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The Ulbricht Silk Road Saga: 3 Quick Takeaways For Platform Creators

The founder of silk road received a life sentence. Here are 3 quick takeaways from this saga for platform creators

1: Pick Your Domain

What is illegal in country A may be legal in country B but one thing you should do is that you should make sure you are not a citizen of a country where your platform would be considered as being illegal. Whether you are living in that country is irrelevant if they decide to come after you. Now they might not get you but you should be ready to live with the fact that you might seen as a criminal or lawbreaker in your home country.

2: Its Smooth Sailing If The Authorities Are Behind You

I do not like the idea of bitcoin. If you ask me, it looks criminal. That is, the potential for criminality is high. Bitcoin looks more criminal than e-gold.
In a fair world, the government that prosecuted the people behind e-gold would have apologized to them after the bitcoin/silk road saga. Without bitcoin, Silk Road may never have sprouted. In fact, Silk Road became a possibility because of bitcoin and it was built around bitcoin.
However, e-gold was shutdown. Bitcoin is still being celebrated. Nothing touched bitcoin even when it was so glaring that it was the key to the existence of Silk Road because the authorities have looked at bitcoin and concluded that it was a good thing.
What is the difference between bitcoin and e-gold? One was created with the full awareness and support of ‘the’ authority but e-gold is from Canada.

3: Do Not Get Carried Away

It is a crime to get carried away by the success of your platform even when what you are doing is not criminal. This man slipped in many ways but if there is a lesson to draw from this, it is that your head should always be on your shoulder. If you have a growth plan for you platform and have put in place actions you would take if the platform reaches certain benchmarks of growth, stick to that plan. It might cost you something for life if you allow its success to get to your head.


This will be the second time I’ll be giving a mention to wattpad.com on this blog. The first time, I concentrated on the people behind the platform. I have taken time to socialize on the platform and this time around, I will be beaming my torch light on the people using wattpad and the Animal Farm complex that hovers just below the surface.
Animal Farm?
For those who missed out on when the education system was designed to educate, Animal Farm is a literary masterpiece that depicted the inequality that is inherent in any society.
Wattpaders are symptomatic of this Animal Farm complex in subtle shades. Come with me as we walk into the social dynamics of ‘these’ people. You are going to enjoy this but put at the back of your mind that this is still about reviewing a website/platform and seeing how it can be optimized to give out its best to users.
Basic Info: How Wattpad Works
It is a platform that brings readers and writers together, making readers out of writers and writers out of readers, allowing for both osmosis and diffusion to take place within a singular state of different concentrates (I challenge you to come up with a more original description).
Heavy Vs Lite
There are people who have chalked up to half a million reads/eyeballs. That is, what they have written and posted on the platform has been read at least 500,000 times. These are the heavies.
Then there are people who have less than 30 reads. These poor souls are the extra lite.
Yet again, the heavies have some huge following while as you will expect, the extra lite as so lite that you can drink 15 crates without felling tipsy. What does this difference imply? A lot.
Follow/Do Not Follow dichotomy
People who have so mush (sorry, I meant to say much, although I think it should actually be many) people following them tend to follow fewer people (too few) when compared to those following them. It is like twitterverse 2.
The massive number of reads means they will get massive and increased following. At the same time, they are no longer obliged to follow those that follow them. Neither are they obliged to personalize their messages. Rather they use Blackberry Broadcast to announce one thing or the other (BTW, a word of advice to wattpadders that want to join the heavies, slow down on your broadcasts and go for personalized messages PM. And if you want to tell everybody or all your followers something, use the bottom page of your next update to do so or go back on your last posting, click on edit and place it at the bottom, bold it so that it would be different from the story).
This reminds me of twitterverse culture where all the star has to do is twit and beehive of followers will buzz round their every character.
In case you do not know (i.e. talking to the heavies), you are perpetrating a subculture, importing something that should not be because the makeup of wattpad (where everyone is a potential writer and reader) implies that a more socially homogenous and integrated system should apply. That is, come down your high horse and interact with your fellow writers and readers.
Drawing/Fishing for Relevance
Simple. All you need do is read a chapter and post and incisive comment. It may be a one liner but this is not usually the case. That said, what you should focus on is the incisiveness of your comment. Being flippant or sounding trite DOES NOT WORK HERE. This is not to say people do not do and get away with it.
If you can do this, you would be throwing the right night into the sea and you could catch a ton of fish (too bad you cannot currently look at stats to see how many people check out your profile page, that will give you an idea of how relevant you are becoming, aside from you followers. For the record, I was only joking about adding the G+ profile page view stat).
Drwing/Fishing for comment/stars
There are some who actually ask you to read. And there is nothing wrong in doing this as long as you do not come off sounding beggarly.
The golden rule applies here. Do unto other what you want done to you. so it becomes a tit for tat issue. I scratch your back and you scratch mine. This is vain. Ideally, it should not be the case but politeness (well, it is polite to return a ‘favor’), personal interest (they will come back to vote on your next installment), we-are-the-little-guys/us-against-them mentality and other issues compels this tit for tat to continue unabated.
So what the we have in a nutshell?
A platform that is on its part to completely replicating our offline societal structure of the Haves and the Have Nots.
A platform that allows for soft scheming as one of the unstated basis of interaction between members.
A website that is streaked with a competitiveness that is not yet bordering on the unhealthiness (emphasis on the not yet).
It piques my interest to see how they will nip this at the bud and that is dependent on whether they see these things as issues to address.

3 Reasons Why People Shy Away From Opening A Twitter Account

Left Behind Complex

I missed the bus. The air flight is full. All spaces have been taken. They are having so much fun, why should I spoil it for them. The left behind complex anchors your feet (fingers really) from clicking that Sign Up tab.
Even if you eventually sign up, the left behind mentality might just make you to look like the person that came late to the company party and looked for in inconspicuous corner to hide until it was a politically correct time to make an exit. So you just you hear people say, I do have a twitter account but I am not an active user.

Building From Scratch

Filling your twitter space is daunting. These are the two ways people make a hash of things and both are equally frustrating.
One Way
Follow established and highly impersonal twitter accounts. Like the accounts of banks, newspapers, conglomerates etc.
The other Way
Follow the stars. Yes, they feel more ‘personal’ than following monolithic companies. Besides, you can easily immerse yourself with whatever it is that is going on in their lives. Of course, it will do you a lot better if you can follow stars who and by nature of what they do, are more interactive than others (comedians, social commentators etc)
Both ways are still a cover up. The fact remains that building from scratch and creating a real twitter social community is too daunting a task. It is something that takes time, like the relationship between wine and time. And time is something you never had, which takes you back to the left behind complex.

Simply Complex

Twitter is so easy. Yeah, right. What is hashtag? What is the difference between...I do not even know enough to ask an intelligent sounding question. And it is embarrassing Googling up “how to use twitter”. It is simple alright, it is simply complex

Quit the Doomsday Attitude; how can I really overcome early Twitter Jitters?

If you leave things as they are, more people will shy away from twitter and those that join will take too much of a time to come out of their shell. But is there any way that this can be helped?

Take it like the physical social world. It is a new place right?

Go as a group

Even if none of you know anything about the club (sorry, Twitter) or have never been there before, going as a group allows all of you to draw confidence from each other –or laugh at/with each other, which is a cool way of feeling at home in a new environment. You guys get to follow each other, create your own community and build your confidence in a new environment together.

Ask someone that knows to Accompany You

Yes, just like going to a new place. Having a guide that is conversant with the place will quickly put you at ease. You become part of his/her network and gently introduce you to ‘real’ people. You can find your way from there.

Twitter could become a dying network if more people feel left behind, think it too hard to start from scratch or feel they will not be able to wrap their heads round the lingo. No pressure on them then.

80 reasons why I am terrified of Google

Reason 1: Google Loves Me
Google loves me. This is a fact. Another seeming fact is that Google loves me so much that its creepy. Google is so much interested in me that from the onset of a platform like gmail they did not waste any time to start asking for my personal telephone number.
I was shocked the first time I had them ask me to leave my number with them. They said they wanted to give me a chance to secure my email address should I lose it and them having my phone number will go a long way in proving that I am the owner of the said email address.
Up until that time, other free email platforms only asked for a secondary email address (at least to my knowledge).

Reason 2: Anger
Google has a way of getting under my skin. This is what happened the first time they asked me for my phone number. I must confess here that I used to suspect that I was an introvert. I called it a suspicion because when I am in the midst of others, I can live it up or ‘turn up’ but when I am alone, I feel so much at ease.
Another thing is that I am not too keen about ‘showing’ myself to strangers. So I used to suspect that I was an introvert but as far as the internet is concerned, I know that I am. I do not just buy the idea of telling people who I know I may never meet something about me or giving details about me to organizations that I sense I may never walk through the actual doors of their office.
These were the early days of the internet (for me i.e. when they asked for my phone number) and I did not know anything about identity theft. And if ID theft was still in its infancy then, it has become a great grandpa with lots of great grandkids.
Anyways, Google has never stopped tickling me wrongly and you will get to have a sense of this as we go through the 78 more reasons why I am terrified of good (I do intend to list 78 more). 

Reason 3: Intrusive philosophy: Number 3 Reason why I am Terrified of Google
We might eventually get to mention some of their intrusiveness one after the other (we just mentioned one in Reason 2), but one very big reason I am terrified of Google is not because they sometimes bring up one or two things that seem intrusive, rather it is the seeming philosophy of intrusiveness that holds everything they do.
Google wants to be on, in, around, with and by you. This is one reason I personally decided to ignore Google Chrome when they decided to launch their own browser; to me ignoring it became a matter of principle. I eventually got it (after I had cooled off from reason 2 i.e. anger) but I pointedly decided not to upgrade it for ages (I think I am like 26/36 versions/updates behind if not more).
They have this philosophy of intrusiveness weaved around everything they do and I blame Mr. Bill Gates. He was the first person I heard use the phrase the “internet of all things” and I think some organizations took him too seriously. And by the time you add another single word phrase in the name of “convergence”, you get to know why we are where we are today.
I do not know if they have a secret manifesto that clearly elucidates this philosophy of intrusiveness as the basis of their engagement with the world, but everything they do even to the point of starts ups they support with cash just underscores this philosophy and do not get me started on Google’s Dropcam. Talking of secretiveness…
Reason 4: Old CIA Front Conspiracy
I remember when the buzz of Gmail started. Then you could only get it by invitation. I decided to look them up using a search engine. I cannot really say if it was Google Search I used but I will never forget the first page results (I think it went down more pages because those were the days they I just kept on clicking on Next Page. I’ve now become a first page searcher).
Everything about Gmail on the first page results was about them being a front for the CIA. Now I am not American. I had also read enough Jeffery Archers and the likes to know what a CIA front company meant but since I was just a young lad who wanted to own an email account, I did not give this much thought (besides, a friend had already offered to invite me and it felt kind of cool that I would be part of the early users).
However, and with years gone by, and with the intrusive philosophy we just talked about in Reason 3, and with the Snowden leaks, and with the Great China e-wall, and with GHQ, NSA and others, one still wonders…
Now it may be too much to say that Google was and probably still is a CIA front company, but with all the things revealed, who isn’t? And if this is the reality we are facing, it gives me one more reason to be terrified of Google since they know more about me than any other organization.
Reason 5: 1st Class Online Reputation Management
This should be a good thing, right? What happened to all that Google is a CIA front that littered the internet? I am curious to know because it is no longer on the first page search results anytime I type gmail.
Is this fair? Well, they invented online reputation management. That is, without them, the concept of online reputation management may never have come about so it should make sense that all that bad press would be buried at the 1000th page of gmail search results (do not quote me…I would have used up my data plan before getting to page 700).
The moral of this reason is that for a company that has so much influence on the internet and how people interact with online content…
Reason 6: The Wind Factor: One Scary Reason Why I am Terrified of Google
There is a way the wind blows. Find a windy area and just stay still. At times, it hits you at the face, then changes direction. It can come at you from everywhere. There are times when it looks as if Google is a giant either without a sense of where the direction it initially wanted to take or changes its mind by the second. And we are the tiny ants…
I love Gtalk. Now I have to use Hangout. Hangout is not bad in itself. But I do not like Hangout because I love Gtalk. So they inform me that if I am still interested in Gtalk, I should use their chrome browser, their latest i.e. up to date chrome browser ( see second paragraph of reason 3).
What stops Google from holding a consistent direction? They will tell you their bottom line. There is a lot to be said here and I will be distributing them to other reasons.
Reason 7: All about Google not you
After all is said and done, it is about the company’s bottom line and not their customers. We cannot use this against Google because everybody does it. However, I am the one talking here and for a company that owns or controls about 25 percent (?) of the internet content-wise(?), it is an issue to me when they follow this acceptable principle of doing business and providing services.
I love my Gtalk. But it is now dead.
Reason 8: To Murdered Loved Ones
Google Author, Gtalk, Updates-making-obsolete-great-services, etc. The star wall will be filled with stars of fallen Apps and services that Google put a hit on because they could. I am having a momentary black out because one cannot begin to list all those that have fallen because Google wanted to move on.
I remember when my trusted blackberry (an ancient model) lost its native gmail. They all start with an email serving notice to users of how that app or service is about to be discontinued. I am sure that have at least one person specially hired to craft those letters.
They give a standard period, send more emails, then kill the app. The most recent for me is my Gtalk. Now there are apps and services that I cannot recall that have gone down that path.
Reason 9: The Great Lab
Google is the scientist and we are the guinea pigs. At times, it is like they deliberately throw something out to just see how we react and after they have taken all the notes they want to, they shut it down, calling on the Obituary Specialist to craft another letter.
Reason 10: Money To Shutdown
Everybody else does this. Companies that have the financial clout buy up smaller companies that have a better service or could potentially upend their plans and then shut it down. Google has a bit of cash to do this.
Reason 11: Blackhole or Expanding Universe
The universe is expanding at lightning speed. Google seems to be doing its best to match this. A black hole never gets filled and Google keeps on eating. It is either they are starting something new or buying up another. The thing here is that they seem to have hit a rich vein where everything is profitable. Either ways, it gives me this uneasy feeling that I will wake up one fateful day and get an email from the Obituary Specialist telling me they will be discontinuing Gmail and Google Search in 45 days time because they have moved on to other things.
Reason 12: The Penalty Experts (1) 
Nobody penalizes like Google. And if you get shut out in one, you get shut out in all. This could be the most terrifying thing about Google.
Google might be quick to deny the last sentence, and indeed they may have changed (that is one thing you are sure they will do…change) but yours truly have seen this firsthand and I do not wish to check whether it is still happening.
Reason 13 : Eventual Policy Somersaults
There was a time when you can only have one Google Adsense account. That changed. Now I am not a google-hater, I am just terrified of them but I am sure there are well documented cases of Google’s policy somersaults both in the positive and negative sense. I only got to read up about having another Google Adsense account recently and was surprised because there was a time when this was something that could not be imagined. Talking about policies…
Reason 14: Google Terms of Use Policy: The Lost Mayan Mystery Scrolls
Ah, Senate committees have been set up to decode Google Policy. Continents have set up bodies to look into it. I am sure they will soon bring up something like the Chinese constitution (i.e. simplicity-wise) but there was probably a time when some lawyers were paid seven figure sums to make it as dark as possible. So they crafted it and weaved some dark spells over it to make it hard to decipher.
Reason 15: Government Induced Breakup
Microsoft went that way and it may not be too much of a stretch to see Google eventually going down that path. What will bother me will be how things will be divided and who will run what because it matters.
Reason 16: Stifling Competition or Size Matters in this Industry
No one likes a bully but what seems to be worse than a bully is someone or something that has the size and potential of being one. This is probably one reason why every move Google makes is looked at with a magnifying glass.
Reason 17:  Showering Naked and in a Public Square
There is something scarily creepy about clicking on an email to open it and when it does, the right side of your screen has ads relating to the content of the email. It’s like the Google founders are reading your email over your shoulders. There is no way and place that won’t be seen as being rude. The rudeness aside, it does look like a leftover from the Scream Franchise or is it I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Reason 18: US Alone Products
This is annoying. You hear of a great product that they have just put out. You read and get excited as you read what the new service or app does. Then they pour a bucket of cold water over your head at the end of the press release/article with the information that the product/service is country bound.
They usually say US. The next country is UK. If they are interested in expanding it, Europe becomes the next place, then Australia. We still haven’t touched Asia and South America. Oh, I live in Africa.
With some, they will tell you from the onset that it is not going to cross the Atlantic or it is only limited to selected regions (meaning Africa is out of it). However, if it is something they intend to roll out to everyone, I get to get it last (Africa alphabetically starts with Z).
It would be nice if they could do something just for Africa or release something and test run it in Africa (I think there was a time they released something for Asia or an Asian country). Anyways, even if they were to do something just for Africa it would be something with er, Africa in mind and usually with the “aid Africa” mentality, meaning a weak product designed to “help” or “encourage” Africans –as if we cannot compete with others if given the same access and tools.
 Non-inclusiveness segregates the internet and if the internet should be a fundamental right for everyone- something organizations like Google should push for since it means  more money for them, then they should be in the forefront of exposing Africa, giving us access to the best of the best and not something ‘specially’ made with er, Africa in mind (as if it’s part of their CSR).
Reason 19: Redefining a Failed Product/Service
What Google calls failure may not be what another company would call failure. In fact, they might call it a success. If Google feels like a hundred million users of a product is a failure because they were aiming for half a billion users, sending in their Obituary Specialist would be wrong. Why not spin it off or something but keep it alive rather than shut it down? And they have hurt many users who really love the product and have started using it to add immense value to how they use the internet.
They seem to view this as a taboo or sacrilege but they could also sell the product to a company and have an arrangement or majority stake so that those people can continue with it and everybody is happy.
Reason 20: The Fear of the Disruptor is the Beginning of Wisdom
Every CEO of a company in an established industry is terrified of having a disruptor. They are the apps, products, platforms or services that upends the market and change things overnight. Google is a robust company and there are very few things that can make it lose its footing. One thing that can is a disruptor sneaking in and just taking over overnight. It could be with the Search Engine, email service or Adsense i.e. areas that are critical to Google.
The perfect nightmare is that which happens and nothing can be done to change or influence it. The perfect disruptor will provide something that everyone will see to be better and will switch to and no amount of money or inducement will make it change its course. This is one of the surest ways for companies to become obsolete.
With the nature of disruptors, Google is not too big to become obsolete and this is a scary thought for me (unless I am the one introducing the disruptor or switching over will not upend my own internet strategy/plan). Many people have built their internet plans around Google as they see no reason why the company will not continue to be relevant. By the way, I hear Myspace is making a comeback?
Reason 21: The Responsibilities of Becoming a Nation
Google is big, maybe too big. They have grown to start planning and strategizing with nations in mind. I bet there was a time when the only thing they had in their mind was becoming the best product/platform for me, their one and only customer. Now there are more things to consider before they do anything.
This makes me feel smaller and less relevant to Google. Now I feel more of a number, something less than a decimal fraction of a point in the whole scheme of things because of the scale at which they operate. This means, I am just less than negligible and I will not be a dot in a paper as one strategic decision means I am locked out of their system.
I wonder what happened to the users when Google announced they were pulling out of China?
Reason 22: Third World Meets First World (1)
You might not know this, but living in a country where the risk of your country being sanctioned by the country your favorite and most strategic online platform operates from; thereby affecting you (if it means that company has to cut off/reduce operations for citizens of that country that uses their platform is high) does not help matters.
Paypal (after like forever) finally included my country in their list (they had us blacklisted long ago it seems). Yet we can only buy and cannot sell i.e. only pay out but not receive payment using the platform (so, so unfair and wrong). This is the price one has to pay for being a citizen in one country that does not have any real strategic value for the other.
Moneybookers (prefer this name to the new) had told me (twice) that they were under instruction from their regulatory arms (government) not to allow people residing in my country to sign up (that still hurts). A Stripe customer care responder told me categorically that they are not interested in having users from my country because of the level of fraud emanating from there (yet, where online fraud happens the most is from their country).
The point here is I am fighting uphill while I’m being pounded and bombarded from all sides. Something out there might happen tomorrow and Google country i.e. the US government or a regulatory arm might just give them an instruction and that is that for me and my access to Google.
Reason 23: Third World Meets First World (2)- Front Facing Product Marketing
Another reason why I am terrified of Google is that there are times when some of their products/services do not just have me in mind or my “third world” location makes it impossible for me to utilize it fully.
That is, even when it may be open or accessible to me, it appears it was made while I went to ease myself and the only people in the room were from their side of the divide.
This places me in a disadvantaged position from the word go as I cannot compete i.e. if I am in competition with others in the same room although they reside in the land of the brave and free (and environs).
For instance (a very simple example), Google has (re)introduced domain registration for the blogger platform. For as little as $1  a month I think or $12 a year, you can give your blog a proper domain name. This is a great product/service but I cannot use it even though it accessible and affordable because my location and “third world” status makes it impossible to make that payment.
Of course, you can now point out Paypal but Paypal is not part of the Google family and that is my point here. They have created a good product but they are only facing one direction (facing West) and should have gone a step further to see how they can make it easy and accessible for those in Africa to acquire.
Reason 24: Third World Meets First World (3); Product Inconsistency
Continuing from above, meanwhile and at the same time, Google Adsense has always had a means of paying account holders that could seamlessly work from Africa. One of the means of payout they provided is through Western Union.
This shows product inconsistency. On blogger, you can now purchase a domain name but there are no easy means for me to do this from my location but on Adsense, which I can use with Blogger, I can withdraw money using Western Union.
Each product must be consistent with the other. I should be able to conveniently buy a domain name and withdraw money within your universe. If you could provide something for me for Google Adsense to do this, then you should be able to do same with Blogger.
Reason 25: of Updates, Algorithms, Literacy & Web Crawlers 1: Announced Changes
At the back of the mind of every web content provider/webmaster is the thought that they might discover today that Google has tinkered with its searching algorithm, again and 3 weeks ago.
There might have been a time when they announced such changes, but they only do it these days after the fact. This does not make for good planning on the side of the content providers. I have my suspicions why Google has adopted this measure of just tweaking and updating and allowing the world to discover it for themselves, suffice it to say that it keeps everyone that needs to be in the know on their toes because a lot rides on page ranking.
Reason 26: of Updates, Algorithms, Literacy & Web Crawlers 2: My Suspicion
Everything is tied to money. The higher your page rank, the more money you make and at times, the money you make comes from the coffers of Google. That is, they get to be the ones that pay you for the traffic they send to your site. The fact that they are the ones basically sending the traffic to your site because of their search engine/algorithm could present a Machiavellian pose to them.
“Why are they making so much off me? I own the machine and control the purse strings, don’t I?”
And in the character of James Dastardly Deeds ( I do not know where that came from… definitely from my cartoon days…maybe Blue Falcon and Dog Wonder?), why announce any upcoming changes to the reading ability of the machine when ‘they’ will quickly adjust and still keep making so much off me? Hmm.
Reason 27: of Updates, Algorithms, Literacy & Web Crawlers 3 and This is Getting to be a Franchise
Webmasters and content providers alike have to keep on changing their SEO techniques to suit the literacy level of the machine but at the same time, you will hear the guys behind Google tell you in their Hangouts to just write good content. That is, they want to make you believe that great content is all that matters while they are planning for the next update.
Sad news; the internet is not all about great content, whatever that means. As long as those updates and tweaking continues, SEO will still be relevant and Google will not be stopping their unannounced tweaking anytime soon.
Reason 28: of Updates, Algorithms, Literacy & Web Crawlers 4: Major and Minor Updates; Oversight Functions Recommended
This is a critical aspect of web content and relevance. The Senate or regulatory bodies may have to look into it. Your machines are yours but it might just give undue advantage to you (since you also hold the purse strings) if you tweak things and others get to find out 3 years later (exaggeration noted).
Tell people what you want to do before you do it and how it’s going to be done so that they can apply themselves to staying relevant as far as page ranking is concerned.
If you can legislate or weigh in on internet highways and accessibility (er, talking to regulators now), then doing something about preparing content owners before major/minor updates are made to search engine algorithms should be a logical step.
It is basically (back to Google) changing the goal posts without informing the players or allowing them to find out for themselves.
Reason 29: of Updates, Algorithms, Literacy & Web Crawlers 5: Machines Still Cannot Read
I am wrong on this because they can (although they do not have the sense or awareness that they are reading…hmm, that’s deep). The Google Web Crawler/algorithm/the-thing-that-reads-indexes-serves up online content to Google search engine result page, is a machine designed to be an illiterate.
It has teachers that deliberately taught it to read wrongly. I cannot remember why I am including this as a reason why I am terrified of Google but I bet you would get something out of this if you read it one more time (buzz me after you do).
Reason 30: The Penalty Experts (2)- Check that old email account
Once upon a time, in a land far away, I sat in front of a computer and keyed in my password on the Gmail homepage. I clicked enter. I was not taken to my inbox. Rather, I was taken to a page where I had to verify that the email account belonged to me. They told me they suspected I was not the owner.
Moved forward five years (maybe 6 or 4 and by now, you should know that my attempts to verify that I was the owner did not work), I tried the account again. They took me straight to my inbox.
This is a true-to-life story and if there is a moral here it would be to go back and check if Google has opened up that account you lost some five years ago.
Reason 31: New Debilitating Policies
I gather that you may now have to wait for some months (six?) before you can deploy Adsense to a new website (or is it you now have to wait six months before you can use an Adsense account after signing up for it)? It used to be plug and play. Policies change but what most will not expect is for that change to be for the worse as far as they are concerned.
You just don’t know what you will hear tomorrow. This in itself is not good.
Reason 32: Redefining a Failed Product/Service (2)- A Case for Google Reader
2013 was a bad year. Google Reader was never a failed product. Unfortunately, Google decided it was and sent in their Obituary Specialist. This is one product that will get millions of users if it is brought back today. This is an appeal; there are products that could be revived and revamped and would be instant hits. There should be a couple that would getter a better reception now if they are reintroduced. Think on this.
The guys at Android Police broke hearts with their April Fools gag (April 1 2015) about Google Reader. Seriously though, it would be great if Google could go up their attic and dust up some products.

Reason 32: Google and Their Future Scares Me
Just listening to the Google X guy talk up Moonshot and I get the feeling that I am losing these guys. They are taken on the universe and killing things like Google Reader (and my Gtalk), things that are closer to my neighborhood.
Listening to them talk about the future with their Google Glass (which deserves a subtitle of its own) and self driven cars makes the idea of one day waking up to a letter from their Obituary Specialists telling me of the death of gmail a real possibility.
Their future seems to move away from their present and past.
Reason 33: About Google Glass
First thing, it supports the idea of Google’s intrusive philosophy. Second thing, it also supports the piece on Google being the scientist and us folks being the guinea pigs. It is as if they have gotten all they need and they simply shut it down, referring to the Obituary Specialist to craft (this should be draft but I prefer craft) a letter.
Another thing is that it points to the idea of Google just doing what they like, when they like and change directions as they choose without consideration (something could also be said about this being part of the CIA front/Snowden Report thing).
Reason 34: Humongous Cash Reserve
They are all stockpiling as if there is an impending currency draught. Aside from tax issues and depending on what side of the divide place your tent (on arguments ranging from communism to strategic business decisions), this may not be a bad thing in itself. It becomes worrisome and a reason to be scared of Google and the rest when placed beside some of the points we have already highlighted and the next 7 or 8 points we are about highlighting.
Reason 35: Secret Unethical Tests
It was not too long ago that we got to find out that Facebook conducted a secret test on some of its account holders without their permission (since we are writing with the internet in mind, forget I said it was too long ago but it was reported that Facebook…). There was a time Google went to town with one of their mobile gizmos and it was reported that as the vehicle passed by people with mobile devices their gizmos did a lot of er, data mining.
Whatever, the reason, such tests will scare anyone and this is one sure reason why I am not just be terrified of Google but of every tech firm that seems to have a stockpile of cash. Please is send some my way if you do not know what to do with them.
Reason 36: Explanations After the Fact and Committees
Is it not interesting how they (all) switch to full-disclosure mode AFTER the public gets to find out what they did? Another thing of note here is that regulators seem to fall over themselves to set up committees and sub-committees, giving off the appearance of activity in the eyes of the public. I have my suspicions but they are mine, you go have yours.
Reason 37: Do it Now and Apologize Later
Maybe the Facebook experiment seems to encapsulate this point better although with their case, they really did not come off as looking or being sorry for what they did.
The same thing applies to all in fact, there seems to be this Nike “just do it” air about them as if they sense that all it will take for them is to say sorry afterwards and everything will go right back to normal.
Maybe they already have a machinery in place, just like their Obituary Specialist or GOP’s Talking Points Steering Committee On Just About Anything and they are pretty confident they can handle any fallout.
Reason 38: Slap at the Back of the Hand Approach
This could be one reason why they have this air that they can get away with almost anything (this refers to all of them). When the committees sit, listen and penalize, it leaves you with a feeling that they got away lightly, again. This should have been one of the first reasons of the 80 reasons I am terrified of Google.
Just look back at those committee meetings and the penalties, it will leave you wondering…
Reason 39: Above the Law Perception/ Big Boss Mentality
This is a natural progression to the theme we are working on right now. When you use people in an experiment they are not aware of (shout out to Facebook and the likes), and you already know or believe you will get away with a scolding as penalty whether you are in Europe or US (remove China from this list), it gives the impression to yours sincerely that these guys are operating at a level that makes them not necessarily unaccountable but Al Capone-ish Untouchable (by little me of course and not the regulators).
Reason 40: Uncle Sam’s Got My Back
This is more so when they have issues with Europe (which seems to occur more often than not). Google does not need a soothsayer to tell them that they will be summoned by the European Commission for one thing or the other every new business year. In fact, they may very well have included that in their budget and allocated money for making such trips to Europe.
However, there is this feeling I get that most times, they just go through the motions of these meetings because Uncle Sam (by Uncle Sam, I do not mean the IRS, who by the way, are not really happy with Google and co because of the overseas cash-piling issue, but I mean the US government) has already settled the issue. In fact, one might say that perhaps the committees are not being set up for Google per see but for the public since they must give an appearance of doing something about the latest ‘indiscretion’ of this spoilt child of Uncle Sam.
I wonder what would have happened if it was Huawei that was caught er, data mining the devices of the good people of Europe or for any other indiscretion of Google.
Reason 41: Well Sue Me Mentality
This is not so much a reason I am terrified of Google as it is an irritating thought that buzzes at the back of my mind. At times, it is like they dare you to do you worst if you do not like what they have just done, especially when they send those letters from their Obituary Specialists and there is a general outcry from users. They act as if they don’t just give a flying fig or how many times have you heard them bring a program back (yes, think ABC, HBO, FOX etc) or added a season to that great show because there was a general outcry or petition to that effect?
Reason 42: Small Claims Cases and Perception of Abuse
This could be an empirical way of finding out how terrifying Google is; go check the small claims cases against Google for the past 5 years (maybe 10). Do not just look at the volume or quantity but the quality or individual cases. They may be few but this is one issue that is close to my heart because it is all about that single individual who feels he or she has been shortchanged.
Of course, Google will not look at it like that because at the back of their mind, they will be looking at the possible millions of people that have the same issue (they might even have an exact record of the number).
So they come at you with a sledge hammer because they are looking at the bigger picture. Poor you.
I just read about a 17 year old kid that built a picture loading app (from a desktop) for Instagram, something that Instagram are really not interested in and have gently told the kid to ‘discontinue’ it. As at the time I read it, they were still treading softly with the ingenious kid even though he hacked into their er, whatever to have it built. He is making some bit of cash that he is putting into his college fund.
They cannot look the other way because of the millions of professional cut-throat programmers (exaggeration? Maybe not) lurking around and pretending that they do not have one eye on how Instagram is handling this issue…poor kid.
Reason 43: About Google Wallet & Online Payment
I love the dream of Google Wallet. I used to suspect that Google had shares in Paypal, otherwise they would have set up something or buy up something that will compete against them. However, it looks like they have their sights on something else.
Reason 44: Gang ups
They are terrifying when they are alone imagine what they become when they come together to get a point across. It is not bad when what they are coming together about is something that favors me (well, and you). The NSA heckling is a case in point but what if they come together for something that does not favor me (well, and you)?
Reason 45: Buy ups and regulators
Why do regulators turn hawkish when two big companies want to merge or one wants to buy up the other in other industries? Why don’t they apply the same hawkishness when it comes to Google and the rest buying up techs and other online platforms? Does the same anti-monopoly rules not apply?
And there are times they deliberately buy up to shut down, with everyone knowing that the company they are buying up are providing a service or product that will upend theirs.
Why not step in and prevent such from happening? And what if the said companies present a product that you just know will make you dump Google. They do not allow competition.
Reason 46: Let’s Face it, 20% is High (1)
If it was a ‘foreign’ i.e. non-American company that controlled around 20 percent of internet traffic, the government would have been up in arms. Just look at how they are heckling Huawei and they do not have that kind of market share in their industry.
Reason 47: Let’s Face it, 20% is High (2)
But should they not do something about them as they seem to have too much of a grip on the ‘local’ market? Google is massive and this ordinarily should not be used against them but are there no real fears or threat their size poses to free enterprise or competition?
Reason 48: Let’s Face it, 20% is High (3) But…
This gives you and me something that can work to our advantage as it concerns creating sub-platforms within the Google framework. The only catch is that they have a great say to the success/failure of that platform…another reason why I am terrified of Google.
Reason 49: Google Optimization; Scientific Calculator Effect
Way back, I used to have this peeve about Scientific calculators. After realizing that the only thing I used them for was basically to plus, minus, multiply and divide. I started asking myself whether it will not make more sense for me to stick to a simple solar powered calc instead of carrying about something I know I will never get to use 1/100th of the functions and buttons (knowing nothing about them).
This peeve transferred to people around me as I asked them if they had ever used the RAD function or any other ‘exotic’ button. I am having this same scientific calculator effect with the Google universe. I know I have still not explored Google Docs as I would love to and many other tools, apps and platforms within the Google framework.
How does this make me terrified of Google? The first thing is that it keeps on expanding, more than I can ever keep up with. The second thing is below…
Reason 50: Google Optimization
They set up and shut down tools so quickly that I do not have the time to explore and exploit them. Another thing is they do not think twice about shutting down a tool they have had going for years (Google Reader) even when you may have done a good job integrating that tool into your er, whatever.
Commercial Break Begins
Okay, we still have some 30 more to go and I think a commercial break should be in order. So just think of your favorite commercial, rush to the fridge, or take this time out to check what’s going on in other stations.
Commercial Break Over
Reason 51: Google Optimization & Product Testing
There is this other thing about Google tools and products that can be annoying if not terrifying. If you are not careful, you will forget that the product you have gotten so used to or have already incorporated into your, er, whatever is actual at the beta stage of testing.
You then get shocked when they announce they are pulling the product out of the market (technically, it was never really in the market). Now it does not matter if they are going to shut down the product or move it from Beta to full product because with Google, the transition (from Beta to full product) may not be immediate.
Reason 52: Google Glass, Meerkat and Periscope
Google has taken a lot of stick on Google Glass and I am not about to add to the herd mentality. However, this whole piece is all about me and not Google. I have talked about the seeming intrusive philosophy that guides Google products and services and one that got people to take up arms against Google Glass.
The product has now been retired from the Beta stage, meaning the final product will be next but Meerkat the live streaming app has come into the scene and the reaction to it is different. The points below attempts to highlight why the reactions have been different and underscore why Google should consider a shift in their design philosophy (something that I have ascribed to be intrusive since I am the sole arbiter in these matters).
The first difference is that Meerkat is an app, Google Glass is hardware. Being an app makes it look less threatening (emphasis on the makes it look because it can as intrusive as Google Glass). It is part of the apps on your device, something you can open and shut at will and is less threatening because it is part of other apps found on your phone. I do not want to go beyond 3 paragraphs per point, so check the next point.
Reason 53: Google Glass, Meerkat and Others
Google Glass is a hardware that seems to have only one purpose; record what the wearer is viewing. It is easy to be more terrified of this than Meerkat since the former seems to announce itself on arrival whereas Meerkat is hidden and the person has to go through a process of setting it up before streaming.
I do not like people snapping my pictures without asking for my permission (that’s a lie, I simply do not like taking pictures). I will be mortified if someone comes in with their camera already on their shoulders. However, I will have gotten cues if it was Meerkat (and done a Jet Li on the person before they start streaming).
Reason 53: Google Glass, Meerkat and the Power of Perception
Perception matters. It does not matter if a particular light has to glow, which you can use to tell if the Google Glass is recording (the fact is Google can change a whole lot of things before they release the final product and make it look less threatening), the issue here is a wearer of Google Glass looks like a reporter that has already started recording without asking for an interview to be granted.
Reason 54: Google Glass, Meerkat and Legislation
Technology is getting scarier and no matter what the Google X head says, it is something that will not stop getting any less scarier. That said, legislation should be put in place that will protect the social rights of interaction and the dynamics of such interaction as it concerns being recorded by another party. To think that there was a time when the statement above would have sounded really stupid.
It could be person to person or something to hold the companies accountable.
Reason 55: Google Glass, Meerkat and Another Problem I have with Google
Why not produce technologies of polar opposites? I say this to Google and anyone that wants to make a killing in the killing fields of apps and tech hardware. If you can spend so much in building something like Google Glass, why not build an opposing product that distorts/disturbs/prevents/warns-if-someone is recording you without asking for your permission? Or are you really sure that you are not a CIA front company?
Reason 56: What’s the Rumor About Google Plus?
Google plus is just 2 days old (no exaggeration here) and I am hearing rumors about a breakup (or is it Google Circle). I think these guys are hyperactive and chronic tinkers. Give them a project, like build a colony in one of the moons of Saturn or anything that will really keep them occupied. It’s like anytime there is a lull in their office, they look at the next thing to tinker.
Reason 57: Another Thing About Google Plus
Another reason I am terrified of Google is that to me and anytime I look at their products/platforms, I am left with the sense that there is so much more they can do with them. This is exactly how I feel about Google Plus but I fear how they approach product optimization. It always seems to be an exploration in deconstruction.
They can go another direction with the Google Plus rather than the rumored deconstruction, which is consistent with their philosophy of product discontinuance.
Reason 58: have you heard about Google Tango
Let me see, how do I explain this. It is a home-mapping device. I hear they have concluded Beta testing. Why am I mentioning this at this point? To me, it goes back to the case of why do they really churn out such products. What is the ‘real’ reason behind such a device.
Aside from connecting or weaving a grand James Dastardly Deeds conspiracy, such a product tells me how far ‘out there’ the people in Google Labs are. I would very much like them to be grounded with me please.
Reason 59: Suspicion About High Product Churn Out
Before, I talk about my suspicion about Google’s high product churn out, I want to say that their high products churn out is another reason I am wary of Google. They seem to have too many things cooking and serving too many dishes at the same time.
Reason 60: Now for My Suspicion About Google’s High Product Churn Out
The more products they churn out, the more compelled they feel to send the Obituary Specialist to announce another death. Sadly, it is the loved and cherished or the ones people are just warming up to that gets axed. One of these days, they will send an email announcing the impending death of their email service.
Reason 61: Product Churn Out and Getting Out of Touch with base
Are they disengaging from their original ‘customers’? Do the new products showcase that pattern of disengagement? Or are they telling their original customers to keep up or get left behind? Hmm
Reason 62: Early Killing of Products
Microsoft (a name I have conscientiously avoided up until this moment…) could have killed the Surface Tablet after the write down when they released it for the first time.
Maybe they had too much riding on it and they had made up their minds to ride or die with it, but by Pro 3, they heaved a sigh of relief.
The idea of comparing both might be wrong (feeling it already) but if Google had shutdown Google Plus (I sincerely have an issue with Google Plus and Google Circus because I do not know if they are together or separate and I might be meaning the other while mentioning one) when they started…
Reason 63: My Thoughts on Android
I never liked android and was a little peeved when Google ventured into the mobile market (yes, I want them all to myself). This could be a reason why I have never bought an android device (aside from the issue of cash at hand).
By now, you will know my issues with regards to intrusiveness, being in, on, underneath you like white on rice (the famous Hollywood threat expression).
However, they made quite a success of it as it concerns getting hundreds of millions to include android into their personal non-internet lives (something Google seems to value more than gold). It should be noted that those that are really making money are the top guys (like Samsung) but by Google’s standard i.e. the wide adoption, it’s a success.
Reason 64: Google Chrome Diaries; Implant
Google has a plan. I personally do not know why people get peeved anytime they hear another product coming online from their stable. Now Chrome is one of the most popular browsers around. Google has a plan and it may take you years to start connecting the dotted lines. Their chrome book (cannot recall what its called) kind of made sense of them releasing the chrome browser. If nothing else, this shows that they are following a script, and this is scary in itself.
Reason 65: Google Chrome Diaries; Embedded
Now speculations about their chrome book (I still cannot recall the exact name of this device) has it that users will be able to access their android apps within the browser which is the sole browser on their chrome book (giving up on trying to recall the name). Hmm… I think this is what they told me when they were shutting down Google Talk, that I could still access it through the chrome browser (I think I say).
What is there to be terrified about this? This is a postulation but I think the guys at gOOGle (I mean Google) have been bingeing on Walking Dead. There seems to be something about the ‘herd mentality’ that they have caught on to and users are being shepherded into a direction.
Reason 66: Google Chrome Diaries: Jungle Justice
Now there is a reason why I cannot recall the exact name of their device i.e. the chrome book, which I will call Chrommy. I have never set my eyes on one. I mean, not even in the jungle that is my country. Interestingly, I have seen people with blackberries as they swing by and I have occasionally sighted iphones as well.
Chrommy may not have been made with Africa in mind. However, I understand that based on its pricing, if there is any tablet that should be made for Africa, that tab should be chrommy because it is one of the most affordable.
It also seems to be one of those devices that could really have an impact in Africa and my country in particular especially for schoolers. I am charging Google for this advice; launch chrommy in Africa. Go to the schools and work something out. You can contact me for the how to and you could just help us to climb down from trees although nothing beats the view.
Reason 67: Email Privcay; A Thing About Ownership
Terms of use and standard privacy notifications aside, who really owns the emails? If I sign up to use your email service, which you have decided to provide ‘free’ of charge to me, who owns the emails sent to me, you or me?
I may not own the physical platform but if I’m not using your email service, that particular message would not have come. The message was sent to me, do you then have the right to ‘read’ my message? If it is my message, do you then have the right to show that message to a third party? Can you not create a system where you tell me first or ask for my permission before showing my email to a third party? (this is my privacy rights piece)
Reason 68: Google and Backups
I understand the importance of backups. Mistakes happen. Files can be lost. Access can be denied or suspended at a critical time. Backups are great. It may not be a bad idea to have backups for platforms and apps as well…
Reason 69: Of Neuro Computers & Algorithms
I do not know what I am talking about here. I know of super computers but it seems as if the next age of computing has come upon us and it is giant tech firms with a lot of financial muscle like Google that are in the forefront of creating such machines.
Computers with extremely complex algorithms are now interacting with each other and producing outcomes that the designers may not entirely have a grasp on (listened to a TED talk recently…that’s why I’m sounding so smart). And the next age of computing, which is already here exponentially increases the complexity of this interaction, potentially making us, the creators, bystanders. I do not need to tell you how terrifying this can be and all because someone wants a machine to ‘intelligently’ converse with a human being and identify a picture.
Reason 70: Musings, Musings, Musings
Google could be terrified of itself. Yes, they are having fun but just as it is with a Robert Ludlum/Jeffery Archer/Fredrick Forsythe -ish character, there could be someone somewhere or a group of people who cannot sleep because of what they know. And “you can’t handle the truth”.
Reason 71: Google and the Always Wired Plan
This is not an original idea. Ideas are hardly original but Mr. Gates dream was to have a desktop on every, er, desk. That evolved to the ‘internet of all things’. Google has been pushing along this direction from the onset. To make this Always Wired plan possible, they will have to see how they can bring the cost of connectivity down as well as provide fast internet connection.
One way they can do this is to get into those markets and provide premium service at dirt-cheap prices, forcing the original players to follow suit. Another way they can add to this or come from another direction is to find territories where internet penetration is still at its infancy and set a standard that new entrants will have to follow.
Now I thought this all by myself. I looked at my crystal ball and projected into how Google is going to get everyone hooked to them i.e. the internet. This idea is entirely mine and original to me. They are yet to take any step towards this direction but mark my words; they will. Then you will all come and worship at my feet.
Reason 72: Google is on Facebook and Twitter
I have this theory, that despite what the general public is made to think, Democrat and Republican top-wig party members have a secret place where they all meet and laugh at everything over drinks. Also, The Dalai Lama (I do not know if I got that right) sits to have tea with the Chinese authorities, Ukrainian and Russian Heads of State play chess together; Indian and Pakistani military topguns have a joint underground bowling club. It is just a theory though.
Reason 73: Some Big Fears of Google and How they are Handling it
Google is afraid that a company will rise out of nowhere and overrun their well laid out plan to rule the world, I mean, remain profitable.
Reason 74: Another Fear
Google is afraid of other big players coming into their turf and taking them to the cleaners. This is why they always have an eye on them and the other eye on Game of Thrones.
Reason 75: And Another Fear
Google is afraid a king will ascend the throne (the Iron Throne of course) and they will have no say in how the person got there. This is why they watch House of Cards.
Reason 76: Yet Another Fear
Google is afraid of being left out of decision making with respect to standardization and adoption. This is the sole reason Android came into existence.
Reason 77: Just One More Fear
Google is afraid that MAD (not Mad Men but Mutually Assured Destruction) is a concept that the competition does not have a full grasp of so they have adopted a policy to press the red button first.
Reason 78: How they are Handling Fear 73
I did not note how they are handling Reason 73. Kindly allow me to introduce you to Mr. Google Ventures…
Reason 79: About Pressing the Red Button First
There was a time when everybody kept to their own side of the lawn. Then Al Capone came along and had dreams of running the country from coast to coast. The big families would have none of it. It did not take long before tension gave out to all out war. Now everybody is doing everything and looking at how they can get into more areas and keep the war at the enemy’s turf.
One would say that it is us customers that benefits. Wrong. It is the customer that suffers because when we are about settling down with one app or product, another big player introduces something else specifically designed to undermine what we just want to settle down with and nothing has been the same ever since.
Besides, they keep on buying everything that comes up, in a bid to win this war, including some very nifty products/start-ups that could add immense value to us customers.
Reason 80: And the danger of War
And the danger of war is that everybody loses. Everybody dies because everything that is made only has one purpose; to further the cause of one side against the other. Everybody is weaponizing to win the war and nobody is thinking of producing products with the public in mind (the only thing on their minds is the enemy). It is all about the war and everything is channeled into getting the H-Bomb and winning it. Everybody loses, everybody is losing.
Reason 80 Plus One
Are you not tired already?

Okay folks, it’s a wrap. I got to the end. I spent the whole Easter weekend sitting in front of the computer, putting this down (my life in a sentence). I feel you should pay for this and if there was a donate button on blogger platform (there might be), I would have added it here. If I resided in a different location, I would have pasted a Paypal Donation button. Unfortunately, they can only allow me to use their platform to pay for products and not get paid (for products).
Apparently, they are afraid of me solely because of where I reside (which is a cool thing, really), and they have been dragging their feet forever and only just came into our market.
Now I am fully aware of the fact that I am posting this 10,000 word –ish piece talking about 80 reasons why I am terrified of Google on my Google owned Blogger, er, blog. For the record, Google bashing is not really a thing for me. This is actually a personal challenge. I got the title first and as at the point when I started out, I did not have up to 10 reasons (hence, I challenged myself to see if I could really come up with that number).
 I mean, I could have decided to write 80 reasons why I love Google. In fact, I am presenting this as a challenge to you.
Write 160 reasons (i.e. write One Hundred and Sixty reasons and not write in 160 characters) why you love Google.
 You will be surprised how far you will go. I would have joined in but I think I have had Google in my head for one too many a day.
Prize? You get to know your threshold as it concerns how far you can go in seeing the best out of anything.