I’ve always been mildly fascinated by the publication Business Insider, about which I know very little. Where did it come from? Does anyone involved in business actually read it? Does it exist because businesspeople are very gullible and can be tricked into reading clickbait articles with huge, intrusive ads in the way, or because non-business people are very gullible and be tricked into thinking businesspeople are reading it? Is there a business edition for insiders that doesn’t have ads, and if so, is it called Business Insider Business Insider?
One of the head editors, according to Wikipedia, is a businessman who is banned from business on account of fraud, and another was previously involved with something called Internet.com, both backgrounds that seem 100% perfect for Business Insider.
This is the perfect amount of information to know about it. I understand that it’s a silly publication and that there’s a mystery behind it, there’s a surface-level origin story that fits my mythological understanding of it, and I’m not sure what more there would to be gain from further knowledge. Knowing when you don’t need to know more is a key asset in the clickbait era. I think a lot of our instincts are still built for a world where information was somewhat scarce, but on the internet it’s absurdly plentiful, and most of it is kind of useless, and what we need is not to acquire information but to conserve attention.
I’d trust probably one person in the world, Ashley Feinberg, to keep the right amused approach to Business Insider while explaining more about it, while most writers would take it too seriously and kill the fun by giving the publication undeserved attention and saying dumb things like “it’s a genius idea!” which is what people always like to say about exploitative schemes as if complete and shameless commitment to swindling people is some great masterpiece of human intellect. But short of a Feinberg exposé, most things I could learn about it wouldn’t live up to the expectations I have in my mind, like learning what’s in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction. There’s also that old quote that “Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.” (Hopefully, the frog is already dead – but I guess the quote implies that this particular dissection is a vivisection. If you want to be nerd, you should say “vivisecting a frog” when you bring up this old chestnut.)
Anyway, in celebration of my ignorance of Business Insider and my mild bemusement at its existence, here is Business Outsider, a publication in which I look at the headlines and links to today’s Business Insider articles and write the stories I imagine without looking into them any further.
I am not going to explain anything about the publication and we are not going to learn anything. Please don’t confuse it.
This is the top article on the page today. A man has died of cancer, and there’s a little flame symbol indicating that this is a “hot” story.
I feel bad enough about anyone dying of cancer (it could be any of us) that I won’t even write up a fake article here, but I do always think it’s worth mentioning with any “battle with cancer” story that the cancer also died after its battle with Paul Allen. I think it will teach cancer a lesson if we can make it clear that the worst thing it can do for itself is advance. It would help if we taught the same lesson to aspiring dictators and other powermongers.
This is #2. Little too meta, as they say. Okay, enough of this “real news,” let’s move into some classic Business Insider territory and stop with the peanut gallery and just deliver some actual articles based on guesswork
BERN, SWITZERLAND - Researchers into the price of a watch discovered that the reason it cost over $450,000 was that it was priced at $462,000, a price higher than $450,000. Manufacturers set that price hoping that people would pay it, because some people in the world are extremely rich. Inside of the watch was a bunch of fancy clockwork, whereas inside a $450,000 house is typically a variety of rooms in which people can sleep, cook, eat, and hang out. Something resembling the world was seen inside the watch, but on closer inspection it was not a world itself but rather a small metal image of ours.
When asked if the watch was selling, employees at Bovet said “like clockwork.” One of them said “like hotcakes” but then admitted she could not recall a $450,000 hotcake, though she assured reporters that the company would attempt to manufacture one.
Theories that the watch’s price was part of a sting operation to identify people who had excess wealth that could be seized and redistributed to the masses could not be confirmed, though Bovet’s president admitted that this was a good idea that the company would never implement.
LOS ANGELES, CA – “We can literally do anything,” began Hulu’s sales pitch to advertisers, before one wiseass responded “Then what the fuck are you doing talking to advertisers? Go fly to the moon!”
The meeting descended into chaos as Hulu executives huddled to discuss how best to respond to the heckler. With their backs to the crowd, the executives quickly came to an agreement, and, in a coordinated motion, pulled down their pants and exposed their buttocks to the crowd. “How’s that for a goddamn moon!?” Hulu CEO Dana Sellsworth taunted.
The advertisers broke into wild applause and every single one of them bought the product.
DETROIT, MI - “We can’t build the Lincoln Navigator SUV fast enough,” said Ford chief of operations Jerry Ford at a meeting Friday, which led to his fellow executives high-fiving and exiting the room to go off for an early happy hour.
Ford was upset at the reaction, as he had hoped to highlight a crisis in the company’s sluggish and inefficient manufacturing process. Due to his poor phrasing, his comments had been misinterpreted to mean that the car was selling well, which is far from the case. To date, only eight vehicles in that model have been sold, and it takes the company of 100,000 people over fifteen months to manufacture each one. “You don’t understand,” Ford said to the empty room. “We really need to figure out how to build it faster.”
The company’s failure to construct its vehicle fast enough should give the brand a boost in the most important market in the world, the market for affordable healthcare. Since the company will go bankrupt, more of its employees will now be out of jobs and invested in the cause of universalizing healthcare as a human right.
IQUITOS, PERU – After navigating a ‘Shark Tank’ of mean investors and competitive entrepreneurs, winners of a popular reality show will receive a boost from Amazon, with just one catch, that they have to be part of a company that dehumanizes people in warehouses to the point where they don’t feel comfortable taking bathroom breaks, and just one other catch, that they have to swim the length of the Amazon River with small razor cuts to attract piranhas.
“It’s time to make ‘Shark Tank’ a little more literal,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “and a piranha is literally a freshwater shark, the Amazon River is literally an open-air tank of water, and it’s time we at Amazon took our name a little more literally.”
He was incorrect about many of the facts he stated, but is still rich.
And the boost?
“We’ll shoot them into space,” Bezos said. “I’m planning on shooting my money into space and I’ll be shooting the entrepreneurs into space with it. What’s a bigger boost than the boost of a space-ready booster rocket?”
Scientists didn’t disagree.
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - It’s fucking long. Sorry, I had all flight to write this article but I fell asleep. Now I have to hurry and file this story before taking the return flight back which is in… OH SHIT, it’s boarding NOW gotta run!
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – $1,000 in fees, $1,500 to write this article - can’t go wrong in my book.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA - In the squares of this city, ‘neath the shadow of the mountain, near the relief office, Google their money was countin’. Seeing lines of people anxious for their future, the company’s CEO, Larry Page or Some New Guy, was inspired once again to deliver something meaningful, a three-pixel phone with eight affordable accessories. “People can afford to buy eight,” he said, “I’m convinced of it.”
Here, as a journalist, I have presented his findings, unadulterated. He has assured me that each of these accessories will help you make the most of your new phone, whether or not it is the Google Pixel 3, but that they do only work with his phone.
External speakers - $100: The phone does not come with built-in speakers, in order to save space, so these will be useful for helping you hear the phone, unless you have the headphones.
Wireless headphones - $50: Much like the Apple headphones that look like hearing aids, these Google headphones can let you hear the sounds of the phone without plugging into it, with the added feature that you can hear not just your phone but any phone nearby.
3-8. Miscellaneous - $259: “A bunch of miscellaneous crap, here’s a list” was Guy’s exact quote. In retrospect I was supposed to write out each item of the list, but I lost it.
INTERNATIONAL AIRSPACE - Your days of forgetting about the beaches of Brazil while flying are over. Luxury airline manufacturer Embraer has finally solved the pernicious problem of Brazil-beach amnesia with a luxury airline interior equipped with Sonus Faber speakers that play the voices of luxurious celebrities, from marketers-to-the-rich Gwyneth Paltrow and Tom Brady to voice actors Pamela Adlon, Stephen Root, H Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, and Maria Bamford, reciting the names and locations of all 2,095 beaches of the largest country in South America. Just taking one flight is enough to increase your recall of Brazilian beaches by 170%, while owning and regularly utilizing the plane can put you in the top 1,000 internationally in terms of least-forgetful-about-the-beaches-of-Brazil. Find that ranking chart in the next edition of Business Insider.
Damn it! They’ve gotten ahead of my game! It’s clickbait where you need to click just to see the headline, which is what you get when you finally scroll to the bottom of the page. Not a game I’m willing to play at the time. I guess I’ll remain forever a Business Outsider.