Meatspace is Lora and Sarah’s weekly digest of weird/wack/need-to-know tech news — and our warm takes on all of it.
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What if we told u that we were starting a kickstarter to raise funds to send us to the Taco Bell Hotel lol.
It would not be the strangest or most unsettling thing Kickstarter has been used for in the ten years its been in existence (hbd, Kickstarter)! Like how could we forget the guy who raised $55,000 to make potato salad in 2014.
Ppl use Kickstarter; GoFundMe (and its charity sister site Crowdrise); Patreon; IndieGoGo; Facebook Fundraising; etc. to raise funds for creative projects and/or emergencies all the time. Just this week, Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center successfully used CrowdRise to raise enough funds to stay open. Dissimilarly, a few months ago residents in San Francisco used GoFundMe to oppose a homeless shelter being built in their nabe. (It’s happening anyway!)
(Quick side note: this is not crowdfunding per se, but while we are talking about raising money online, we urge you if you are able to donate money to the Yellowhammer Fund and/or give items from their Amazon wishlist and/or share funds any of the grassroots funds outlined here to support those impacted by the abortion bans in Georgia and Alabama.)
Crowdfunding sites like iFundWomen are presenting themselves as tools for getting more women entrepreneurs funded in a notoriously boys-clubby VC landscape. Naj Austin, who we interviewed here, successfully used the platform to raise funds for Ethels Club, the POC coworking space she’s starting. Now seems like a good time to reup this NYT piece about how women are seeking alternatives to venture capital funding more and more.
Ashley Carman did an excellent episode of her Verge show In the Making about what happens when ppl raise funds and the products don’t ship (or take years or change, etc.) Who is responsible when a founder raises $117,000 to build a mechanical mouse and then takes four years to produce it? Complicated!
In 2019 crowdfunding sites are often used to raise money for emergency medical expense like insulin pumps, medication, and surgery (including gender confirmation surgery). While it is great when people successfully meet their goals this way, we also have to feel for those who don’t….and think about how we got to a place where our medical system is so broken that people need to fundraise online to afford crucial care!
Another case in point: this 31-year-old single mom couldn’t afford to take an internship at NASA, so she crowdfunded her way there. It’s not Kickstarter’s job to fix America, but it does expose some systemic failures! Either way we are glad she is NASA-bound. Space force!
BEEFS OF THE WEEK
If any week merits a comeback of retired Meatspace section Beefs of the Week, it is this one. There were several truly extraordinary beefs on the internet in recent days.
Montague and Capulet. SugarBearHair and Halo Beauty. Tati and James Charles. Two out of three of these beefs have torn the Youtube influencer community apart in recent weeks. Tangled web etc but basically, makeup vlogger James Charles is a teen most recently renowned for being invited to the camp-themed met gala in what he said was “a step forward in the right direction for influencer representation in the media.” He was also a long-time friend/mentee of older makeup vlogger Tati -- UNTIL! She went on Youtube last week to expose what she saw as a backstab: Instead of promoting her beauty brand, Halo Beauty, which sells beauty vitamin supplements, he promoted competing supplementer SugarBearHair. (Neither of which are FDA approved lol.) “Life will never stop being painful,” Tati said in the video, entitled “goodbye, sister...” Craziest part is it’s JAMES who has leaked millions of followers. Sarah is Team James! Lora literally cannot bring herself to care no offense. (Most of this helpful rundown courtesy of Naomi Fry in The New Yorker read here for more.)
It all started when Tony Posnanski, an amateur MMA fighter and egg restaurant owner (h/t Alexis M) with an inexplicably long-standing vendetta against coconut water, tagged Vita Coco (a coconut water brand with the bold slogan “impossible to hate,” once infamous for containing octopus-shaped mold) in an explicit anti-coconut water tweet.Popular opinion: Coconut water is fucking disgusting.
Vita Coco@VitaCoco@tonyposnanski Unpopular Opinion: there is such a thing as too many eggs.
Vita Coco, ever the engaged brand, replied offering to send Tony a sample of the cloudy liquid. Tony said he’d rather “drink your social media persons piss than coconut water.” And thus, Vita Coco’s social media person (allegedly) pissed. In a jar. And, after posting a pic of the liquid, offered to send that to Tony, instead.
Even more than unmasking the unhinged humanity behind the Woke Brands or sparking a healthy debate about what gross thing coconut water actually tastes like (salty dirt? s*m*n? summertime sadness?), the internet mostly wondered: Was it really pee. Stop, brands!!! (Social media person stands by the claim that the pee is real, per several DMs with journalists.)
U may recall Robbie Tripp, the problematic fake feminist who loves his curvy wife, from previous Meatspaces or perhaps from his own insta post about how his pregnant wife is a sacred vessel carrying his seed. Leading Curvy Wife Guy expert Madison Malone Kircher At NYMag got a chance to sit down with him. She wrote an honest, critical piece of journalism about it. Tripp snapped back wildly, calling her a liar! She updated her story to reflect that he had disputed a point after publication. He claimed victory. Which, no! All weird! We are honored to share that we will publish an interview with Madison on Monday, to give a true peek behind the curtain.
And the never-ending beef between beef and beyond-beef rages on: Tim Hortons is experimenting with vegan sausages, now.
While we would be happy to spend the rest of our days playing Tamagotchis, which are back per Wired, we must work. And if WeWork has its way, we and everyone else will do said work in their coworking spaces. (not to mention living in a WeLive and sending future children to We schools: “Unleash every human’s superpowers”).
The expansive startup (largest tenant in NYC! Worth $47 billion!) previously rented its spaces but is now trying to become its own landlord. Ellen Huet’s Bloomberg profile of its eccentric CEO contains many nuggets, including that he loves oats (same); there are at least five (5) employees with the title “Chief We Officer” (CWeO); and the company sold $702 million worth of bonds because 702 was deemed a lucky number.
The word “Billion” appears 13 times in this article.
SF became the first city to ban facial recognition!! Oakland is on its way, too. By Sarah and Tanvi Misra! (CityLab)
Podcasts as internet for ears (nplusone)
This startup promised to teach miners to code/offer opportunity in Appalachia, but it, like many other tech boot camps, struggled to deliver (NYT)
Taylor Lorenz on how FB users build communities in tag groups. (The Atlantic)
Taylor is also cited in the Merriam Webster definition of influencer!! (Twitter)
Grumpy cat is dead. RIP! (NYT)
MINTERESTING TWEET OF THE WEEK
Facebook job acceptance rates are down among recent grads
AND ONE MORE
Martha Stewart is in this Uber commercial.
Peace and love,
Sarah and Lora