In an excerpt of his new book, I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works, Nick Bilton argues that the consumer is now the center of the media world. “Now, we are always in the center of the map, and it’s a very powerful place to be. Now you are the starting point. Now the digital world follows you, not the other way around.”

In the political world, the rough analog to this digital media future is democracy. But as we’ve seen, the seeming transfer of control from lawmakers to the people is just that: seeming. To a large degree, the big media and technology companies – particularly the de facto monopolies like the mobile carriers, cable companies, etc. – still control the consumer experience. The future will be personalized, but don’t think you’ll get everything you want when you want it.

A lobbyist friend of mine—who previously worked on the staffs of two Senate Republicans—recently, and ruefully, summed up how the system now works. My friend represents a Fortune 500 company with employees in a newly elected Democratic senator’s state. He had been trying to schedule an office visit through official channels for months with the senator and his client, to no avail. Finally, my friend reached out to the senator’s chief fund-raiser, pledging that his client’s PAC intended to contribute the legal maximum to the senator’s campaign, and requesting to be placed on the senator’s fund-raising invitation list. He was stunned the following morning to be interrupted by a call from the senator, expressing a heartfelt wish to get to know his client better.

pedestrians need to get used to the idea of looking for bikes just as they look for cars. This is one are where improved bicyclist behavior can’t help. Even increased bike lanes wouldn’t help much, since in my experience the kind of pedestrians who step out into the road without looking are even more likely to step out into a bike lane without looking.