Corporate Grind II: The Return of Corporate History International

It’s been a golden week for reblogging, as some of my blogosphere buddies continue to generate some amazing content.  It looks like I may have to do another Dissident Write feature soon (here are I and II).  Armistice Day always brings out the best material, too.

As we head into the weekend—mercifully free of professional obligations—I’m pleased to note the revival of my buddy fridrix’s blog, Corporate History International.

F and I know each other in the real world.  We met playing gigs and open mic nights on the coffee house circuit here in South Carolina.  He’s a fabulous musician, incorporating a mixture of folk balladry with New Wave yacht rock.

Long-time readers will also note that one of the first posts of the TPP 3.0 WordPress era of the blog was a reblog of one of fridrix’s posts.  We’d both caught the blogging bug (again) around the same time in 2018 (indeed, a recent post from Corporate History International is about the very same pen company from that reblogged post, Lamy).

Hyper-diligent readers will recall fridrix’s magisterial review of White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller.  In true blogging fashion, I mined F’s review for a post of my own.  Regardless, it’s an excellent review of a book that covers a topic most Americans would know little about, but that is surprisingly relevant to our current age:  Progressive Era Wall Street.

fridrix is a talented writer and musician, but his days are spent (from what I can gather) toiling in the fields of the online gig economy.  Not surprisingly, as CHI has reemerged from its hibernation, F’s recent posts have discussed that economy.  Two posts from 8 November and 9 November link to a YouTube video and a transcript, respectively, about the rise and fall of WeWork, a company with a 1990s-style tech boom and bust story arc.

That 9 November post also discusses, an online company that hires transcribers at slave-labor wages to transcribe audio.  fridrix and I have discussed this company before, as he has some knowledge of their inner workings.  Suffice to say, it’s not a path to self-sufficiency and the dream of working at home, but rather a way to make some pizza money if you’re not doing anything else with your free time and have a couple of hours to kill.

In reading the tea leaves, it seems that the days of making a relatively easy living from passive revenue online has, if not passed entirely, are fading into the sunset.  The era of the Wild West of the World Wide Web is giving way to the Gilded Age of Tech, in which a few well-positioned mega-firms crush opposition and free speech with equal impunity.  At least Andrew Carnegie had some sense of noblesse oblige; Mark Zuckerberg only cares about reading your Messenger conversations.

Whatever the future holds, Corporate History International is a welcome resource in our groping attempts to understand what comes next, and what’s happening now, in the context of corporate history and development.  I’m glad to see fridrix and CHI are back.


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