Month: May 2014

New Media Humor: Job Postings


Noted at ZeroHedge in a post by Tyler Durden (not his real name, kids!):

Welcome to the new normal reality of job-hunting in 2014… “Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidly growing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!”

Tyler quotes the original, posted at, written by Paul Ford,

As explainer sites like and grow in importance, we are seeking a first-class EXPLAINER EXPLAINER to help readers make sense of the people who would make sense of the world for them. You will have the enviable position of capturing recent trends in explainers by writing between five and ten blog posts a day outlining those trends. While most of your time will be spent creating explainer explainers, you will also occasionally round up other explainer explainers to create explainer explainer explainers. To apply, explain yourself.

The modern newsroom is data-driven and traffic-driven. That’s why we’re looking for a DATA CHURNALIST. Like John Henry battling against the steam hammer, you will be responsible for tunneling through mountains of Excel spreadsheets and government FTP files to produce at least two dozen articles a day illustrated with pie charts. Also like John Henry you won’t be in a union. The ideal candidate has proven experience in correlating.

Feminism is changing—we’re changing with it! Our legendary women’s vertical launched as “Dworkinville” (2001-2007), was renamed “” after a rollup (2008-2009), then re-rebranded as “Slutbox Junction” (2010-2014). Now we’re just calling the site “Tits” and targeting it to men 15-79. Our last editor (aka Edit Queen) left to work for some magazine with salaries, so we need a new QUEEN, TITS. Who is the ideal candidate? He or she is a fifth-to-ninth wave feminist who can speak with authority about the patriarchy while mollifying advertisers and reviewing panties, simultaneously appealing to men but never mentioning the issue of class. If that’s you, send us a photo of you at the beach.

To the entire media establishment BuzzFeed is a big deal—its traffic is besting that of more established peers and it has hired nearly one-third of the people in New York City. That’s why we need an EDITOR, BUZZFEED. You will not edit BuzzFeed (apparently someone does that already) but instead will edit a new vertical totally dedicated to repeatedly explaining how BuzzFeed, despite simply being a very large and well-funded blog, represents the future of the media. Articles we’d like to see include: “Is this the future of media?” “Is the future of media this?” and “Media’s future?” The ideal candidate can work the words “platform” and “ecosystem” into anything.

Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketech platishforms? Then come work with us as an in-house NEOLOGIZER and reimaginatorialize the verbalsphere! If you are a slang-slinger who is equahome in brandegy and advertorial, a total expert in brandtech and techvertoribrand, and a first-class synergymnast, then this will be your rockupation! Throw ginfluence mingles and webutante balls, the world is your joyster. The percandidate will have at least five years working as a ideator and envisionary or equiperience.

There’s more great snark at the link.

Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking pseudoscience


Nice article in today’s New York Times by Shaila Dewan:

When Misty Terrell turned 28, she happened to see an ad for a special deal on the dating site eHarmony­ and decided it was time to get serious about her love life. Terrell felt pretty optimistic. The site claims responsibility for 542 marriages a day through its “scientific approach” to finding soul mates: an exhaustive questionnaire, the trademarked “29 dimensions of compatibility” algorithm and its clinical labs where psychologists spend hours analyzing couple interactions. For this sort of comprehensive matchmaking, the company charges $60 a month, which is far more than most dating sites, but perhaps something of a bargain when it comes to finding true love. Terrell signed up to receive five potential matches a day for six months.

I checked out eHarmony for myself, curious about their personality tests. I wasn’t impressed; mostly very basic and obvious compatibilities, and unlike many carefully-constructed personality tests, no attempt to detect the more obvious liars or people with either inflated or depressed self-esteem. But as screening, they do tend to keep you from matching the most unlikely sorts, which does save some time.

Her first encounters, however, were not all that great. One guy’s mother chauffeured them to dinner; another date took her to the Chili’s where his ex-girlfriend worked. So Terrell tweaked her settings to encourage better potential matches. She unchecked the box for sci-fi fans but still remained unimpressed by the selections. “It’s kind of like, Whom am I not getting introduced to?” she says.

So she applies her own prejudices (however much some sci-fi fans might resemble Comicbook Man from the Simpsons, most do not) and tries to outguess the algorithm. That didn’t work.

Nowhere are the middleman’s limitations more evident than dating websites. Consider, for instance, that they don’t even do the thing we perhaps most want them to do: vet potential matches for truthfulness. As a result, you almost have to assume that the lovelorn are lying about their height, weight and income; the entire online dating market, despite its immense popularity, is a giant buyer-beware zone. Some dating sites have tried to address this, writes Paul Oyer, the author of “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating,” including a Korean site that checks national registration forms, diplomas and proof of employment. Oyer suggests that more and more companies will compete in this heavily vetted space. But it’s difficult to see that type of scrutiny — in which our profiles are written by some third parties in white coats, after a weigh-in and a background check — going over in the United States, where privacy concerns are paramount. In the meantime, that buyer-beware zone is likely to continue.

Vetting backgrounds is something one should always do, but only after finding a promising candidate. This is not time-consuming; and since you are of course cautious and setting up any first meeting in a public place, you are free to turn on your heels and leave if the lying was too blatant. The real question is whether the candidates the service brings you are worthy of your time in going through them. People who sign up on dating sites tend to be one of two types: those who are busy and have a limited social network that has few people they find attractive, and those who are found unattractive by most and are trying online out of desperation. The first type is a good pool to look in, the second, you wish to avoid contacting — luckily most will show their flaws even in limited interaction online, or on the first date (like the man who had his mother chaffeur the date!)

The good news is that the more seemingly useless brokers are, somewhat counterintuitively, the more valuable they can be in signaling our interest — what Oyer might call the “money to burn” move. If anyone can wink at you free on a dating website, or for that matter beam in a job résumé, their actions don’t mean much. On the other hand, if someone fills out hundreds of questions and pays $60 a month — or in the case of a job applicant, researches a company and writes a detailed proposal — it signals a much deeper interest.

So, on some level, an expensive broker does nothing more than indicate the level of your game. Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, a Harvard Business School professor and author of “A Social Strategy,” examined hundreds of thousands of interactions on dating sites and found that the profiles people view on eHarmony­ are very similar to the profiles people view on other sites. The vaunted matching algorithm, he says, doesn’t really do that much that you can’t do for yourself. And as much as we may appreciate having our choices limited, if only to save us from being overwhelmed, from a purely economic standpoint, there is no benefit to limiting your own options, even if it means getting sucked into a time-consuming rabbit hole.

The site’s clients, therefore, are at least motivated and can follow through on complex, multi-step actions, including putting up some cash. Which does winnow out lots of losers and dangerous sorts. Your future stalker, however, is undeterred and works hard for the opportunity to meet you!

What is more valuable, Piskorski says, is that eHarmony­ limits its other members’ choices. In other words, it reduces the competition and makes the market smaller. That means that people whose highly visible characteristics might otherwise disqualify them from consideration (short men, older women) are more likely to get a fair hearing on the site. In one paper, Piskorski and his co-author, Hanna Halaburda, went so far as to theorize that a broker could make selections completely at random and still benefit you, simply by limiting the options on both sides of the transaction. “Suppose the broker was clueless,” Piskorski says. “All that broker did was restrict choice, just match people randomly. It’s what you worry that the broker is doing. Would people still pay for that? Yes.”

And this is particularly important, Piskorski says, for people in a hurry. “Our entire economy has been built on the idea that more competition is better,” Piskorski says. “It drives innovation and reduces prices. But if everyone competes with everyone else, no one actually wins. Then it is better to restrict competition.” As much as consumers may be intoxicated by the prospect of the democratizing force of the Internet, or the notion that everything should be free, most of them simply don’t have the patience to put up with it. You may make more money by selling your house on your own, but if time is a factor, an agent can sell it faster. If you have all the time in the world to date and don’t mind doing it, you don’t need to pay eHarmony­. But if you feel that time is running out and you want to meet other people who want a serious relationship, you should.

This is very poorly expressed. Limiting choices at random is not helpful; limiting undesirable others’ ability to see you and waste your time is. This is why Tinder has done well: it allows women, otherwise very hard to lure into a dating app where men can harass them, to be seen and spoken to only by men they have already selected as suitable. Since this greatly increases the number of quality women on the site, it also serves the interest of male clients.

In the end, dating sites are another tool to meet people. They can save time and energy over real-world meeting places, and perhaps allow you to consider more carefully personality over such factors as height and immediate sex appeal (which, as I argue in the book, are not useful guiding factors for long-term partner choice.) If you have unusually specific needs (say, your partner must be Jewish and you live in a town with few Jews), they can be invaluable. But for most it will still require a lot of patience and care.

And the article goes on to note that Misty Terrell met her future husband on eHarmony just as her subscription was running out.

PS — At a reader’s suggestion, I joined okCupid and answered 100+ questions. What was interesting is that 1) There were no real attachment type questions; and 2) There were intelligence testing questions requiring some thought. This means that at least smart people can seek out smart, competent people willing to sit through a lot of puzzles.

All dating sites have a business model dilemma: the more questions they ask and the more difficult and intrusive the sign-up process, the fewer customers they will have signing up. Most people try these things on a lark then get sucked in by the real people they are presented with to commit more deeply. okCupid is probably smaller as a result, but may have a higher quality customer. And still they rely on unreliable self-reporting and don’t really go after the most critical factor, attachment type.

Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars


I have been working on a long piece about “Red Pill” ideology — which provides a useful vocabulary for discussion, even if their theorists have sealed themselves in a dissent-free grievance bubble. But the news compels me to comment.

The recent psychotic murder spree in Isla Vista has brought some of these online subcultures into the public eye — PUAs (Pick Up Artists), which the crazy young man (Elliot Rodger) had added to his hate list when their pickup techniques failed to work for him, and “Red Pill,” which some ever-opportunistic writers have tried to drag into the killer’s misogynist (but really misanthropic) obsessions.

First, let’s observe that this young man was crazy. Like others of his type, he generalized blame for every ego slight he suffered on a group of people regardless of their individual natures, and chose to kill as a final effort to feel effectual. This sense of entitlement to the regard of others without any accomplishment is malignant narcissism, and the lack of empathy and understanding of others — seeing them only as instruments to serve him — is psychopathic.

His dysfunction is less rare than it should be; we know rates of maladjustment rise dramatically in broken families and rootless lives, with his affluence only adding to his sense of entitlement to the respect of others. He is a fine example of why it’s misleading to talk of “poverty” as the cause of violence and social ills; very poor people in stable families with good social ties rarely go on killing sprees, and their happiness depends more on the regard of their community than their material possessions. Progressives currently are obsessed by inequality of wealth, when it is inequality of respect and love that makes for a sense of injustice and anger — and in that they are the ultimate materialists, thinking that an unearned government transfer of wealth will make the less favored feel more a part of the society.

Let’s also note that this error of treating members of a group as guilty of all the sins of a few members of the group is seen everywhere, even in many supposedly advanced thinkers. Progressives are so attuned to racism (which is now seen in even trivial prejudices and category errors made by others) that many commit the same error of failing to treat the individual person with respect, and some feminists are so eager to correct the thinking of everyone about gender issues that they slip into facile generalizations that treat men as the enemy instead of as necessary partners in creating a better future.

Like men, women can be strong or weak, responsible or passive, effectual or parasitic. No one deserves to be labeled and pigeonholed for their gender, race, wealth, class, profession, or tribe. Yet the human tendency to seek safety in groupthink is everpresent. Mollie Hemingway takes down the hashtag #YesAllWomen, which lit up with grievance bubble generalizations. The irony of women demanding equal treatment and recognition for their strengths and abilities, then demanding special protection and the suppression of any tendency to masculinity that might be perceived as threatening, is being noticed but it’s a peep amid the roar of “we’re righteous victims” politics. Having large groups of men and women at each other’s throats for perceived aggressions against each other is not a sign of a healthy respect for other human beings.

In Bad Boyfriends I lay out the attachment types and their flawed extreme versions. What happens when the people who are good at being married or coupled find each other, leaving about half the population to deal with partners who are selfish, cruel, avoidant, thoughtless, or just unreliable? Or in thrall of the “fairy tale” model, making them feel the center of their own personal universe, with others just accessories to support their entitlement?

Those less emotionally able interact, collide, grow bitter as they are hurt and hurt others, lose access to their children and find themselves abused and controlled, and band together in groups to nurse their grievances. To the extent that these groups help their members find strength to grow and develop themselves as stronger and better people, this is good; but more commonly they grow their bitterness and think that because they were hurt, all other men/women are hurtful.

To Elliot Rodger, murderous young man: I’m sorry the world did not give you exactly what you thought you deserved. There was something terribly wrong with you, and despite a loving family’s many efforts to get you help, nothing could reach you. I don’t know why you lost the basic humanity you should have had — organic mental defect you were born with, bad parenting, looming schizoaffective disorder — the reason doesn’t matter. May your example serve as a warning: if you’re a loser in life, work on accomplishing something concrete, no matter how small. If you can’t bear it, don’t take innocent people with you.

I’ll be back with some more thoughts later.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


The Latest from Jeb Kinnison:

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, In Kindle and trade paperback.] The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of Death by HR

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat. For it is now fairly impossible for any company not to erect an HR wall as a legal requirement of business with the sole purpose of keeping government diversity compliance enforcers as well as unethical lawyers from pillaging their operating capital through baseless lawsuits… It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool…  to craft counter-revolutionary tactics for dealing with the HR parasites our government has empowered to destroy us. All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

More reading:

Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications review of “Bad Boyfriends”


Got a good review from Alan Solomon, Ph.D., writing for

Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner

This is an excellent, concise summary of basic concepts in attachment theory: what kinds of relationships we develop in our lives. Kinnison outlines preferable attachments and what makes them work more constructively, as well as more problematic ones and how the various types interact with each other. He has excellent ideas for “the conversation” between prospective partners to help someone thoughtfully screen a potential new boyfriend/girlfriend, with the advice to quickly detach from someone likely to be problematic. Also, he offers many reading suggestions for more in-depth exploration. Perhaps because he is not a clinician or researcher himself, he does not provide many examples, which keeps the book mercifully short and focused, but also somewhat abstract and a bit less engaging. Yet, he also has a few pages very nicely focused on the importance of emotions, towards the end. Well worth a read.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, you can special order the print edition through any bookstore. Online, the ebooks and print versions are still at these links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Barnes and Noble trade paperback

More on Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends:

Amazon vs. Hachette: Future of Publishing

You may have heard of the ongoing contract struggle between Amazon and Hachette, one of the big four publishers left after a decade of consolidation in the industry. Amazon has been a big factor in disrupting the business of getting books to readers, after the previous decade saw big-box booksellers undercutting and eliminating a lot of independent bookstores. While I know many people are nostalgic for the small bookstore experience — browsing, serendipitous discovery, personal recommendations — the digitization of books was bound to make that a niche experience. Like most people over thirty, I grew up reading books from the library and the few bookstores in my area; this limited what I could read to what had passed a series of gatekeepers, so while the selection was good in quality it was also homogenized to reach larger audiences and limited in amount.

With ebooks you will see a variety of changes as the written word is freed from some of the strictures of conventional publishing. For example, the economies of scale of paperback marketing, printing and shipping meant there was little profit to be made from short books, so the standard size of a paperback novel rose from 200-300 pages to 400-600 pages, as publishers pressured authors to write longer to increase profit margins. With ebooks, there is much less friction for smaller works, so novels will tend to be less padded and epics less dominant. Amazon has even introduced Kindle Singles, novellas or even short stories and short nonfiction at their natural length and priced appropriately. The legacy publishing industry had abandoned these forms, with only magazines left to print them and in increasingly limited quantities and lower payments for authors. So many established authors are unearthing earlier work considered “uncommercial” and releasing it in this form, which benefits everyone.

Legacy publishers provided valuable services in filtering, editing, and marketing author’s work, but in recent years had focused on bestsellers as the economics of publishing what is called “midlist” (steady but small sellers, of less mass-market interest) discouraged them. This was in part due to big box book retailing; when Costco and Target sell more printed books than all but the largest chain, discounted commodity books win, all others lose.

In reaction, publishers are learning to work with successful self-published authors who created their own markets and fan bases. The two most famous examples are the 50 Shades of Grey series and the Wool novels, both cultivated by the authors through online marketing to sales high enough to prove their value to mass-market publishers. Signing with legacy publishers gave these authors more distribution and marketing muscle to reach the half of the population that still only sees books in stores.

Publishers, editors, marketers, and agents are also unbundling services to allow very small and self-publishers access to a la carte services as needed. There’s now a thriving online market in proofreading, editing, layout, cover design, marketing, PR, and negotiation. The sort of homogenized, focus-group-driven blockbusters legacy publishers had focused on will continue to be produced, but there is now a path for long-tail books (which speak to tiny audiences and must therefore have lower costs) to be produced in large numbers. Authors who are read will make as much money as they did from the publishers, and have a freer hand to execute their visions. Of course this also means there will be a lot of hopeful but dreadful authors self-publishing, so the old gatekeeping function of publishing will have to come from independent reviews and word-of-mouth from readers, which means it will take much longer for a new book to become known.

This post was motivated by a post on the Smashwords blog. Smashwords is an ebook distribution platform competing with Amazon, so their view of Amazon as predatory is partly self-interested, but it is a nice discussion of the issues. It is certainly possible Amazon increased author royalties on ebooks to get authors away from publishers, then may squeeze royalities later as their market power increases, but the existence of many alternative platforms like Smashwords should keep that in check. Amazon’s advantages in search and user reviews is very large, though, and it’s clear that if they wanted to they could squeeze authors — but so far they have not.

“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled'”

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

First Amazon UK review of the book. The United Kingdom is about 15% of the size of the US market, so I’ve sold some books there, but if anything they tend to be even more reluctant to take the time to add a review. I haven’t actually read either of the books he mentions, but they were influential best-sellers, so it’s good company to be in!

5.0 out of 5 stars – Just what the doctor ordered
By Lou
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Answered so many burning questions I had. It’s up there with “Men Are From Mars” and “The Road Less Travelled”.

The Amazon UK page for Bad Boyfriends.

More on Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends:

A Millennial Reviews “Bad Boyfriends”

I was touched to see this new review at Amazon — the book, while of interest to all ages, is most useful if read before you get into your first marriage or serious commitment. So it was gratifying to hear from this reader:

5.0 out of 5 stars — Direct, Relatable, and Fast-Paced for Today’s Technological World

I read this in two days. This wasn’t something I was expecting. I simply picked it up to read the foreword, and there went my afternoon – I am a millennial. I mention this because I think this book is a fantastic read for fellow millennials since (most) of the content is directed toward us. I truly appreciated the honesty and “to-the-point” voice. I have read many relationship books, but this one didn’t soften any truths. It didn’t make it about bad partners or good partners – it made it about being true to yourself and finding someone who is true to themselves and deciding if your life values were true to your relationship. Many books want to ignore sensitive issues (like income or religion) but this book mentions how vital it is to be honest with yourself about your past, present, and future – as well as being honest with your partner about it. On top of this, the book doesn’t focus only on people who want to find a marriage. It mentions how relationships should be unique to the people in them. There is no underlying religious implications or societal expectations (like child rearing). There is only truth, and truth is a valuable discussion that I feel young and inexperienced as well as mature and experienced readers can gain from.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, you can special order the print edition through any bookstore. Online, the ebooks and print versions are still at these links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Barnes and Noble trade paperback

More on Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends: