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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Nov 2020
  3. Oct 2020
    1. How To Make Online Corporate Learning Fun During Lockdown

      (Available in text or audio.) This article provides basic principles (agenda, duration) and technologies (gamification, discussion boards) and activities to keep employees engaged in online learning. While this provides strategy, it does not provide implementation guidance within the corporate environment. (2/10)

    1. Without a retweet button, Wetherell said, brands “would certainly be less inclined to have a financial relationship with [a platform]. And when you're Twitter and that's vastly your primary source of income, that might be a challenge.”
    1. Online media, despite being so different from traditional printed media, is still trying to maximize its potential audience, and in order to do that, going for quantity over quality.
    1. we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.

      Really free? Or was this served against ads in search?

    2. We’re now in the early stages of testing a “Propensity to Subscribe” signal based on machine learning models in DoubleClick to make it easier for publishers to recognize potential subscribers, and to present them the right offer at the right time.

      Interestingly the technology here isn't that different than the Facebook Data that Cambridge Analytica was using, the difference is that they're not using it to directly impact politics, but to drive sales. Does this mean they're more "ethical"?

    1. SearchEngineLand notes that this could have an impact on the ad market, since a website’s visitors may be automatically scrolled down past its ads to the relevant content. The publication notes that sites may need to change the location of their ads in light of Google’s latest feature.

      And of course there will be crazy implications for the adtech space.

    1. While many blogs get dozens or hundreds of visitors, Searls' site attracts thousands. "I partly don't want to care what the number is," he says. "I used to work in broadcasting, where everyone was obsessed by that. I don't want an audience. I feel I'm writing stuff that's part of a conversation. Conversations don't have audiences."

      Social media has completely ignored this sort of sentiment and gamified and psychoanalyzed it's way into the polar opposite direction all for the sake of "engagement", clicks, data gathering, and advertising.

    1. Our political conversations are happening on an infrastructure built for viral advertising, and we are only beginning to adapt.
    1. Refusing advertising is refusing to privilege moneyed speech. The increasing equation of money with speech—that is, those with the most money can be the loudest and most persistent voices in contemporary media—is denied when advertising is refused.
    2. Carol Nichols of the Twitter alternative rstat.us makes this explicit: Twitter is “actively ignoring the needs of their users in order to serve the needs of their advertisers and shareholders.” In contrast, she argues that rstat.us is more concerned with user expression.
    1. localhost with lvh.me this is a domain that always resolves to localhost and now whenever you write sub1.lvh.me even though a port like sub1.lvh.me:3000 it will still work.
  4. Sep 2020
  5. Aug 2020
    1. How To Make A Social Media App The Right Way

      Read this guide by Uptech to learn more about social media apps and to make a successfull social media app

    1. Online courses tend to be based around linear playlists of videos, along with associated readings and other activities. These often look like university courses filmed and translated more or less directly to online form. More internet native courses tend to be shorter and more focused, but still just as linear and video-centric.

      agree with this.

      I've often thought that at times learning feels more like the Path fo Exile skill spider-web than a linear path.

      Many 'road maps', 'how to' feels like a ladder - and then it's not always clear how much you need to learn about a certain step before moving onto the next step, while also failing to realize that you may have learned the outcomes from the step in another way.

    2. What is a "course"? And more importantly: what more can a course be?

      I like this framing, as something that I've been thinking for awhile is that when it comes to teaching/education - people are too caught up in an old style of education and are trying to copy-paste the classroom setting into the online world.

      While some K-12 education seems to be adapting a bit faster, higher education still feels a little stuck.

      Bootcamps are a little different, but gaps still exist --- got thinking about this also when talking with Sam recently

    1. Q does not prevent opera proxy users from communicating on their platform. Q's webchat is old school speedy and simple.

  6. Jun 2020
    1. Some large tech behemoths could hypothetically shoulder the enormous financial burden of handling hundreds of new lawsuits if they suddenly became responsible for the random things their users say, but it would not be possible for a small nonprofit like Signal to continue to operate within the United States. Tech companies and organizations may be forced to relocate, and new startups may choose to begin in other countries instead.
  7. May 2020
  8. Apr 2020
    1. Once this securitization accelerates, ARR securities will become the next bond-like asset class for both institutions and individuals – irresponsible not to have some in your portfolio, as a fixed income product and a balance against equities. And who will make this market? Sand Hill Sachs.

      "As Alex Danco highlighted in his recent article Debt is Coming, it is clear that recurring revenue securitization – the notion of selling your future ARR bookings at a discount – is the future. "

    2. Put another way, as happens in every maturing industry before it, Internet company revenue will become zero-sum.
    1. "As an aside, the idea that we live in a time where Apple is telling Europe what forms of exposure notification will be permitted is basically the entire thesis behind / pitch for the existence of this newsletter. Not because I believe Apple abused its power, but because the world is still catching up to the idea that Apple and a handful other tech giants have this power."

      One country that has been persuaded of the companies’ approach is famously privacy-conscious Germany. Germans were instrumental in devising the (tongue twister alert) Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project, an effort to do exposure notification in a way that protected citizens from their governments. But the project would have required operating system-level changes to Apple’s iOS by making Bluetooth available to public-health apps that sought to process exposure notifications on a central server controlled by the government. For privacy reasons, Apple said no, and now Germany has signed on with Apple’s system. Here are Douglas Busvine and Andreas Rinke in Reuters: Germany changed course on Sunday over which type of smartphone technology it wanted to use to trace coronavirus infections, backing an approach supported by Apple and Google along with a growing number of other European countries. […] Germany as recently as Friday backed a centralised standard called Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT), which would have needed Apple in particular to change the settings on its iPhones. When Apple refused to budge there was no alternative but to change course, said a senior government source.

    1. In one instance, Amazon employees accessed documents and data about a bestselling car-trunk organizer sold by a third-party vendor. The information included total sales, how much the vendor paid Amazon for marketing and shipping, and how much Amazon made on each sale. Amazon’s private-label arm later introduced its own car-trunk organizers. “Like other retailers, we look at sales and store data to provide our customers with the best possible experience,” Amazon said in a written statement. “However, we strictly prohibit our employees from using nonpublic, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch.”

      Case study:

      • build a marketplace
      • get other companies to figure out which cakes are the hottest to sell
      • sell those cakes yourself
      • charge other companies to advertise and get favorable placement "Fortem spends as much as $60,000 a month"
      • put your products on top... because you own the platform

      Amazon’s private-label business encompasses more than 45 brands with some 243,000 products, from AmazonBasics batteries to Stone & Beam furniture. Amazon says those brands account for 1% of its $158 billion in annual retail sales, not counting Amazon’s devices such as its Echo speakers, Kindle e-readers and Ring doorbell cameras.

    1. The browser is the new OS.

      And Google controls it

      Standardization on something like Chrome/V8 is actually very useful for us, in this sense. We have a pretty good sense of how our Javascript will execute, where and how we can tighten up performance, and simulate the kind of experience most of our users will have.

      That said, I’m always conscious that we are living on someone else’s standards. Sure, Chromium and the V8 engine are open-source, but they still belong to Google in a way that, say, TCP/IP or IMAP does not.

      Google can distribute products on the web better than any other single company. When it placed a callout link to download Chrome right under its search bar, it effectively sealed IE’s demise. Nothing that Microsoft could do would ever reach as many potential users, or drive adoption, at anywhere near the same scale, and they eventually came to understand this.

      Google is paying Apple a cool $12 billion in 2019 to remain Safari’s default search engine, because the amount they make from all those searches (and the ads they support) is far greater.

    1. Quite long but plenty of amazing advice in here from the founders of Looker (acquired by Google)

      “My biggest piece of advice to early-stage founders on fundraising is don't try to raise money too early,” says Tabb. “I see so many founders out there trying to raise with just an idea on a slide. We waited almost a year to raise money, until we knew it was a venture business — not every startup is, and you don’t want to get locked in. We were cranking along with customers and revenue. And it wasn’t all nailed down, but we had figured out enough of how go-to-market might work to know that it was workable. That made our seed raise in the summer of 2012 so much easier. If you build value, it takes the fundraising process from how good you are at pitching yourself to a place where you can simply say ‘Ask the people who are using us for their opinion about it.’”

      As the investor on the receiving end of that fundraising tactic, Trenchard agrees that it was effective. “When we were deciding whether or not to invest in their seed round, Lloyd sent me a list of 10 customer references — many of them were First Round-backed companies. I talked to each and every one during diligence, and I was blown away. The love they had for the products was off the charts, they would have been very disappointed without it,” says Trenchard.

      Learning a new language. “I created LookML to serve as the basis of our platform. It’s an abstraction layer, the sequel to SQL. My thought was that if we could simplify the problems with SQL and evolve the data language, it would be easier to use,” says Tabb. But banking on data analysts learning a new language was anything but a surefire move. “This was a scary one,” says Porterfield. “I remember those early existential questions: ‘Can analysts learn this language? Will they want to?’ Looking back now, it seems more obvious that developer-style tooling and workflows would be embraced. These days, there’s a lot of discussion that any time you can provide tools that increase someone’s leverage, they will adopt them. But that wasn’t clear at the time.”

      “For most companies in the data space, pre-sales folks are like plumbers, they're just hooking stuff together. We tried to take a different approach at Looker by asking prospects for a dataset and then putting economics or math majors to work. In the early days, they wore all the hats: They were pre-sales, post-sales, customer support. Eventually, those became separate roles as we scaled,” says Bien.

      “In the early days, Margaret had a habit of saying ‘We'll be successful when we have 1,000 true fans.’ That was our driving force — figuring out how to build a fanbase in enterprise software,” says Tabb. “If you make a product that customers love, your customers will love you back. It may seem cheesy, but it was really about love — that’s the emotion we wanted to evoke in our customers. We call customer success our ‘Department of Customer Love.’ We made ‘Love Looker Love’ one of our values. I had early customers tell me that life at their company was now divided into two eras: ‘Before Looker’ and ‘After Looker.’ That’s the reaction we were always chasing,” he says.

      “Back in my college days, I was really into the ideas of Robert Greenleaf, who kicked off the concept of servant leadership. Today, as a CEO, that philosophy carries forward — I view myself as a steward,” says Bien. “My role is to remove obstacles for other people and remove ownership for myself.”

    1. Technologies are not simply objects but architectures that organize our bodies in space and time.

      New technologies require us to develop new literacies. By developing such literacies, we train our bodies into habitual choreographies. When you learn to write, you are learning not just symbols but the hand motions that turn lines into letters. When you learn to type, you tether your hands to a keyboard, defining your motions in ways that have neurological and physiological effects. Research shows that writing in print, in cursive, or by typing are each associated with distinct brain patterns and significant learning outcomes. How we use our hands profoundly affects how we think.

      Digital interfaces exercise similar demands on our bodies. When you first acquire a smartphone, the interface is clunky. Each interaction feels contrived, each gesture an intrusion on your consciousness. But as you rehearse these movements, they become second nature. Like the alphabets your hands write into existence, each of these gestures has assigned meanings. As you achieve fluency with them, these gestures become units of the communication structure you form with your device. When you reach instinctively for your phone, it only takes a few unconscious flicks of your thumb to navigate past the lock screen and into your web browser or messaging app. At the same time, you attain a fluency particular to that brand—when your fingers know an iPhone, it’s pretty jarring to use a friend’s Galaxy.

    1. An amazing read/insight into how Ping An, the world's #1 insurer is using big data to reduce costs (>$750M/y) and save customers time (62% of claims handled automatically)

      In 2017, Ping An, China’s second-largest insurer and its biggest non-state-owned company by revenue, rolled out a “Superfast Onsite Investigation” system—enabling policyholders to submit claims by simply opening a smartphone app and answering a few questions. But the app’s niftiest feature offers the option to not even wait for an inspector. Instead, customers can snap photos of a damaged vehicle and send them to a Ping An computer, which can respond with a repair estimate in three minutes or less. If the customer accepts the estimate, then wancheng! (“Done!”) Ping An can transfer funds immediately. Last year, Ping An’s customers used this feature to settle 7.3 million claims, or 62% of the total. The service saves the company more than $750 million each year by reducing bogus claims and human error. But its simplicity belies the extraordinary sophistication of the artificial intelligence and data-processing operations that make it possible. To generate accurate estimates, Ping An matches photos of vehicle damage against a database of 25 million parts used in the 60,000 different auto makes and models sold in China. The system assesses whether those parts can be repaired or must be replaced, then calculates the cost of parts and labor in more than 140,000 garages. Ping An integrates all that information with face-, voice- and image-recognition tech and a complex matrix of anti-fraud rules. Ping An chief scientist Xiao Jing says it took a team of A.I. experts, data scientists, and insurance managers three years to design, develop, and integrate the new service. It is, he exults, “the only one of its kind in the world.”

      These products and services have a vital feature in common: They match online data, generated by China’s digitally native consumer masses, with a vast storehouse of “offline” data and insight amassed over three decades in the insurance business.

      Ping An’s leadership foresees the day when the company’s technology businesses contribute as much as half of its earnings, up from only 6% today, and compete head-to-head with pure technology plays like Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings.

      Ping An earmarks 1% of revenue for investments in innovation. Over the past 10 years, the group has plowed more than $7 billion into research and development, and Ma has vowed to invest $15 billion more in the decade to come. That endowment has nurtured 11 technology affiliates, of which two—Good Doctor and Auto­home, a platform for car buyers—are publicly traded and three are privately held “unicorns” with multibillion-dollar valuations For now, only two of those five are profitable. Even so, the combined value of the group’s tech ventures tops $70 billion. (See the “Star Pupils” sidebar.)

      Schulte estimates that the BAT (China’s troika of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) processes at least 10 times as much data every day as Ping An has acquired in its entire existence. But Ping An executives argue that quality matters more than quantity. The data its businesses collect is richer than that gleaned by the BAT, they claim, because it involves big-ticket transactions relating to health, wealth, and property—among the most meaningful decisions in customers’ lives.

    1. An insight into how social networks work

      Let's begin with two principles: (1)People are status-seeking monkeys, (2) People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital.

      Why do some large social networks suddenly fade away, or lose out to new tiny networks? What ties many of these explanations together is social capital theory. Classic network effects theory [that a network’s utility increases with the number of users who use it] still holds, I’m not discarding it. Instead, let's append some social capital theory. Together, those form the two axes on which I like to analyze social network health. When modeling how successful social networks create a status game worth playing, a useful metaphor is one of the trendiest technologies: cryptocurrency.

      How is a new social network analogous to an ICO?

      (1) Each new social network issues a new form of social capital, a token.

      (2) You must show proof of work to earn the token.

      (3) Over time it becomes harder and harder to mine new tokens on each social network, creating built-in scarcity.

      (4) Many people, especially older folks, scoff at both social networks and cryptocurrencies.

      Perhaps you've read a long and thoughtful response by a random person on Quora or Reddit, or watched YouTube vloggers publishing night after night, or heard about popular Vine stars living in houses together, helping each other shoot and edit 6-second videos. While you can outsource Bitcoin mining to a computer, people still mine for social capital on social networks largely through their own blood, sweat, and tears.

      Almost every social network of note had an early signature proof of work hurdle. For Facebook it was posting some witty text-based status update. For Instagram, it was posting an interesting square photo. For Vine, an entertaining 6-second video. For Twitter, it was writing an amusing bit of text of 140 characters or fewer. Pinterest? Pinning a compelling photo. You can likely derive the proof of work for other networks like Quora and Reddit and Twitch and so on. Successful social networks don't pose trick questions at the start, it’s usually clear what they want from you.

      If you've ever joined one of these social networks early enough, you know that, on a relative basis, getting ahead of others in terms of social capital (followers, likes, etc.) is easier in the early days. Some people who were featured on recommended follower lists in the early days of Twitter have follower counts in the 7-figures, just as early masters of Musical.ly and Vine were accumulated massive and compounding follower counts. The more people who follow you, the more followers you gain because of leaderboards and recommended follower algorithms and other such common discovery mechanisms.

      Young people, with their much higher usage rate on social media, are the most sensitive and attuned demographic to the payback period and ROI on their social media labor. So, for example, young people tend not to like Twitter but do enjoy Instagram.

      It's not that Twitter doesn't dole out the occasional viral supernova; every so often someone composes a tweet that goes over 1K and then 10K likes or retweets (Twitter should allow people to buy a framed print of said tweet with a silver or gold 1K club or 10K club designation to supplement its monetization). But it’s not common, and most tweets are barely seen by anyone at all. Pair that with the fact that young people's bias towards and skill advantage in visual mediums over textual ones and it's not surprising Instagram is their social battleground of preference (video games might be the most lucrative battleground for the young if you broaden your definition of social networks, and that's entirely reasonable, though that arena skews male).

      The gradient of your network's social capital ROI can often govern your market share among different demographics. Young girls flocked to Musical.ly in its early days because they were uniquely good at the lip synch dance routine videos that were its bread and butter. In this age of neverending notifications, heavy social media users are hyper aware of differing status ROI among the apps they use.

      TikTok is an interesting new player in social media because its default feed, For You, relies on a machine learning algorithm to determine what each user sees; the feed of content from by creators you follow, in contrast, is hidden one pane over. If you are new to TikTok and have just uploaded a great video, the selection algorithm promises to distribute your post much more quickly than if you were on sharing it on a network that relies on the size of your following, which most people have to build up over a long period of time. Conversely, if you come up with one great video but the rest of your work is mediocre, you can't count on continued distribution on TikTok since your followers live mostly in a feed driven by the TikTok algorithm, not their follow graph.

      Why copying proof of work is lousy strategy for status-driven networks… Most clones have and will fail. The reason that matching the basic proof of work hurdle of an Status as a Service incumbent fails is that it generally duplicates the status game that already exists. By definition, if the proof of work is the same, you're not really creating a new status ladder game, and so there isn't a real compelling reason to switch when the new network really has no one in it.

      I once wrote about social networks that the network's the thing; that is, the composition of the graph once a social network reaches scale is its most unique quality. Copying some network's feature often isn’t sufficient if you can’t also copy its graph, but if you can apply the feature to some unique graph that you earned some other way, it can be a defensible advantage. Nothing illustrates this better than Facebook's attempts to win back the young from Snapchat by copying some of the network's ephemeral messaging features, or Facebook's attempt to copy TikTok with Lasso, or, well Facebook's attempt to duplicate just about every social app with any traction anywhere. The problem with copying Snapchat is that, well, the reason young people left Facebook for Snapchat was in large part because their parents had invaded Facebook. You don't leave a party with your classmates to go back to one your parents are throwing just because your dad brings in a keg and offer to play beer pong.

      I think the Stories format is a genuine innovation on the social modesty problem of social networks. That is, all but the most egregious showoffs feel squeamish about publishing too much to their followers. Stories, by putting the onus on the viewer to pull that content, allows everyone to publish away guilt-free, without regard for the craft that regular posts demand in the ever escalating game that is life publishing. In a world where algorithmic feeds break up your sequence of posts, Stories also allow gifted creators to create sequential narratives. In the annals of tech, and perhaps the world, the event that created the greatest social capital boom in history was the launch of Facebook's News Feed. Before News Feed, if you were on, say MySpace, or even on a Facebook before News Feed launched, you had to browse around to find all the activity in your network. Only a demographic of a particular age will recall having to click from one profile to another on MySpace while stalking one’s friends. It almost seems comical in hindsight, that we'd impose such a heavy UI burden on social media users. Can you imagine if, to see all the new photos posted in your Instagram network, you had to click through each profile one by one to see if they’d posted any new photos? I feel like my parents talking about how they had to walk miles to grade school through winter snow wearing moccasins of tree bark when I complain about the undue burden of social media browsing before the News Feed, but it truly was a monumental pain in the ass.

      By merging all updates from all the accounts you followed into a single continuous surface and having that serve as the default screen, Facebook News Feed simultaneously increased the efficiency of distribution of new posts and pitted all such posts against each other in what was effectively a single giant attention arena, complete with live updating scoreboards on each post. It was as if the panopticon inverted itself overnight, as if a giant spotlight turned on and suddenly all of us performing on Facebook for approval realized we were all in the same auditorium, on one large, connected infinite stage, singing karaoke to the same audience at the same time.

      It's difficult to overstate what a momentous sea change it was for hundreds of millions, and eventually billions, of humans who had grown up competing for status in small tribes, to suddenly be dropped into a talent show competing against EVERY PERSON THEY HAD EVER MET.

      Incidentally, teens and twenty-somethings, more so than the middle-aged and elderly, tend to juggle more identities. In middle and high school, kids have to maintain an identity among classmates at school, then another identity at home with family. Twenty-somethings craft one identity among coworkers during the day, then another among their friends outside of work. Often those spheres have differing status games, and there is some penalty to merging those identities. Anyone who has ever sent a text meant for their schoolmates to their parents, or emailed a boss or coworker something meant for their happy hour crew knows the treacherous nature of context collapse.

      Add to that this younger generation's preference for and facility with visual communication and it's clearly why the preferred social network of the young is Instagram and the preferred messenger Snapchat, both preferable to Facebook. Instagram because of the ease of creating multiple accounts to match one's portfolio of identities, Snapchat for its best in class ease of visual messaging privately to particular recipients. The expiration of content, whether explicitly executed on Instagram (you can easily kill off a meme account after you've outgrown it, for example), or automatically handled on a service like Snapchat, is a must-have feature for those for whom multiple identity management is a fact of life.

      Many types of social capital have qualities which render them fragile. Status relies on coordinated consensus to define the scarcity that determines its value. Consensus can shift in an instant. Recall the friend in Swingers, who, at every crowded LA party, quips, "This place is dead anyway." Or recall the wise words of noted sociologist Groucho Marx: "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."

      The Groucho Marx effect doesn't take effect immediately. In the beginning, a status hierarchy requires lower status people to join so that the higher status people have a sense of just how far above the masses they reside. It's silly to order bottle service at Hakkasan in Las Vegas if no one is sitting on the opposite side of the velvet ropes; a leaderboard with just a single high score is meaningless.

      Snapchat— Snapchat opens to a camera. If you want to text someone, it's extra work to swipe to the left pane to reach the text messaging screen. Remember Snapchat's original Best Friends list? I'm going to guess many of my readers don't, because, as noted earlier, old people probably didn't play that status game, if they'd even figured out how to use Snapchat by that point. This was just about as pure a status game feature as could be engineered for teens. Not only did it show the top three people you Snapped with most frequently, you could look at who the top three best friends were for any of your contacts. Essentially, it made the hierarchy of everyone's “friendships” public, making the popularity scoreboard explicit.

      As with aggregate follower counts and likes, the Best Friends list was a mechanism for people to accumulate a very specific form of social capital. From a platform perspective, however, there's a big problem with this feature: each user could only have one best friend. It put an artificial ceiling on the amount of social capital one could compete for and accumulate. In a clever move to unbound social capital accumulation and to turn a zero-sum game into a positive sum game, broadening the number of users working hard or engaging, Snapchat deprecated the very popular Best Friends list and replaced it with streaks.

      Social Arbitrage— Because social networks often attract different audiences, and because the configuration of graphs even when there are overlapping users often differ, opportunities exist to arbitrage social capital across apps. A prominent user of this tactic was @thefatjewish, the popular Instagram account (his real name was Josh Ostrovsky). He accumulated millions of followers on Instagram in large part by taking other people's jokes from Twitter and other social networks and then posting them as his own on Instagram. Not only did he rack up followers and likes by the millions, he even got signed with CAA! When he got called on it, he claimed it wasn't what he was about. He said, "Again, Instagram is just part of a larger thing I do. I have an army of interns working out of the back of a nail salon in Queens. We have so much stuff going on: I'm writing a book, I've got rosé. I need them to bathe me. I've got so many other things that I need them to do. It just didn't seem like something that was extremely dire." Which is really a long, bizarre way of saying, you caught me. Let he who does not have an army of interns bathing them throw the first stone.

    1. Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld ... We are now building such a 1:1 map of almost unimaginable scope, and this world will become the next great digital platform.

      The first big technology platform was the web, which digitized information, subjecting knowledge to the power of algorithms; it came to be dominated by Google. The second great platform was social media, running primarily on mobile phones. It digitized people and subjected human behavior and relationships to the power of algorithms, and it is ruled by Facebook and WeChat.

      We are now at the dawn of the third platform, which will digitize the rest of the world. On this platform, all things and places will be machine-­readable, subject to the power of algorithms. Whoever dominates this grand third platform will become among the wealthiest and most powerful people and companies in history, just as those who now dominate the first two platforms have.

    1. Acton's $850M moral stand and the $122mn fine for deliberately lying to the EU Competition Commission

      Under pressure from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to monetize WhatsApp, he pushed back as Facebook questioned the encryption he'd helped build and laid the groundwork to show targeted ads and facilitate commercial messaging. Acton also walked away from Facebook a year before his final tranche of stock grants vested. “It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don’t want to do,” Acton says. “It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did.” It was perhaps the most expensive moral stand in history. Acton took a screenshot of the stock price on his way out the door—the decision cost him $850 million.

      Despite a transfer of several billion dollars, Acton says he never developed a rapport with Zuckerberg. “I couldn’t tell you much about the guy,” he says. In one of their dozen or so meetings, Zuck told Acton unromantically that WhatsApp, which had a stipulated degree of autonomy within the Facebook universe and continued to operate for a while out of its original offices, was “a product group to him, like Instagram.”

      For his part, Acton had proposed monetizing WhatsApp through a metered-user model, charging, say, a tenth of a penny after a certain large number of free messages were used up. “You build it once, it runs everywhere in every country,” Acton says. “You don’t need a sophisticated sales force. It’s a very simple business.”

      Acton’s plan was shot down by Sandberg. “Her words were ‘It won’t scale.’ ”

      “I called her out one time,” says Acton, who sensed there might be greed at play. “I was like, ‘No, you don’t mean that it won’t scale. You mean it won’t make as much money as . . . ,’ and she kind of hemmed and hawed a little. And we moved on. I think I made my point. . . . They are businesspeople, they are good businesspeople. They just represent a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with.”

      Questioning Zuckerberg’s true intentions wasn’t easy when he was offering what became $22 billion. “He came with a large sum of money and made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” Acton says. The Facebook founder also promised Koum a board seat, showered the founders with admiration and, according to a source who took part in discussions, told them that they would have “zero pressure” on monetization for the next five years... Internally, Facebook had targeted a $10 billion revenue run rate within five years of monetization, but such numbers sounded too high to Acton—and reliant on advertising.

      T he warning signs emerged before the deal even closed that November. The deal needed to get past Europe’s famously strict antitrust officials, and Facebook prepared Acton to meet with around a dozen representatives of the European Competition Commission in a teleconference. “I was coached to explain that it would be really difficult to merge or blend data between the two systems,” Acton says. He told the regulators as much, adding that he and Koum had no desire to do so.

      Later he learned that elsewhere in Facebook, there were “plans and technologies to blend data.” Specifically, Facebook could use the 128-bit string of numbers assigned to each phone as a kind of bridge between accounts. The other method was phone-number matching, or pinpointing Facebook accounts with phone numbers and matching them to WhatsApp accounts with the same phone number.

      Within 18 months, a new WhatsApp terms of service linked the accounts and made Acton look like a liar. “I think everyone was gambling because they thought that the EU might have forgotten because enough time had passed.” No such luck: Facebook wound up paying a $122 million fine for giving “incorrect or misleading information” to the EU—a cost of doing business, as the deal got done and such linking continues today (though not yet in Europe). “The errors we made in our 2014 filings were not intentional," says a Facebook spokesman.

      Acton had left a management position on Yahoo’s ad division over a decade earlier with frustrations at the Web portal’s so-called “Nascar approach” of putting ad banners all over a Web page. The drive for revenue at the expense of a good product experience “gave me a bad taste in my mouth,” Acton remembers. He was now seeing history repeat. “This is what I hated about Facebook and what I also hated about Yahoo,” Acton says. “If it made us a buck, we’d do it.” In other words, it was time to go.

    1. All startups say they’re ambitious. You better be if you take venture funding!

      Stripe’s insight was that tackling ambitious problems doesn’t just make the potential prize bigger. Ambitious efforts are often more feasible than smaller ones, because the strongest people want to work on the most ambitious efforts. In our experience this positive talent effect was stronger than the negative effect of problem difficulty. So, paradoxically, tackling a bigger problem could be both more rewarding for the company and in a sense more tractable.

      This probably needs to be qualified. Stripe is set up so that we’re successful when our customers are successful (in real, economic terms). Ambitious problems for Stripe look like enabling more internet businesses and supporting entrepreneurs in more countries, not getting more ad clicks. The talent effect of ambition certainly applies to Stripe-style problems, but I’m not sure if it’d work for something like ads.

      Again all startups say “our team is our most important asset”; leaders say “the hardest part of my job is hiring good people”. But what most companies actually do day-to-day on recruiting is disastrous: generic job ads, clueless outside recruiters, screening on brand name, candidate-hostile interview processes, slow response times, etc. The poor recruiting results of most companies reflect the work they put in.

      Stripe was different in two respects: effort and thoughtfulness.

      In terms of effort, Stripe’s recruiting was absolutely relentless. On the front of the pipeline this meant investing in potential candidates that wouldn’t apply for years, through genuine 1:1 relationships as well as many small events that introduce Stripe and its team. Once candidates were active, Stripe tried to move very quickly. Ideally we'd turn around recruiting steps on the same day: respond to the candidates inbound email the same day, and even decide on and give them an offer on the same day as their interviews. We could close candidates before Google replied to their initial emails.

      Stripe was also thoughtful in recruiting processes. This signaled to candidates that the company was clueful and understood the candidate’s perspective. One example is Stripe’s capture the flag program, which not only put Stripe on the radar of a lot of candidates, but also gave them a sense of the strength of the engineering team. Another example was Stripe’s guidance on what to expect for interviews. We’d send candidates a PDF describing exactly how their interviews would be conducted, how they’d be evaluated, and how to prepare. These certainly helped candidates present their best work in the interviews. But they also showed that Stripe actually cares about this, which candidates knew from experience many other companies did not.

    1. Walmart can be thought of as a bounded search for the optimal selection, inventory, and pricing of SKUs that a local market could support. It was bound, or constrained, by the characteristics of the local economy, and so each Walmart location was a direct reflection of the local market dynamics. The immensely difficult job of the local management team was to predict and implement the optimal mix that could theoretically have been found if every possible permutation were tested by the local economy. Undershooting or overshooting – that is, having too few or many SKUs, or too little or much inventory – would be a costly mistake. By the same token, higher-level managers were responsible for estimating the optimal size and location of the building itself, and for choosing the best associates to manage it, and so on. Each level of management, then, was tasked with managing their own level of the algorithm.

      Bezos, in other words, wanted to build an unbounded Walmart. By removing the constraint of geography – and therefore the local economy – and by adding search functionality, the new formula became simpler: the more SKUs it added, the more items would be discovered by customers; the more items that customers discovered, the more items they would buy. In this world of infinite shelf space, it wasn’t the quality of the selection that mattered – it was pure quantity. And with this insight, Amazon did not need to be nearly as good – let alone better – than Walmart at Walmart’s masterful game of vendor and SKU selection. Amazon just needed to be faster at aggregating SKUs – and therefore faster at onboarding vendors.

      To make sense of what started to happen after Amazon rolled out Marketplace, you have to understand that things get really weird when you run an unbounded search at internet-scale. When you remove “normal” constraints imposed by the physical world, the scale can get so massive that all of the normal approaches start to break down.

      So, what is Amazon? It started as an unbound Walmart, an algorithm for running an unbound search for global optima in the world of physical products. It became a platform for adapting that algorithm to any opportunity for customer-centric value creation that it encountered. If it devises a way to keep its incentive structures intact as it exposes itself through its ever-expanding external interfaces, it – or its various split-off subsidiaries – will dominate the economy for a generation. And if not, it’ll be just another company that seemed unstoppable until it wasn’t.

    1. “The most important thing is that we are not a news business. We are more like a search business or a social media platform,” Zhang said in a 2017 interview, adding that he employs no editors or reporters. “We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a U.S. company, both in product and technology.”

      The story of how Bytedance became a goliath begins with news site Jinri Toutiao but is tied more closely to a series of smart acquisitions and strategic expansions that propelled the company into mobile video and even beyond China. By nurturing a raft of successful apps, it’s gathered a force of hundreds of millions of users and now poses a threat to China’s largest internet operators. The company has evolved into a multi-faceted empire spanning video service Tik Tok -- known as Douyin locally -- and a plethora of platforms for everything from jokes to celebrity gossip.

      “The predominant issue in China’s internet is that the growth in users and the time each user spends online has slowed dramatically. It is becoming a zero-sum game, and costs for acquiring users and winning their time are increasing,” said Jerry Liu, an analyst with UBS. “What Bytedance has created is a group of apps that are very good at attracting users and retaining their time, in part, leveraging the traffic from Jinri Toutiao.”

      What Zhang perceived in 2012 was that Chinese mobile users struggled to find information they cared about on many apps. That’s partly because of the country’s draconian screening of information. Zhang thought he could do better than incumbents such as Baidu, which enjoyed a near-monopoly on search. The latter conflated advertising with search results, a botch that would later haunt the company via a series of medical scandals.

    1. Spontaneity is the big thing you'll miss

      Forget the calendar invite. Just jump into a conversation. That’s the idea powering a fresh batch of social startups poised to take advantage of our cleared schedules amidst quarantine. But they could also change the way we work and socialize long after COVID-19 by bringing the free-flowing, ad-hoc communication of parties and open office plans online. While “Live” has become synonymous with performative streaming, these new apps instead spread the limelight across several users as well as the task, game, or discussion at hand.

    1. you may be more likely to work alongside a robot in the near future than have one replace you. And even better news: You’re more likely to make friends with a robot than have one murder you. Hooray for the future!
    1. produire de nouvelles cultures techniques

      la low-tech aurait donc plus à voir avec une «culture technique» que les objets techniques eux-mêmes; avec une intellectualisation de la technique plutôt qu’à son objectification.

  9. Mar 2020
    1. Open a placeholder with txti.es to publish a post on your RedCamel Annotations blog.

    1. document

      drag and drop lets you annotate PDFs.

    Tags

    Annotators

    URL

    1. Real-time irc sessions cannot be linked to hyp.

    Tags

    Annotators

    URL

    1. [#contributor: /contributors/59327110a312645844994e4d]|||Free/libre software advocate Richard Stallman is president of the Free Software Foundation. He launched the development of the [free software](http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html) operating system [GNU](http://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html) in 1984; the [GNU/Linux](http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html) system (essentially GNU with Linux added) is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman also founded the League for Programming Freedom, which campaigned against legal threats to programming (including patents).|||

      Clear hints of Markdown syntax in a Wired Formatting error

    2. Skype is a clear example: when one person uses the non-free Skype client software, it requires another person to use that software too – thus surrendering their freedoms along with yours. (Google Hangouts have the same problem.) We should refuse to use such programs even briefly, even on someone else's computer.

      which should be an alternative solution?

    3. Both non-free software and SaaSS can spy on the user, shackle the user, and even attack the user.
  10. assets.cengage.com assets.cengage.com
    1. Integrating EducationalTechnology into the Curriculum

      The article is very user friendly and effectively describes how to integrate tech into curriculum. Curriculum would be student centered, engaging, and promote higher levels of learning. 5/5

    1. (1) increasing access to educational technologies, (2) increasing the use of technology for instructional purposes, and (3) improving the effectiveness of technology use to facilitate learning.

      Tech Framework needs to include: increase access to tech, increase tech instruction, use tech to facilitate learning 4/5

    1. le nuove tecnologie sono presenti nella vita di tutti, sia lavorativa sia quotidiana. Spesso non ci rendiamo neanche conto che interagiamo con sistemi automatici o che disseminiamo sulla rete dati che riguardano la nostra identità personale. Per cui si produce una grave asimmetria tra chi li estrae (per i propri interessi) e chi li fornisce (senza saperlo). Per ottenere certi servizi, alcuni siti chiedono a noi di precisare che non siamo un robot, ma in realtà la domanda andrebbe capovolta
    2. «È necessario che l’etica accompagni tutto il ciclo della elaborazione delle tecnologie: dalla scelta delle linee di ricerca fino alla progettazione, la produzione, la distribuzione e l’utente finale. In questo senso papa Francesco ha parlato di “algoretica”»
    1. non sono gli utenti a essere incapaci di resistere alle sirene di Facebook e Instagram: sono i social network e gli smartphone a essere progettati appositamente per ottenere questo risultato.
    1. Underneath that awkward Java-esque patina, JavaScript has always had a gorgeous heart.

      aww

    1. Allowing an app to send you push notifications is like allowing a store clerk to grab you by the ear and drag you into their store.
    1. Many changes in Android 10 highlight the tension between creating a platform to be as flexible and open as possible, while still upholding some security and privacy requirements.
  11. Feb 2020
    1. I suspect that Wacom doesn’t really think that it’s acceptable to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop. I suspect that this is why their privacy policy doesn’t really admit that this is what that they do.
  12. Jan 2020
    1. Similar to the technical architecture of classic colonialism, digital colonialism is rooted in the design of the tech ecosystem for the purposes of profit and plunder. If the railways and maritime trade routes were the "open veins" of the Global South back then, today, digital infrastructure takes on the same role: Big Tech corporations use proprietary software, corporate clouds, and centralised Internet services to spy on users, process their data, and spit back manufactured services to subjects of their data fiefdoms.

      Yikes

    1. The underlying guiding idea of a “trustworthy AI” is, first and foremost, conceptual nonsense. Machines are not trustworthy; only humans can be trustworthy (or untrustworthy). If, in the future, an untrustworthy corporation or government behaves unethically and possesses good, robust AI technology, this will enable more effective unethical behaviour.

      yikes

  13. Dec 2019
    1. (there’s an argument to be made that social media has exacerbated these tendencies, as partisan complaint is often the most “engaged” and therefore most “valuable” content on social networks).

      Technology as "phases," not end-points.

      Regarding discussing technology. Very interesting that this sort of behavior might leak back into daily life from social media. Will we end up speaking in "sound bites"?

  • Nov 2019
    1. There used to be an imperfect but useful pathway for research to move from the academy to the corporate world through tech transfer.

      Used to be? It feels to me like it didn't really exist as a codified pathway until the early 2000's at best. Universities only seem to be mastering the entire flow in the past several years. Prior to that most professors took the intellectual property and did almost what they wanted with it and didn't provide any ancillary financial streams to the university out of which the work grew.

  • Oct 2019
  • Sep 2019
    1. There is already a lot of information Facebook can assume from that simple notification: that you are probably a woman, probably menstruating, possibly trying to have (or trying to avoid having) a baby. Moreover, even though you are asked to agree to their privacy policy, Maya starts sharing data with Facebook before you get to agree to anything. This raises some serious transparency concerns.

      Privacy International are highlighting how period-tracking apps are violating users' privacy.

  • Jul 2019
    1. However using the proposed syntax it's easy to see how big components could have logic broken up into smaller reusable pieces, moved into separate files if necessary, leaving you with small, easy-to-understand functions and components.

      Benefits are evident and good, imho. A big improvement in code organization and separation of concerns.

      Just, I think the new syntax suffers from the loss of, as you said, that easy-to-understand-separation-by-type, that is appealing and clearer to newcomers and people that deal with pretty simple components. The component code is divided in three different sections (State, Computed, Methods) that are easy to scroll and to keep conceptually segregated.

      That's one appealing aspect for beginners, helping them to grab the main concepts and organization of Vue. Also helps giving some simpler view to who not too confident with JS and its patterns. With this "separation by function" the beginner is more disoriented since has to import state & computed as functions to place in specific points. Places that they need to know/remember, rather than just filling up the three object provided in module.exports (and I suppose there are packages that build a basic .vue template for you; maybe vue-cli itself too, that people get used to blindly use).

      So in the end the new syntax gives in my opinion a lot more power in modelling, but requires to accept some compromises with the somehow more verbose syntax (const everywhere; return & export providing private/public but necessarily longer to write) and with the slightly higher shadiness of its main concepts.

      Still, a good & efficient & clear documentation, as it was on Vuejs.org until today, will for sure easily compensate to these drawbacks and bring the most out of this new -more OOP- approach. For me also class could be use here, but I like trying to stay compatible using the prototypical approach (maybe also less overhead? Dunno, I'm not so deeply in the JS world).

      I am actually pretty curious to see how it is gonna evolve. And I am glad I didn't engage with Vue too much yet... 😜

  • May 2019
    1. La idea es que Vincent, gracias a los algoritmos de inteligencia artificial, “entiende” el documento que se le proporciona y su contexto, de esa forma es capaz de sugerir los documentos, sentencias y otra información jurídica relevante para el caso concreto.
    2. minimizar el tiempo y el esfuerzo necesario
    3. cuando el usuario sube un documento a Vicent, vLex no se queda el documento. Únicamente lo procesa el algoritmo, pero la búsqueda que se construye sí queda en el historial del usuario. El objetivo es que el usuario puede recuperar los resultados de una búsqueda Vicent, aunque no tenga a mano el documento que lo originó
  • Apr 2019
    1. I’m using this solution now

      I'm probably stupid, and I've looked on that page, but I guess one has to be code-savvy to find out how to wrangle that stuff... Any idea on how to implement that solution in Brave?

      edit: Jon Udell has commented on how to use this on GitHub.

    1. One reason is that products are often designed in ways that make us act impulsively and against our better judgment. For example, suppose you have a big meeting at work tomorrow. Ideally, you want to spend some time preparing for it in the evening and then get a good night’s rest. But before you can do either, a notification pops up on your phone indicating that a friend tagged you on Facebook. “This will take a minute,” you tell yourself as you click on it. But after logging in, you discover a long feed of posts by friends. A few clicks later, you find yourself watching a YouTube video that one of them shared. As soon as the video ends, YouTube suggests other related and interesting videos. Before you know it, it’s 1:00 a.m., and it’s clear that you will need an all-nighter to get ready for the following morning’s meeting. This has happened to most of us.

      This makes me think about the question of social and moral responsibility- I understand that YouTube and Facebook didn't develop these algorithms with nefarious intent, but it is a very drug-like experience, and I know I'm not the only one who can relate to this experience

    1. This article discusses adult learners who connected with industry professionals in a career exploration course that focused around technology and coding. The program is hoping to show other places that focus on adult learning a model that would work for adult learners to gain access to industry.

      Rating: 6/10. Interesting article, but not really a focus on how they effectively engaged the adult learns in the program or their approach to actually developing the course and curriculum.

  • Mar 2019
    1. New Media Consortium Horizon Report This page provides a link to the annual Horizon Report. The report becomes available late in the year. The report identifies emerging technologies that are likely to be influential and describes the timeline and prospective impact for each. Unlike the link to top learning tools that anyone can use, the technologies listed here may be beyond the ability of the average trainer to implement. While it is informative and perhaps a good idea to stay abreast of these listings, it is not necessarily something that the average instructional designer can apply. Rating: 3/5

  • Feb 2019
    1. prolonged interaction between the instructor and the students

      I'm always a little proud when I say that Hypothesis will not make things easier/more efficient for teachers. If anything, it helps widen and deepen this "prolonged interaction between the instructor and students," which takes even more time!

    1. Furthermore, teachers have often been provided with inadequate training for this task. Many approaches to teachers’ professional development offer a one-size-fits-all approach to technology integration when, in fact, teachers operate in diverse contexts of teaching and learning

      Technology is always changing, how will we keep up with the changes and how will we incorporate tools that we are unsure about? It is understandable that in college, we learn about the current technology of that time, but it is our responsibility to understand that technology will always change and that we should try to keep up-to-date on what tools we can use to teach our lessons.

    1. 1) develop more educators, advocates, and community leaders who can leverage and advance the web as an open and public resource,

      It is very important, given the technology we have today, that teachers embrace and use all technology resources and advocate for safe and effective web literacy use.

  • Jan 2019
    1. Um, so, but the other way is, you know, when, when they do make these transactions, they're all recorded on the exchanges that you, I moved those, that data to a spreadsheet and that's where I do the tax tracking.
    2. Mostly with the shitty little Exce
    3. Oh, go into my own trading journal, document it to make sure I have a system of record to hold myself accountable and for being able to look in the future to see over time how I perform on a weekly and monthly basis.
    1. But these tools require we think about their purpose, method, and audience just as carefully as when we design an essay prompt, a problem set, or any other assessment exercise.

      This is an example of when meta-teaching is helpful.

    1. Freedom to organizeAragon lets you freely organize and collaborate without borders or intermediaries. Create global, bureaucracy-free organizations, companies, and communities.
    2. The world’s first digital jurisdictionAragon organizations are not only great because they are decentralized, global and unstoppable. They will also benefit from the Aragon Network, the world’s first digital jurisdiction.

      "digital jurisdiction"

    1. The technology that favored democracy is changing, and as artificial intelligence develops, it might change further.

      i would like to see arguments around this as i further read.

  • Dec 2018
    1. not only designed the first true word processor; in 1969, she was also a founder and the president of the Redactron Corporation, a tech start-up on Long Island that was the first company exclusively engaged in manufacturing and selling the revolutionary machines.

      Pretty incredible, especially given the era!

  • Nov 2018
    1. He and other SHM officials have pushed hospitalists for the past few years to formalize their HIT duties by seeing if they would qualify to take the exam for board certification in medical informatics, which was created in 2013 by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Between certification of that skill set and working more with technology vendors and others to improve HIT, Dr. Rogers sees HM being able to help reform much of the current technology woes in just a few years.
    2. “To me, this is the new frontier,” Dr. Wachter says. “If our defining mantra as a field is, ‘How do we make care better for patients, and how do we create a better system?’ … well, I don’t see how you say that without really owning the issue of informatics.”
    3. SHM’s Information Technology Committee, believes that hospitalists have to take ownership of health information technology (HIT) in their own buildings.
      • Kendall Rogers = Chair of SHM Information Technology Committee
      • Future role of hospitalist = QI initiatives, health information technology
      • Training needs, fellowship curricular components
    4. Dr. Bessler of Sound Physicians notes that advances in technology have come with their hurdles as well. Take the oft-maligned world of electronic medical records (EMRs). “EMRs are great for data, but they’re not workflow solutions,” Dr. Bessler says. “They don’t tell you what do next.” So Sound Physicians created its own technology platform, dubbed Sound Connect, that interacts with in-place EMRs at hospitals across the country. The in-house system takes the functional documentation of EMRs and overlays productivity protocols, Dr. Bessler says. “It allows us to run a standard workflow and drive reproducible results and put meaningful data in the hands of the docs on a daily basis in the way that an EMR is just not set up to do,” he adds. Technology will continue “to be instrumental, of course, but I think the key thing is interoperability, which plenty has been written on, so we’re not unique in that. The more the public demands and the clinicians demand … the better patient care will be. I think the concept of EMR companies not being easy to work with has to end.”

      Biggest challenge will be integration of different technological solutions and sources of data - workflows for delivering care and for research purposes (e.g., person-level QI initiatives, passive baseline data)

    5. “It doesn’t just help make hospitalists work better. It makes nursing better. It makes surgeons better. It makes pharmacy better.”
    6. In the last 20 years, HM and technology have drastically changed the hospital landscape. But was HM pushed along by generational advances in computing power, smart devices in the shape of phones and tablets, and the software that powered those machines? Or was technology spurred on by having people it could serve directly in the hospital, as opposed to the traditionally fragmented system that preceded HM? “Bob [Wachter] and others used to joke that the only people that actually understand the computer system are the hospitalists,” Dr. Goldman notes. “Chicken or the egg, right?” adds Dr. Merlino of Press Ganey. “Technology is an enabler that helps providers deliver better care. I think healthcare quality in general has been helped by both.

      Chicken or the egg? Technological advances were tailored for specific needs in accordance with growth of hospitalist model

    1. code-smell1: In OO, the use of instanceof ( typeof) is a code smell, use double dispatch.

      The use of double dispatch is a code smell; goto code-smell1

    1. The website, EdSurge.com, is where this article was found. This article talks about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The three principles behind UDL are engagement, representation, and action and expression. This website has an entire section on technology in school.

      9/10

  • Oct 2018
    1. Across the technology industry, rank-and-file employees are demanding greater insight into how their companies are deploying the technology that they built. At Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce, as well as at tech start-ups, engineers and technologists are increasingly asking whether the products they are working on are being used for surveillance in places like China or for military projects in the United States or elsewhere.
  • Sep 2018
    1. Despite the most celebrated tech companies' aversion to explicit hierarchy, their widespread use of stock options as compensation, and other corporate techniques to convince workers that every member of "the team" is on the same side, it's clear that the people at the top are know that wages come at the expense of profits. Thus, Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit and Pixar have not yet disentangled themselves from antitrust and class action lawsuits resulting from an agreement--initiated by Google and Apple, and eventually involving dozens more companies, with more than a million employees in total--to cap wages by refusing to compete for each others' employees. This cartel resulted in several billion dollars in lost wages, which went straight to corporate profits. But this transfer, which the law might recognize as theft, is in fact only the tip of the iceberg. It represents a deviation from the ideal of a competitive market, which itself offers no guarantee to workers that they'll receive value equivalent to what they provide. Across the whole U.S. economy, hourly productivity grew by 80 percent in the last 40 years, while hourly income for the median worker grew only 10 percent. In the software industry, measured productivity has grown 12 percent a year for the last 25 years--meaning that it doubles about every six years. Wages have increased in tech, but not that fast. Software developers often buy into the idea of advancement by individual merit--either through a liberal lens in which meritocracy is an ideal we still need to work toward, or a libertarian one in which everyone is already where they deserve to be, top or bottom. This is partly a trickle-down illusion, based on an aspiration to have more in common with Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg than a bank teller or barista. But it also has a basis in the following reality: Most programmers personally know a lot more colleagues who became unhappy at some workplace and quit for a better job than who achieved something through any kind of collective organizing. In this context, it's easy for those who believe they are being mistreated to feel isolated and even personally inadequate, rather than seeking solidarity from co-workers. The cultural barriers aren't insurmountable. It's hard to explain this year's union drive at Gawker as the product of some sclerotic old-economy work structure, for example. And collective organizing could very obviously bring benefits that are hard to negotiate individually: transparency around salary and promotions, with equal pay for equal work; reasonable scheduling and accommodations like child care for people with families; the right to contribute to open source projects or veto the release of insecure, privacy-violating or otherwise unprofessional code.
    1. Political and technological dislocation have fed off each other since the nation’s founding. Now they are dangerously out of whack.

      The underlying premise is that there used to be a balance between tech innovation and political response in the USA, but since Reagan, there has not.

  • Jun 2018
  • May 2018
  • Dec 2017
  • Nov 2017
    1. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft. These big five American vertically organized silos are re-making the world in their image.