All the things that Died in 2018
RIP SF’s Skyline
In 2018 it became impossible to ignore that Salesforce not only bought a massive portion of our downtown, but also forever altered our city’s skyline. Now every time I look at that glowing, corporate spike in the sky, (which is visible from nearly everywhere in the city now) I just think of all the empty storefronts bellow it. Which brings us to our next 2018 fatality…
RIP SF Small Businesses
With the continuing encroachment of Big Tech in SF, we’ve seen more and more small businesses we love get priced out in 2018. Farmerbrown, Mezzanine, Elbow Room, Bacchus Kirk, Hemlock, Mojo Bicycle Cafe, Aardvark Books, Doc’s Lab, The Gangway, Crepevine on Church, just to name a few…
Big tech and foreign real estate speculation have driven up the cost of living in SF to insane levels, which makes opening or maintaining a small business in the city nearly impossible. Even if you could afford the astronomical rent, you can barely find employees who are able to survive on service industry wages. This is a formula that serves real estate developers, big corporations, the politicians they pay to stay in control, and nobody else. If the plan was to turn SF in into Manhattan…it’s working. And now on to other things that died in 2018…
No one mourns for the hoverboard. The word used to conjure up fantasies of skateboards that levitated like in the movie Back to the Future 2. Instead, we got brogrammers running into seniors on the sidewalks, and occasionally bursting into flames. We say ‘good riddance’.
In 2018 we saw mainly 2 electric scooter companies (Bird & Lime) try to ‘disrupt’ the hoverboard market in SF by dumping thousands of escooters on the street without asking permission from anyone. And as can be expected, the public threw the scooters out, both literally and figuratively.
Now, a couple new e-scooter companies have been sanctioned by the city to operate in San Francisco, but it is becoming pretty clear that even if you have permission, it’s a terrible business model. Nobody wants them laying around blocking public walkways and entrances or causing accidents with cars and pedestrians. Case closed.
In the NBA, the Warrior’s prolific ability to shoot 3-pointers changed the way the game is being played, simply put, offense is exploding. NBA teams were averaging 113.4 points per game in 2018, the highest rate in 49 years. In the NFL, they’re having their highest scoring season ever, as it turns out, scoring is good for business. The NFL made new rules that hampered defenses, and now touchdowns have helped rating rebound. Aaaaaand that’s enough sportsball talk…
12 year-olds giveth, and taketh away. Snapchat made the mortal error of competing with Facebook/Instagram. Zuckerberg (much like a young Bill Gates) doesn’t like competition. Rather than out-innovating Snapchat, Instagram simply copied all its features and then forced users to choose between the platforms. Also, teenagers are fickle, and easily lead. When teen icon Kylie Jenner admitted she stopped using Ssnapchat publicly, millions of teens stopped using the platform as well. Within 24 hours the company’s value went down by 1.3 billion dollars. Speaking of teenage trends…
The number of teenagers using vapes jumped up 75% in 2018, and studies estimate that 20% of high school students are using e-cigarettes now. Which probably has something to do with the biggest e-cigarette company (Juul) sales going up 783% from 2017-2018. That’s right, this one e-cig company is now worth $15 billion, and growing. What will happen to Tobacco? No one is sure, what they do know is that teens are using those vapes that look like USB drives at an alarming rate.
RIP a Balanced Supreme Court
It’s almost too depressing to talk about. This year’s changes on the court will affect the rule of law in our country for at least a generation. With Kavanaugh officially taking the bench, the court’s median judge swings to the right, without Justice Kennedy, the tie-breaking vote now falls to Justice Roberts…a conservative appointed by GW Bush. This does not bode well for the rights of workers, women, or keeping corporate money out of politics.
RIP Fidget Spinners
Actually, who gives a shit, right? Some other piece of plastic will appear in 2019 to replace it.
Bitcoin isn’t quite dead but it took a massive tumble in 2018, going from being worth $19,783 at its height in December of 2017, to being worth about $3500 in December of 2018. Speaking of tumbles…
RIP Tumblr Porn
Tumblr banned adult content from its platform in 2018, presumably so that it could sell ads from its parent company Verizon, and do better in Apple’s app store. Although the new ban caused a massive amount of users to leave the platform, it’s unclear if that will sink the site completely. A couple of years ago people thought Twitter was finished, then a certain presidential candidate began using it as his primary platform to reach constituents, and the site rocketed back, so anything can happen.
Social media in general hit a snag in 2018. Although Facebook and Instagram continue to grow abroad, at home users are increasingly critical of its merits, and the motivations of its leadership. More and more studies are showing the divisive power of social media in society, we’re also seeing a massive spike in teen suicides in the era of social media (despite Melania’s anti-bullying campaign), and evidence of our elections being tampered with by foreign powers using social media. It’s safe to say people are fed up with the bullshit, but it’s unclear how things will change in 2019. Meanwhile, Rest In Peace 2018, I will not miss you…