balaji srinivasan covid-19

Journalism in the 21st Century | The Balaji Series| Episode 5

Episode Webpage here

Key Takeaways

  • “If it bleeds, it leads” Toxic content has destroyed the cultural fabric of America.
  • Tech is building media companies and media persons are switching to substack
  • Web 3 will hopefully fix incentives and bring back the entrepreneurial journalist.
  • China is on the rise and is run like a giant corporation


  • Host of the What is Money Show, Robert Breedlove (@Breedlove_22) interviews a man who is living in 2050, Balaji Srinivasan. @Balajis on Twitter to see what he is up to.
  • In episode 5 of 7, Balaji discusses why the legacy media has to go, how China works, and the potential benefits of a new system.

“Never Talk to a Journalist”

  • “Good [people] help others without concern for themselves, smart [people] help others while also helping themselves, stupid [people] harm others while also harming themselves. Evil helps themselves while harming others”.
  • Journalists treated covid like a game instead of finding facts.
  • Legacy media is in the content creation game. Looking at engagement. Get engagement or get fired. Adds zero or negative value for clicks
  • When you don’t have local knowledge, you need to outsource. Now you can fact check thru social media. Corporate media is tied with politicians for the least trusted public actors in society.

The End of Legacy Media?

  • “The Monopoly of Truth is Effectively the Monopoly on Violence” The monopoly is failing.
  • The more one resorts to coercion, the less firm one’s hold on power. The NYT is pushing people towards BTC.
  • The media is basically everything they talk negatively about. They are a profit-seeking corporation run on connections and nepotism.
  • In truly free markets, governments and centralized institutions will lose. This is why they fight for free speech and free markets.
  • Legacy media and governments started going after tech when they started losing power.
  • Wokism is destroying the media from the inside out now. Prominent people are being fired or resigning


  • China is on the rise and can be categorized as “Nationalist Militarist”
  • China went from poverty to a superpower over the last 40 years and it started with a secret contract with farmers
    • Secret Contract – Farmers agreed to meet state quota and keep the rest for themselves and protect each other if govt found out. 
    • Deng was elected and learned from their “capitalist” experiment.
    • Entrepreneurship was no longer punishable by death.
  • We mostly interact with goods made in China and Silicon Valley
  • Chinese tech has been taken over by the govt. They have real power.
  • China is run like a gigantic corporation. It uses “Dashboard Management” – a numerical/technical, building-oriented, Asian-influenced style. Tech and China use this.

Social Media, Web 3.0, Legacy Media

  • It’s become Centralized tech/media vs decentralized tech/media. Wokified big tech/media vs Substack and Web 3
  • Tech folks are now making media corporations. Media people are realizing they need to build their own audience. Substack.
  • From 2008-2012 legacy media went from $70 Billion to $17 Billion, while big tech went vertical.
  • Social Media defines celebrities today.
  • Web 3.0 will reward virality and the creator. Balaji believes we can fix incentives via “user aligned content”
    • User-aligned content –  looking for cause-effect relationships between content and changes within a time series of data.
    • For example, read a dose of Men’s Health articles and become healthier. Health metrics measured via Fitbit data
    • It will enable users to program themselves instead of being programmed.
  • Quality of audience is more important than subscriber count.
  • Web 3 reintroduces entrepreneurship to journalism via decentralization. It encourages individuals and rewards perspectives
The Balaji Series :
Notes By Paul Keating

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