Newsletter #1

to the inaugural edition of the Hack the Union newsletter. If you’re receiving this email, you either asked me to keep you updated on my work, or you subscribed on the website. In the not-too-distant future, this site will have a real logo–until then, consider it a work-in-progress (well, probably after that too).

The intent here is not to recreate the many excellent lists that already do “news of the day” roundups, but to send out interesting or provocative articles that spark conversation or a new way of looking at things.

So let’s go:
In a break-through for advocates of the sharing economy, this week the CA Public Utilities Commission essentially green-lighted the continued operation of ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft & Sidecar. Everything becomes more real, when it’s subject to regulation, right?

If you’re not really clear on the benefits of the sharing economy, you might want to read this excellent primer of what’s in it for communities that expand access (to wit: “for every 15,000 cars a city could take off the ownership rolls, it could keep $127 million in the local economy annually (80% of car spending goes out of the local economy).”).

Meanwhile, back in the not-so-shared economy, did you know that in Australia, McDonald’s already pays a $15/hour minimum wage? The downside is that Aussie fast food managers seem to be speeding up the race to replace cashiers with computers to take your order of large fries and a coke. Plus side? In the future, those of us who have jobs that let us telecommute may NEVER need to leave the house!

Corporate campaigners, read this piece about Hyatt’s aggressive monitoring of social media–and why it led them to abandon a new marketing campaign, despite the fact that they had been working on it for months.

If you’re looking for a longer read
in the last days of summer, you might want to check out this in-depth look at a woman who survived a suicide attempt while working at Foxconn, and the working conditions that led her to make  the decision to take her own life.

For the organizers among us, you should really check out Rick Falvinge’s new bookSwarmwise, about how he built the Swedish Pirate Party from not existing to a point where they could win seats in Parliament in less than four years. Still think online organizing is a fad?

I’ll close by linking to two pieces that are linked, at least in my mind–the first is Irene Ros’ warning to her fellow developers to realize whether they are trying to solve the right “problem” in inventing new apps or products, and the second is our very first blog post here, which asks the question “So You Wanna Be a Disruptor?”

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