October 2022 Articles

I have many regrets about my work building a company that helped pave the way for Friendster, MySpace and ultimately Facebook and Twitter…

But my biggest regret is that we unquestioningly adopted a model in which we provided a free service to users, monetized their attention with ads and moderated content as efficiently and cheaply as possible. We didn’t treat our users as customers: had they paid for their services, we probably wouldn’t have been as quick with the delete key. And we certainly didn’t treat our users as citizens.

Here’s why this matters: since the mid-1990s, the internet has become the world’s digital public sphere. It is the space in which we learn what’s going on in the world, where we discuss and debate how we think the world should work, and, increasingly, where we take actions to try and change the world. There is no democracy without a public sphere – without a way to form public opinion, there’s no ways to hold elected officials responsible, and no way to make meaningful choices about who should lead us.

A fascinating mini-history of the Network Time Protocol — the foundational codebase behind synchronized time in our digital world.

“Excellent companies, in any industry, seem to be led by executives who live and breathe whatever it is their companies do, and they stay up at night and wake up in the morning thinking about how to lead their industries in quality.”