Jon Evans

Jon Evans is a novelist, journalist, and software engineer. His novels have been published around the world, translated into several languages, and praised by The Times, The Economist, and the Washington Post. His journalism has appeared in Wired, Reader’s Digest, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. Jon also has a degree in electrical engineering and a decade of experience as a software developer, building everything from smartphone apps to billion-dollar asset-allocation services.

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  • The Flying Eye and you and I

    The Flying Eye and you and I

    It’s refreshing, in this difficult time, when technology and the tech industry seem trapped in a quicksand of endless ethical compromises and disconcerting emergent properties, to come across something tech-related of which one can say, awed, without complications or caveats: holy shit this is amazing. Which happened to me today! Let me share it with you. The Flying Eye Hospital… Read More

  • Metascarcity and Bitcoin’s future

    Metascarcity and Bitcoin’s future

    The problem with writing about Bitcoin is that the subject has become so emotional. The very name inspires triumph, greed, resentment, or fury. Triumph from those handful of hodlers (yes, really) who are watching the destiny they long foretold actually come true before their eyes. Greed from those hundreds of thousands of newbies who just bought in. Those two groups are, of course, bitcoin… Read More

  • In praise of Tesla’s bankruptcy

    In praise of Tesla’s bankruptcy

    You know everybody loves Tesla-the-company. But did you know that a whole lot of smart people hate Tesla-the-business? “From a return-on-investment-capital standpoint, Tesla is a catastrophe.” “The electric-car maker has been burning money at a clip of about $8,000 a minute (or $480,000 an hour.)” “Tesla is losing a massive amount of money with no competition, and… Read More

  • Cultural accumulation vs. cultural decay

    Cultural accumulation vs. cultural decay

    Don’t worry; I’m not getting all moralistic on you here. When I talk about cultural decay I’m talking about something I think we need more of. We have too much culture to have a culture, you see, and that’s basically all tech’s fault — but it’s not necessarily a problem. No, stop, wait, listen, I can explain. Have you noticed that it’s a whole… Read More

  • Arab springs and AI winters

    Arab springs and AI winters

    Remember the Arab Spring? “Revolution 2.0”? Remember how we imagined, full of triumphal optimism, that social media would become the web that knit the oppressed masses together, would empower them to join forces and overthrow their oppressors and stride shoulder-to-shoulder together into a better world? Yeah, those were the days. But now — “disillusioned”… Read More

  • Hillary Clinton and epistemological collapse

    Hillary Clinton and epistemological collapse

    How do you know that Hillary Clinton exists? I’m serious; or, at least, I’m making a point. Bear with me. Think about it. You don’t know her personally, after all. You’ve never met her. You’ve maybe been in the same room as a woman who was introduced to you as her – but probably not. So how do you know there truly is a real person named Hillary Clinton… Read More

  • Ether fever dreams

    Ether fever dreams

    “The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.” — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Everybody wants to believe they’re bettering the world, and what’s more, that they’re on the brink of a revolutionary transformation. Read More

  • After the end of the startup era

    After the end of the startup era

    There’s a weird feeling afoot these days, in the Valley, and in San Francisco. Across the rest of the world — Denver, Santiago, Toronto, Berlin, “Silicon Glen,” “Silicon Alley,” “Silicon Roundabout“, Station F — it seems every city still wants to be a startup hub, dreaming of becoming “the new Silicon Valley.” But in the… Read More

  • Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    The most wonderful and most terrible things about new technologies are their emergent properties. The latest example is, of course, Fake News On Facebook; who would have thought that connecting everyone via social media would lead to wildly divergent narratives of (so-called) reality? And yet here we are. But if you think social media is messy and weird … just wait until we get… Read More

  • Curing the incurable

    Curing the incurable

    Very rarely, an app comes along that changes your life. I want to tell you about such an app, and how it changed mine. I had nothing to do with its making; I have never installed or opened it on my phone; and yet, I expect that this will be the most personal of the almost 400 pieces I have written for TechCrunch over the years. It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of adults in… Read More

  • Capitalism without consequences

    Capitalism without consequences

    Technology decouples economies. AirBNB owns no rooms, but provides accommodations; Uber owns (essentially) no vehicles, but provides transport; Stripe is not a bank, but provides bank accounts; a vast panoply of corporate services run on Amazon-owned servers. There are many excellent things about this decoupling; it improves efficiency, aids focus, and spurs innovation. But technology also has… Read More

  • The abyss of analytics

    The abyss of analytics

    I want to talk about a mistake I see client after client making. (I work at a tech consultancy. We have a lot of clients. Not all of them make this mistake! …But many do.) That mistake is to obsess over analytics data, without any strategy; to assume that all that needs to be done is to gather as much data as possible, and then this data will magically become knowledge, and knowledge… Read More

  • The learned helplessness of Equifax

    The learned helplessness of Equifax

    Is there a formal name for the fallacy of assuming that the status quo is sane? Such a name would become more useful with each passing year. There are a shocking number of examples, but I give you, as a perfect, vivid, front-of-mind example, the credit rating system of the United States of America, as exemplified by that radioactive disaster of a company called Equifax. It is well understood… Read More

  • Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    You wake up. Check your phone. Something happened overnight. People are upset. The actual news is uncertain, it’s too soon for context and understanding, but it’s not too soon for everyone to quickly confirm their biases. It’s never too soon for that. You shower. Get dressed. Get ready for your job. Work emails have already begin to flood into your inbox. Some automatic… Read More

  • Real news of fake reviews

    Real news of fake reviews

    Goodhart’s Law, as phrased by Mary Strathern: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” Honored more in the breach than the observance, alas. Our algorithmic world has turned so many measures into targets, and by doing so ruined them. Let’s talk about just one example: let’s talk about books. “#1 Bestseller!” That’s a mark… Read More

  • Seven things I have learned about writing software

    Seven things I have learned about writing software

    It’s happening. Bit by bit, little by little, I’m morphing from an engineer into some kind of…manager. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still write code every day; but I find myself spending more and more time in analysis and discussion, in meetings and calls, making higher-level decisions, trying to organize teams, and worrying about strategy rather than tactics. Of course… Read More

  • Cryptowestworld

    Cryptowestworld

    Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there lived a mysterious, brilliant inventor, now lost to history, who created a kind of autonomous zone wherein the traditional rules of governments and law did not apply. It was scoffed at as escapism, but over time it drew an ever-growing crowd who used it primarily to indulge their greed and lust. A few, though, believed it could be more than an… Read More

  • Not even remotely possible

    Not even remotely possible

    Down with the tyranny of geography. Down with commuting, “the daily activity most injurious to human happiness.” Down with allegedly “collaborative” open floor plans built such that “high-level executives […] are exempt from this collaborative environment.” Up with more time, greater flexibility, and, believe it or not, higher… Read More

  • Beyond the boring blockchain bubble

    Beyond the boring blockchain bubble

    The silly season continues. Speculators are piling into the cryptocurrency space in the hopes of–sometimes very literally–making money fast. As I write this Ethereum’s value has halved since June but is still 20x since January. Litecoin is up 12x since then. Even Bitcoin has tripled, again. It seems like everyone now has an opinion on, and a position in… Read More

  • When Snowden mattered

    When Snowden mattered

    Four years ago, the deep state was the enemy. Edward Snowden had just revealed its machinations. The head of the NSA was angrily catcalled during his Black Hat keynote. “We”–hackers, iconoclasts, individualists, and/or everyone in tech who hopes we’re building a better future–readied for a battle against surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state. How… Read More

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