July 2014 Articles

  1. Creating great products requires patience
  2. Think big
  3. Focus on your strengths
  4. Think different
  5. Technology by itself is not enough

This past winter, while my family and I were in the middle of a move from the mountains of North Carolina to the suburbs of Des Moines, we got a call from the insurance agent working for our moving company. With all the cold weather, a water main had broken in the warehouse where our belongings were being stored. Our things had been flooded.

The insurance agent was particularly worried about our mattresses, but my first thought was to our books and our personal archives. We had 30 or 40 boxes of books and papers, accreted through college and graduate school and life. How were they doing?

“If there’s a lesson here, I suppose it’s that, in the face of change (whether it’s a shifting personal focus, or seismic ripples in your industry), the old truth still applies: work is hard, and the future is uncertain — so you’d better be doing something you love.”

Clarity and ease are sorely missing from Satya Nadella’s 3,100 plodding words, which were supposed to paint a clear, motivating future for 127,000 Microsoftians anxious to know where the new boss is leading them.

A strong analysis of why strategy and vision should be clearly and concisely communicated.

A fascinating profile of a technology recluse with a strong opinion, Twitter following, and quarterly publication.

We spend a lot of time asking too much of our tools when, in fact, what we really need is just good practices. I’m certain I could keep track of my individual tasks on a torn coffee-stained napkin reliably as long as the practice around the maintenance of that napkin list was reasonable and, more importantly, maintained consistently.

“It’s been five years since my best friend from high school passed away, but her death happens over and over online.”


Benedict Evans ·

“…Imaging becomes a universal form of conversation, rather than the freezing of a special moment or a piece of professional editorial content…The universal scope of the camera and the saturation of our lives with the photos we take also means that ‘taking pictures’ is now no more meaningful a term than ‘writing’. Hence Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook or WhatsApp photo sharing are no more all ‘photos’ than Word, Indesign, Wordpress and twitter are all ‘text’. Photos are no longer a category.”

What does it mean to be a “Professional Photographer” today?

“Smart people have a problem, especially (although not only) when you put them in large groups. That problem is an ability to convincingly rationalize nearly anything.”

I started following her in 2003, after discovering her Myspace page through a local message board. That linked to her Xanga account, and from there, an AIM account, and various other 2003-era social media sites. I started following her out of boredom or procrastination, or maybe just the relative dearth of distractions on the Web in 2003.

… But when things took a dark turn, I had to stop reading. I feared something bad could happen to her, and I didn’t know what my role, as a total stranger, should be.

Whitney Wolfe, a former vice president for marketing at Tinder, the wildly popular hookup facilitation app, is suing the company and its parent, IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), for sexual harassment and discrimination. In her lawsuit, Wolfe says that Tinder’s chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, subjected her to constant sexually charged abuse and threats and that both Chief Executive Officer Sean Rad and his corporate supervisor, IAC’s Sam Yagan, looked the other way. IAC has suspended Mateen indefinitely. In a memo to employees, Rad called Mateen’s communications “unacceptable” while also calling Wolfe’s complaint “full of factual inaccuracies and omissions.”

I’ve come to believe that a lot of what’s wrong with the Internet has to do with memory. The Internet somehow contrives to remember too much and too little at the same time, and it maps poorly on our concepts of how memory should work.

  1. A leader continually works on improving how things are done in large and small ways, seeking different perspectives, and bringing people along a purposeful mission.
  2. A manager focuses on the job at hand without greater vision or ingenuity.
  3. A wanderer offers exciting ideas but can’t make things happen.
  4. A clock puncher stays in a comfort zone and resists change.

Particularly when making decisions at pivot points–which by definition call for changing the status quo–you need to avoid the trap of risk avoidance and make decisions like a leader. However, our study found that, over time, most people tend to move toward the status quo—with increasingly unsuccessful results.

Four categories:

  1. Dud technologies
  2. Ballistic technologies
  3. Intertial technologies
  4. Perpetual technlologies

Two great points:

  1. “broadband capacity needs continue to increase, which requires ongoing investment” - With three options on how to fund that investment that don’t involve reversing Net Neutrality
  2. The technology industry largely goes about changing the world without regard to politics. And we are reactionary when legislation is brought forward that would handcuff us.

I care deeply about the net neutrality debate, but the reason I am writing this is my fear that what we are witnessing is the start of a pattern that will hurt tech industry in the long run. Those who are injured by the impact of technology will diligently make their case in the political realm, while we in the industry who genuinely believe we are changing the world ignore the messiness of politics. And then, suddenly, we will be blindsided again and again by unfavorable legislation or regulation, at which point we will raise a fuss, with ever decreasing effectiveness.