Linking to this one purely for the entertainment value.
But we now live in a world where counter-intuitive bullshitting is valorized, where the pose of argument is more important than the actual pursuit of truth, where clever answers take precedence over profound questions. We have no patience for mystery. We want the deciphering of gods. We want oracles. And we want them right now.
Ta-Nehisi Coates on the conditions that created Jonah Lehrer. I’ve certainly been guilty of fetishizing the counter-intuitive over the years.
Matt Yglesias discusses the stupidity of the patent litigation between Apple and Android licensees. As he points out, the competition has been good for Apple, good for Google, and good for people who use mobile phones.
You might also have noticed that I removed the AddThis buttons from the blog posts. Nobody was clicking on them, so they were just taking up space.
Scott Cawley writes about performing in the Olympic opening ceremony
For the past little while, I’ve been experiencing a fair amount of Tumblr envy, and this weekend I decided to do something about it.
For whatever reason, this blog, like many others, has progressed toward longer and heavier posts over time. That has been accompanied by a reduction in the number of posts I make as well. The main reason for that is, I think, a migration toward posting short thoughts and links on Twitter, or just saving interesting articles to Instapaper or Pinboard and not really sharing them at all. That seems like a waste.
The beautiful thing about Tumblr is that it reduces the amount of friction involved in creating a blog post. Migrating to Tumblr was a non-starter for many reasons, so I have been looking for ways to implement some of the best ideas from Tumblr on this blog for awhile. This weekend, I came across the Pachyderm theme, created by Caroline Moore. It’s free, straightforward, and easy to customize. The default look is a bit precious for my tastes, but it has great bones.
So here we are. New look, new functionality, and hopefully more posts going forward. My goal is to go back to the good old days when I posted more and wrote less. We’ll see how it turns out.
Real-time interactions happen as they happen. Timely ones, on the other hand, happen as you need them to happen. Some real-time interactions, like breaking news about an earthquake, can be timely. But not all timely interactions are real-time. I’d argue that most are not. And where the Fast Web is built around real-timedness, the Slow Web is built around timeliness.
Jack Cheng explaining The Slow Web. More on this subject later.
Answering the age-old question. My short answer is, use the simplest approach that delivers consistent results given the tools used by the team. Keep in mind that at a certain team size, requiring people to use the same tools becomes counterproductive. Traditionally, that team size is 3.
This week, I had the opportunity to watch Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures give his talk on the threats to a free and open Internet. These issues have been near and dear to my heart for many years, and I’d encourage you to watch it.
He points out that the current threats to the Internet arise from the fact that the Internet is a network of networks, and those networks are often threats to established hierarchies. Established hierarchies don’t go down without a fight, that’s true whether we’re talking about cable companies, record companies, or government agencies that want to be able to wiretap anyone, anytime. They are willing to spend big bucks to preserve their businesses for as long as they can. That’s not news to anybody who’s been paying attention.
What did occur to me is that the way the Internet wins is by increasing productivity — by enabling us to get more out of existing resources. In a time when economic growth is stagnant, it is very difficult for the forces of the Internet to win in the political arena for this reason.
Albert talked about the fact that municipal governments are being lobbied by hotels to clamp down on Airbnb. The hotels don’t want the competition and government agencies are willing to listen to the hospitality industry. Hotels are big business. They generate jobs, they pay taxes, and a thriving hospitality sector is a key to bringing in tourist and business travel dollars.
Airbnb is great because it makes it very simple for regular people to put their resources to more productive use. If you have a spare room, or a vacation home, or any other place where people can stay, Airbnb makes it easy to turn it into an economic asset. For people who are traveling, they can save money and often stay in more interesting accommodations than a generic motel by the interstate.
If the economy were operating at full capacity, this increased efficiency would be fantastic. Basically, we’d see resources that would be put into opening new hotels put toward other projects instead. Future hotel workers would work in other industries. That’s not how things are now, though. Increasing productivity just adds more slack to the economy, slowing our recovery. Airbnb is just one example of the Internet’s most common pattern of disruption.
The Internet is wonderful because it is a massive productivity enhancer. It also sucks because it’s a massive productivity enhancer. It’s what puts the Internet on the wrong side of most political fights from the beginning.
Why can’t companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft find ways to spend the tens of billions of dollars they have in the bank? That’s the question Peter Thiel asked of Eric Schmidt at a recent event. The fact that these huge sums of money are being parked by the biggest companies in technology is a problem for US productivity and employment and it’s a sign that the pace of innovation in tech is not where it needs to be.
That said, even if good ideas abounded, it would be difficult to put the money that’s already in the bank to use quickly. Even $1 billion is a lot of money to spend. You could use it to hire more than 5,000 engineers for a year. What would you put them to work on? How would you even scale up such a team if you had a project? There just aren’t that many shovel-ready projects available.
Apple put another $7.2 billion in the bank this quarter. That’s a symptom of something.