“Fail better,” Samuel Beckett commanded, a phrase that has been taken on by business executives as some kind of ersatz wisdom. They have missed the point completely. Beckett didn’t mean failure-on-the-way-to-delayed-success, which is what the FailCon crowd thinks he meant. To fail better, to fail gracefully and with composure, is so essential because there’s no such thing as success. It’s failure all the way down.
Those are popular sorts of questions to ask, even though the real answers are boring: “Publish the news.” “No one, or possibly someone with a lot of money.” “Publish the news.”
And these days, it’s not just reporters and editors that newspapers need to stay competitive, but far more costly software engineers. The Times needs the resources to exploit the data generated by Times users and to increase digital advertising revenue through search and targeted ad placement. “The New York Times would be very attractive to a Google,” said Scott Hemphill, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in intellectual property and antitrust law. And Google should be attractive to The Times, he said, since “The Times can never replicate Google’s scale and experience in advertising technology.” A newspaper, Professor Hemphill said, “is a natural partner for a Google, even more than for Amazon.” Other nontraditional potential partners might be Facebook, Microsoft or Yahoo, he added.
The New York Times takes a firm stance on the possibilities.
From New Age cocoons and backyard playthings of the rich to public installations made from the wood of hurricane-felled trees to contemporary art objects that you can buy along with your Richters and Oldenburgs, human nests are having a bit of a moment.
I’ve been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past ten years. You have like, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, David Stern.
I’ve often thought that the single most devastating cyberattack a diabolical and anarchic mind could design would not be on the military or financial sector but simply to simultaneously make every e-mail and text ever sent universally public. It would be like suddenly subtracting the strong nuclear force from the universe; the fabric of society would instantly evaporate, every marriage, friendship and business partnership dissolved. Civilization, which is held together by a fragile web of tactful phrasing, polite omissions and white lies, would collapse in an apocalypse of bitter recriminations and weeping, breakups and fistfights, divorces and bankruptcies, scandals and resignations, blood feuds, litigation, wholesale slaughter in the streets and lingering ill will.