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Australia: The testing ground for Silicon Valley’s stranger features

There’s a very good reason why we’re Silicon Valley’s testing ground. It’s because we can handle it…or they don’t respect us. 

 

 

We’re colloquially known as the lucky country, but in the minds of Silicon Valley, we’re just the choice monkey they poke with a needle. As Fortune smugly chuckled back in 2015, “if a product flops in the outback and no one hears about it, did it really happen?”

Get bent, Fortune. We don’t all live in the outback. We all live in the cities…with bush league internet. We don’t ride kangaroos to work, we roll eyes on trains while we wait for a video to buffer in 140p. Nevertheless, when the dorks of Facebook’s ilk want to subtly tweak their product, it lands here first.

I don’t want to single out Zuckerberg, but his mob has form in this regard. Back in 2016, they trialled their nonsense plot to start video with autoplaying sound. Sadly, we could handle it, so the rest of the world had to suffer too. In 2017, Messenger tested inbox ads. We endured, they expanded. Wind the clock forward to November 2017, and Facebook wanted our nudes to fight revenge porn. Why us, Facebook. Why?

There are numerous more examples. Some positive. Some not so much.

  • McCafe made its debut in Melbourne back in 1993. The US was the 13th country to endure it.
  • The Tesla Powerwall arrived here in 2015.
  • Similarly, the agriculture-based (time stealing) mobile app Farmville 2 planted its questionable roots in our turf.

Why?

Well, it’s because we don’t matter. According to Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, we’re the testing ground, because we’re “far away from everywhere”. Adding smugness to the already salted wound, he planted, “…if you are going to leave Australia it’s a big deal.”

Dick. More to that point, TechCrunch recently slammed us in the wake of Spotify’s latest trial, “Australia’s smaller market means any lost revenue will be relatively small.”

You know what I think it is? As a nation, we like to think that we’re a durable people. We’re not complainers, we just get on with doing the same with less. It’s a complete fiction, though, as a walk through every comment box will prove that to not be true, but our noble suffering is our national superego. It’s who we want to be seen as. Someone who can handle it.

Why else would we live in a place full of venomous snakes and unreasonable heat?

Do your worst, Silicon Valley.

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