, as the above article from The Atlantic demonstrates, the entire casino industry is an example of “how technology is designed to addict us.”