Big Tech Should Try Radical Candor

This is the last edition of On Tech for 2020. Thank you for reading, please be well and I’ll see you back here on Jan. 4.

A large part of my job is explaining the inner workings of big and powerful tech companies. I want them to put me out of a job.

OK, not really. My rhetorical point is that by design, mortals don’t really understand the complex, sometimes garbage-prone sea of independent merchants selling on Amazon. Few of us comprehend the full measure of data collected by Google and Facebook. People may not get why their iPhones keep pushing them to Apple Music.

Knowing the messy details often isn’t essential. I don’t understand internal combustion engines, and I still drive.

But as Big Tech superpowers command more of our attention and money and shape how the world operates, it would be beneficial to us and the companies for them to be better understood. And that may mean acknowledging uncomfortable truths.

When I looked this week at the new nutrition-label-like…

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