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In this episode, we talk with Ali Rizvi, Vice President of Product Management at Star2Star, a Sangoma company. We discuss digital ethics, rights & responsibilities of technology companies such as Facebook. There are many aspects to how these entities influence our political climate and unnaturally distort social behavior. Some of the social media algorithms are presented to make our lives better, but do they? Are these types of technologies a fundamental threat to the whole of humanity, or just misunderstood?
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🔗 Episode Links
- Ali Rizvi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zalirizvi/
- Ali Rizvi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aliknowsproduct
- Guest co-host Nick Sollecito: https://twitter.com/oticellos
- ‘The Buck Stops With Mark’: Facebook Whistleblower Says Zuckerberg Responsible for System Harming Kids: https://gizmodo.com/the-buck-stops-with-mark-facebook-whistleblower-says-z-1847797678
- Hooked: https://www.nirandfar.com/hooked/
- Hosts: Frederick Weiss: https://twitter.com/FrederickWeiss
[00:00:00] Frederick Weiss: Welcome to the Thunder Nerds. I'm Frederick Weiss, and you’re consuming a show with the people behind the technology that love what they do, and do tech good. And our sponsor Auth0 is helping us do tech good all year long.
[00:00:13] Frederick Weiss: Auth0 it makes it easy for developers to build a custom. Standard-based unified login by providing authentication and authorization as a service.
[00:00:25] Frederick Weiss: Try them out now by going to Auth0.com. Also, check them out at YouTube.com/Auth0, Twitch.tv/Auth0, and Andavocadolabs.dev for their online meetup events. Thanks again Auth0.
[00:00:45] Frederick Weiss: Let's go ahead and first welcome our guest co-host.
[00:00:57] Frederick Weiss: We have Nick Sollecito, Nick, thank you so much for joining us. we're very honored and happy to have you, and I guess without any, ados being furthered, let's go ahead and welcome our guests. We have Musician, Martial artist, and Vice President of product management at Star2Star, a Sangoma company… Ali Rizvi.
[00:01:26] Frederick Weiss: Welcome to the show.
[00:01:32] Ali Rizvi: Hello everybody. Yeah, this is cool. I like the Thundercats so,
[00:01:38] Frederick Weiss: so you appreciate the theme?
[00:01:39] Ali Rizvi: Yeah.
[00:01:42] Frederick Weiss: Let me ask you, who's your favorite Thundercat then?
[00:01:45] Ali Rizvi: Cheetara.
[00:01:49] Frederick Weiss: Yeah, I think mine was Mumm-Ra, because I always vote for the villain.
[00:01:54] Frederick Weiss: I think that says a lot about me.
[00:02:29] Frederick Weiss: So Ali, let's, go ahead and talk a little bit about you first before we jump into your role and exactly what you do. So first off, let me ask you, how have you been with everything going on with the COVID?
[00:02:42] Frederick Weiss: you know, a lot of people are worried about the Delta and the Mu and there's a Lambda, I guess, coming up, how are you doing? And how's your family and everybody?
[00:02:55] Ali Rizvi: Everybody's good. I mean, vaccinated. So, and, really proud to be vaccinated. And I guess the way of putting it, aside from that, I mean, you know, It's just, the overflow digitization is like the main sort of one that really kind of, hurts, I suppose, on top of the challenge of having a deadly virus, you've got a, at least deadly virus in a, in a biological sense.
[00:03:24] Ali Rizvi: We've got a deadly virus in a, in a psychological sense going on at the same time. and, and so, you know, we've got, two deadly viruses to contend with. and they all like any organic, organic matter or sides, psychological matter. Maybe I just invented something, grabs, you know, they, they change, they evolve, they, they find new hosts and they find, you know, new target audiences, all day long.
[00:03:59] Ali Rizvi: yeah, there's
[00:04:00] Frederick Weiss: definitely certain variants of. You know, low-key going around and each one is different depending on your, your mental capacity or, you know, to be fair to where you get your news. But I, I wanna, I wanna really ask you about, you made a big move and I like to dive into that, and I'm wondering if this move was, you know, if, if the, the COVID was the catalyst for this big move politically and physically
[00:04:29] Ali Rizvi: partially.
[00:04:29] Ali Rizvi: Yeah. I mean, I'm a big reason for my move was actually more for my daughter. you know, she kind of grew up, and I'm, I'm not gonna, I'm not judging anything here with, she grew up in a small sort of, suburban New Jersey town. And, as we've seen, in, in our sort of current history and current psychological states of, of the Americas, That, you know, those kinds of small towns create echo chambers, and those echo chambers become, you know, a rash, so to speak that doesn't go away necessarily.
[00:05:15] Ali Rizvi: That takes a lot of time to kind of, and I'm speaking a little bit a territory, but, for me, it was really taking her out of that echo chamber and exposing her to a wider reality. that exists outside of the United States up, unfortunately, that wider reality. and so, I w I made it kind of a mission for myself to go seek out a country where, people live more, people live more organically, I think, as a way of putting it, and have, and have some old-style values about a deeper connection, about, less judgment.
[00:06:00] Ali Rizvi: I'm more open, I'm more willing to connect emotionally and not just the, not just physically and sort of in a work situation. And, we've certainly found that in Mexico. so I live in a small town called San Miguel de Allende and, it's a old colonial-style town and it could be anywhere in Europe to be, to be honest, you know, you've got a, a world heritage site here.
[00:06:30] Ali Rizvi: that's a cathedral in the center of town and there are always parties going on center of town, lots of tequila, which I'm a big fan of. I also
[00:06:44] Ali Rizvi: of course, and, mariachi bands and, people really, generally getting along and partying and I've yet to see a fight and break out and in the center of town and the. the garden. and so, and, and people have disagreements and don't, don't necessarily get into, confrontational situations.
[00:07:07] Ali Rizvi: so that kind of genteel lifestyle, people, and we, I mean, you know, in America, in America, yesteryear, we have that as well. Uh we've we've just let it degrade. And, so for me, it was really that wider exposure. and, and on top of that, the COVID thing was very interesting because I actually moved here.
[00:07:29] Ali Rizvi: I actually came and sought out this place in, in, November. Oh, wait, November last year, 2020. And like the. You know,
[00:07:39] Frederick Weiss: before the election, right after the election,
[00:07:42] Ali Rizvi: I guess, right after the elections. That's right. and it was kind of timed with the elections in case something went wrong.
[00:07:51] Frederick Weiss: Like an Insurrection?
[00:07:53] Ali Rizvi: Yeah.
[00:07:54] Ali Rizvi: so, you know, something went wrong. I had a, I had a really good plan B already in place, which became plan a, yeah. And, I'm very, very happy about it.
[00:08:05] Frederick Weiss: love that. I think it goes along with, a theme of our current working situation. Now with our quote-unquote new normal, if, if that's still a phrase people use where, you know, you can work anywhere in the world and you should, because it's so advantageous for companies one to, you know, kind of, bring down some of that brick and mortar that they're paying for all that overhead.
[00:08:33] Frederick Weiss: And to just to be able to, pull talent from anywhere in the world, there are so many amazing individuals out there that, you know, might not be acquitted, Quint incidentally in your backyard. Right. You know, they might not be within a 50-mile radius.
[00:08:52] Ali Rizvi: Hey, you know, I'm, I'm looking for, three or four product managers right now.
[00:08:59] Ali Rizvi: Anybody comes on and listens to this, later on, you know, look me up. So, the, yeah, from a talent standpoint, You know, my, I worked for a really good company in the sense of there, there were conscientious there, their consciousness around, around talent and, and, that they were so flexible with me to, to make this move.
[00:09:24] Ali Rizvi: and, and what's funny is that, you know, my, the, the, the, the town that I live in, they've got fiber here. And so, yeah, my internet actually here is better than my internet in Jersey. so that's all, that's interesting.
[00:09:44] Frederick Weiss: I can say a lot of things about things being better from Jersey cause I'm from Jersey and yes, you definitely don't want to be in Jersey.
[00:09:51] Frederick Weiss: Trust me.
[00:09:53] Ali Rizvi: Oh yeah. I've got so much family there. It's really kind of interesting. and now there are people interested in moving here and that, you know, I wonder, I wonder, If I'm likely not the only one. and if there are certainly some, some trends where, where people are engaging in this kind of flexible work, and flexible lifestyle, I'm sure there are.
[00:10:19] Ali Rizvi: And, and, hopefully, you know, that as an industry, as a, as a, employer, employee culture, we would even further evolved, you know, even, even, more globally. and I think, you know, I think those trends are certainly going in that direction. Although at the same time, we have a lot to get into politics too much, but we have a global sort of nationalism going on at the same time.
[00:10:51] Ali Rizvi: And I'm really curious how those two play where, certainly I would seek out, I mean, we currently hire people from, from Russia and from Ukraine. and, but at the end, at the same time we have these, you know, political, silos being created. And I wonder how that's gonna play out, for hiring talent across the world.
[00:11:23] Nick Sollecito: What do you think about that? I mean, I think one question I had was, like how has the change in the time zone to like, did you, did you find any challenges not being in the same time as the rest of your team that you're working with? Or, you know, just, just trying to coordinate work across, different, different parts of the county.
[00:11:45] Ali Rizvi: Sure. That was kind of part of my analysis. when I first was looking at different places in the world to live in my first choice was, Sorento, Italy.
[00:12:00] Ali Rizvi: the Amalfi coast was my first choice, but, so that didn't work out because of time zones. I would have been working from 2:00 PM or whatever, you know? and so I sought out and I love that kind of Mediterranean landscape that, that mixture of, of green and sort of deserty climate. It's just, I love that.
[00:12:27] Ali Rizvi: And so, I sought that out in our time zone and, and so this city is in the same time zone as Mexico city, which is, central, so central. So one hour, one hour off from, Eastern. Oh, so it actually worked, worked out and I, you know, working with teams and in India teams in Russia teams and, parts of the cell, California, and so many different time zones Dallas at the same time zone to me.
[00:13:00] Ali Rizvi: so, you know, after a while it just becomes like, eh, time zone, what does it really mean? right. And it'd be, I think it's beginning to mean less. and I said seems to be the trend. Yeah.
[00:13:19] Ali Rizvi: But, but, but I will say that. A lot easier being at least somewhat close. I really, I wouldn't want to be working nights, you know, from an India office, you know what I mean? Oh
[00:13:31] Frederick Weiss: yeah. I've had conversations with people that have been working from like, well, I had a meeting the other day with a gentleman that was like, oh yeah.
[00:13:41] Frederick Weiss: It's like one 30 in the morning here. I'm like, oh, I want to call, oh my God. I feel horrible.
[00:13:46] Ali Rizvi: Yeah. Yeah. and that's an interesting thing that you mentioned I've had that same thing happen to me where. You know, they made a decision to work in that time zone and, and to kind of take the hit, right. I'm going to, yeah, I'm going to, I'm going to do this, but what's weird is like, I feel bad about it. Like, oh shit, I'm gonna, you know, sorry, dude. You know, you're not sleeping at a normal time. but you know, so it's kind of interesting, and this is a topic that I kind of wanted to touch on. it's kinda near, near right now for me, it gave some of the transformational changes that are, that are, that is going through is the emotional part of work, you know? And, we're all under a lot of duress. we are, feeling unsafe in the world, not just because of COVID, but because of climate change, the amount of violence in the world has skyrocketed. and, you know, the, sort of the siloed, nationalism, and then, you know, the extent the, actually the real manifestation of imperialism, all of these things, and feudalism coming back at, you know, raging back, and.
[00:15:13] Ali Rizvi: Not really, not a monarchy, but certainly a whole lot of all their Garcon bolt patterns showing, showing up. Yeah. We definitely have
[00:15:21] Frederick Weiss: these two, two different tribes for the most part, within the United States, you know, you could say there's, you know, the far right. And the far left and you know, the, the people in between, but those two tribes are really at each other's throats where, you know, a lot of times, in holidays, you can't, you, you know, you don't go to someone's house just because of that.
[00:15:42] Frederick Weiss: One reason alone, like, oh, you voted for so-and-so. Oh, or you're not wearing a mask or you are wearing a mask. These are, very polarizing topics. And a lot of it it's a P people blame each other and say that, oh, this person's stupid. Or that person's stupid. Or everybody's saying that each other is stupid, but it's really that people get their news from two.
[00:16:05] Frederick Weiss: main rivers, right? They drink from two different rivers and they, they, they communicate back and forth to each other. Let's say, Hey, don't drink out of that river. That, that water is poison, but really it's, you know, there's, there's some in-between if, we could get back to a place of civility.
[00:16:24] Ali Rizvi: Yeah.
[00:16:24] Ali Rizvi: But I think that what I was kind of getting at is that I don't think that's possible anymore. in the sense that there's a lot of these type of patterns happening, plus not being a product person on like, you know, into patterns. and, and you know, there's a lot of these very, what are becoming very deep-rooted patterns, especially the oligarchical patterns.
[00:16:53] Ali Rizvi: yes, becoming very deep-rooted whether it's a corporate oligarchy or, or actually political, or systemic oligarchy anyway, but, but I was kind of getting back to, I want to get back to the, the, the work part of it and the, the human part of it, where there's so much, there's so much conflict and so much stress because of all of these things.
[00:17:15] Ali Rizvi: And we know all about them because we can get them in our social feeds, get them in our, you know, in YouTube, we get them from the news network news or news networks or whatever echo chamber of news that we decide to participate in. that’s, that stress, is actually the beginning to me, as I can see it in the world beginning to, erode, productivity, productivity in a creative sense.
[00:17:45] Ali Rizvi: People certainly go to work and get a paycheck. but when you don't feel safe in the world, you know, our brain is, is, negativity has a negativity bias. And when, when there's so much negativity happening, our brain is preoccupied by that bias and less and less of our brain share on Mindshare is occupied in creative work, unless we can really like, you know, I really applaud people, these, these great masters that show up on YouTube, just guitar genius or, or whatnot.
[00:18:25] Ali Rizvi: but they're all, they're almost like savant because they live in a bubble and that's how they're able to kind of, you know, continue to operate at that creative, creative space. But if you're in a work environment, so I've started those exceptions. If you're in a general your general employee,
[00:18:48] Ali Rizvi: I find like how, how is everyone really.
[00:18:52] Ali Rizvi: Really dealing with this. I think I said interesting, you know, at least interesting question for me. How are you, how are, you know, people being creative, within the context of being an employee? because that's different from me sitting at my house and playing guitar and kind of be expressing their creativity.
[00:19:12] Ali Rizvi: so as a musician and as, you know, someone working in technology as a business person or technologist, it's a really interesting curiosity because I can find myself too distracted, for my creative juices to easily flow. And that's been my experience. I have to literally silo myself from all the shit that's happening, all the, you know, through the news media and all that jazz.
[00:19:42] Ali Rizvi: So, that's and I just wonder, like how that's really impacting, In fact, people. and I haven't burned any studies on, this particular thing, but I'd be curious about that.
[00:19:57] Frederick Weiss: Yeah, because it's interesting. It's one of those, basic, I'm not sure the term, maybe it's the pyramid, something such as that, of a, of safety, you know, where yeah.
[00:20:09] Frederick Weiss: Shelter, food, water, et cetera. Right. and if you don't have those things, you're not running at an optimal capacity, you don't have the ability to put out the things that you may need to, be, to fully be productive.
[00:20:28] Ali Rizvi: Yeah. I mean, we're in us, experiencing. We used to, we used to look at the outside world, like, you know, someone in Afghanistan as an example in the hinterland of, of Gunnison where there's a lot of military conflict and they don't have food on their table.
[00:20:51] Ali Rizvi: they're sick, they're poor, they're starving. they don't have time for any higher level thinking. Right. Because they're surviving. Yeah. And, and we would always look out and, you know, as, as, as Americans and look out and say, oh man, look how sad that is. But to me what's interesting is while it's not in the same way, happening it's, but it is happening in the inbox.
[00:21:19] Ali Rizvi: we are, there are definitely places where people are starving quite literally within the United States. That's right. And how, you know, for, for a. a country born of the Protestant ethic, right. and across the manifesto, which is such a part of our work culture, and how we call it productive. And in this country, is that playing out?
[00:21:47] Ali Rizvi: it's just, it's a degradation of all of those values completely. but it is what's happening by default, right? And that's, that's where I get into product management where, the beauty of I'm going to segue to, the beauty of product management is that it, products are done by design. and not by default.
[00:22:15] Ali Rizvi: A big believer in that. I hate products that are created by default. I got hate is a strong word, I guess, but I think I do hate products that I've created by default, versus by design. and I, you know, saying, I feel like product management is a, especially in our kind of world where we've productized the hell out of everything, right?
[00:22:38] Ali Rizvi: your Instagram, identity as a product. you're, you know, we've, we've created this concept of personal brands, which essentially means, or productizing yourself.
[00:22:53] Frederick Weiss: Everyone's a product, everyone's an influencer, right?
[00:22:56] Ali Rizvi: That's right. That's right. And so, but what's interesting is that a lot of the way people end up creating products, even themselves is by default, versus.
[00:23:10] Ali Rizvi: You know, and then they find out and they discover, well, why am I in so much pain? Well, because it's by default, people are operating from, you know, their fears and their traumas and, or their external environment. and, they become expressions of that versus, you know, pulling back and taking the time, to really, make a decision about what matters to you.
[00:23:43] Ali Rizvi: And do you have a set of principles? that's one of the things I always teach other product managers is having a set of principles for your product, a guideline that's, unbreakable, as much as you can. Right. but you will never.
[00:24:03] Frederick Weiss: Do you mind if I, I don't mean to interject, but that, that, that certainly brings up something that I did want to talk to you.
[00:24:10] Frederick Weiss: And I want to get back to that point, but you know, when you're talking about, ethics and honesty and responsibility and, you know, to extent governance of, of these products, I would love to talk about something that's, very, topical, of, of recent, which is the whole, the thing with Facebook and how they went down.
[00:24:33] Frederick Weiss: And, one of the things that I found very, McCobb was, one, a part of the algorithm that they discussed was how, when you could make people angry, you could get more engagement. So they would try to get people angry about a subject, and then they would be able to, to hook them in. to, to get more, you know, you know, obviously if they get more engagement on their platform, they sell more ads would be to do everything's wonderful for them.
[00:25:06] Frederick Weiss: How does that reflect on a company like Facebook? kind of, I don't want to say taking advantage of humanity to make a dollar, but maybe I am.
[00:25:20] Ali Rizvi: What do you think? Yeah, I mean, look, I mean, guys like Asimov, grape, you know, science fiction writers, I was in law, a timeline, you know, Scott Carr, they, they all predicted these type of things and, you know, many, many years ago.
[00:25:36] Ali Rizvi: and, so, I, I'm going to kind of take the conversation a little bit higher. we call these things called, we call these things social networks. All right. But if you, you know, one of the things I'd love to do is break down language. if you break down the words,
[00:26:00] Nick Sollecito: social network,
[00:26:04] Ali Rizvi: in net is something that you use.
[00:26:08] Ali Rizvi: for two purposes, one, a net helps you quantify
[00:26:15] Nick Sollecito: an object, quantified and bits and bytes of an object. You can surround it with a
[00:26:21] Ali Rizvi: net and you can see every part of the net and kind of say, oh, this is 25 pieces based on the net that I, but it's really, then the second part is to design, to, control or your net.
[00:26:33] Ali Rizvi: You control thing, throw a net on it, on the animal.
[00:26:37] Nick Sollecito: you know,
[00:26:38] Ali Rizvi: it's designed for control and, and you know, and so it's very easy. I mean, social net, I mean, it's a net around society at the end of. and so I don't think anyone should be surprised, that a piece of technology that was designed to be a net around societies is doing nefarious things.
[00:27:06] Ali Rizvi: and we should be surprised. I mean, if you go back to the history of Silicon Valley, and the early writings of, you know, the gurus of Silicon Valley, who eventually became very wealthy venture capitalists, because they not only built the technologies, but they, you know, told everybody, through various forms of propaganda, what people wanted.
[00:27:36] Ali Rizvi: and when you can, when you know, there's a great book, we're kind of going deep here. It was a great book called manufactured consent by non-Chomsky, either one, you guys have read that book, but it's a great treatise on how to manufacture consent.
[00:27:53] Ali Rizvi: so you don't have to force someone to do something you just manufactured their consent to do it.
[00:27:59] Ali Rizvi: And the social networks were great at that. they manufactured our consent, our consent to give up our data consent, to give up our entire lives. you know, everything about us into a platform that, then hired neuroscientists and, you know, all kinds of specialists and built monster AI as is, and, and, to analyze all of this data and then, and then double down on the concept of the net.
[00:28:33] Ali Rizvi: and in fact that the internet is, is, has another net. and it's military technology, right? So you can also go directly to the yesteryears, know why does a military, why do military create technologies? That basic question? Why do you guys think militaries create technologies?
[00:28:56] Frederick Weiss: I would venture a guess.
[00:28:59] Frederick Weiss: That is very obvious, but I'm going to assume it's not. So I'm going to defer to your answer, which is
[00:29:06] Ali Rizvi: okay, which is its warfare
[00:29:13] Ali Rizvi: war and war is about either taking something from someone or subjugating them. Right. Okay. So, so if, you know, you know, going back again to yesteryear's, DARPA, you know, financing most of the early Silicon valley products, and DARPA the defense agency that, is involved with, you know, acquisition of technologies through funding startups.
[00:29:46] Ali Rizvi: Uh it's, it becomes really obvious once you look at the history of it. And so I'm certainly not surprised, by, at Facebook. and, and the other thing to really look at for me is, to even get more basic and get more human, most of, most of the, to me, most of these technology companies, when I want to invest in them, I do invest with them.
[00:30:15] Ali Rizvi: I look at the CTO, I really analyze the CTO, and. Because the CEO and a lot of these companies represent the company, represents the ethics of the company, or represents the mindset, the value. Yeah. I mean, well, the culture from the founder, right? Just the word founder, right? Again, you dissect that word.
[00:30:42] Ali Rizvi: we say a founder of a religion, a founder of this and a founder of that. so this is a mythological, you know, model, and, we are, humans are mythological printers. We, we, you know, no matter how much you try to cut it out, you're the religion that you were born. Good has a mythological influence on you and how you see the world.
[00:31:09] Ali Rizvi: And so, we kind of touched a lot of different things, but that's how I see it. So when you, when you, when you see, Zuckerberg, in an action. You know, either in a Senate hearing or wherever, it's, a person that, for, for whatever reason, no judgment in terms of perhaps they're, you know, naturally born psychological challenges potentially, but someone that doesn't have any, true, doesn't have a broad connection to feeling compassion or empathy.
[00:31:52] Ali Rizvi: Right. It becomes very obvious, or the lack of empathy, not only, you know, and if you have a lack of empathy in general, that's gonna, that's gonna permeate in your organization.
[00:32:06] Frederick Weiss: Let me, let me ask you a question then. Cause that, that brings up a very, very interesting point. So as, a medical professional, such as a doctor, For example, let's say they have to disconnect themselves every day at a, at a certain extent from what they're doing.
[00:32:24] Frederick Weiss: They, they see a lot of different things. there could be multiple, scenarios with a loss of life through just their, you know, nine to 10, through the day, right. Nine in the morning through 10 of the night. So, you know,
[00:32:42] Ali Rizvi: as a physician. So definitely.
[00:32:44] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. So you, so you got the idea. So I just want to play devil's advocate and see what you think.
[00:32:49] Frederick Weiss: So hypothetically, and I'm not defending anybody devil's advocate. You could see my horns they're there naturally, but to play devil's advocate, this gentleman, mark Zuckerberg, ease. Oh, let's approach it this way. He's developing a process. He's finding these behaviors that, you know, as I cited earlier, oh, making people angry and aggressive helps, get engagement to a higher performance rate, which sells more ads.
[00:33:22] Frederick Weiss: That's my business model. That's what I'm doing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Right now that being said. and, and also let me append to that where I also read things about how, young people are going to Instagram and they're finding all these things like, such as being, uh and going down those roads where they normally wouldn't have, prior to, you know, you know, technology and all these things being so accessible, you know, tech content being available, information being available is great, but is it being misused?
[00:34:01] Frederick Weiss: So. To all that being said, let me put this into a question. Mark Zuckerberg is putting out a product. He sees the different things. That, make his product more performance. And to a certain extent, people are quote-unquote, enjoying them. They're using them. They're getting more engagement. So obviously these are things that people want now, is that a fair statement or is it more than not, this guy is obviously a dirtbag?
[00:34:36] Ali Rizvi: well, I think you can't isolate it into one person. Right? We've got a systemic issue. and, and you know, while I certainly look, as a product person, I love to create great products that someone wants to be. and, and enjoy, you know, I'm in, I'm in the business, you know, in the business, an enterprise product business, that's, that's different than commercial products, but, or consumer products at the same time, you know, similar, similar sets of patterns apply.
[00:35:16] Ali Rizvi: but, the systemic problem is, is deeper, right? look, we've known all this since the beginning of, the beginning of that, this kind of, fast-moving technological advancement, you know, no surprises, there are no surprises, no one should be surprised. And on top of that, we've created a cult of capitalism, that you know, that we'll constantly subvert any, any questions.
[00:35:52] Ali Rizvi: Of, that, something is morally or ethically incorrect if it's in the name of money and business
[00:36:02] Frederick Weiss: MSG.
[00:36:04] Ali Rizvi: Right. And, and so, yeah, I mean, you know, DDT, right. I mean, we, or, or messing with genes and, we know that we have no freaking clue what actually is going to happen as a result of that. Right? We have no freaking clue. we pretend to, we even pretend to make decisions based on data. And for the most part, we do a lot of nice data crunching, and then we make a, you know, just a decision, which is why most businesses fail. right. Because you always know what the right thing is to do.
[00:36:50] Ali Rizvi: But the question is whether you going to do it or not. and so when you know, we've set this up, you know, this whole Facebook thing is a symptom. It's a symptom of, it's not, it's a sin. Look, if you, as a, if you were a good example is, maybe clothing, right? Look, it's great to make good quotes. and you, if you'd love to make clothing, and you make this clothing and you, and you love, people, love your clothing and they buy your clothing and you made clothes for the sake of the love for making clothes.
[00:37:32] Ali Rizvi: but if you make clothes for money, then you're not making clothes anymore.
[00:37:42] Ali Rizvi: that's not what you're doing anymore. You're making money. And if money is the objective, then you're going to cheat on the clothes.
[00:37:49] Frederick Weiss: That's right. Yeah. It's, it's funny. It makes me think of this. A quote, which I think is very apropos from, Silicon Valley, which I'm sure everyone here has seen nice necklace by the way.
[00:38:02] Frederick Weiss: from, oh, I forget his boss at the time the CEO, he asks, what's his name? Richard. He asked Richard, what do you think our product is? Richard? And Richard of course said, well, you know, the, the algorithm that's, that's the product. And he said wrong, Richard it's stock.
[00:38:23] Ali Rizvi: Yes. and it's even more insidious, right?
[00:38:28] Ali Rizvi: Because a lot of these startup guys and gals initially had a, had a value-based purpose there. It was, you know, there was a sense of, you know, rightness about these early days of the valley and early days of techno. I think, you know, and based on the works I've read, I believe it was there, but what's insidious is that once you move away from just the backs of the close example, once you move away from making good clones to making money, and you start cheating on the clothes, you export your labor to a really cheap country, where there's labor is really cheap, where you Chan obfuscate the fact that you're using slave labor to make the great stuff that you have and sell it for ridiculous amounts of profit.
[00:39:26] Ali Rizvi: and, and hence, you know, really co you know, act like a colonial power again, through the lens of a corporate entity. and, you know, you can do that if you're that, if you, your greed as operating begins to operate at that level, imagine where else, this, this thing, this sort of virus and this greed begins to permeate your value systems, your, you know, look at all the people that hung out with Epstein.
[00:40:02] Frederick Weiss: Oh, Jesus. Right. There's a photo of so many high profile individuals like bill Clinton, Donald Trump, gays. I think
[00:40:13] Ali Rizvi: your mission around gates, you know, has his, does, does the dissolution of his marriage is linked to his, his, relationship with Epstein and whatever the fuck he did over there. We don't know.
[00:40:29] Frederick Weiss: Good idea. Good idea. Good idea. There's some FDF stuff going on there. And when they say F I mean, fucked up,
[00:40:36] Ali Rizvi: really fucked up, but most awful of awful. Awful, awful, awful, awful. But it all comes down to. A, a society that is not willing to fold certain things sacred anymore. All right. I'm going to kind of go into a little bit of metaphysics.
[00:40:56] Ali Rizvi: here is that, if you can't, if you lose that, sense of sacredness about things, like you, like just your ethical, your value system, if that becomes fungible because the operating system that the society is beginning to move towards is, is complete, you know, opposite of, of that. And slowly but surely, right?
[00:41:28] Ali Rizvi: You become more and more influenced, you know, and these technologies have to create incredible acceleration of. Really moving people's psychological and value systems along towards, you know, wherever they want to move it. and so, yeah, it's interesting that we've gone down this rabbit hole. but, but you know, it, it, it goes back to, from a product management standpoint.
[00:41:58] Ali Rizvi: I remember this, this book that came out, fall hooked by NIR Eyal. yeah,
[00:42:04] Frederick Weiss: love that book.
[00:42:06] Ali Rizvi: I love that book too, but I completely disagreed with him. I said, Tom said, this shit is fucked up, dude. You are, you are doing, you are, you are, creating a product out of, manufacturing people's consent, you know, and you're selling this book.
[00:42:33] Ali Rizvi: Making millions of bucks dollars on this book that is teaching people how to fool people at the end of the day. At least for me, that's my opinion, right? I'm creating a product that is going to hook you, and I'm going to look a, the word hook has been around for a long time. I mean, you know, musicians use that as well.
[00:42:56] Ali Rizvi: You know, you create a riff, you create a hook, it's a Griff, it's a, it's a, it's a verse. you know, in song learns, there's a hook. it's a great time time. I'm a big fan of seven, eight says Russia's man speak brush fan. but, but you know, that, that I disagree with the flack that, that he made a text.
[00:43:30] Ali Rizvi: Really at the end of the day, about how to create more products like Instagram. there's this book that I've read, that was reviled by the, you know, especially all you see is called the internet is not the answer. and, you know, it had a bit of influence on me. at that time, I didn't agree with everything that this, this, I forgot the official name.
[00:43:58] Ali Rizvi: but I did agree with him that, we know that if we go headlong down this path, and if you've seen the matrix, you guys seen the matrix, right? There's a part in the majors where Trinity opens up the door of the car and she points out and she says, you know, you know where that's going to leave. and I think we always know where that, where things live.
[00:44:31] Ali Rizvi: but, whether, you know, you call it human nature or, or whatever you call it, just the movement of the cosmos may be, that, that, that, you know, we go down this path knowing, I mean, we know, and, and that's where I really disagreed with him because he, he, he, productize, taking people out and convincing them to do things that maybe they really didn't want to do.
[00:45:00] Ali Rizvi: And as a technologist, you know, it's kind of an as an, as an anathema, the right word, in essence, you know, but, but I want to, I believe in the value of creating a great product that people want to use, and sure we got to make money off of it. Absolutely. Yeah. We need to make money. We need to make, to survive.
[00:45:20] Ali Rizvi: We need to make money for our shareholders, but if your point becomes to make money and not about providing value. Through to your customers through great product, then you've got problems.
[00:45:33] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. Well, if you have to use these, anti-patterns to get people to do the things that you want them to do, is that the, you know, there are, there comes a question up from that, you know, is your, is your product questionable?
[00:45:50] Frederick Weiss: is your product actually a good product or is it just something that, you know, somebody, you know, a few levels above, you said, oh, that's great MVP, ship it. And you know, you have to do whatever you can to provide your users. Some dopamine hits an order to, you know, make sure that you're around next quarter.
[00:46:14] Ali Rizvi: Well, that's it right? I mean, you, you said something really interesting here, the duke, you mean heads, it's obvious that Facebook can afford the, scientific research, but they need to understand how to control people. Get them to do what they want. Right. And, or to provide a technology that allows others to control people, to get them to do what they want.
[00:46:37] Ali Rizvi: my daughter actually just wrote, an article on media bias for her class. and, you know, and, and, and, and she's, you know, she's at this generation she's 16 and, and she's, you know, it was an interesting learning experience for her because she got to actually pull the veil off of all of these, you know, apps.
[00:47:03] Ali Rizvi: She regularly uses, you know, Instagram and WhatsApp. you know, a lot of WhatsApp here because Mexico is a big WhatsApp, country. in fact, what's really interesting in Mexico. Facebook has an agreement with Mexico. so when you buy a, the mobile sign here, all the WhatsApp. Yeah, what's that all of all the apps, Facebook apps, messenger, WhatsApp, they don't count against your data.
[00:47:33] Ali Rizvi: I
[00:47:34] Frederick Weiss: actually had a lot of conversations with many, many people, all over the globe and WhatsApp. That's the way they, have these conversations with their family all around the world is, is yeah. It's they leverage it in the exact same way without having to use their data. WhatsApp is a great,
[00:47:52] Ali Rizvi: yeah. great technology and look, I think that's an incredibly valuable technology.
[00:47:59] Ali Rizvi: but do I find the echo chamber of these Facebook forums valuable? a lot less. So, they've created they've, you know, made a lot of trouble, going back to the Facebook, you know, outing of them, by the name? I forgot her name. yeah. It's oh, the whistleblower, the whistleblower, right,
[00:48:27] Frederick Weiss: right.
[00:48:28] Frederick Weiss: I don't recall her name off the top of my head. It would have to
[00:48:34] Ali Rizvi: know that is, I mean, it's, it's gone to the lack of trust is the other thing. the lack of trust now, and amongst the people of the world, the lack of trust in institutions, the lack of trust, and I think basic humanity,
[00:49:00] Ali Rizvi: is really interesting because right now, the way I feel is, I don't know if she's a whistleblower and meaning, meaning that I'm wondering if she's just simply part of the great distractions.
[00:49:13] Frederick Weiss: Ah, yes. If that was an intentional, whistleblower, if you will, like, it was more of a ruse to cover something up because we all know, you know, the following day there was, some kind of hollow blue, which took the platform down for hours and hours and hours, the building was locked. What kind of coverup did they do?
[00:49:34] Frederick Weiss: And so was that all part of some kind of, I don't want to go all conspiracy theory on everybody, but you know, maybe it was some part of a, a planned kind of thing done by the, by,
[00:49:50] Ali Rizvi: by, the people in Facebook, the nefarious evil Cadray and say,
[00:49:59] Frederick Weiss: yes, I was trying to not say like the robot people from Venus, but yes, you get my point,
[00:50:03] Ali Rizvi: you know?
[00:50:03] Ali Rizvi: but, but, but think about, you know, controlling the narrative as part of manufactured consent, um,
[00:50:12] Frederick Weiss: Yeah, I think early yesterday, I mean, right. Like right away on Twitter when Facebook was down for maybe an hour, I think those conspiracy theories started that, oh, you know, there's this big Senate hearing, that's coming up with a whistleblower. So Facebook's just trying to control the narrative. There were, there was those, ideas kind of being floated out there almost immediately, that I saw.
[00:50:34] Nick Sollecito: So it's, so it's interesting that you bring that up too because I think it's just very common that we're, you know, as a society, so skeptical these days that, you know, we're so quick to think, you know, this is something that far is going on. It's not, you know, it's not just black and white. There's definitely nuance in there.
[00:50:50] Nick Sollecito: And, you know, we're trying to find like, what's the real answer and we may never know, you know, that's, that's, that's kind of what too, right?
[00:51:00] Nick Sollecito: we may never know like it could have been just like a, you know, a major outage incident, that was completely unrelated to the news, or it could have been.
[00:51:09] Ali Rizvi: Yeah. I mean, it almost doesn't matter anymore. It
[00:51:13] Nick Sollecito: doesn't,
[00:51:16] Ali Rizvi: it's actually deeper. Right? I say I would say it's deeper than noise because, it, it reflects on the systemic problem. a breakdown and, and, common value systems. You know, we used to all believe that there was a thing called a
[00:51:40] Nick Sollecito: fact.
[00:51:42] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. And now we have fake news
[00:51:46] Ali Rizvi: and now the fact is a fact is debatable.
[00:51:50] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. Facts are debatable fact awaits. People still believe that there's a lot of people that believe that the earth is flat. Like legitimately believe intimately, believe that the earth is, you know, stood upon four elephants that stand on a turtle,
[00:52:09] Ali Rizvi: and then we can walk up to the edge, like a crystal at the end that you can go and touch
[00:52:16] Frederick Weiss: again.
[00:52:17] Frederick Weiss: I, again, though, this goes back to my previous point, I don't think, and I'm going to, I think I might be, being generous. but I don't believe that these people are stupid. I think again, it goes back to there's people that get their news from over here and people that get their news from over there. I bet if you measure their IQs, there's probably a lot of, equal, intelligent and less intelligent individuals, but it all comes to where certain people get their news and who, is in charge and possibly controlling either in a negative, positive or neutral sense.
[00:53:03] Ali Rizvi: I, I would take it further. I think that I think we in the us, got really lazy, in the sense that we believe that, we had evolved as humans for living. We actually have. And, you know, and, and, evolution is a very long. Long-winded, you know, pattern, you know, for, fruit flies to grow, you know, little spiny things on it's on this legs, it takes, you know, a million years.
[00:53:46] Ali Rizvi: well,
[00:53:47] Nick Sollecito: what happened,
[00:53:47] Ali Rizvi: you know, very long time, and, and humans had been around in the great evolutionary chain. and you know, just not only are just an organic matter, forget about this geological matter, for a very short period of time, but, kind of moving to, a couple of other topics, I think we got really lazy cause we thought we were more, and, and technology kind of fooled us.
[00:54:17] Ali Rizvi: All right. It did look, we create these amazing
[00:54:22] Frederick Weiss: things. this iPhone, oh my God. It could make me a cheese pizza, but yeah, we're, we're, we're just, we're just people. and these things aren't might not be as great as we imagine them to be. We are, we're not even a type one civilization.
[00:54:40] Ali Rizvi: No. I mean, you know, I love the work of, what's his name?
[00:54:45] Ali Rizvi: no. Yeah. I love his work too. no, there's a guy who, who was actually tossed at a Ted Conference. and then. Yeah, they'd bend his TedTalk. can't don't remember his name, but he did this interesting. He found this interesting, this is going to sound wacky, but, in this day and age where, you know, where the stuff that was supposed to be believable is less believable.
[00:55:19] Ali Rizvi: I tend towards thinking that the stuff that was less believable maybe is more believable. You know, the stuff that we, you know, through propaganda and the right set of, you know, marketing messages, I'm always supposed to push aside, which is that, it could very well be that there were much more advanced societies before the society.
[00:55:42] Ali Rizvi: Absolutely. and, we don't know for sure. but we have some good ideas. and, there are some really good, studies in scientific research on this, but the reason why we wouldn't explore that, or wouldn't allow that to come within our psychological frame. Is because it is that it would begin to diminish our ego, you know, and that sound of the powers that be, that's just something that we can allow.
[00:56:12] Ali Rizvi: And so in our, in our country, in us, we can simply not allow ourselves to be involved. That's something that's pretty prevalent.
[00:56:25] Nick Sollecito:
[00:56:26] Ali Rizvi: and to the point that, you know, we've never been removed any form of competition, you know, real competition in our schools and forget about the educations that, oh my God, we could go off on that big time as well.
[00:56:39] Ali Rizvi: Right. that's another hour, that's another hour. But, but the, but the, what I was getting at is that we got really lazy and, and also we, we lost our ability to self-reflect and really take a stoic approach of, of, you know, self-criticism. and having lost that, we let this complete, just let this thing go, just fly on its own.
[00:57:11] Ali Rizvi: And this thing is carrying us the technological part is it's just a symptom of the greater, you know, movement of, I guess because we don't curb it. the cult of narcism, I guess the best way I could put it.
[00:57:36] Frederick Weiss: Absolutely because we're projecting our own, our own egos out there. look at me.
[00:57:44] Frederick Weiss: How many followers do I have? Did everybody like my photo of the dog? If the man, I'm having a bad day. Oh, I got three more likes or that made my afternoon. Is that real emotional currency and how. Healthy are those patterns on a day to day for a grown human being and how, how, how devastating could those be for a child using this technology?
[00:58:14] Frederick Weiss: You know, it's some of, it's just, it's, it's, it's really out there, but, let me, let, let, let me, communicate here that we're, we're right at the end of the show. And I know probably
[00:58:26] Ali Rizvi: talk a lot of different directions then talk about a product so much. No, but, but
[00:58:31] Frederick Weiss: we did talk about the ethics of products and I think that's a really, really important conversation to have.
[00:58:39] Frederick Weiss: So, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm deeply, deeply appreciative of, both of you for, for sharing your time and talking about this today, but I have two last questions for you, Ali, that, that I like to always ask my guests first off, obviously, where can people find out more about.
[00:58:57] Ali Rizvi: Yeah. So, I mean, I've got a LinkedIn presence.
[00:58:59] Ali Rizvi: certainly, I have a very, at this point, a little news, Twitter presence, you know, but, you know, I know products and, and products built an ethical way, with the intent of solving, solving real, real problems for, for customers, for, for users. and then, you know, certainly, hopefully, the money is as simply a by-product of, of really helping, helping to provide a great service.
[00:59:34] Ali Rizvi: so that's kind of the way I look at it. the other thing is that, you know, the LinkedIn presence there, but, I am big sort of slowly beginning to, actually work on a book, product management book, kind of centered around, Kind of centered around this, this particular topic that we kind of, we went deep and, you know, I've spent a lot of my, my, my, I've had a lot of experience in Senate, spent a lot of time studying metaphysics, and you know, some, a lot of esoteric, literature.
[01:00:11] Ali Rizvi: and I have this idea of combining metaphysics with, with product and mainly about this notion of coming back to, ethical patterns that, you know, that was really loved for the world to begin to embrace again, and feel like there is a thing, that we all share, and it's called truth, and it may be different for all of us.
[01:00:40] Ali Rizvi: but we all share it. and, and we can, we can certainly learn from each other and appreciate each other's version of what is true at the heart of it. It's all one. And, and you know, I feel like when I was a product person, I, I put that same sort of heart and soul into the way I dealt products.
[01:01:01] Frederick Weiss: I love that. Well, the last question I have for you, Ali is, we always provide our guests an opportunity to say a few words of wisdom at the end. So the stage is yours, any words of wisdom for our audience, departing the parting words of wisdom,
[01:01:21] Ali Rizvi: get into the Headspace of non-judgment, recognize that at the heart of, all of us is a certain truth about our humanity.
[01:01:37] Ali Rizvi: And, expose yourself to literature or that it and con and content and literature and thinking and philosophy that is outside of your echo chamber. do it in a way that's that's that you can actually allow yourself to learn from it. And in that, expand your horizons and, begun to begin to have a level of compassion and empathy for the person next to you that may, that you may think that it looks different, talks, different things, different, but at the heart of it all, we share a common humanity and let's focus on that.
[01:02:24] Frederick Weiss: Love it. Thank you so much, Ali we'll we'll say yeah, really appreciate it. Well, that's it for a show. I want to thank, first our guest co-host Nick Sollecito. Nick. Thank you so much for joining.
[01:02:38] Ali Rizvi: Thank
[01:02:39] Frederick Weiss: you and Ali, thank you so much for sharing your time with us.
[01:02:57] Frederick Weiss: And I'm really glad that we had it.
[01:03:01] Ali Rizvi: Thank you for your time.
[01:03:14] Frederick Weiss: Absolutely. Thank you all. And thanks to everybody for watching. Really appreciate it. And we'll catch you next time.