Shanghai Building to be Demolished

Business

February 5th, 2016

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Problems at Github

I have been wondering why Github doesn’t add all the features that people obviously want. Apparently others have been wondering the same thing. Searching previous commits is an obvious one, especially since I can do it at the command line. Real issue tracking is another. A real wiki is another. The big surprise is that so little has changed in the last 5 years. Github in 2016 has basically the same features it had when I started using it in ...

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February 5th, 2016

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Students do not study the fields that might pay the most?

I am ambivalent about this post. It seems to imply that STEM fields pay more than the arts. But funding for science has been cut dramatically over the last 40 years, and many engineering jobs have left the country due to the decline in industrial employment. STEM wages have been stagnant for decades. That people should prefer STEM careers is non-obvious. If there was real demand for STEM workers, we would see large wage increases in STEM fields, and clearly ...

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February 5th, 2016

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The importance of institutions for economic growth

This is good:

Source

February 5th, 2016

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When a company runs out of money, its managers may suffer meltdowns

Some people (including my brother) had trouble believing that Milburn of Celolot would actually lose his temper with me. But it does happen, especially when a company is running out of business. So this story about screaming fits at Nasty Girl is easy for me to believe:

Several recently departed employees told Jezebel in June that the company had become an extremely dysfunctional place to work. The company was sued for allegedly firing several pregnant employees, during or just after ...

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February 1st, 2016

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The founder of ThoughWorks is radical

Interesting:

Singham believes his company’s culture is its most valuable asset and a major reason it’s has been growing rapidly for the past five years – even in the industry’s darkest post-bubble days.

“How do intellectuals collaborate in the 21st century?” Singham asks, then answers his own question: “Self-organizing in small teams, poly-skilled, decentralized, non-authoritative. Libertarians and socialists agree on this, ironically.”

Singham is refreshingly candid about his struggle to reconcile his politics with his approach to business: He wants software to be ...

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January 31st, 2016

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The early excitement about Facebook is long forgotten

Nowadays the tech community finds a home on either Twitter or Google+. Software developers think of Facebook as a social platform, but not so much of a place they would go to write about their technology ideas (I’m sure this happens to some extent, but not as much as on Twitter or Google+).

Still, there were a few years, perhaps from 2007 to 2010, when many folks in the tech community were looking at Facebook with great excitement. Facebook appeared ...

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January 31st, 2016

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This disproves the superstar theory of economic success

Do you believe that Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were superstars who created a large amount of wealth? Do you believe, in general, that there are superstars who should be given large rewards because they do amazing things? If so, consider this story as a counter-balance:

This person was an exceptionally sharp programmer. Everyone on the teams looked up to him. He had been with the company since the early days and not only knew our systems, but he seemed ...

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January 31st, 2016

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Britain has the safest wall sockets

Yet another story on the slow speed of technological change. Interesting:

• Prong Design: Like standard U.S. grounded plugs, the U.K. wall plug has three prongs. But the design of these prongs makes it nearly impossible for you to shock yourself accidentally. Unlike in U.S. plugs, half of each prong is coated in insulation. Because of this, even if a plug is not fully inserted into a socket, touching the exposed part of the prongs can’t give you a shock.

• ...

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January 31st, 2016

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Journalism continues to fall into deeper trouble

How can one get started in journalism nowadays?

Jim Tankersley is economic policy correspondent for The Washington Post. In an interview with Quartz, Tankersley notes that while reporting has always been demanding, the current environment has created problems far beyond the bounds of workplace exhaustion.

“What strikes me lately [. . .] is how relentless the demands are on all of my reporter friends, no matter where they work or what they write about,” Tankersley says. “Everyone is juggling. If you ...

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January 26th, 2016

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Forbes wants to block my ad blocker

Interesting. These are my screenshots. I could not click past this:

So, can I simply click my way past this?

No:

I am using Ghostery. Apparently Forbes won’t show me its site.

Source

January 25th, 2016

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The future is over

Interesting:

Aside from its being an interesting story, however, why is it important to study this transformation? Mainly, Gordon suggests — although these are my words, not his — to provide a baseline. What happened between 1870 and 1940, he argues, and I would agree, is what real transformation looks like. Any claims about current progress need to be compared with that baseline to see how they measure up.

And it’s hard not to agree with him that nothing that has happened ...

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January 24th, 2016

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Amazon.com will give away your personal details to hackers

Very frustrating:

Wow. Just wow. The attacker gave Amazon my fake details from a whois query, and got my real address and phone number in exchange. Now they had enough to bounce around a few services, even convincing my bank to issue them a new copy of my Credit Card.

Trying very hard to not take out my frustrations on an unrelated support rep, I contacted both Amazon Retail and AWS expressing my disappointment and asking them to put a note on ...

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January 23rd, 2016

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T-shirts vary like crazy, in terms of size

Interesting:

You may have had this experience before: You buy two identical articles of clothing. They are the same brand, style and size — maybe even the same color. They are exactly the same except that one fits, and the other does not. The problem is manufacturing variance.

To test manufacturing variance, we measured 20 identical new t-shirts. These shirts were priced in the $20 range. The graph below depicts the distribution in chest width and length, which each have a standard ...

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January 21st, 2016

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You can be the most popular business in your market for years, till the year that changes

Being super popular for years is not a good argument, if you are trying to explain why you will continue to be super popular in the future:

This proposed a problem, if a theoretical one, for ESPN: while it grew into the giant that it is today on the back of the dual revenue stream, it faced a dual threat. It faced the same threat as everybody else in the television industry, that consumers could cut the cord entirely and instead ...

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January 20th, 2016

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Once you go public, it doesn’t matter what rock-solid assurances you might have been given

We see certain patterns repeating over and over again, especially in Silicon Valley. Phillip Greenspun was promised that he would be allowed to run his business his own way? And then, as soon as sales began to fall, he was kicked out? And that was back in 2000. So we see it again, with Twitter:

VCs like Bill Gurley can talk about the “big leagues,” “The World Series,” “The Superbowl” or any other sports metaphors all they want when they ...

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January 18th, 2016

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Patents impose tariffs of 1,000%

Amazing:

In the vast majority of cases, the drugs in question are not actually expensive to manufacture. The way the drug industry justifies high prices is that they must recover their research costs. While the industry does in fact spend a considerable amount of money on research (although they likely exaggerate this figure), at the point the drug is being administered this is a sunk cost. In other words, the resources devoted to this research have already been used; the economy ...

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January 17th, 2016

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The decline of computer programming in the USA

There are less computer programming jobs in the USA than there were 20 years ago.

Stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USA):

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm

1990 Number of Jobs 565,000

2010 Number of Jobs 363,100

2012 Number of Jobs 343,700

There is a tiny subset of the industry that is growing, and we associate these with the startups in San Francisco and New York. But so far these startups have not created enough jobs to offset the jobs lost due to other factors.

This suggests that there must ...

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January 16th, 2016

In Business, Technology

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I give good tech advice to startups, and different good advice to Enterprises

I had a job interview recently that went well. But then, the CTO read something that I had written a year and a half ago.

Then the CTO said to me “We can’t hire you. We are a tiny startup. We are facing some serious deadlines. We need to push a product out the door.”

I said, “I want to help you push a product out the door. I can work hard and help you guys move fast.”

He said, ...

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January 15th, 2016

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Bitcoin has failed

Interesting:

But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.

Why has Bitcoin failed? It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of ...

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January 14th, 2016

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Startups don’t make you rich

Interesting:

His thesis: the meme that startups will make you rich is false. I’ve written much of the same thing before, so I agree with Dan.

My question is why more engineers don’t realize that being an employee at a startup usually means getting financially screwed. My theory: there is a cult like atmosphere surrounding silicon valley.

I’ve had countless friends who fell into the trap, and I fell into it myself.

Founding a company is the only thing that makes sense, and even ...

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January 13th, 2016

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What Meetups tell us about America

Interesting:

Many of the results cement city stereotypes. New York is the country’s acknowledged fashion capital, so it is not a shock that Fashion/Beauty Meetups are unusually popular there. With 7,724 members, the most popular New York Fashion group is NYC’s #1 Fashion Events & Parties,. There are 67 other Fashion/Beauty Meetups in New York, ranging from Fashion Secrets of Attractive Men, to Dress Up Nicely For a Brunch.

Brooklyn is also characterized by an unusual interest in Fashion/Beauty. A ...

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January 12th, 2016

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Multiculturalism cascades from industry to industry

This is a good paragraph:

Elle’s 2016 Women in TV issue features three women of color on the cover, proving that when you actually put diversity onscreen, it ripples nicely into other arenas. Who woulda thought?

Source

January 12th, 2016

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Critiques of Paul Graham

girlziplocked/Holly Wood writes this critique of Paul Graham:

About 80% of his essay about economic inequality is a thinly veiled condemnation of poors who Paul Graham thinks are too stupid to understand why the rich are wealthy. They are stupid, he says, because they demand wealth redistribution as a means of addressing poverty rather than attacking poverty itself. Sillies!

He offers these hopeless poors a corrective, modeling himself as a legitimate wealth producer different from those dirty Wall-Street rent-seekers.

Which is half ...

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January 12th, 2016

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Discrimination against women in tech, part MCCXVI

A survey of women in Silicon Valley reminds us that Silicon Valley remains an unpleasant place for women.

The results are disheartening. For example, on basic workplace dynamics:

84% have been told that they were too aggressive, with half hearing that on multiple occasions.

It is difficult for women in tech to strike the right balance without being seen as too meek or too harsh:

47% have been asked to do lower-level tasks that male colleagues are not asked to do (e.g., note-taking, ordering ...

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January 10th, 2016

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Amazon acts likes its doing us a big favor by allowing us to develop for the Alexa platform

Eric, A.K.A Galactoise, has more to say about the broken certification process that Amazon offers for Alexa:

But the corollary is that in granting them this capability we have also granted them carte blanche to decimate our interface, and we would’ve had no idea that it was happening if it weren’t for the fact that we were slogging through a daily manual test process. If we caught them breaking us, we have to assume that they’ve broken other skills ...

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January 10th, 2016

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On Hacker News, how neutral does a title have to be?

The Hacker News guidelines state:

please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait.

The title of my last blog post is:

Amazon has absolutely no idea how to run an app store

The original title of the article posted to Hacker News was:

Amazon has absolutely no idea how to run an app store

In other words, they were the same, which is in keeping with guidelines that Hacker News has published.

dang, one of the moderators of Hacker News, re-wrote ...

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January 10th, 2016

In Business

1 Comment

Amazon has absolutely no idea how to run an app store

Amazon is relatively new to the job of running an app store, and some of their mistakes are either hilarious or infuriating, depending on how much money you’ve lost trying to deal with them.

Let’s start with the silliness. Amazon has an app store for Alexa (the personality that powers its voice service, and which can also be reached through the Amazon Echo). The apps are called “skills”. The name change is wise, since “app” suggests a binary file of ...

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January 8th, 2016

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The crash in Silicon Valley

Interesting:

There’s an elephant in the room: nobody really knows how many valley companies exist solely because of revenues that are diversions of this river of money. Startup-servicing startups. Hosting. Metrics. Food delivery. Recruiting. Hell…there are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies just doing advertising services, alone. Everyone fixates on the unicorns that are doing big revenue numbers, but the regional effects of those redwoods are tiny in comparison to the “robust ecosystem” of mushrooms that grows in their shadow.

I ...

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January 6th, 2016

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Amazon does not give a damn what developers want to do with its offerings

The always wise Joseph Jaquinta offers this view of Amazon:

Thank you for your feedback. Your suggestions will be relayed to the development team, and as I am sure you can appreciate we are not able to comment on any speculative information.

This reply, and slight variants, comprise the bulk of the participation of Amazon on their development forums for the Alexa Skill Kit. It doesn’t matter how good your suggestion, or how egregious the bug is that you are reporting ...

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January 6th, 2016

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A modern career as a freelance writer

This is the kind of job postings that a writer sees nowadays:

Source

January 1st, 2016

In Business

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Some suburbs will have to be left to die

Interesting:

…The way suburban development usually works is that a town lays the pipes, plumbing, and infrastructure for housing development—often getting big loans from the government to do so—and soon after a developer appears and offers to build homes on it. Developers usually fund most of the cost of the infrastructure because they make their money back from the sale of the homes. The short-term cost to the city or town, therefore, is very low: it gets a cash infusion from ...

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January 1st, 2016

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The Democrats of the tech industry

People have been writing about this issue for 20 years. Inc magazine said something very similar back in 1999:

They view the government as an investor: funding education, scientific research, and entrepreneurship. Rather than protect citizens from the whims of capitalism, the state either invests directly in industry to ramp up the speed of disruptive innovation or makes government agencies function more like businesses themselves.

This helps explain the Valley elite’s obsession with public charter schools, which are often parent-led, union-less, and ...

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December 31st, 2015

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Minecraft is participatory but Call Of Duty is passive entertainment with occasional button-mashing

Interesting:

Let me use a computer game analogy to express two visions of the future Web.

The first vision is the Web as Minecraft—an open world with simple pieces that obey simple rules. The graphics are kind of clunky, but that’s not the point, and nobody cares.

In this vision, you are meant to be an active participant, you’re supposed to create stuff, and you’ll have the most fun when you collaborate with others.

The rules of the game are simple and don’t constrain ...

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December 31st, 2015

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Failure is a de-stressing option

Read the previous blog post, which in some ways fits with the overall theme “radically new thinking from business leaders”.

I can ask the same question here that I asked in the last blog post: If some business leaders now feel this way, the question arises why some business leaders did not feel this way 100 years ago. What is changing about the kind of people who become business leaders?

I can imagine all sorts of things I would do ...

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December 31st, 2015

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Why does Rand Fishkin think bureaucracy is bad?

If some business leaders now feel this way, the question arises why some business leaders did not feel this way 100 years ago. What is changing about the kind of people who become business leaders?

Interesting:

Having never worked anywhere else in my adult life (apart from a couple retail jobs in college), these new professional experiences have, I think, made me a better future CEO, and a better person all-around. It’s hard to have real empathy for something you ...

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December 31st, 2015

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Admitting failure in public

A customer is angry:

When I trust you with my money and my company’s data, I don’t want those precious assets to be with someone who’s been given permission to fail. I really do want it to be someone who tells the troops this: “Let’s double-down, work through the weekend, push through the issues, get ‘er done, rally!”

The issue to me is public declarations vs private thoughts.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with waking up covered in flop sweat, wondering if ...

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December 31st, 2015

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Abuse of H-2 visas

Interesting:

“All you black American people, fuck you all…just go to the office and pick up your check,” the supervisor at Hamilton Growers told workers during a mass layoff in June 2009.

The following season, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about 80 workers, many of them black, were simply told: “All you Americans are fired.”

Year after year, Hamilton Growers, which has supplied squash, cucumbers, and other produce to Wal-Mart and the Green Giant brand, hired scores ...

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December 30th, 2015

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The death of traditional blogging

Interesting:

The blogosphere lives. But Sullivan’s decision to hang up his keyboard is nevertheless a marker. Sullivan was the closest we had to someone trying to run a blog with real scale. He was trying to make his blog — and its sizable audience — into a business. But blogging, for better or worse, is proving resistant to scale. And I think there are two reasons why.

The first is that, at this moment in the media, scale means social traffic. ...

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December 30th, 2015

In Business

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Where are the female film critics?

This strikes me as part of the overall trend, with women in retreat from many crucial professions. Female participation in computer programming peaked in the 1980s, and female representation as nurses peaked 10 years ago. Apparently female film critics are also disappearing.

Film criticism wasn’t always such a boy’s club. In the 1920s and through World War II, women weren’t welcome covering hard-news topics like politics and international news, but they did find a rare place writing about the moving ...

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December 21st, 2015

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What does a weblog need in 2015?

This is interesting, and I want to go back and read it again soon:

On aggregation: Ezra Klein: How Vox Aggregates: “[When] I started… everything I wrote… in the hopes that someone else…

…would take it and try to use it… with a link back… a positive-sum endeavor…. [At the] Washington Post… I helped to create Know More… a big ‘Know More’ button that would lead people back to the original source to, well, learn more…. While aggregation has always been a ...

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December 16th, 2015

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Silicon Valley is an increasingly rigged game

Interesting:

Assured promotion allows a coordinated launch

Careful followers of Product Hunt have caught on to the strategy of accessing this upper tier. Just consider the creators of Lrn, an app that teaches you the program in bite-sized chunks.

Lrn, while containing some new ideas, bears a striking resemblance to Swifty, a past product that had been previously featured on Product Hunt. Unlike Swifty, however, the Lrn team — having read Bram Kanstein’s post— found an advisor in advance with front page-promotion privileges and coordinated ...

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December 16th, 2015

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Everyone’s been rejected for a job they should have gotten

This is great:

Source

December 13th, 2015

In Business

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I believe in Enterprise software for the Amazon Echo

Over on the Amazon Developer forums, J Jaquinta challenges my idea of Enterprise software for the Amazon Echo.

I responded:

@jjaquinta, of course, you could be correct. It might be a mistake to try to do Enterprise software with the Echo. All I can say is, when we go into a big business and we do a demo, people seem excited. How much of that excitement is due to the novelty factor? I don’t know. It’s possible that executives get momentarily ...

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December 12th, 2015

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Startups accelerate your learning cycle

Dominik Symonowicz makes a good point:

I believe, if you have got a chance to work in a startup company after graduate from university, during sandwich/gap year or as long as you are 2x years old. You should always try it. If you are lucky enough ,it your learning curve will be very high but quite likely you will work very hard and possible reward can be shape your carrier in future. However ,it is extremely difficult to find a ...

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December 5th, 2015

In Business

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Hi, I’m an inexperienced, spineless CEO who can’t handle confrontation

My post What happens when the Board Of Directors begins to panic? sparked several good conversations:

Hacker News

Reddit

WTF Daily

The funniest comment I read was on WTF Daily; I literally laughed out loud when I read this:

Source

December 2nd, 2015

In Business

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Startups are embarrassing chaos

This reminds me of my life, many times over:

This was the first time we really learned about the thundering herd problem. The site went down 30 minutes before the broadcast was scheduled to start, as many fans had gone to the page in advance and started doing stuff on the site: signing up, logging in, favoriting the Jonas Brothers’ channel page. All these dynamic actions, plus the constant refreshing of the page to check if the stream was up ...

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November 30th, 2015

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Marvel Comics increasing maturity regarding adult themes

Marvel Comics declared bankruptcy many years ago, and I thought the company would disappear. It’s suffered an extreme case of the fate that many publishers of fiction-on-paper have suffered. Marvel’s comic business, as fiction-on-paper, is just a ghost of its former self. And yet, the company hangs on, and has become a major creative house for ideas that get turned into movies and shows.

When comics were aimed primarily at kids, they were censored to be sure they avoided mature ...

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November 29th, 2015

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The Amazon Echo will primarily succeed in business settings, not in home settings

(Note: I thank Natalie Sidner for the editing she did on the rough draft of this post. If you need to hire a good editor, contact Natalie Sidner at “nataliesidner at gmail dot com”.)

The Amazon Echo is a device with brilliant potential, yet even Amazon itself seems to misunderstand the possibilities. Amazon has positioned the device as being primarily for consumers, but I see the greatest upside in business. The Amazon Echo is at its best when delivering information to ...

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November 28th, 2015

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Can you survive in a glamour business without glamour?

The glamour of it all. This line really is the heart of it:

While in New York recently, Mr. Zimmer said, he had his driver pull over when he spotted a Men’s Wearhouse store. After he used a restroom, he poked his head into the tailor shop. “As soon as the tailor saw me he embraced me and started sobbing,” Mr. Zimmer said. “I have a bond with tailors. It’s not because I’m a tailor myself but because they know ...

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November 28th, 2015

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Gawker’s problem with women

I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman working at a place where management is unfair to women, but I do know what its like to work at a place where management fails to live up to its own goals, so I find this interesting:

Gawker Media was founded on excitement and freedom, which is what drew so many people to become fans and writers there, including myself; but excitement and freedom can lead to dismissiveness and insensitivity, harm ...

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November 9th, 2015

In Business

1 Comment

What happens when the Board Of Directors begins to panic?

(Note: I must offer a huge “Thank you” to Natalie Sidner for the tremendous editing she did on the rough draft of this post. To the extent that this article is readable, it is thanks to her. Any mistakes are entirely my fault. If you need to hire a good editor, contact Natalie Sidner at “nataliesidner at gmail dot com”.)

I have been working with startups for most of the last 15 years, and one common pattern that I’ve seen is ...

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November 8th, 2015

In Business

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Where is the article?

I would like a friend of mine to read this article, but I’m not sure if she will be able to find it. I can send her the URL, but the top 10 centimeters on this page is full of visual debris. That websites have interfaces that are sui generis remains a problem. Finding content on a page remains a complicated task.

Source

October 25th, 2015

In Business

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Who still pays for music?

I really thought that by 2015 the paid-for music industry would be dead. I am surprised that it survives. I’m curious who keeps it alive.

Tove Lo and Taylor Swift teamed up to sing “Talking Body” (You’ve got a perfect one so put it on me):

http://www.eonline.com/news/709940/taylor-swift-busts-out-some-interesting-dance-moves-while-performing-talking-body-with-tove-lo

Who pays for music nowadays? I think it’s interesting, this is something that Taylor Swift’s fans have in common: they pay for music. And not just a particular song that they like, they buy entire ...

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October 18th, 2015

In Business

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White people diversity

Interesting:

Corporations that practice Colorless Diversity do not see lack of racial diversity and representation as an important problem to be solved. To bring up racial diversity is to invite a discussion on model minorities (“Look, we have Asians!”) and have the subject be dismissed. The “women’s issue,” on the other hand, is urgent. As a result of familial bonds and their savior complex driven need to rescue the damsel in distress, the white-male employees of the white-male dominated industry have ...

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October 14th, 2015

In Business

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Why are computer programmer competitive with each other?

There are many areas of life where competition is destructive and should be banned as much as possible. My favorite example is the amount of sleep that doctors in training get — even now, when roughly 50% of new doctors are female, the tradition persists that medical residency should be a macho hazing process where sleep deprivation is used to weed out the “weak”. And yet, nobody wants to be treated by a doctor who has been getting 3 hours ...

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October 7th, 2015

In Business

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How central bankers propose marriage

Interesting:

Greenspan’s marriage proposal to Andrea Mitchell was riddled with his trademark ambiguity. Bernanke, in contrast, proposed after two months of courtship.

Source

October 4th, 2015

In Business

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Based on this, I just enabled Ghostery on my machine

Interesting:

That’s why the implied-contract theory is invalid: people aren’t agreeing to write a blank check and give up reasonable expectations of privacy by clicking a link. They can’t even know what the cost of visiting a page will be until they’ve already visited it and paid the price.

And it’s all getting so much worse, so quickly.

I’ve never been tempted to run ad-blocking software before — I make most of my living from ads, as do many of my friends and ...

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October 3rd, 2015

In Business

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Women in Japan now work more than women in the USA

An interesting graph:

To me, the interesting thing is that the trend is up in Japan, and down in the USA.

In the USA, the big surge for women was from 1935 to 1985, with a lull during the 1950s.

In Japan, it looks like a prolonged upward trend started around 2002. The trend is intensifying, which is interesting, but there is a better question we should ask: for most of the last 60 years, women in Japan have had ...

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October 3rd, 2015

In Business

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Are we in a recession?

When I was young, one thing that surprised me was the debate that occurred around the possibility of a recession in the early 90s. For me, personally, the economy sucked, and I thought we were in a deep recession. Then I started seeing magazine articles wrestle with the question, could we be entering a recession? Years later, NBER declared the recession had started in July of 1990, so the whole time people were debating the possibility of a recession, we ...

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September 13th, 2015

In Business

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Loyalty is the most desirable response, but also the hardest to quantify and design for

Interesting:

To remain healthy, a social product needs to establish loyalty, and to mitigate the natural responses to discontent with the state of things. The early adopters will be interested in voicing their opinion, but typically these discussions are only interesting to the early adopters. Giving them a single place to have meta-discussions keeps them happy, and prevents them from disrupting the experience of users who couldn’t care less.

Similarly, creating mechanisms that allow a user to exit without completely abandoning ...

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September 7th, 2015

In Business

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The sad story of Twitter

I hardly know what to say. It’s like a lottery winner who later goes bankrupt. Twitter had such a fantastic opportunity. I recall, 5 years ago, when TechCrunch faced criticism for running so many stories about Twitter, but Michael Arrington defended the stories by saying that Twitter was important. And it could have been important. But now it is just fading away, thanks to mismanagement. They never should have gone after ad money. They should have built an eco-system around ...

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September 6th, 2015

In Business

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The end of science

Awful:

Throughout the years, I have been discovering more and more of the inner workings of academia and how modern scientific research is done and I have acquired a certain degree of discouragement in face of what appears to be an abandonment by my research community of the search for knowledge. I found scientists to be more preoccupied by their own survival in a very competitive research environment than by the development of a true understanding of the world.

By creating ...

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September 6th, 2015

In Business

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Video game as format for serious essay

Interesting:

For the uninitiated, That Dragon, Cancer (which has yet to see a retail release) is a narrative-driven game, meaning players walk slowly and click on elements in the game world to activate spoken passages of text and interactions with other characters. It stars the creator, Ryan Green, and members of his family, as they bounce between hospital rooms, days at the park, and weirder, out-of-body experiences. The film’s opening sequence appears to be taken from the game itself, putting ...

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August 31st, 2015

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It is very difficult to understand software based only on the database

And it is impossible to understand software if all you have is part of the database. I’ve had to struggle with this issue many times, at various companies. Apparently Annalee Newitz was bit by this as well.

The first thing I learned when I looked at the code was that the database Impact Team released on August 18, and on which I based my reporting about the number of active female users, was just a tiny portion of the ...

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August 30th, 2015

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Racism is okay if the market approves? WTF?

Sickening:

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August 30th, 2015

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The financial bubbles of 2,000 BC

Another example of how science tends is biased toward excluding the possibilities of those things that would best explain our current situation, if we didn’t have the evidence, no one would be allowed to speculate such a situation:

The details of daily life are amazing, but another scholar, Gojko Barjamovic, of Harvard, realized that the archive also offered insight into something potentially more compelling. Many of the texts enumerate specific business details: the price of goods purchased and sold, the ...

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August 30th, 2015

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Google won’t hire Max Howell even though Google depends on Max Howell

Interesting:

Source

August 27th, 2015

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Over budget and late: the BBC epic software fail

Sad that this goes on, and top management never seems to learn:

“Agile development was agreed upfront, not developing the whole system end-to-end from day one,” Linwood told MPs.

“Several months later [the business] decided it didn’t want to do that, but would wait for the full functionality; it didn’t want to continue down that path,” he said.

“The business objected to the [agile] approach. Small incremental releases would allow the business to get hands-on with the technology so it would not ...

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August 26th, 2015

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Less than 1% of female accounts on Ashley Madison showed any activity

Interesting:

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As ...

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August 24th, 2015

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She never did anything useful, she just raised her children

Ouch! That is some harsh misogynist burn from Jay Yarow:

Maria Wood was a book keeper for Microsoft, and married to another one of the early Microsofties in the picture. She left the company just two years later, suing it for sexual discrimination. Microsoft settled the case. After that, it doesn’t look like she did much else. She raised her children and became a volunteer.

Clearly she was a worthless nobody who never did anything useful because she raised kids and ...

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August 23rd, 2015

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Can the economics profession ever be made whole?

Paul Romer is doing heroic work trying to understand what happened to the economics profession:

I had a twitter exchange with Luis Garicano that was prompted by that post. It illustrates what my private conversations have been like.

To make this exchange more readable, I have tried to order it in threads, with each response indented just below the tweet that seems to have prompted it. As a result, the order of the tweets is slightly different from the actual chronological order. ...

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August 23rd, 2015

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What politicians deserve respect?

The USA has been in debt since 1835. Rand Paul can ask for a world in which governments run debts, but isn’t that a bit of fantasy? If your hopes for the world run so far from what is real, at what point should the public treat you as a novelist? Much of what Stephen King writes is close to reality than what Rand Paul talks about, so should we think of Stephen King as qualified to prescribe economic ...

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August 23rd, 2015

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The Starbucks scam

This would work on the YC application where they ask “Tell us something other than computers that you have hacked”.

There is a man who comes to my Starbucks every single day and orders the most horrible drink in an infuriating way. He purchased 365 Starbucks cards and registered every one of them online with a different birthday so that he gets a “free birthday drink” EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. Even though I know exactly how he “beat the ...

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August 11th, 2015

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Insider trading is the best way to steal

Interesting:

Today’s big hacker insider trading charges are utterly amazing. Here are the news release and criminal complaint from New Jersey federal prosecutors, the Brooklyn federal criminal complaint, and the SEC news release and civil complaint. The gist is that some guys in Ukraine allegedly hacked into the servers of the big newswire companies (Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire) and stole press releases, and then gave them to some other people to trade on. That right there: That is the ...

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August 10th, 2015

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The assumption you are smarter than everyone else

Interesting:

I’ve noticed a common bias that shows up in some founders: they believe that their competitors are stupid or uncreative. They’ll look at other businesses and identify inefficiencies or bad systems, and decide that those conditions exist because of dumb decisions on the part of founders or employees.

This is a bad belief to hold. In truth, competitors in the market are usually founded and run by intelligent people making smart and logical decisions. That doesn’t mean that all the ...

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August 9th, 2015

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When the FDA gets it right

Frances Kelsey, a Hero During the Thalidomide Scourge, Dies at 101

I suppose we could find it worrisome that when a bureaucrat gets it right, people are so astonished that they award a medal to the bureaucrat. But I admire courage, and I realize it takes courage to stand up to a product when both government and business are for it, and for that reason, I believe she deserves to be remembered as a hero.

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August 7th, 2015

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A package gets sent over the ocean 7 times by FedEx

Interesting:

Source

August 6th, 2015

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Why Google failed

Interesting:

Google Plus was done differently to other innovations in Google. It was set up as an autonomous unit in a separate building with thousands of engineers moved to it. The CEO, Larry Page, moved his office into that new building to signal its importance and to ensure that it could operate without constraint. And that is precisely what it did. It innovated quickly and, in the process, had the rest of the organization perplexed, concerned and wondering what it ...

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August 6th, 2015

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Risk aversion is destroying modern movie making in the USA

Interesting:

This byzantine plot sprawl has been in full effect this year. Avengers: Age of Ultron lost many round about the point the villain heads off to a South African shipyard in search of something called Wakandan vibranium. Promoting the film, writer-director Joss Whedon acknowledged that keeping all the narrative plates spinning for his six-man superhero team, plus all the side players, had left him “a little bit broken”. Terminator Genisys director Alan Taylor, faced with the collective “eh?” over his ...

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August 5th, 2015

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Opfer müssen gebracht werden

Interesting:

Lilienthal was a German mining engineer who, starting with only a pair of birdlike wings, designed and flew a series of gliders—eighteen in all—and made more than two thousand flights in them to become the first true aviator. He held on to a connecting bar with his legs dangling free so they could be used in running or jumping and also in the air for balance. He took off by jumping from a building or escarpment or running down a ...

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July 24th, 2015

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Women still get fired for being pregnant

I find it sad that in the year 2015, women still get fired for being pregnant:

Juarez’s complaint also claimed that the company has a “glass ceiling” that keeps women from getting promoted. Just 10 of the 98 stores in the San Diego area where she worked had female managers. And at trial, a former district manager testified that a vice president reprimanded him for having so many women in management positions, telling him, “What are we running here, a boutique? ...

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July 23rd, 2015

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Robyn Exton keeps moving forward

I’ve been surprised that so many dating sites were started by men, and so few by women, so this is an interesting story:

Her, the queer dating app for women, has today announced that it will be available nationwide.

Her is a dating app that puts a strong focus on content, specifically curated for and dedicated to queer women, whether they’re bi-curious or as gay as a rainbow.

Her was previously available in seven cities across the country, only activating those ...

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July 21st, 2015

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Hollywood sexism

Interesting:

The actress told Radio Times:

“I think it’s still completely shit actually. I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement and I think that for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young. So, no, I am not impressed at all.”

Thompson was much more optimistic about the movie business way back when, she says:

“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world ...

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July 21st, 2015

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The rebirth of urbanism

Interesting:

Multi-unit buildings are making a comeback. Construction is now at the best level in 30 years. It’ll be curious how far this trend goes.

And this about the death of the office park:

The American ghost town has assumed different forms: the abandoned gold-rush towns out West, the silent Floridian subdivisions of underwater McMansions. Now, we have fiefdoms of mid-Atlantic office space, on streets named Research Boulevard and Professional Drive, thinning out in the sprawl. They are hobbled by changing work ...

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July 15th, 2015

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Debt relief and devaluation as wild-eyed radical ideas?

I notice this too. Ideas that were once the bedrock upon which Conservatives organized their economic thinking are now regarded as left wing:

I continue to be amazed by how many people regard debt relief and devaluation as wild-eyed radical ideas; of course, it matters most that so many influential people in Europe share this ignorance. Anyway, for the record (and for my own future reference) I thought it would be helpful to post what Milton Friedman and Irving Fisher ...

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June 23rd, 2015

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David Tuite offers bad interview advice

David Tuite writes:

Expressing confusion in an interview doesn’t make you appear dumb. In reality it’s quite the opposite.

This is terrible advice. The advice is common, but it is wrong. Multiple studies show that your questions can have a subconscious effect on the person interviewing you. Even if they say “Please feel free to ask questions” if you phrase the question the wrong way, or ask a question outside the bounds of what they were expecting, it becomes a ...

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June 21st, 2015

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CRM for startups

SalesForce and SAP rule the world when it comes to enterprise CRM. Both are abominations. Bridget of TheyCay.com recently told me about 2 that are aimed at startups. I know nothing about these, so I’m just posting links for now, I hope to come back and investigate these more later.

Pipedrive:

Streak:

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June 20th, 2015

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Sex, Google, and how sex writers adapt

I hope Violet Blue writes more about this:

I had to sideline valuable freelance gigs to get this move done, and it had to be done ASAP, because Google’s algo changes were (are) really hurting me.

In the bad old days of print publishing, there was a lot of evil censorship, but at least it was easy to spot. There are, after all, all the famous cases against various novels: Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl”, novels like “Naked Lunch”, etc.

Nowadays the forces ...

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June 10th, 2015

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Krugman’s 10 years on the recession

Krugman’s first essay about the end of the housing bubble came out just about 10 years ago.

Nobody would pay San Diego prices without believing that prices will continue to rise. Rents rose much more slowly than prices: the Bureau of Labor Statistics index of “owners’ equivalent rent” rose only 27 percent from late 1999 to late 2004. Business Week reports that by 2004 the cost of renting a house in San Diego was only 40 percent of the cost ...

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May 28th, 2015

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Women in tech in India

My mom took several computer programming classes in the 1970s. Women earning advanced degrees in computer science peaked in the 1980s. Women focusing on tech, at the undergraduate level, also peaked in the 1980s. At the time, being a computer programmer meant getting a comfortable job at IBM or AT&T or General Motors — some big company that would offer a big salary and decent perks for a relaxed 40 hour work week. There was no brogrammer culture, no insane ...

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May 24th, 2015

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Forces that drive women’s labor force participation rates

Interesting:

Goldin: The quiet revolution is a change in how young women perceive the courses their lives are going to take. One of the places we see this is the National Longitudinal Survey, which began in 1968 with women who were between 14 and 24 years old. One of the questions the survey asked was, “What do you think you’re going be doing when you’re 35 years old?” In 1968, young women essentially answered this question as if they were ...

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May 23rd, 2015

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Sick systems

Interesting:

Things will be better when… I get a new job. I’m mean to you now because I’m so stressed, but I’m sure that will go away when I’m not working at this awful place.

The production schedule is crazy because the client is nuts. We just need to get through this cycle, then we’ll have a new client, and they’ll be much better.

She has a bad temper because she just started with a new therapist. She’ll be better when she settles ...

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May 8th, 2015

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What smart people miss

Even when you have the right theory, you can still miss the pattern of accumulating facts:

And so I anticipated and predicted the actual crisis of 2008, right? Wrong. I had all the intellectual tools I needed, I even diagnosed a housing bubble, but I somehow failed to put the pieces together. Maybe I wasn’t as completely surprised as people who believed in the inherent stability of modern economies, and I caught on fast once the thing happened, but no, ...

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April 29th, 2015

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Startups behaving after Demo Day like someone going off a strict diet

Interesting:

Don’t go through the motions.

At Y Combinator, we sometimes see startups behaving after Demo Day like someone going off a strict diet. During YC they’re virtuous: they work hard on their product, focus on users, and avoid distractions. They’re also checking in with us regularly. But after they raise money, some founders go on a sort of bender. They rent a fancy office, hire too many people, spend too long shipping the next version, waste lots of time schmoozing ...

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April 11th, 2015

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China became powerful for all the wrong reasons

Interesting:

Suppose you’re in a setting where the rule of law and contract enforcement are really weak. And you realize that they don’t change overnight. Are you better off promoting the set of policies that presume that rule of law and contract enforcement will take care of themselves, or are you better off recommending a strategy that optimizes against the background of a weak rule of law? And I say that the evidence is that you do ...

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April 11th, 2015

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Print journalism is dying and there is no way to save it

Clay Shirky is always interesting:

A year or so ago, I was a guest lecturer in NYU’s Intro to Journalism class, 200 or so sophomores interested in adding journalism as a second major. (We don’t allow students to major in journalism alone, for the obvious reason.) One of the students had been dispatched to interview me in front of the class, and two or three questions in, she asked “So how do we save print?”

I was speechless for a moment, then ...

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April 6th, 2015

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The evil of granting companies property rights to IP numbers

Awful:

EthanHeilman

I wrote a blog entry about some of these issues. http://ethanheilman.tumblr.com/post/104839763080/are-ip-address-allocations-property

IANA specifically states that a free-market of IP addresses would be harmful, instead they argue that IP allocation should be based on need and not treated as property. >ISPs are required to utilize address space in an efficient manner. To this end, ISPs should have documented justification available for each assignment. The regional registry may, at any time, ask for this information. If the information is not available, future allocations may ...

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March 12th, 2015

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Just 18 elite universities produce half of all computer science professors

Interesting:

The evidence is not only anecdotal. A recent study by Aaron Clauset, Samuel Arbesman, and Daniel B. Larremore shows that “a quarter of all universities account for 71 to 86 percent of all tenure-track faculty in the U.S. and Canada in these three fields. Just 18 elite universities produce half of all computer science professors, 16 schools produce half of all business professors, and eight schools account for half of all history professors.” This study follows the discovery ...

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March 8th, 2015

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Financial speculation in games teaches us about financial speculation in real life

Interesting:

There I managed to buy the factories in a key star hub and set up shop. I produced the first Mammoths (a massive transport ship critical to trade) in the game, and also the first Minmatar battleships. I would have loved to expand my production but within days of the retail launch all factories had been bought up and idled by speculators who were charging $300 to $400 per factory, without any way of knowing if they really owned the ...

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March 6th, 2015

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The company transition from one big group to many groups

Interesting:

Everyone doesn’t know what’s going on anymore.

When you all fit around a single table (or a single Google Hangout) it’s easy for everyone to feel like they know what’s going on. Most people were probably wearing multiple hats and in constant communication as you focused on a single, core thing your business tries to do well.

But now things, have changed. Not only do people wear fewer hats, you probably even have multiple people to do many of the jobs.

Gone are ...

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March 6th, 2015

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Job interviews for computer programmers are full of bias

Interesting:

Confidence bias selects for candidates who are good at interviewing.

There are people who have the social skills to actively listen to someone else’s technical points, to guide a discussion with questions of their own, or to spot opportunities to redirect a tough question back to familiar territory. Those people build impressive resumes. They effortlessly pass “culture fit” tests. And a lot of them can’t code.

Confidence bias excludes candidates who don’t interview well.

For every genuinely competent and effective developer who ...

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March 6th, 2015

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Customization killed MySpace

From GeoCities to MySpace to Facebook the trend has been to less customization. Perhaps this is specialization: if you want a website, then go get a website, but if you want social, then let’s stick with a standard UI so that folks can focus on the social bits.

Could they have avoided losing out to Facebook? I think if they created MySpace 2.0 without all the crap (essentially what Facebook did) and made it easy to migrate your accounts and ...

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March 6th, 2015

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The end of the globalization consensus

After 1945, the USA lead the effort to establish a liberal zone of less restricted trade, an effort to step away from the protectionism of 1914-1945. And for awhile the leadership of the USA was unified on the need for this effort. But consensus is dying:

Summers’s ascendance is a reflection of the abandonment by much of the party establishment of neo-liberal thinking, premised on the belief that unregulated markets and global trade would produce growth beneficial to worker and C.E.O. ...

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March 6th, 2015

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The countryside is out of fashion

The reasons why the college failed:

Sweet Briar officials cited overarching challenges that the college has been unable to handle: the lack of interest from female high school students in attending a women’s college like Sweet Briar, declining interest in liberal arts colleges generally and declining interest in attending colleges in rural areas. Sweet Briar is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. “We are 30 minutes from a Starbucks,” said James F. Jones Jr., president of ...

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March 3rd, 2015

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If mid-level managers are useless, then why do they exist?

At this point I think I can reasonably say that I’ve read thousands of stories about the stupid incompetence of mid-level managers. And I’m beginning to wonder if this genre of story is teaching us an important truth. I used to think the answer was “yes” but now I’m wondering, why do companies continue to have mid-level managers, given the endless number of these stories that have been brought up, at least since the 1960s, if not earlier?

A company ...

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March 2nd, 2015

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Men ask Sarah Lacy to think of the children

This is awesome:

One of the highest profile positive symbols of the new generation of empowered women is Lena Dunham. I am avowedly not a fan of the TV show “Girls,” which I thought meant I wasn’t a fan of its creator. But my respect for Dunham just keeps growing with every interview with her I’ve read.

Last month, in the airport on the way to Nashville, I picked up a copy of Elle magazine which had Dunham on the cover. It ...

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March 1st, 2015

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Anita Sarkeesian hopes to see game culture change

Interesting:

The metal detectors, and the overall heightened security presence at Sarkeesian’s talk, were impossible not to notice. I heard a few attendees mutter about this being necessary or finding it absurd that a talk about women in gaming, of all things, required this kind of presence. An NYU rep told me they hadn’t set up metal detectors for any Game Center talks before. The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security.

Sarkeesian never acknowledged the security, and ...

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March 1st, 2015

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Physical presence is important for freelance

I like this:

When I quit my job to pursue my startup, I moved into a co-working space in Brooklyn and sat across a real estate broker. One day, he told me he wanted to have a website that his clients could log into and view available properties to rent over a map based layout. He talked to some development shops and got quoted for $X. $X turned out to be significantly greater than his budget and twice as much ...

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February 18th, 2015

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8,000 computer programmers at General Motors?

They make it sound like they need 8,000 programmers to run a website. Even Google doesn’t have that many engineers. I sure hope that the reporter got the story wrong. Otherwise this sounds like waste on a staggering scale.

Two years ago, Chief Information Officer Randy Mott ended GM’s $3 billion a year outsourcing deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. , replacing it and others with about 8,000 GM software engineers, up from 1,400 previously. “Because we brought the [information technology] work ...

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February 16th, 2015

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A very bad awful way to ask for help with your startup

Because I have posted my cell phone number on my website, random strangers often reach out to me for advice about their startup ideas. 99% of the time they are very innocent and inexperienced, so I have no desire to work with them, but I am usually happy to give advice. Some of them seem reasonably smart, and others seem utterly clueless.

Last night at 2:30 AM someone started text me. This was our conversation:

THEM: Hi there. I found your ...

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February 14th, 2015

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Being extorted by a non-profit

I think the word “negging” came from the world of pickup artists (PUAs) but now is just a general tactic for being awful to people:

So I just got a call from a guy claiming to be the director of Software in the Public Interest. Which I guess is a non-profit organization. But it felt like a really aggressive sales call. He started off with some very heavy negging and I was just trying to get him to explain what ...

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February 14th, 2015

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Premature deindustrialisation in the developing world

Interesting:

As developed economies have substituted away from manufacturing towards services, so too have developing countries – to an even greater extent. Such sectoral change may be premature for economies that never fully industrialised in the first place. This column presents evidence that countries with smaller manufacturing sectors substitute away from manufacturing to a larger extent, suggesting a trade channel through which falling international relative prices of manufacturing lead price-taking developing economies to substitute accordingly.

Mention ‘deindustrialisation’ and the image comes to ...

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February 14th, 2015

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A successful movie

Apparently the movie 50 Shades Of Grey is a huge success on its opening weekend. That must be because of reviews like this:

A movie based on one of the worst books in the history of the English language ought to change a hell of a lot if it wants any hope of being a movie that doesn’t top next year’s Razzie Award list. If the film’s directors and editors and producers hadn’t omitted certain scenes, the film would play like ...

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February 12th, 2015

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Why self publish?

Interesting:

In terms of why I self-published, there are a handful of reasons, but the two main ones were this:

1) I wanted more creative control over the entire process: what I was writing, how it was presented to the market, and so forth.

2) I wanted a greater royalty share.

In terms of how it’s going, it’s going way better than my wildest predictions. I’m a spreadsheet kind of girl, so I can actually look at my wildest predictions, and yes, they were ...

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February 12th, 2015

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A family’s story of life in the video game industry

This is emotionally intense:

My husband has worked in the video game industry for just about 14 years. It was always his dream to make video games, and it was a goal he’s worked towards since he began learning to program at 12 years old. One day on a whim, he applied to a major console game developer, and three weeks later our family of five was moving to California.

The company my husband was working for was really great. The benefits ...

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February 12th, 2015

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When Paul Krugman stepped outside this morning

This is good:

There are actually multiple revelations in that article. For one thing, it attacks not just QE2, which was about to commence, but QE1 — the Fed’s intervention during the chaotic post-Lehman period — which is generally considered to have been quite effective. Their evidence to the contrary? “QE1 failed to strengthen the economy, which has remained in a high-unemployment, low-growth slump.” Also, when I stepped outside this morning, it was cold, so I put on a coat — ...

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February 9th, 2015

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Most USA companies have too many meetings

Every company I have worked at has had too many meetings, with too many people in the meetings. You can tell too many people are in the meetings because if you look around the room you can see that most people are bored, most have started to daydream, some are texting on their phones. As I see it, if you are manager, all your interactions are of 1 of 2 types:

1.) You need to talk to a human being, either ...

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February 9th, 2015

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What left parties mean for Europe

Interesting:

I’ve long believed that Matthew Yglesias hit on something really important when he noted that small-country politicians generally have personal incentives to go along with troika demands even if they are against their nation’s interests:

Normally you would think that a national prime minister’s best option is to try to do the stuff that’s likely to get him re-elected. No matter how bleak the outlook, this is your dominant strategy. But in the era of globalization and EU-ification, I think ...

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February 8th, 2015

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How not to do a BSDM movie

The press tour for 50 Shades Of Grey is a disaster:

Because 50 Shades of Grey is a sex movie, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have routinely been asked about sex. Because Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan seem to dislike at least this specific sort of sex (fake sex, with a person they hate, in a movie they made for a job they regret), they routinely display discomfort (ranging from wide-eyed confusion to intense aversion) when talking about sex, in ...

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February 7th, 2015

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The problems in Europe

This is very good:

“Third, it makes no sense to blame the recipients of the capital inflows for causing the crisis. If enough money is sloshing around willing to invest in any stupid idea, you shouldn’t be too surprised that a lot of stupid ideas get funded. When, for example, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, says: “The reasons for Greece’s problems can be attributable only to Greece and not to actors outside the country, and certainly not in Germany.” As he ...

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January 18th, 2015

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Jimmy Carter deregulated venture capital

Interesting:

Money had been pouring into venture capital since a 1978 change in regulations allowed pension funds to consider it a “prudent” investment. The $2.5 billion managed by venture capital firms in 1977 quintupled by 1983 to $12 billion2. New money committed per year rose 16x over five years, from $218 million in 1978 to $3.6 billion in 19833. The number of venture funds grew from 47 in 1980, to 71 in 1982, to 113 in 1983. The number of investment ...

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January 18th, 2015

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Constraining competition

Interesting:

Yet another threat to start-ups comes from state legislatures, in the form of increasingly cumbersome employment regulations. Historically, technical workers such as mechanics and engineers moved freely from job to job, spreading new technologies across the industry. Today, however, a variety of regulations limit that mobility. Some states—Florida and Massachusetts, for instance—have made it easy for employers to enforce noncompete agreements, which prohibit employees from leaving one company to join or start another in the same industry. According to research ...

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January 18th, 2015

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The Hemingway Law of Motion: Gradually, then Suddenly

Perhaps because I read Hemingway long before I heard of Dornbusch, I have often thought of the Hemmingway quote, every time I hear of the Dornbusch quote.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, which is available various places around the web like here, includes the following snippet of dialogue:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

Many economists will recognize this as a version of an apercu offered a number of times over ...

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January 3rd, 2015

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The many penalties for writing about sex

Violet Blue lists the problems she faces because she writes about sex. Since I’m working on software for midwives, it strikes me there is some common theme here. Writing about sex faces outright censorship, whereas trying to get information to pregnant women faces a different kind of censorship, the legal prohibition against giving medical advice unless you are a doctor — a seemingly reasonable limit until you realize how many women are desperately frustrated with their doctor and unable to ...

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December 27th, 2014

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The changing focus of MBA programs

MBA programs are adding more digital courses.

Isn’t it surprising that this is happening now and not in, say for instance, 1999? Or is this perhaps an evergreen story that is being recycled (because I seem to recall similar articles almost 15 years ago)?

About this:

“That’s because the degree suggests a person steeped in finance and corporate strategy rather than in the digital-age arts of speed and constant experimentation — and in skills like A/B testing, rapid prototyping and data-driven decision ...

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December 27th, 2014

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If you miss the boom, your business will decline

Interesting:

Retail historians date the start of [Montgomery Ward’s] decline to the postwar boom of the 1950’s, when its rival, Sears, Roebuck & Company, moved aggressively into the then nascent suburbs, while Ward, under the steely leadership of its then chief executive, Sewell Avery, hoarded cash and waited for a second Great Depression.

Source

December 27th, 2014

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Real Simple is real complicated

Reverse marketing works sometimes. When Caesar Augustus made himself dictator of Rome, he claimed he was restoring the Roman Republic. Likewise, RealSimple is about the hassle of orchestrating complicated social relations and calculations of social status:

Then there are hostesses who meet our approval, like Auntie Mame, who glides about her apartment in a boozy and stylish haze. Like Clarissa Dalloway, she has servants to help (and eventually, her young nephew Patrick to mix martinis), but her skill seems to ...

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December 26th, 2014

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When age and marriage and kids forces entrepreneurs to get a job

Interesting:

Yet, I still struggle with the fact that I’m no better off financially than I was when I started on this journey. In fact, it’s worse. I now have a wife, three kids, two dogs and a mortgage. All of that meaning that I can no longer take big risks. I need health insurance. I need a salary — and that salary needs to cover my family expenses. And, because I’ve ran so lean for the past 10 years, there ...

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December 24th, 2014

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Why are people willing to give Facebook so much power?

There is the related issue, going back to the beginning of the human race, regarding the deference that humans grant one another. Should we allow others to judge us? If so, how much? But now there is the more modern issue of allowing a for-profit corporation to moderate much of that calculation of social status. Personally, I shut down my Facebook account in 2011.

And therein lies the problem. Facebook largely sets its own rules for what its rules are. ...

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December 24th, 2014

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Why Wikipedia succeeded

Interesting:

One answer, which seems obvious only in retrospect: Wikipedia attracted contributors because it was built around a familiar product – the encyclopedia. Encyclopedias aren’t just artifacts; they’re also epistemic frames. They employ a particular – and, yet, universal – approach to organizing information. Prior to Wikipedia, online encyclopedias tried to do what we tend to think is a good thing when it comes to the web: challenging old metaphors, exploding analog traditions, inventing entirely new forms…Another intriguing finding: Wikipedia ...

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December 24th, 2014

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Financing the “Humanisation” of Birth

The ultimate paradox of how our species currently reproduces itself is that we have managed to make human birth an inhuman medical experience. Think how strange it is that policy-makers even need this advice:

Policy makers who wish to achieve clinically important improvements in maternity care, particularly around normalising and humanising birth and preventing preterm birth should consider midwife-led continuity models of care and consider how financing of midwife-led services can be reviewed to support this.

The USA has stumbled into ...

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December 24th, 2014

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The increasing rigidity of Wikipedia

Interesting:

The basic cause of the decline is the English Wikipedia’s increasingly narrow attitude as to what are acceptable topics and to what depth those topics can be explored, combined with a narrowed attitude as to what are acceptable sources, where academic & media coverage trumps any consideration of other factors.

I started as an anon, making occasional small edits after I learned of WP from Slashdot in 2004. I happened to be a contributor to Everything2 at the time, and when ...

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December 16th, 2014

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The CEO of Playboy admits that he’s clueless

Considering how much money the modern CEO is paid, I find it frustrating that so many of them are incompetent, so much so that they are willing to be entirely honest about their incompetence.

With so much free porn oozing from the Internet today, why would anyone look at a tame, old brand like Playboy — online or in print?

Scott Flanders, 57, the first Playboy Enterprises Inc. CEO not to share DNA with its 88-year-old founder and figurehead Hugh Hefner, ...

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December 15th, 2014

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Making money as a public trust

Andrew Montalenti comments on the fall of The New Republic:

Take note, journalistas. This is how your readers view your stuff — not as a “public trust”, “a voice”, or “a cause”, as TNR was described by the exiting editors in their resignation letter.

For better or worse, readers view your stuff as a product. And a product, to be bought, let alone used, needs to be useful.

I disagree with that view. It is possible to sustain oneself as a “public trust”, ...

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November 30th, 2014

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When the crowds leave, some parts of the Internet get better

Interesting to think that after The Great Newbie Flood of the 1990s, some people gave up on IRC and now it is better than it was:

IRC today is the opposite of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September. People who still use IRC are mostly well-mannered, skillful and welcoming of others, and things only seem to get better day-by-day. People who are unresponsive to email, Tweets and other means of communication can be very responsive on IRC. More signal less noise, I quess.

and:

Yes, compared to ...

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November 25th, 2014

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Is 0% growth for 90% a successful economic model?

Such a fantastic title. Just 9 words, yet it packs so much in.

I am especially curious why people become defensive when this issue is raised:

While most people express initial concerns about recent trends of increasing inequality, there tends to be a negative reaction about accepting that this is indeed a failure of our current economic model and most become very defensive when that argument is being made.

Why be defensive? Why not just work to end it?

Source

November 23rd, 2014

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Why strict encyclopedias are strong

Back in 1994 LR Iannaccone wrote “Why strict churches are strong” and the gist of the argument was:

The strength of strict churches is neither a historical coincidence nor a statistical artifact. Strictness makes organizations stronger and more attractive because it reduces free riding. It screens out members who lack commitment and stimulates participation among those who remain. Rational choice theory thus explains the success of sects, cults, and conservative denominations without recourse to ...

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November 23rd, 2014

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Female MBAs lose out to their husbands

More news on the gender front, this time comparing female MBAs with their husbands:

The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers. But why? It’s not because women are leaving the workforce en masse. The authors found, definitively, that the “opt-out” explanation is a myth. Among Gen X and baby boomers they surveyed, only 11 percent of women left the workforce to be ...

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November 23rd, 2014

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The Hindenberg was the largest airship ever built

I did not know this:

The 1990s were a time of wild commercial optimism, driven by the end of the cold war, rapidly burgeoning public access to the internet, and deregulation of financial and banking controls. All of these came with an eventual crash and an ugly hangover in the following decade, but at the time funds managers poured money into whatever high-tech startup sounded good with a cocaine high. Roton, the fully reusable surface-to-orbit helicopter, got funding. VCs lined up ...

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November 23rd, 2014

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The toilet paper scare of 1973

Interesting:

Like most scares, the toilet paper fiasco all started with an unsubstantiated rumor. In November of 1973, several news agencies reported a tissue shortage in Japan. Initially, the release went unnoticed and nobody seemed to put much stock in it — save for one Harold V. Froelich. Froelich, a 41-year-old Republican congressman, presided over a heavily-forested district in Wisconsin and had recently been receiving complaints from constituents about a reduced stream of pulp paper. On November 16th, he released his ...

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November 21st, 2014

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The data that Uber hides

Uber has deleted some blog posts, in particular this one:

Recently, I have come to understand that some of you may have—and I’m not pointing any fingers here or anything—on occasion found love that you might immediately regret upon waking up the morning after. Let’s talk about that. In times of yore you would have woken up in a panic, scrambling in the dark trying to find your fur coat or velvet smoking jacket or whatever it is you cool ...

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November 20th, 2014

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Marc Andreessen on diversity in the tech industry

Marc Andreessen makes a good point about the diversity of males in the tech industry. But there are some racial groups that are left out of the industry, in particular, blacks and hispanics. The tech industry is one of the few industries that is fast growing and high paying, so it is important that groups that have been historically discriminated against, in the USA, be included. Also, Andreessen’s point mostly applies to men, not women.

I think the critique that ...

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November 18th, 2014

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a danger to women

(photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is allowing his company to engage in some shameful tactics. This is a story from multiple sources, and of multiple incidents.

Ellen Cushing at Modern Luxury writes:

While I was reporting my recent cover story on Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick, several current and former Uber employees warned me that company higher-ups might access my rider logs. Because I couldn’t independently verify these claims without sacrificing my sources’ anonymity, I didn’t include ...

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November 16th, 2014

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His accumulating motives were rather those of power, of self-expression, of hunting big game

Interesting:

Yet the man who wills property does so without regard to its effect on the social distribution of wealth. In fact even from the private point of view careful thought is seldom bestowed on the solemn responsibility of bequeathing property. The ordinary millionaire capitalist about to leave this world forever cares less about what becomes of the fortune he leaves behind than we have been accustomed to assume. Contrary to a common opinion, he did not lay it up, at ...

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November 16th, 2014

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The computers of the future, seen from 1964

This is from 1964, though parts of it seem to be talking about the modern era:

Today there are probably more than twenty thousand computers in use within the United States, and correspondingly large numbers are installed in many other countries around the world. Computers run at speeds of up to millions of operations per second, and do so with negligible rates of error. Their linguistic abilities have been broadened impressively through development of elaborate programming systems, and their memories can ...

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November 14th, 2014

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What should be illegal on the foreign exchange markets?

Interesting:

ON MONDAY: You are on your way to the fruit market, because you want to buy five oranges. Someone you’ve never met before accosts you on your way and says “Hey, you! Could you buy me five oranges please? I’ll give you the money when you come back and pay you ten pence for doing it”. You think what the hell, and say yes. Down at the market, there is one stall which has five oranges for sale at 50p each, ...

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November 12th, 2014

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The decline of Wikipedia

Interesting:

Open collaboration systems like Wikipedia need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors in order to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years, and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause. This paper presents data that show that several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage ...

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November 8th, 2014

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Surprisingly awful maternal outcomes in USA healthcare

From Amy Romano. This is shocking stuff:

Almost any way we look at it, maternal and infant health outcomes in the United States are far worse than they should be. Our infant mortality rate is on par with Poland, our maternal death rate just above Iran. We’re one of just eight countries in the world with rising maternal death rates, a distinction we share with Chad and Afghanistan. Our preterm birth rate has nudged down in recent years, but it’s hardly ...

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November 8th, 2014

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Pregnancy is not a condition to be “managed”

Amy Romano is writing an in-depth series of blog posts on health care in the USA. I wish I was a bit more optimistic about the chance of reform in the USA, but certainly it helps to be aware of the programs that are known to work in various countries. Regarding the Nurse-Family Partnership programs she writes:

These included reconnecting personal health to relationships, and impacting the whole person, not just the “disease.” These are the crux of Nurse-Family Partnership ...

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November 8th, 2014

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Data integration as the next big thing for startups?

Maternity Neighborhood is attempting to aggregate and unify disparate data sets relating to maternity:

Maybe you are a researcher… We care a lot about you. We know that improved maternity care can only be a reality for everyone when we can have access to quality data. Collection, validation and linking of maternity data sets is what our platform does. We can receive data from multiple sources, included patients, and help standardize and shape the data into something so useful and relevant, ...

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November 7th, 2014

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Is Janet Yellen losing sleep over what people are paying for Picassos?

This is funny:

But, of course, like any conspiracy theory, it all starts off sounding plausible enough. First, they say the government understates inflation when it adjusts for the quality of goods and how people substitute for similar but cheaper ones. The only problem is that independent measures, like MIT’s Billion Prices Project, have shown inflation is pretty much what the government says it is (although there’s been a very slight difference the past few months). Then they point out that ...

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November 7th, 2014

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Jay Kreps is leaving LinkedIn to start his own company focused on Kafka

I wonder if this should be considered a risk of allowing an employee to develop a crucial bit of technology as an open-source project?

I joined LinkedIn about seven years ago. At the time I joined, the company was just starting to run into scaling problems in its core database, its social graph system, its search engine, and its data warehouse. Each of the systems that stored data couldn’t keep pace with the growing user base. At the time, each of ...

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November 7th, 2014

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Reuters ends user comments on news stories

This is well said (these are also the same reason that there are no comments on this blog):

During the past few years, much has changed about how readers interact with news. They find coverage in diverse places and in new ways. They watch video, use graphics and calculators and relate to content far differently than in the past.

Considering these dynamics, Reuters.com is ending user comments on news stories. Much of the well-informed and articulate discussion around news, as well ...

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November 5th, 2014

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Poland is the only true post-Communist success story

I went to Poland in 2012 and I was dazzled by the affluence, which was much greater than what I expected from a post-Communist country. I then began to study the situation, and it became obvious to me that Poland’s success was exceptional (it has been the fastest growing nation in Europe for most of the last 10 years). I also failed to appreciate the extent of the disaster that has befallen most post-Communist nations. Most of them still have ...

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October 27th, 2014

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A very open company

This is impressive. Parsely claims that it wants to do all development in the open. They are donating a lot of their technology to open source, and they are being open about their process. How open are there? How about this, the CTO and a lead engineer have a conversation in public about the quality of the work:

This doesn’t look quite ready for prime time. Though “storm submit” works, it fails to produce a working topology on my locally-installed ...

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October 25th, 2014

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A new low for tech bro PR?

Surprising and sad:

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Kristen V. Brown recounts the incident:

A few weeks ago, a startup founder showed up in the lobby of The Chronicle after hours. He told me I hadn’t responded to his e-mails. And he wanted to get my attention.

He delivered his pitch, along with a wicker basket filled with sexually suggestive gifts: the sex toy, a tube of K-Y Jelly, raw oysters and Tequila.

This is standard fare for lame pick-up artists: take a girl ...

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October 22nd, 2014

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Will GamerGate win?

Max Read has a good post: “How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate“:

On October 1, the computing giant Intel pulled its ads from Gamasutra, a trade website for game developers, over an essay called “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over” by a journalist named Leigh Alexander. Intel had been successfully harassed by a small, contemptible crusade called “Gamergate”—a campaign of dedicated anti-feminist internet trolls using an ill-informed mob of alienated and resentful video ...

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October 22nd, 2014

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The worst startup ever?

Homophobia, racism, classism, credential boasting, here is a startup that combines all the worst stereotypes about startups:

Ajay flashed a grin and we shook hands and sat down. He asked me to describe myself and I gave him a practiced elevator pitch of my background and experience. He nodded and quickly took over the conversation.

“So, as you might already know, I started this company while I was getting my MBA at Harvard. Before this, I worked for McKinsey & Company…” ...

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October 19th, 2014

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The tech industry is shifting away from nice guys

Interesting:

Here’s the problem. Every venture capitalist, in every interview they’ve ever done will tell you the same casual lie: That they invest in people first and ideas second. They’ll tell you they invest only in people they’d want to work with. They’ll tell you that they have the luxury to say no to companies that don’t do things in line with the way they like to work, the way they like to treat people.

You don’t have to look too far ...

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October 18th, 2014

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Should the law accept apologies?

Interesting:

Between 90 and 95 per cent of all criminal convictions in the US result from guilty pleas rather than jury trials. In many if not all of the millions of cases in the US criminal justice system, courts determine punishments in part based on their sense of whether the offender is remorseful or not. We might wince at the idea of secular states engaging in the ‘soul crafting’ of the original penitentiaries, but we still expect state agents to divine ...

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October 18th, 2014

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The dream job at the dying company?

A recruiter contacted me about working at Living Social, and it sounded great. But now I read that it is imploding:

This probably would have been a better move before the entire company started to implode, but I’m no businessman: LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy is quitting his dying company.

Source

October 18th, 2014

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Can you run a business and do a reality show?

I’ve often thought it would be fun to be in a documentary about what I do (and the guys at 37 Signals are doing this now with their own business) but I’m puzzled how one can do an unrelated show while still staying dedicated to one’s day job:

Jennifer “Jenny” Terrell is set to star in “Private Lives of Nashville Wives,” basically “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” only on a worse network (TNT) and with a worse destiny (swift cancellation). ...

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October 18th, 2014

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Is there any consequence to being wrong?

If your job is to make predictions about the future, and all of your predictions are wrong, then you should lose your job. But if you are a defense attorney, and you know your client is guilty, you still have a moral obligation to mount the most rigorous defense possible. Into which of these 2 categories do professional economists belong? Clearly, there is no agreement. Some think they are struggling to discover the truth. Others feel they have been hired ...

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October 18th, 2014

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This is what misogyny looks like

Eron Gjoni is shockingly irresponsible. He wrote falsehoods that effected the lives of several women, including the journalists trying to cover the story, but he says he has no regrets, and he would do it all again. What a psychopath.

Although violent animosity against women in video games is not even close to a new phenomenon, it didn’t congeal into Gamergate, a coordinated movement with mainstream press attention, until Eron Gjoni, the ex-boyfriend of game developer Zoë Quinn, released a ...

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October 18th, 2014

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Stealing funds from investors and spending it on a party

Interesting.

Former Motionloft CEO Jonathan Mills has pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud. The San Francisco entrepreneur, who raised funding from Mark Cuban, was arrested by the FBI in February. He admitted to spending “substantial amounts” of his victims’ money on “vacations and other entertainment,” like that time he hired Grammy-award winner Miguel (above) for a private show and numerous trips to Vegas.

This Might Be the Most Hated Man in Silicon Valley

You can get away with a lot ...

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October 6th, 2014

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What exactly is the link between success and narcissistic overconfidence?

Interesting:

There’s something in this. Narcissism pays both across the wage distribution – because men who spend lots of time in front of the mirror earn more – and in the boardroom: narcissistic CEOs are better paid. And way back in 1986, Richard Roll said that value-destroying takeovers were often motivated by hubris (pdf) – though he was only echoing Kenneth Boulding’s warning (pdf) of 20 years earlier, that:

There is a great deal of evidence that almost all organizational structures ...

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October 5th, 2014

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GamerGate reveals rampant misogyny

This is awful:

For those of you who aren’t gamers (or don’t hang out all day on Reddit or Twitter), Gamergate arose after the ex-boyfriend of indie game developer Zoe Quinn accused her of trading sex for positive reviews. Following an ethics investigation by the gaming site Kotaku, these allegations proved to be false. But that hasn’t stopped Quinn and other prominent females in the gaming community from being subjected to rape threats and other horrifically misogynist rhetoric. Gamergate defenders ...

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October 4th, 2014

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Programmers who become managers forget how hard programming is

I like this:

But my objection to the advice that management should not contribute technically is actually deeper than technical conflict resolution. Software is so hard that it becomes like child birth in that we have an overwhelming bias to forget the pain: the second you stop writing software, you start rewriting your own history. So as far as you can remember, it was all pretty straightforward, you always hit your deadlines, etc. And with this, you have started down the ...

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October 4th, 2014

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Loyalty to a corporation

Interesting:

A few weeks ago, a client that I worked at laid everybody off and it was brutal, it was cold. They held an all-hands meeting and said, “You’re all fired. There’s no severance, we’re going out of business, there’s no COBRA, there’s no coverage. People that are outside of the state are not eligible for unemployment. You’re just all out in the cold right now.” And a lot of the people that I really like at the company had ...

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October 4th, 2014

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Learning a craft is like starting a business

Interesting:

Here are some of the personality flaws I’ve spotted:

Several students in different episodes are obsessed with “expressing themselves” instead of following the brief (the job specification). They waste precious time in “creative” noodling instead of actually getting shit done.

Others indulge themselves in childish boredom and rebellion when it comes to the repetition of early stages of learning, instead of committing to the basics with all their hearts.

Several more wield perfectionism as a weapon against their own achievement… a weapon, and ...

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October 1st, 2014

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Problems in the USA economy started in 1954

I already knew that 1958 marked the beginning of some inflection point, where the wages of young males began to flatline, a fact which brought the Baby Boom to an end. But I am surprised to see that problems in the USA economy were already taking shape as early as 1954:

We all know that Joseph McCarthy’s attack on the labor unions had big political effects, but here we see that it also had big economic effects.

Source

October 1st, 2014

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Economic growth concentrates at the top

Interesting:

Source

October 1st, 2014

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Scrum is an industry where everyone scams everyone

Search for “scrum master certification” on Google and you get an endless sea of results:

“Agile” started with some noble ideals but has since become a bit of a scam, where the scamsters “certify” other people, so they can also become scamsters, and everyone makes huge money talking about theory, but no one has any clue about how to create good software.

Source

September 29th, 2014

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Is Facebook repeating all of Friendster’s mistakes?

Queers are leaving Facebook:

If you haven’t heard of Ello before this week, you’re not alone. Just this morning my Facebook timeline blew up with friends offering invite codes for what I assumed was a new Gilt-like shopping site, and what turned out to be a new and friendlier social network, which would allow anyone who wanted to be a part of it be who they wanted to be, complete with the name they’ve chosen for themselves.

Ello’s uptick in popularity comes ...

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September 29th, 2014

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Declining wages spread to the rest of the West

In the USA, real wages for men have been declining since 1973:

Now, this tragic downward spiral is spreading to other Western nations:

Real wages continue to fall in the UK and elsewhere, yet despite this striking feature of the labour market, some commentators anticipate resurgent pay growth in the near future. This column argues that the absence of any improvement in the UK’s productivity performance – together with evidence that nominal wage growth is flatlining and real wage growth ...

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September 22nd, 2014

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How to publish one’s own book

Interesting:

I had been reading Nathan Barry’s excellent book Authority and something about it inspired me. I started throwing around ideas, things that I knew well and that weren’t well covered already, and I turned up Stripe. I know Stripe very well having used it for a bunch of projects in the past few years. I also know Rails, using it in most of those projects plus at my day job. I knew for sure that there were things about payment ...

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September 22nd, 2014

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The sacrifices of women who are CEOs

Interesting:

Nega-Brianna I’m late for a programming meeting with Maria, and don’t have time to be stuck in Boston traffic. So instead of grabbing my car keys, I don black, skin-tight leather armor and leap on my motorcycle. It’s a 2009 Honda CBR600RR in racing red — something straight out of Akira. I’ve leaned into highway turns at 80 mph feeling nothing but speed, the air whipping all around me, and my thighs gripping a 212°F engine for dear life. My emotional ...

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September 22nd, 2014

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Crime no longer lifts people out of poverty

After 2 centuries where crime lifted people out of poverty, the USA faces a situation where crime no longer helps people:

Chuck and Mike were criminals: they were complicit in the barbarism of the drug trade. But, in the Mertonian sense, they were also innovators. Goffman describes how they craved success in mainstream society. They tried to get an education and legitimate jobs, only to find themselves thwarted. Selling crack was a business they entered into only because they believed that ...

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September 21st, 2014

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The struggle between Uber and its drivers

Uber’s drivers are hemmed in by Uber’s changing terms, feel the need to organize a union:

Kazi drives a Toyota Prius for Uber in Los Angeles. He hates it. He barely makes minimum wage, and his back hurts after long shifts. But every time a passenger asks what it’s like working for Uber, he lies: “It’s like owning my own business; I love it.”

Kazi lies because his job depends on it. After passengers finish a ride, Uber asks them to rate ...

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September 21st, 2014

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Yet another investor complains about low rates

Are these people stupid? Yet another article complaining about low rates. Rates were higher in the 1990s, but we still had the original Internet boom.

Gurley’s thesis isn’t hard to follow: Companies are being rewarded by the market for spending — and losing — huge sums of private capital that they can cheaply and quickly raise given the current investment and equities climate. Or, put another way, investors are giving companies huge sums to burn, because the market is willing to ...

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September 12th, 2014

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Wikipedia lacks women

Interesting:

It is sometimes argued that women simply have less time to contribute to Wikipedia, due to family commitments. This is a fallacy. Firstly, the United Nations University survey found that only 33.29% of respondents had a partner, and only 14.72% had children. The difference between readers and contributors was negligible here, and the survey report’s analysis indicated only a minor difference in parenthood percentages for male (15.1%) and female (13.7%) respondents. It is patently obvious that girls and women in ...

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September 10th, 2014

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A corrupt for-profit college

Sickening:

What was working at Neumont like with Ned Levine as President? A former student, Jason Aquino, claimed that Levine harassed him and other students at the school. Another student, Ryan Elkins, was “banned” from campus after starting a blog talking about some of his experiences at Neumont. The CollegeTimes team was also bribed and then threatened by Levine as well. Does Mr. Levine maintain a carrot/stick attitude with his employees? What did you witness happen to Kristi Robertson in ...

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September 9th, 2014

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What sort of social life do you have if you live at work?

I have often worked over-night at work, but I can not imagine doing this for several months on end. Mostly, I wonder what sort of social life these people have?

Ben Discoe, a Google [X] UI programmer, says he lived on Google’s campus for 13 months.

” I had a house payment and alimony to pay,” Discoe writes. “No money left for South Bay rental prices. I got a 1990 GMC Vandura custom conversion van for $1800 (blue velour, ...

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September 8th, 2014

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Sarah Lacy believes in patience

Interesting:

Nearly every single investor Pando has has asked me how more money or algorithms can scale our company faster. My answer is always: They can’t. It’s just going to take five to ten years of solid work to build the media company we want to build. There is no shortcut.

Further, I’ve been told– again and again– that there is no way to build a huge ad-based business without Huffington Post/BuzzFeed-like page views and scale. I disagree with that one ...

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September 8th, 2014

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The sharing economy gives rise to the scam economy

Pathetic:

Kreyos’ story is starting to feel as old as time itself. It went live on Indiegogo in June last year, trying to raise $100,000 for what it promised to be the only smartwatch to combine both voice and gesture control. It ended up with 15 times that amount: $1.5m. Its Meteor smartwatch would track sleep, and exercise, and be waterproof. Kreyos promised that it was ready to go straight into production when funding closed in August and would ship ...

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September 8th, 2014

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Innovation to end The Great Stagnation

Interesting:

“It’s pretty amazing to hold leather that no pig or cow died for,” says Lindy Fishburne, an officer of the Thiel Foundation. She is describing a slightly creepy “biofabricated” product made by a startup the foundation funded with a $350,000 donation. The company, named Modern Meadow, makes leather and, indeed, meat by taking skin or muscle samples from animals via biopsy and then growing them in vitro. Modern Meadow is just one of 19 futuristic startups that have received ...

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September 8th, 2014

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Apple has been sloppy about security

Apple allowed brute force attacks on iCloud? Amazing and awful:

First the company updated the iCloud website to prevent brute-force attacks, patching a vulnerability that should never have been there in the first place. Now it plans to add more security features to iCloud, allowing it to message people when the service is backed up, passwords are changed, or a new device is used to access the service for the first time, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Source

September 8th, 2014

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Gawker struggles to avoid full impact of unpaid-intern lawsuit

Interesting:

In the letter, we learn that Gawker doesn’t want to have to post the notice in its offices, on the basis that it no longer employs unpaid interns. But, as the plaintiffs point out, several of Gawker’s current staffers began their career at the company as unpaid interns, and so would be entitled to join the class.

We also learn that Gawker doesn’t want to allow social media to be used to reach prospective plaintiffs, even though that’s exactly the best ...

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September 4th, 2014

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How can a corporation keep its employees from spying on celebrities?

This must be a big problem for all corporations, but it sounds like it is worse at Apple:

Eva Longoria: “I’ve had a lot of problems of people breaking into my email”

Billy Bush: “Hacked?”

Eva Longoria: “Yeah my Mac email… not hacked, just go get it from the stores and I had a big problem with that.”

Kit Hoover followed up, asking: “Wait, what were they sending you? Like ‘Hi Eva, my name is John?’”

Eva Longoria: “Yeah. ‘I made a dress I want ...

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September 4th, 2014

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There is an insane amount of blackhat hacking going on

Interesting:

4. The frequent source of new leads for targets seems to be newcomers who know somebody they want to hack and have stumbled onto one of the networks offering services via search terms or a forum they frequent. The new contributor will offer up a Facebook profile link, plus as much information as is required by the hacker to break the account, plus possible assistance in getting a RAT installed if required. In exchange the hacker and ripped will ...

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September 3rd, 2014

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The problem building a business to cater to the poor

Interesting:

1) Poor areas are overrun with corruption and graft. Its very hard to do the right thing, when individuals with power will actively work to put a bribe barrier between you and your work. Its like these individuals smell out good intentions and attempt to tax them for the perceived weak-minded good intentions. An example would be, after my brother created several successful startups using ex-cons, he wanted to turn the program over to the City. He quickly learned ...

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September 3rd, 2014

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The problem with the current tech startup scene

Though ignored by the current tech startup scene, there are some huge problems that need to be solved in the USA:

To your left are single mothers, 80% of whom, according to the US Census, are poor or hovering on the nasty edges of working poverty. They are struggling to raise their kids in a country that seems to conspire against any semblance of proper rearing: a lack of flexibility in the workplace; a lack of free or ...

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September 2nd, 2014

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The frustrations of Twitter

This is smart and sad:

We concede that there is some value to Twitter, but the social musing we did early on no longer fits. My feed (full of people I admire) is mostly just a loud, stupid, sad place. Basically: a mirror to the world we made that I don’t want to look into. The common way to refute my complaint is to say that I’m following the wrong people. I think I’m following the right people, I’m just seeing ...

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August 30th, 2014

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Microsoft finally defends its customers against government intrusion

Finally, Microsoft took a stand I can approve of:

Despite a federal court order directing Microsoft to turn overseas-held email data to federal authorities, the software giant said Friday it will continue to withhold that information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process. The judge has now ordered both Microsoft and federal prosecutors to advise her how to proceed by next Friday, September 5.

Let there be no doubt that Microsoft’s actions in this controversial case ...

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August 30th, 2014

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Greedy cable companies try to block municipal broadband

The corruption in American politics is outrageous:

Chattanooga has the largest high-speed internet service in the US, offering customers access to speeds of 1 gigabit per second – about 50 times faster than the US average. The service, provided by municipally owned EPB, has sparked a tech boom in the city and attracted international attention. EPB is now petitioning the FCC to expand its territory. Comcast and others have previously sued unsuccessfully to stop EPB’s fibre optic roll out.

I did a ...

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August 29th, 2014

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What if I totally misunderstood?

“What if I totally misunderstood?” seems to be the universal question women ask when guys engage in minor sexual harassment of them.

When Jessica Livingston, a co-founder of the influential startup accelerator Y Combinator, arrived at The Wine Room in Palo Alto, Calif., a little early for our meeting, a man who was also waiting outside the wine bar started to chat her up.

He asked what she was doing there all on her own, and whether she was there maybe ...

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August 24th, 2014

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The amazing success of Bustle

I am angry with myself for ruining my own chances to launch a successful website, and I am amazed that Bustle is doing well. Bryan Goldberg strikes me as absolutely clueless about women’s issues, yet he’s managed to create a site that gets huge traffic from women.

Do you read Bustle, the website best known in “the culture” as the place whose founder, Bryan Goldberg, uses his female employees’ legs as typing desks? No, me neither. Nonetheless, according to recent ...

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August 23rd, 2014

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The uncertainty of promised products

Interesting:

Almost a year ago I paid $55 to be an “early backer” of the credit card replacement system, with the promise that I’d be shipped a Coin summer of 2014. As the months went by emails would arrive detailing how Coin worked, how it was made, etc., all with the reminder that soon enough, I’d be receiving my Coin this summer.

Fast forward to this week — everyone who paid to be backer received an email stating that—HOORAY—our Coins would ...

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August 22nd, 2014

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Oracle takes $240 million for a website, and then fails to build the website

Interesting:

The 126-page lawsuit, filed in Marion County Circuit Court, claims that fraud, lying and “a pattern of racketeering” by Oracle cost the state and its Cover Oregon program hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Not only were Oracle’s claims lies, Oracle’s work was abysmal,” the lawsuit said. Oregon paid Oracle about $240.3 million for a system that never worked, the suit said.

Oracle issued a statement saying the suit “is a desperate attempt to deflect blame from Cover Oregon and the governor for ...

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August 19th, 2014

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Editors are worthless, and middle managers are also worthless

I love this:

Go find a story published a few years ago in The New Yorker, perhaps America’s most tightly edited magazine. Give that story to an editor, and tell him it’s a draft. I guarantee you that that editor will take that story—well-polished diamond that it presumably is—and suggest a host of changes. Rewrite the story to the specifications of the new editor. Then take it to another editor, and repeat the process. You will find, once again, that the ...

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August 11th, 2014

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How to handle comments at a media site

Very surprising post from the staff at Jezebel:

Working at Gawker Media is a dream job for many of the women on staff here at Jezebel. This is a place that takes chances on developing writers, that has always stood behind us no matter what. But it’s time the company had its feet held to the fire.

For months, an individual or individuals has been using anonymous, untraceable burner accounts to post gifs of violent pornography in the discussion section of stories ...

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August 5th, 2014

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Are in-app purchases uniquely destructive to personal finance?

Interesting argument:

Adults with a loose claim to self-sufficiency can still recite the cost of their monthly rent, their cable bill, student loan bills, smartphone bill, auto insurance, the seasonal range of electricity consumption, annual penalty for breeding, etc. When charges are deducted automatically, the numbers get fuzzier. For the spendthrift, monthly expenditures on food, drink, travel, and clothing are more nebulous still. But impulse-driven, one-press smartphone purchases are the easiest to lose track of, which makes apps even worse enablers ...

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August 5th, 2014

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(NSFW) Is Whisper really respecting people’s privacy?

Gawker Media gets data straight from Whisper:

Uber and Lyft are doing everything they can to recruit new drivers. There’s cash and perks and a bevy of enticing benefits, but for whatever reason they’re not mentioning the massive amount of spontaneous sex drivers are having with riders. …If you’re thinking this is all just an elaborate hoax by a spate of sexually frustrated Whisper users, we did too – and then we talked to the company. Whisper was able to weed ...

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August 5th, 2014

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The need to check PayPal

Something I need to do, that I’ve wanted to do for awhile, is add more checks to my payments systems.

You can make an API call to check the status of a transaction very easily. When my users are redirected back to my site (thanks page, or similar), I check if their transaction is completed, if not, I kick off an every-five-seconds check while asking the user to hold on while we talk with paypal. I will eventually fail after some number ...

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August 5th, 2014

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If a writers say they are writing a series, is that an implicit contract?

This is incorrect:

You’re complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you. No such contract existed. You were paying your ten dollars for the book you were reading, ...

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July 26th, 2014

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How to ruin a company

Interesting:

Our sales were growing so fast that the biggest problem that we faced was that we literally could not handle all the customers that wanted to sign up for Loudcloud. To combat this and enable us to grow, I worked diligently with my team to plan all the activities that we needed to accomplish to expand our capacity and capture the market before the competition. Next, I assigned sub-goals and activities to each functional head. In conjunction with my leadership ...

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June 27th, 2014

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E-books are more and more popular

I have a novel I’d like to publish, so e-books are interesting to me. Apparently it is really easy to publish them through Amazon, and Amazon let’s you keep 70% of the money, which seems like a good deal.

The state of the book is in constant danger. The novel is constantly dying, and there is a fear that the publishing industry in general is maybe doomed. But if there’s one sector of the publishing industry that’s alive and well, ...

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June 27th, 2014

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Do Catfish viewers get catfished?

This story has an ending that seems a little too good to be true. One has to wonder if the viewers of Catfish are some catfished by the producers?

Let’s pause here and note that Gabby’s family won’t allow her to meet Nev and Max in person, but they’re fine with her signing a release to Skype on camera with MTV? OK.

Gabby doesn’t identify as bisexual or as a lesbian but she admits that her interest in Miranda is not ...

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June 26th, 2014

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Jeff Bezos is putting more money into the Washington Post

Interesting:

At the time of the sale to Bezos, Donald Graham, Weymouth’s uncle and the chairman of The Washington Post Company, explained that he and his niece felt unsure of the direction in which to take the paper, or how to reverse years of declining revenues. He had approached Bezos as a buyer, he said, because the billionaire could offer deep pockets, a digital brain, and, between the two, a way forward.

Now a Bezos employee, Weymouth’s task onstage that April day ...

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June 26th, 2014

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Amazon’s growing power over the publishing industry

Amazon.com started in 1995. At the time, it was a tiny startup. But it now has the power to destroy hundreds of companies that have existed since the 1800s. How is that those venerable firms, with their wealth and connections and political power and their capital, have not been able to build something to compete with Amazon? They have now had 19 years to respond to Amazon, and they have failed to respond for 19 years. Why?

According to book industry ...

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June 24th, 2014

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Growing discontent with Google?

Google has certainly lost a great deal of the goodwill it once held.

Basically we all knew Google was a company so we shouldn’t be surprised that they went funny. But the change hurt. A company that had previously offered services for the good of their users now started shearing their customers like sheep. I won’t say they fleeced us exactly, because they never exacted any money from us directly, but they started selling us to their advertisers. Someone said, ...

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June 24th, 2014

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The declining power of the search engines?

Interesting graph:

Source

June 23rd, 2014

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The impact of online advertising can not be measured

Interesting:

It isn’t easy, of course. In 2013, Randall Lewis of Google and Justin Rao of Microsoft released the paper “On the Near Impossibility of Measuring the Returns on Advertising.” In it, they analyzed the results of 25 different field experiments involving digital ad campaigns, most of which reached more than 1 million unique viewers. The gist: Consumer behavior is so erratic that even in a giant, careful trial, it’s devilishly difficult to arrive at a useful conclusion about whether ...

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June 18th, 2014

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Startups are luck

Interesting:

The pivot used to be the exception. For example, a company starts out selling PEZ dispensers online and later pivots to become eBay. You didn’t hear about all of the companies that failed so the pivot stories probably sounded more prevalent than they were. It’s similar to how a story of one shark attack makes you think there’s a Great White under every surfboard. The human brain assumes that whatever it hears most frequently must be the best reflection of ...

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June 17th, 2014

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The evil of innovation

Interesting:

The idea of progress—the notion that human history is the history of human betterment—dominated the world view of the West between the Enlightenment and the First World War. It had critics from the start, and, in the last century, even people who cherish the idea of progress, and point to improvements like the eradication of contagious diseases and the education of girls, have been hard-pressed to hold on to it while reckoning with two World Wars, the Holocaust and Hiroshima, ...

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June 13th, 2014

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Internet advertising is a bad idea

Interesting:

Internet advertising has been the fastest growing advertising channel in recent years with paid search ads comprising the bulk of this revenue. We present results from a series of large scale field experiments done at eBay that were designed to measure the causal effectiveness of paid search ads. Because search clicks and purchase behavior are correlated, we show that returns from paid search are a fraction of conventional non-experimental estimates. As an extreme case, we show that brand-keyword ads ...

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June 13th, 2014

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The madness of being an entrepreneur

Interesting:

In logarithmic domains, two mindsets are important. In the beginning, high-growth phase, the emphasis needs to be on maintaining long-term habits. Since growth is fast initially, care needs to be taken so that it won’t slide back down once effort is removed. In the later, low-growth phase, the emphasis needs to be on habit breaking. Since low-growth is often caused by calcifying routines, deliberate effort needs to be taken to break out of that comfort zone. In exponential domains, the mindset ...

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June 7th, 2014

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The privacy crimes of Google+

Interesting:

Google began its “real name” enforcement with mass Google+ account suspensions and deletions shortly after Google+ launched in July 2011. The whole mess is called Nymwars.

Ex-Google employees were deleted. Writers, musicians, programmers and more were deleted. Editing your name raised suspicion and still risks getting you flagged.

Google+ remained silent while Nymwars raged through the headlines — until it told press it would allow “alternate names” — which was incorrectly reported (at first) as if Google had begin to allow ...

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June 3rd, 2014

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The one remaining strength of publishing is its prestige

This essay is a bit harsh on the publishers, and it also ignores the fact that the publishers are responding rationally to the one strength they still have:

This is the true tragedy of modern “publishers”: that as the world has become able to do the job that once only they could do, they’ve not stepped graciously aside, but devoted their energies to preventing works being available. The publishers’ outdated business model forces them to act in a way directly opposed ...

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May 19th, 2014

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Wall Street as the low-risk option for recent elite graduates

Interesting:

EK: This seems really at odd with finance’s vision of itself as a world of capitalist cowboys.

KR: We think of Wall Street as being full of these crazy risk takers. But in a lot of schools it’s these scared organization kids going to Wall Street. One thing Wall Street does that’s really smart is they actually tell you way earlier than other industries if you got a job. They’ll let you lock the job down in the fall of ...

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May 12th, 2014

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Media people are petty

Interesting and sad and hypocritical:

It appears that Violet Blue’s works were systematically removed from Boing Boing’s archives. This was no mistake. So while BB would seem to be a great symbol of the blog revolution—that dreamy ideal of everyone in the world freely expressing themselves to all, with no corporate filter—they’re also just another in an endless line of quirky media startups that found success, and then started acting just like the big establishment players to which they were ...

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May 11th, 2014

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Diversity is bad for teams

This strikes me as trade-off between short-term and long-term benefits. We can say that the biosphere of the earth is diverse, and that is good, so when the dinosaurs went extinct the mammals were ready to step in and run things. And we often do say that competition in the economy is good, such that when one company goes bankrupt, another company, with a different approach, is ready to step in. So in what sense can we say that diversity ...

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May 11th, 2014

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Advertising is bad for business

Interesting:

Firms almost never have enough data to justify their belief that ads work:

Classical theories assume the firm has access to reliable signals to measure the causal impact of choice variables on profit. For advertising expenditure we show, using twenty-five online field experiments with major U.S. retailers and brokerages ($2.8 million expenditure), that this assumption typically does not hold. Evidence from the randomized trials is very weak because individual-level sales are incredibly volatile relative to the per capita cost of a ...

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May 9th, 2014

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Ellen Page and the relationship of Hollywood to its romantic leads

I assume that coming out is getting easier as more people do it, but Ellen Page emphasizes that it is still hard and it still has a big, negative impact on one’s career:

Page has made just two public appearances since her announcement — presenting an award to transgender Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox at the GLAAD Media Awards on April 12 and introducing an X-Men clip at the MTV Movie Awards the following night. Shooting a ...

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May 9th, 2014

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Comic books with super heroes continue to fade but not die

Comic books with superheroes, as a genre, peaked in the 1940s and have since declined. When I was a kid in the 1970s, comic books were very uncool (you did not want other kids at school knowing that you read them) but you could still get them at any convenience or bookstore that sold magazines. This was an era when Marvel comics cut the writers and artists in on a percentage, and so John Bryne and Chris Claremont got fairly ...

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May 8th, 2014

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Why Facebook will fail

Facebook is very young to find itself in the position where it has to buy innovation from the outside (Instagram, Occulus VR). It fails to deliver the key parts of its own ad infrastructure. It is behaving like an old behemoth that has lost touch with the market, like IBM in 1991, or Sun MicroSystems in 2007. And yet, its CEO is young, and the company is young, so what is the problem? How could it lose touch with ...

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May 8th, 2014

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Can programmers indulge anarchy?

Interesting:

When does it work well?

It works well when the manager is absent or fully trusting the team. One of the main selling point of Fred Anarchy was the lack of managers in the picture. Well, some sort of business owner, idea creator still needs to be present. That person needs to fully trust the team, ideally needs to be an ex-developer. I never seen in my life a manager without a past in developing software that can trust and understand ...

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May 8th, 2014

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The end of Twitter

Interesting:

The publishing platform that carried us into the mobile Internet age is receding. Its influence on publishing will remain, but the platform’s place in Internet culture is changing in a way that feels irreversible and echoes the tradition of AIM and pre-2005 blogging. A lot of this argument comes down to what we feel. Communities can’t be fully measured by how many people are in them. So as we suss out cultural changes, relying on first-hand experience is a first ...

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May 4th, 2014

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Mainstream economics needs an overhaul?

I am surprised that there is no mention of agent-based simulations. That, in my mind, is the big transition that we now face.

Common reform themes

Common themes in the debate at that earlier stage were the need for students to have:

More exposure to economic history and the history of thought;

More practical hands-on experience with data;

Better teaching of communication skills; and

Some exposure to new developments in economic research.

Overall the thrust was for a less narrow and reductive approach to economics than ...

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May 4th, 2014

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Is it bad for an online writer to know how much traffic their posts get?

Interesting:

What’s more, The Verge is not alone in this practice. Re/code, a tech site run by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, the longtime Wall Street Journal tech columnist, also won’t share traffic stats with writers. MIT Technology Review holds numbers back too.

“We used to show the writers and editors traffic, and told them to grow it; but it had the wrong effect. So we stopped,“ says Jason Pontin, CEO, editor in chief and publisher of MIT Technology Review. ”The ...

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May 3rd, 2014

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Site promotes computer programming and stripping?

Disturbing:

At a time when Silicon Valley is facing increasing scrutiny over the treatment of women in technology, there emerges a website called Codebabes.com that, as you may have already heard, involves women stripping as you learn to code and pass online tests. Seriously.

People have tried it and posted their results.

To which I have to say only this: What in the actual f@ck?

The site is so over-the-top about its soft-core “edu-tainment” offerings that some press outlets have even speculated that ...

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May 2nd, 2014

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Teens are going crazy for the Snapchat upgrade

This is why you should not spend money on marketing: all of your money should go to improving the product till it reaches the point that your customers are in love with you. The overwhelming majority of money spent on marketing is wasted. The money would be better spent making your product better. The response that Snapchat got is the response every company should strive for.

The level of interest app-makers can command for adding new features is usually limited ...

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April 25th, 2014

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Does anyone know what is happening with Corrante?

The Corrante site is mostly dead, and has been dead since 2007, and yet a small part of the site is still active.

Of the first 3 links, 2 go to blank white screens. The URLs seem to suggest the posts are from 2006 and 2007. For instance:

http://totalexperience.corante.com/archives/2007/04/04/disrobing_the_emperor_the_online_user_experience_isnt_much_of_one.php

I see a blank white page, and the URL suggests that the article is from 2007. The blog actually died in 2010:

http://totalexperience.corante.com/

This link is alive, but it goes to 2007:

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2007/07/10/travels_in_numerica_deserta.php

and yet this an ...

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April 25th, 2014

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Nokia ends an era

Sad, and like the end of any large firm, very confusing. Why were they unable compete with Apple? Why did they do so well for so long, and then suddenly they could not?

On April 25, that Nokia ceases to exist, and in its place are two companies that officially have nothing to do with each other: Microsoft Mobile Oy (where the heart of the company will go) and Nokia Oyj (where I will be).

Tomorrow I will still be an employee ...

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April 21st, 2014

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The meta view on underinvestment in early stage female-lead startups

Interesting:

There’s a vast amount of value waiting to be unlocked in Silicon Valley, and it’s not hiding under the Tahoe hills in veins of silver like the Comstock lode. Today’s new billions are no longer dug out of the ground, they’re realized by viewing the world in a different way; seeing things differently to other people and capitalizing on opportunity by investing ahead of the curve. That’s how money is made in Silicon Valley. Strange, then, in a world ...

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April 21st, 2014

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Free markets, with a gun to your head

Despite considerable rhetoric about “free markets” the USA tends to allow anti-competitive combinations of corporations, while taking violent action against any combination of workers.

The miners at first thought the Guard was sent to protect them, and greeted its arrival with flags and cheers. They soon found out the Guard was there to destroy the strike. The Guard brought strikebreakers in under cover of night, not telling them there was a strike. Guardsmen beat miners, arrested them by the hundreds, ...

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April 12th, 2014

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This is why the news media is dying: global online ad revenue for content sites is maybe $25 billion

Interesting:

It’s worth noting that this ~$40B is just for broadcast TV ads. This excludes cable TV ads (~$30B) and subscription TV fees (~$80B). There is an ongoing non-zero sum shift in attention and dollars to online, but TV is far from dead.

Combine that with “Google Controls 44 Percent Of Global Online Advertising“.

That leaves maybe $25 billion for every content site in the world. Pathetic.

Source

April 10th, 2014

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Blogosphere 2.0?

I have already mentioned that, like Chris Bertram, I am nostalgic for the early blogosphere, which died out somewhere between 2005 and 2010. I think the world lost something important then. But perhaps there is Blogosphere 2.0 taking shape around the new mega-sites?

4. Wonkery creates astonishing loyalty. In an age where Facebook is everybody’s homepage, consumers of news have never been more promiscuous in their reading affections. They go wherever they’re sent; no one treats websites like they would a ...

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April 10th, 2014

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The fight against healthcare: almost awesome in its evilness

Very sad:

Gruber: “…I’m offended on two levels here. I’m offended because I believe we can help poor people get health insurance, but I’m almost more offended there’s a principle of political economy that basically, if you’d told me, when the Supreme Court decision came down, I said, ‘It’s not a big deal. What state would turn down free money from the federal government to cover their poorest citizens?’ The fact that half the states are is such a massive rejection of ...

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April 9th, 2014

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Rage against Facebook

Facebook hate.

I was late to join Facebook and I was early to quit. I think I joined in 2009 or early 2010, and then I quit in late 2011. I have been a huge skeptic of social media, though this month I have become a fan of Twitter.

The rage in the comments is interesting:

Lady Di:

I started noticing how bad I felt after logging into FB a few years ago… Yes it is a time suck. And everyone is ...

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April 8th, 2014

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Change fails most of the time

Interesting:

Consider the following scenario: The leadership at Company X announces a partial restructuring that will consolidate two levels of management, effectively demoting all Senior Managers to the position of Manager. The change management team sets to work: it identifies sponsors; conducts a change readiness assessment; develops and executes a change management plan that dedicates resources and time to manage communications, training, coaching, and resistance; and supports the project team through the roll out of the new org. chart by training ...

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April 7th, 2014

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Is college needed for tech?

Interesting:

Ms. Glen, in a statement, called the tech industry “our pipeline to the middle class” and added, “It’s our job to develop the work force these fast-growing companies need so people from our schools and our neighborhoods have a real shot at these good-paying jobs.”

At least one other city official appears to share that view: The report was managed by Carl Weisbrod before he left HR&A, a real estate consulting firm, to accept Mr. de Blasio’s appointment as chairman of ...

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April 7th, 2014

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Cost overruns and the IBM 360

These are some serious cost overruns. $40 million is the estimate, $500 million is the final cost. And $5 billion for the overall 360 development. Consider that all Apollo missions from 1960 to 1975 collectively costs $25 billion, and no one trip to the moon cost anything like $5 billion.

IBM built its own circuits for S/360, Solid Logic Technology (SLT) – a set of transistors and diodes mounted on a circuit twenty-eight-thousandths of a square inch and protected by ...

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April 7th, 2014

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Women moved into the work force from 1930s to 1970s

This is a big surprise:

The participation rate for women increased significantly from the mid 30s to the mid 70s and then flattened out.

And the chart shows no post-war decline:

There is the big question, what changed during the time 1930 to 1980, and why did it stop?

Women have always worked, though on the farm much of that work escaped any measurement that the government or historians have at their disposal. It’s likely the decline of farms drove some of ...

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April 6th, 2014

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People can rationalize any amount of greed: tech industry collusion

Incredible and sickening:

In the meantime, one the most interesting misconceptions I’ve heard about the ‘Techtopus‘ conspiracy is that, while these secret deals to fix recruiting were bad (and illegal), they were also needed to protect innovation by keeping teams together while avoiding spiraling costs.

That was said to me, almost verbatim, over dinner by an industry insider, who quickly understood he’d said something wrong— “But of course, it’s illegal, so it’s wrong,” he corrected himself.

The view that whatever Jobs and Google ...

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April 6th, 2014

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It’s like – I don’t know

There is a large gap between spoken and written language, in particular, spoken language has an abundance of half sentences that never finish. Most quotes in newspapers clean up the grammar that the person used when speaking. So I like this, as it goes against the grain:

“I don’t understand what they were thinking to begin with. I’m sorry, I don’t even like to take my kids in a car ride that would be too dangerous, and it’s like taking ...

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April 6th, 2014

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Where established companies might see risks or threats, startups see opportunity

Interesting:

The convergence of digital trends along with the rise of China and globalization has upended the rules for almost every business in every corner of the globe. It’s worth noting that everything from the Internet, to electric cars, genomic sequencing, mobile apps, and social media — were pioneered by startups, not existing companies. Perhaps that’s because where established companies might see risks or threats, startups see opportunity. As the venture capital business has come roaring back in the last 5 ...

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April 6th, 2014

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Apple is secretive

Interesting:

“A fairly heavy corporate controlling hand.”

Richard Francis worked at Intel and got to know Apple employees when the two companies partnered on projects.

“There is a fairly heavy corporate controlling hand governing a lot of what Apple locally can / can’t ‘do’ as a business. That made for a fair degree of tension with some senior staff coming in from other parts of the technology industry.”

“I dreaded Sunday nights.” Designer Jordan Price hated the long, rigid hours he was expected to work.

“I ...

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April 4th, 2014

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Shareholders do not legally own a corporation

Interesting:

Did Carr have a choice? Was he truly beholden to his shareholders’ desire to take the deal? If not, how can directors act against the wishes of shareholders to preserve value for other stakeholders—value that is often less easily measured than a buyout price? In the wake of the scandals that caused the recession, the management world has been immersed in trying to answer such questions.

Oddly, no previous management research has looked at what the legal literature says about the ...

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April 4th, 2014

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The end of Steve Blank’s Epiphany

Everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur should read Steve Blank’s book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany. But be aware that the era when this book was relevant is coming to an end, due to the high speed of innovation in some sectors:

This possibility allows the world to turn on its head very quickly, for Instagram to create a $1B company in 18 months with 30M users and for Whatsapp to amass a rabidly engaged mobile user base ...

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April 4th, 2014

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Is Hacker News bad for the tech world?

The implication is that Hacker News is dominant because the competition is weak, and there is some truth to that, mostly because Hacker News does not sell ads, whereas all the major tech blogs sell ads, and the ads get in the way of my ability to read the story, and the ads might also influence the editorial policy of the blog, and yet Hacker News has its own editorial policy, influenced by its economic concerns, and less obvious than ...

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April 4th, 2014

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The good and the bad of Facebook advertising

Much of this thread is devoted to the problems with Facebook advertising. This was one of the few positive stories:

Like others have said, it really depends on what you’re selling and who you’re targetting. Our example (country specific mobile app for doctors), spent 100 € on AdWords, end result was literally 0 app installs, 0 sign-ups, 0 everything. Medical keywords are expensive, no chance of sending them directly to the App Store/Play Store (that we saw at least), and no other ...

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April 1st, 2014

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Can open-floor plans be useful in an office?

I only hear the negatives, so this positive argument is interesting:

Suffers from the same flaw as most critiques of open plan: it focuses on individual productivity while failing to understand how it contributes to team productivity.

Cornell did a study of open plan awhile back that you should all read. I posted it here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7507404

The misunderstanding here is that it’s just about serendipitously “overhearing” other conversations.

1. Open plan makes it easier to ask questions. Those are “disruptions”, yes, but what the ...

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March 31st, 2014

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OKCupid takes a stand against Brendan Eich

Interesting:

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ...

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March 31st, 2014

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Changing ideas for a startup

I built a custom CRM for the private club Parlor New York, and I just discovered an article about their original application. The application has changed a lot in the last 3 years. It is now focused on more detailed questions that try to figure out what your profession is. For me, this is one more data point about how ideas change once you try to make them real.

The Parlor Club first sent out invites in 2009 ...

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March 31st, 2014

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Declining wages for men

Interesting:

For reference: Here are changes in hourly real wages of men, 1973-2012, at different percentiles of the wage distribution, calculated from Census data by the Economic Policy Institute. As you can see, wages have fallen for 60 percent of men.

Source

March 30th, 2014

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Bitcoin has a great future in crime

I agree with this entirely:

The IRS now treats bitcoin as a property asset, very much the same way they treat stocks, and not all stocks are prone to speculation. So this is expected news for those who hold bitcoin as an investment.

The major impact of this decision will be on consumer adoption. Now, every time I want to make a transaction, I need to keep track of my taxes. I know that some startups are already developing ways to ...

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March 30th, 2014

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Half the board of Mozilla resigns because of the new CEO

This is a curious story, for sure. If the half the Board hates the new CEO, then how did he become CEO? Brendan Eich is apparently a homophobe, having donated money to Proposition 8. I understand why the Board members would resign, but why were they unable to stop the appointment?

Source

March 24th, 2014

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Sexism in Silicon Valley

An interesting look at the extent to which the investors/angels in Silicon Valley help promote stereotypes that in turn promote a backwards view of gender relations:

Silicon Valley fetishizes a particular type of engineer — young, male, awkward, unattached. This fetish is so normalized in startup culture that it often goes unseen for what it is: the specific, narrow fantasy of venture capitalists, deployed to focus their investment and attention. The disproportionate success of a very few individuals who fit this ...

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March 24th, 2014

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Julie Ann Horvath struggles with Github

I suspect this story will be one of those stories that we will talk about for many years, sort of in the same way some of us still reference the treatment that Blaine Cook got in the media, and how unfair it was to blame him for the technical problems in Rails, at a site that was growing 1,000% a year. Some stories reveal a lot about the mood of the tech community in a given year. The Blaine Cook ...

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March 24th, 2014

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What is the future of news?

Consider the ambitions of Vox:

Will Vox be a bunch of articles like this one?

Our commitment to explaining the news is a commitment to an outcome not a commitment to any particular article format. We do think, however, that the traditional article format is ripe for reinvention.

In journalism, you’ll sometimes hear articles about hard topics referred to as “vegetables” or “the spinach” — the idea being that readers don’t like those subjects but they should be reading about them anyway. Our ...

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March 23rd, 2014

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Millions at stake but programming mistakes everywhere

How long does this go on? Tens of millions of dollars get traded in virtual currencies, yet the exchanges seem to be slapped together by amateurs, with none of the caution that a bank would use when building its exchange software.

Vircurex had a computer programming bug that caused the loss of a huge amount of virtual currency, so they are now insolvent, and they are trying to offer their own solvency-resque, without going to the courts:

Frozen Funds

In preparation of ...

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March 21st, 2014

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Making the VC process more tolerant of women

Sam Altman seems serious about making it easier for female founders to find resources through the VC and incubator systems:

I realize it’s always a bit ridiculous for a guy to talk about what it’s like for female founders, but I’m interested in doing whatever I can to help, because the venture business has definitely been unfair to women. The women on our team also care deeply about this issue, and in fact can probably do more than I can ...

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March 11th, 2014

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The gentrification of San Francisco

Interesting:

City officials estimate that there are over 40,000 illegal in-law units attached to San Francisco properties, and they account for about ten percent of the city’s housing stock. Most of these units were constructed during World War II, when workers flooded to the Bay Area to take wartime industrial jobs; today, property owners often choose to rent them to lower-income tenants under the table. Historically, San Francisco has had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding illegal in-law units; ...

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March 11th, 2014

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Assumptions to avoid when starting your web startup

I have seen $1 million dollars wasted in what turned out to be a year long brainstorming session. I have seen self-doubts rationalized as doubts about a product, and honest doubts about a product transformed into tests of personal self-worth. I have seen smart people lose their bearings when they face the test of the market. Startups are hard, and the public’s reaction to your product is always personal.

Pasha Galbreath and I continue to give talks to first-time entrepreneurs ...

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March 9th, 2014

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ONO sells for $9.5 billion and no one cares

Maybe it is the Europeans who do the right thing, and the Americans who get it wrong?

A Spanish cable company, ONO, built originally by Eugenio Galdon and mostly by my friend Richard Alden between 2001 and 2011, is in the process of being sold to Vodafone for around $9.5bn, and nobody cares. It is sad how entrepreneurial successes that don’t happen in the USA or are not related to the USA get so little press. ONO is a fantastic story ...

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March 2nd, 2014

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The many problems with Bitcoin

Interesting:

I’m actually shocked that Mt. Gox did not lose money to a database screwup. There are so many flawed NoSQL databases out there that, if you adopt the technologies advertised as “hip” on techcrunch, you’ll most likely end up with a broken exchange (more on this in subsequent blog posts, because there are many funny examples that deserve their own discussion). It is quite easy for well-meaning developers to build an exchange on a database that loses transactions, or to ...

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March 1st, 2014

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The new Formal blogging

Like Chris Bertram, I have a certain nostalgia for the world of blogging that existed during the years, roughly, 2000-2008. I sad that the conversational aspects have moved to Twitter, and now the blogs are mostly op-eds, rather than conversations. I am also surprised to see it now being treated as something to be done formally.

To be fair, may of the new initiatives, such as The Conversation, Politics in Spires, and the LSE Blogs are great, content-wise. But they ...

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February 25th, 2014

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Greedy bankers, the lazy poor: moralizing wealth

Interesting:

Sadly, Mr Rooney did not respond in the manner of one of his celebrated predecessors. But he should have, because the chant is wrong. Mr Rooney is not getting £300,000 a week because he is unusually greedy: in the improbable event of being offered such money, who among us would turn it down? He is getting it because he is unusually powerful – a power which is not entirely due merely to his exceptional skill.

Palace fans, then, are committing ...

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February 25th, 2014

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Corporate welfare in the USA, from state and local numbers

$110 billion just from state and local governments. And of course the Federal government adds in a lot more.

State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 ...

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February 25th, 2014

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Assortative Mating plays no role in current income inequality

Rarely does one see such blatant lying. Here a group of economists post a graph that very clearly contradicts everything they say, yet they go ahead and say it anyway.

The authors conclude that “rising assortative mating together with increasing labour-force participation by married women [emphasis added by me] are important in order to account for the determinants of growth in household income inequality in the US.” So, right out of the gate, a key influence not trumpeted in the headline ...

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February 11th, 2014

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Who should be in charge when policy actually matters?

Take the title of this post and change it so it is about technology:

Who should be in charge when technology actually matters?

I am intrigued by a Paul Krugman post in which talks about policy mattering.

Change the word “policy” to “technology” and this gets at my complaint about many of the tech disasters I’ve seen in recent years, from the companies I worked for, to stuff I read about such as the roll out of the website for Obamacare.

So ...

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February 1st, 2014

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Why is code so awful at Etsy?

Paul Graham says that startups need to beat the averages:

In a big company, you can do what all the other big companies are doing. But a startup can’t do what all the other startups do. I don’t think a lot of people realize this, even in startups.

The average big company grows at about ten percent a year. So if you’re running a big company and you do everything the way the average big company does it, you can ...

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January 31st, 2014

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Why do games and Hollywood portray different sexualities?

This blog post is way too long, but it does raise an interesting question. Hollywood tends to focus on conventional sexuality, mostly the struggle to establish a monogamous relationship between 2 heterosexual people, though lately there has been more portrayals of homosexuality. There are also portrayals of promiscuity, but never as anything positive. However, the gaming industry is more comfortable with scenarios that involve polyamorous relationships. Why do the 2 industries portray sexuality so differently?

On top of forming friendships ...

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January 24th, 2014

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Why did the blogosphere die?

The original blogosphere was commercialized, to such an extent that it has almost wholly disappeared. In some ways, this is a great success, in other ways it is a great failure. I miss the blogosphere that existed from 2000 to 2007. This sums it up well:

A personal blog, a blog that is really your own, and not a channel of the The Daily Beast or Forbes or The Washington Post or what have you, is an iterated game with ...

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January 18th, 2014

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All work, no pay

Interesting:

Over the next decade, we realized life wasn’t quite as easy as we thought. Though my wife was slowly moving herself into positions of higher pay and responsibility, I couldn’t find a teaching job and had to rely on bartending. I eventually traded bartending in for some entry-level sales opportunities. I heard a person could make a decent coin in sales. If you can sell stuff, that is. Not just if you work hard.

In the late ’90s I finally landed ...

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January 18th, 2014

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The difficulty of work-life balance when running a startup

Interesting:

Part of the magic of a startup is the fear of death. You have only so much money in the bank, and if you don’t get to the right milestone before you run out, then you’re dead—company goes under, it’s over. There’s a way to cheat death when you are not going to make it—you sound the alarm and force everyone to code through the night and/or weekend. This is stereotypically the life one signs up for at an early ...

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January 17th, 2014

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Startup founders are the new working class

Interesting:

These pressures form part of the darker side of startups, along with concerns that startup communities, though very international, are made up largely of youngish white males who are not so much entrepreneurs as new kinds of workers. A further worry is that software—and hence startups—are eating not just the world but jobs, too.

Ask founders why they put up with the hardships, and they reply with predictable enthusiasm. “I want to change the world,” says Daan Weddepohl, chief executive of ...

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January 17th, 2014

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Online dating is rough

Interesting:

A Reddit user named OKCThrowaway22221 shared a pretty spectacular tale of his adventures in online dating while pretending to be a woman, and we need to talk about it.

So, this happened: Last night I was bored and was talking with a friend on skype about her experiences with online dating. I was joking with her that “girls have it easy on dating sites” etc. etc. I had never really done anything in the online dating world but I had set up ...

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January 16th, 2014

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The lack of female directors in Hollywood

Interesting:

There are only two kinds of people who are successful at this social media thing. Those who are funny and those who get real. I am not that funny, and I have yet to get real publicly.

Today is a good day to change that. Since funny is not an option, I am going to take a deep breath, muster up all the courage I can, and talk about an issue I have long observed despairingly from the sidelines.

Over ...

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January 15th, 2014

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He showed the communications to his girlfriend and she didn’t see anything sexist about them

This is interesting and sad:

A W3C staff member wrote me to chastise–literally chastise me–telling me that he showed the communications that led to my emails to his girlfriend and she didn’t see anything sexist about them.

This too:

If you’ve followed along the effort over the years, the debacle over the longdesc attribute, an accessibility aid, is representative of how badly the change process procedures have failed.

And that might be one key to some of the problems women have had ...

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January 14th, 2014

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Women in the USA workforce

Interesting: (from 2005)

According to the study the *number of women in IT-related positions dropped by 20% in the last decade. This in light of the fact that women in other traditionally male professions are either holding their numbers, or actually increasing their levels of participation.

Most of the decrease came from administrative ranks, which means that women are not moving into management positions in the tech industry, or if they are, they’re not staying. Outside of the administrative ranks, women hold ...

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January 12th, 2014

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Another online-print hybrid

Again, this is an interesting mix of print and online efforts.

Since 2006 C-Heads Magazine shows a snapshot of youth culture, bringing together only the most talented people. In print and online the Vienna / Berlin based magazine shows the full creative range out of photography, fashion, music, art and culture. Explore exclusive editorials and the best of designers, stylists, musicians and writers from different parts of the world, who merge to feed our 300,000 readers with amazing talent, latest trends and inspiration.

We all ...

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January 11th, 2014

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New publishing models for print web hybrids

I only just now discovered Issuu which looks like a clever idea. I think the magazines uploaded to it are all originally designed for print. You can sign up and create an account and “subscribe” to the various magazines. The graphic layout is a strong reminder of everything that is wrong with web graphics.

Source

January 9th, 2014

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It takes a nation of millions to push them forward

Interesting:

But it’s not like Larry Page and Sergey Brin ever lived on a commune. They came along long after the counterculture. How do you draw that connection?

One of the great mistakes people made in reviewing my book was to say, “Wow, it’s great. Turner finally showed us how the hippies brought us computing.” Nothing could be further from the truth. What I think I did in the book was actually show how the research world that brought us computing also ...

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January 8th, 2014

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YCombinator “safe” agreements are intended to replace convertible notes

Interesting:

The safe (simple agreement for future equity) is intended to replace convertible notes in most cases, and we think it addresses many of the problems with convertible notes while preserving their flexibility. In addition to being simpler and clearer, we intend the safe to remain fair to both investors and founders. During its development the safe was positively reviewed by many of the top startup investors. We believe it’s a positive evolution of the convertible note and hope the startup community ...

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January 7th, 2014

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All entrepreneurs are criminals

Along with the theory that most entrepreneurs start off breaking the rules, and only later, if they are successful, do they turn their operation into something legitimate:

The Man Who Does Not Exist insisted on anonymity in exchange for sharing his story. He considers himself a New York entrepreneur who wants to make a buck and doesn’t have much patience for what he views as arbitrary rules and regulations, such as those that govern renting apartments to Airbnb subscribers. He’s ...

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January 7th, 2014

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The challenges faced by Netflix

I think I am alone in this, but I would be happy to stick to Netflix’s DVD service. But I have a lot of friends who use it mostly for its streaming service. I think the adage “Never underestimate Netflix” remains a good one: despite the huge challenges facing the media landscape, Netflix keeps winning. This is interesting:

Alexis Madrigal has a rollicking investigation into Netflix’s movie genres — all 76,897 of them, from category #1 (African-American Crime Documentaries) ...

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January 5th, 2014

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Game culture and women

Interesting:

2013 seems to have been a good year for games, but a bad one for gamers: a blur of angry adolescent guys reminding women just who is the boss in game culture. Wu recounts a number of the year’s worst examples, and they’re surprisingly grotesque.

That said, a bravo must go out to one of the more prominent contributors to the bullying tenor of game culture, Mike Krahulik, who today recognized his problem and promised to deal with it.

But publishers ...

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January 3rd, 2014

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The invisibility of programming as a career

Interesting:

I personally feel qualified to take on the title of “hacker” because of my early in life and broad experiences with programming, but simultaneously feel that I’ll never truly be one because I don’t fit the stereotype and am okay with that: I wear dresses and heels instead of hoodies and sneakers, I keep a regular sleep schedule, and most of all, I’m not male. I feel like I might be earning extra respect because of my extra years of ...

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December 29th, 2013

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An incredible comeback story

Incredible:

She had what she calls “moments of being dead” during the ambulance trip to the hospital, but was revived and reassembled in the first of what would be more than 100 operations.

“I still carry around all the rosaries that people put on the hospital bed,” she says. Pierson did not actually see any of those visitors, having been in a drug-induced coma for 18 months. When she woke up, she was blind, bald and, at 64 pounds, had lost nearly ...

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December 29th, 2013

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Girls who code

Interesting:

Paul asks “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers?” and that is a damn good question and one that I have been thinking about a lot over the past four years. We see very few women entrepreneurs walk into USV and that is disappointing to me. And I agree with Paul that one of the issues (but by no means the only issue) causing this gap, is that young women are not ...

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December 25th, 2013

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Bullying among academics

Interesting:

Beitz is a co-author of “Social Bullying in Nursing Academia,” an article published in the September/October 2013 edition of Nurse Educator that draws upon interviews conducted with 16 nursing professors who were the victims of social bullying in an academic nursing workplace. Beitz says that the participants described in detail instances in which they were slandered, isolated, physically threatened, lied to, or given unrealistic workloads, among various other bullying tactics. The participants in the study were primarily non-tenured female ...

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December 22nd, 2013

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Do you need television to keep up with the Kardashians?

Why You’re Not Watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians Anymore. This is an interesting take on how things are changing:

The problem is, like many reality stars before them, the Kardashians have become many times more famous than their so-called docudrama. Unlike many such reality stars before them, they’re able to docu their own drama in real time, 24/7, on a range of platforms that actually outnumbers the Kardashians themselves (most of us were just getting the hang of Facebook when ...

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December 14th, 2013

In Business, Technology

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When will media companies understand technology?

The big media event today is Beyonce’s new video. So of course, the server is down? The error is a WordPress error. When do media people learn how to use software and servers to handle big spikes in traffic?

Source

December 5th, 2013

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Why leadership often misunderstands software

Interesting:

Back in the mid-1990s, I did a lot of web work for traditional media. That often meant figuring out what the client was already doing on the web, and how it was going, so I’d find the techies in the company, and ask them what they were doing, and how it was going. Then I’d tell management what I’d learned. This always struck me as a waste of my time and their money; I was like an overpaid bike messenger, ...

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December 5th, 2013

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Watch users interact with your software everyday

I so very, very badly want this to be me:

Every now and again, I see a business doing something so sensible and so radical at the same time that I realize I’m seeing a little piece of the future. I had that feeling last week, after visiting my friend Scott Heiferman at Meetup.

On my way out after a meeting, Scott pulled me into a room by the elevators, where a couple of product people were watching a live webcam feed ...

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December 4th, 2013

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Does intellectual debate matter?

Interesting:

The sad and remarkable thing that we’ve learned over the past year or so is how little intellectual debate matters. On both fiscal austerity and monetary policy, the PREs (Perfectly Reasonable Economists) have completely blown the VSPs (Very Serious People) out of the water — the inflationistas, the expansionary austerians, the 90-percent threshold of doom people have all seen their claims collapse in the face of evidence. Yet policy barely changes, and the VSPs continue to talk as if ...

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November 30th, 2013

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The economics of Paul Krugman

This fellow finds a very good quote where Paul Krugman defends himself as an establishment economist. We should all wonder: if the year was 1968, would Paul Krugman be considered left-of-center or right-of-center?

I like to think that I am more open-minded about alternative approaches to economics than most, but I am basically a maximization-and-equilibrium kind of guy. Indeed, I am quite fanatical about defending the relevance of standard economic models in many situations.

I won’t say that I am entirely ...

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November 29th, 2013

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Corruption creeps into the USA military

Really worrisome:

Even many retired Navy officers say they have been shocked by how chummy some of the officers charged in the case had become with Mr. Francis, calling him Big Bro and Boss in emails and promising to “work your business plan” within the Navy bureaucracy.

“This kind of malfeasance in basically working for someone else is kind of unheard-of among line officers, except in cases where someone was spying for a foreign power,” said Kevin Eyer, a retired Navy captain ...

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