Imagine that you're in your early teens.
Imagine that you're named after a major religious figure living centuries ago in the Middle East.
Imagine that you're interested in Science and Technology, so much that you try to Engineer things on your own, which then forces you to learn the Mathematics that help you along the way, all that while you're still in your early teens.
At this point, two things can happen.
In one case, your name is associated with Christianity, your skin is white, you live in France. You get encouraged, doors open for you, you get guided toward top education, you'll eventually get amazing jobs, and you'll end up living a comfortable life. That's my story.
In another case, your name is associated with Islam, your skin is brown, you live in Texas. You get shamed, you get arrested, schools close their doors on you. That's Ahmed Mohammed's story. I don't know how that story ends, but I'm really hoping it ends well.
That's a pretty extreme case of privilege. But it is privilege nonetheless. We have to recognize such extreme cases of privilege if we want to be able to fight all forms of privilege. That's the only way we can eventually reach a point where all men are created equal, where we all have certain unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, because clearly we're not there yet.
Ahmed's Liberty has already been seriously infringed, and from this point his pursuit of Happiness is in jeopardy, possibly for the rest of his Life.
I know the staff at Niantic well and although I don't know John well I speak regularly with those that do. Niantic doesn't actually want to piss off or extort the community.
4 weeks ago how many of you knew who Niantic was? I can tell you it's about 1-3% (unless you played ingress) because part of my passion and my Youtube job was teaching people about their previous IP.
The launch of Go was so so massively wonderful that I believe even the NIA didn't realize people were going to be so passionate about it. I never heard staff say "yeah we're going to be the most popular thing in the whole world, and beat even porn in downloads" because they're good people and not cocky jerks.
That being said they're people. People are imperfect and it's like someone said to them "plan a 2,000 person wedding in 24 hours". It's a big task to bite off. I know that when they say "our staff has been working with their heads down" they really really mean that. I agree they should have gotten communication up earlier, but they were still working on getting a Pokemon GCM, and the other GCM was working so overtime a very important Ingress conference call we were supposed to have was delayed by 2 weeks and then had to end very quickly to make sure they could focus on Pokemon, and they are devoting tons of staff time to Go.
Also remember they are still a start up. I have absolutely no idea how the funding is doled out, but if you've been part of a start up or watched the great show Silicon Valley you know it's not all magic. There's a lot of behind the scenes business stuff that can effect other choices to make sure that the company doesn't collapse and create 0 Pokemon Go instead of just a not perfect Pokemon Go.
Here is what I can tell you without a doubt. John Hanke created Google Earth (initially called Keyhole). A product that was so great Google bought it and they thought John was so awesome they made him VP of Google Maps. When's the last time you used Bing Maps or Yahoo maps? Yeah, that's partly because of John. Google maps also didn't start perfect. I remember that the joke was "take google maps estimated travel time then cut it in half". Now it's so accurate that I couldn't imagine using anything else and I haven't even turned on my TomTom in over 5 years.
That's the guy who's leading this. We're not even 1 month in. Have you ever cleaned your house and there's that middle stage where you're like "this place looks 10 times worse than when I started" then a few hours later it looks loads better. I have a strong feeling that's exactly where we are right now.
They have gotten TONS of data and user feedback and now they're working their butts off to "Make Pokemon Great Again" ;P. August 2nd/3rd everyone was saying "We just want updates from Niantic on why thing happen". August 4th we now have http://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/en/post/ . I have friends that when I say "He can we hang out I really need to talk" don't even make time for me that fast!
They are working on it. If you firmly believe that Niantic changed the capture rate just to make you spend money. They you should firmly believe they want you to stick around and spend money. If you're going to believe in a conspiracy then believe in it 100%.
And I 100% believe Niantic wants you to spend tons and tons of money on Pokemon Go (I'm up to $160 of my own cash, but incubators not lucky eggs). But I firmly believe they want to do that by making the most drug like product that makes you never want to put it down 24/7 because it is so awesome!
That's what I believe.
What I know is that they're working and sacrificing sleep and vacation to do exactly that.
There is nothing else in our world that has grown and spread this fast. Even Ebola or hatred of the Kardashians. Except unlike the Kardashians; Pokemon Go can be/is a force for good. For every bad story you might see in the news of someone not paying attention. How many good stories of people that probably won't get diabetes or heart disease because they were exercising. Or won't commit suicide today due to depression because "I can't kill myself till I at least catch em all" do you not hear.
Lets keep the force for good and grow it. Realize that Niantic is people and just like the rest of us they're trying their best (but if they don't sleep at least a little then they die). And that as people we should respect the people we're around when playing and the people's places we're at.
If you are mad that's understandable, but here's all I ask. Be a human. Remember everyone else is human. Remember that time you needed some time to work on some crap that was effecting you and "No one else understood". Just afford that same courtesy and maybe just put down the app for a day or two while they work on some stuff. And don't trash wherever you're playing.
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