Love it. Keep the conversation on "doing good" in the spotlight and thanks for putting your money behind it.
I'd love to hear comments / feedback from anyone who's read this. It's a topic that's important to me, and I'm glad to be able to provide this support at Matter.
I'm so happy when people talk about doing good and making a profit. These two things can coexist!
I look forward to attending Demo Day, both in NY and SF.
Excellent work, Ben! Here's my take(s)
"It’s hard to avoid the headlines," is an interesting and surprisingly-complicated opener because the headlines, if we're being specific, aren't themselves the problem. The actual problems are (1) the stories behind the headlines and (2) that a vast majority of people only get the headlines. Thus, that statement, "it's hard to avoid the headlines," makes it seem like if we could just avoid the headlines we'd be okay - which, of course, isn't true. Regardless, I love the opening paragraph.
This is the first I'm reading about the class action lawsuit related to face recognition. I don't see how it holds water - from a legal standpoint. In the Terms it states clearly that Facebook fully owns the photos that users give them. So they can do whatever they want with them. Right? Seems pretty cut and dry to me, but maybe I'm missing some nuance?
Matter, as a community, should engage in more inward-facing and self-critical dialogue. Some of the Matter companies are making some progress in some of the key areas, creating a more informed, inclusive, empathetic world. I think Anil is right - lots of tech people, maybe even "most" are trying to do good. reallyread.it, in it's very own way, certainly is. But we're all still a bunch of for-profit companies that exist to make money. As a thought experiment, suppose you took all Matter companies and another thousand random startups and placed us all on a spectrum to evaluate how seriously we are "engaged in the business of supporting democracy." I think we'd be scattered across the spectrum and I don't think that's a bad thing. Facebook, Twitter, etc think they are making the world better by connecting people and moving around information at ever and ever faster rates. The problem is that they aren't self-critical about the ways they're screwing people up. It's human nature to believe that you're part of the solution and others are part of the problem. We must be vigilant about not falling into the same trap.
Same thing re: "mission-driven." Facebook and Twitter are mission-driven - or so they say, at least. Ultimately, it's not a binary thing. Companies aren't "mission-driven" or "not mission-driven." I think that all companies are both.
Behind these huge issues (privacy, security, collecting too much data and misusing it, etc.) is some unavoidable calculus: companies are profiting off of our attention, making us more and more addicted to totally stupid shit. I still don't see how "a human-centered program that aligns you with your users," solves the problem. Facebook and Twitter used these same principals - and look where we are now...