Dean Clough

April 11, 2021

Portico Darwin: Why I Pay For It

About a year ago, the cloud software company Basecamp, started an email service called Hey.  (The company's founders also wrote my biz book fave, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and the equally influential Rework Hey is part of a nascent but growing movement of companies attempting to counter the civically corrosive impact of the "free" services we've all come to reply upon.

But the free email, search,  photo sharing, maps, etc. of course aren't free - we've paid big as a society, and you pay even more in the priceless currency of your identity.  I posit that their algorithms, which favor rage incitement and thus prey on natural human emotion, led to the Trump presidency, January 6, and other less-than-perfect things.  Not to mention the queasy feeling when an ad appears on your phone for something you searched for last week.

Hey is different.  In exchange for a reasonable annual fee (I think it's something like $60), I have complete control who gets through to my Inbox.  I never get spam.  My emails aren't scanned and then used to present me with advertising later.  They don't track with whom I'm communicating.  And they block email trackers that tell the sender if you've opened the email and when - here's looking at you, Hunter Deuce!   Overall, it's nice having your email be benevolent and on your side.  I've been very happy with Hey in well over a year of use and give it my hearty endorsement.

And of course, Hey has a really, really wonderful blogging platform!

Now, Neeva is trying to do the same with search.  Alphabet subsidiary Google has created a tidy little business capturing what people are looking for, and then offering up these searchers as herds of precisely-targeted cattle to advertisers.  I think the level of data aggregation and profiling would shock many if they knew how rich the dossier of info Google has on you and literally almost everyone else.  But like Hey, Neeva is flipping the script - for a reasonable annual fee, your searches are private and you are not tracked by them across the Internet - period.

I've been an alpha tester for Neeva for several months now, and when it's offered, I will happily pay for the service.  The search results come from Bing, so they're more than good enough.  Plus, like Hey, it's just very enjoyable doing searches and surfing the web knowing that your search engine isn't really just a vacuum, hoovering up your privacy and data for Google to do with what they please.  Neeva has some very unique additional services that are possible only when you can trust your search provider.  Do you trust Google?

Neeva gave me 5 invites to share, which I've sent out to my more tech-oriented pals - I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think.

While we still have another week here ourselves (joined by Elizabeth Michaels and Primo Harvey, PhD on Wednesday!) and then 3 nights in glorious Montecito starting next Sunday, today, Saturday, marks the departure from Palm Springs of the awesome Louise and Byron.  As is typically the case when traveling with these guys, the 7 nights here were marked by a ton of laughs, great food and drink, and a complete lack of drama, hysterics, or other bullshit.    We go way back and have been on many gonzo trips with Louise and By, and we are fortunate to count them amongst our closest friends - thanks, guys, for a great week here at Cove House.


And here is video of the noted diver and wife of almost 30 years (it's Tuesday!), Julie.  Don't miss the reverse double-gainer tuck flip at the end.

There were no responses to my "Consequence Culture" post - I just now finished drying my tears.   Perhaps I myself am being canceled?  But the Zacapa, insanely nice weather, fine Flowers Pinot Noir, and this killer recipe dulled my fear and anxiety, and took me to my safe space.

And all is not completely lost - senior gaming executive and new Golden Gate Transit patron Fi Deuce was kind enough to share this blast from the not-too-distant past.  It is me and Fi, along with the aforementioned real estate pro Hunter Deuce, on the Giants' Opening Day 2013, at the beloved Irish Coffee temple Buena Vista, the start of the season after my Giants' second World Series title in 3 years. 


Thank you for reading this blog.

On the outro on "Everybody Wants Some!!", cartoon character David Lee Roth generously expresses his willingness to pay for services.   But I think Dave may be referring to services other than email and search?   Regardless, here's Van Halen's 3rd album, Women and Children First, which also has one of their all-time greats, the album's closing track, "In A Simple Rhyme".   

The album is also a nod to SF escapee Don Jumanji, who was kind enough to visit for happy hour here at Cove House this past Thursday, and then invite us to his Canadian Snowbird condo last night for his big birthday bash.  Don, a self-professed music "expert", claims that Eddie Van Halen does not belong on a list of great guitarists.  Say what?  Sure, quibble about his mercurial personality as well as his foolish and nepotistic bass player personnel choices, but he makes any list of the all-time greats.  I think the desert heat may have finally gotten to Don, an otherwise fine and rational gentleman. 

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.