Thinks 192

WSJ: “The tech ecosystem that powers ecommerce has simplified the way aspiring merchants set up shop, from web design and inventory management to email marketing and sales-tax collection. Shopify Inc., a provider of such services, said 1.75 million merchants used its platform last year, more than double the number two years earlier. But the lower entry barriers and rising cost of online advertising are making it harder for existing and new sellers to cut through the crowd and find more customers. Sellers and consultants say that in addition to marketing tactics like search-optimizing web pages and targeting users on social media, brands must also take the more elaborate steps of developing community among customers or an identity that consumers deem authentic. Other online sellers are testing out distinctly analog ways of reaching new customers, like printed catalogs or bricks-and-mortar shops.”

Jonathan Rauch: “It’s important for that reason, but it’s also important because every society, whether a small tribe or a mighty nation, needs a way to come to some kind of agreement about what’s real and what’s not, at least on big public questions. And if you can’t do it, societies become unmoored from reality. They break into sects with conspiratorial leaders. They become vulnerable to demagogues. Very frequently, they get involved in complete breakdowns and civil wars. Symptoms of what’s been called an “epistemic crisis” include things like extreme polarization, conspiracy theories, ”chilling”—where a lot of people are just afraid to speak out…The core notion here is “disinformation information warfare.” I define that as organizing and manipulating the social and media environments for political advantage specifically to dominate, divide, disorient, and demoralize a political opponent.”

Watched: Luca

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.