“He would flip on something so fast that you would forget that he was the one taking the 180 degree polar [opposite] position the day before. I saw it daily. This is a gift, because things do change, and it takes courage to change. It takes courage to say, ‘I was wrong.’ I think he had that.”—Tim Cook on Steve Jobs. Strong opinions, loosely held. via Daring Fireball.
“The biggest status play at that dinner table, and at hundreds like it, was to work at the biggest company that maintained startup cred, the biggest place you could feel as though you were working on an imaginable whole rather than a tiny part.”—ibid.
“All these kids, who didn’t yet know what it was like to have a company of their own, or wind down a company of their own, or work for a giant company and ride the bus, seemed certain of one thing: that the longing for total revolution that had for so long been the hallmark of youth was, at last, about to be fulfilled. The only thing they could count on was that they were going to be the generation that partook of the process by which all would be rendered irrevocably different. It didn’t seem to matter what the difference was, or whom it helped or hurt. It just mattered that things in the future would be unlike anything we’d seen before. And that, in the process, they were sure, many of them would get very rich.”—One Startup’s Struggle to Survive the Silicon Valley Gold Rush | Business | WIRED
“My friend is sensitive and intelligent and, in almost every particular, unlike the stereotypical sexist, T & A-obsessed meathead. For years, I assumed that it was just his good fortune that the women he felt an emotional connection with all happened to be so damn hot. Over time, however, I came to realize that my friend, nice as he is, prizes extreme beauty above all the other desiderata that one might seek in a partner.”—“A First-Rate Girl”: The Problem of Female Beauty - The New Yorker
What burns you out is the constant strain of being responsible for a lot of other people’s stuff.
The good news is, as you get older, you gain perspective. Perspective helps alleviate burnout.
The bad news is, you gain perspective by having incredibly shitty things happen to you and the people you love. Nature has made it so that perspective is only delivered in bulk quantities. A railcar of perspective arrives and dumps itself on your lawn when all you needed was a microgram. This is a grossly inefficient aspect of the human condition, but I’m sure bright minds in Silicon Valley are working on a fix.
“The thing is, if you care about having an impact on the world, the too-early mode is the highest leverage point because you can have an idea, build a mock or a prototype of it, and then have those ideas find themselves in products that other people build that then scale up to massive.”—From a really long interview with Jonah Peretti.
“You’re probably a little suspicious. The classics have all been written on paper, or at least papyrus, and they’ve been around for a long time. How good could this stuff possibly be when it’s released whenever the author wants, in whatever shape they figure is ‘good enough?’”—Writing on glass - by me.
“This was to be my last lesson, though I didn’t realize it at the time: that he’d willed everything he had into reality with a set of tools no different or better than mine. The earnestness, the effort, the endless self-belief—out of nothing more than that, he created 50 Cent. The guy who is about to put another record out whether anybody wants it or not. The guy whose mother died at the hands of a person she must have trusted; the guy who just jettisoned the oldest friends he had. And yet he’d behaved like a friend to me. Could I say the same?”—50 Cent Is My Life Coach, by Zach Baron in GQ.
“There are two ways to interpret Plutarch when he suggests that a critic should be able to produce “a better in its place.” In a straightforward sense, he could mean that a critic must be more talented than the artist she critiques. My mother was well covered on this count. (She denies it, but she’s still a much, much better writer than I am.) But perhaps Plutarch is suggesting something slightly different, something a bit closer to Cicero’s claim that one should “criticize by creation, not by finding fault.” Genuine criticism creates a precious opening for an author to become better on his own terms — a process that’s often excruciating, but also almost always meaningful.”—The Perfect Essay.
“It’s relatively hard for a brain to generate pleasure, because it needs to activate different opioid sites together to make you like something more. It’s easier to activate desire, because a brain has several ‘wanting’ pathways available for the task. Sometimes a brain will like the rewards it wants. But other times it just wants them.”—'Wanting' and 'liking' are different, and that explains so much about humans that I wanna shout it out from the rooftops. Source, via hackernews.
“The early path dependency/initial-conditions dependency means product-driven businesses create customers in an absolute sense that cannot be gamed. You cannot get from “early evangelist customers” in pain trying to improvise their way around Blackberry problems, to the iPhone, via a codified process. There is an a priori synthetic element that is neither discoverable by outside-in processes, nor negotiable within a codified inside-out/outside-in dialectic once discovered.”—Product-Driven versus Customer-Driven, by @vgr. So many gems in here, but I will always share Kant references.
“By contrast, successful entrepreneurship is constant change. By definition, it’s the act of solving problems that other people have been unable to solve. That is now the basic state of my life, and when I solve problems, I am doing those things to survive, not to get the joy of overcoming a perceived risk (though it can certainly be enjoyable). For instance, I learned how to code because I needed to, or I would not survive on my own. It was not an experiential or developmental undertaking. It was absolutely necessary, and these days I only have time for what is necessary.”—The end of Experiences, by me, on Medium.
We don’t celebrate women going into Product Management. Instead, we couch it as “well women don’t feel comfortable going into pure technology.” We emphasize that “the role is full of soft skills.” We discuses how it’s “non-threatening,” for developers to have female PMs. Then we assert that “pure technologists are the ones with all the respect.”
We never say “PMs are like mini-CEOs” while talking about women in PM.
Sigh. I’ve actually yet to meet a female PM. I follow a couple on twitter (@sm and caterina) but don’t know any personally. In case you’re also drawing a blank on inspiring female PMs, here’s a list.
“If I, as a white woman, were to walk outside wearing a FUBU jacket, a clothing company which has historically been marketed towards the Black American populace, people’s instinctive impulse in simply observing will be that I am either mocking Black culture or attempting to make some kind of ironic statement. I won’t be wearing a sign that says: This is me adapting! This is me experimenting! Let’s connect! In YOUTH MODE, K-HOLE claims, “Normcore capitalizes on the possibility of misinterpretation as an opportunity for connection—not as a threat to authenticity.” Perhaps this act would open up the possibility for a kind of “connection,” but it would not be based on a liberating act that “co-opts into sameness.” In fact, “the possibility of misinterpretation,” is entirely reliant on Difference, which exposes a giant fissure central to the supposed logic of Normcore. What kinds of misinterpretation might go so far as to open up a means of communication but stylistic or behavioral choices that specifically co-opt from minority and/or marginalized cultures? Is it more likely that I would be “misinterpreted” if I went outside as a white person wearing a FUBU jacket or if a member of any race went out in the very Seinfeld-esque attire that has come to (wrongly) define Normcore? The answer is the former, and that’s a testament to the fact that we do not live in a post-racial or post-identity politics society. It’s also a testament to the insidious white-as-normal, white-as-non-threatening aspect of Normcore. The connectivity that Normcore seeks is contingent upon those who live and operate outside of their four poles of youth drawn out on the graph. Those who adopt Normcore, then, are provocateurs, not peaceful, radical adapters.”—
Great article that points out the errors at the core of normcore - errors that make it either meaningless and empty, or liable to cynically reinforce whatever existing power dynamics already exist, and which benefit white men. There’s a reason, basically, that all normcore press coverage uses stock images of Seinfeld.
The First Toronto might already own a home. Maybe a condo. Maybe they’re biding their time renting a unit in one to get a feel for the idea. The kitchen layout isn’t ideal, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices. The first Toronto may agree that affordable housing is a very real problem in the…
I’m in the Second Toronto, and as a basement apartment dweller, this is spot on. But there’s also an enormous contingent of the Second Toronto (or anywhere, really) that manages to squeak by with roommates. It’s a bit of a crapshoot re: them being tolerable people, and you won’t really have much privacy, but hey. We’re Millennials. We are masters at getting by with less, and less, and less.
“Through social media, teenagers have created digital streets that help define the networked publics in which they gather. In an effort to address online safety concerns, most adults respond by trying to quarantine youth from adults, limit teens’ engagement online, or track teens’ every move. Rhetoric surrounding online predation is used to drum up fear and justify isolation. But neither restrictions nor either adult or institutional surveillance will help those who are seriously struggling. Instead of trying to distance ourselves from teens in this new media, we have a unique opportunity to leverage visibility and face the stark and complex dynamics that shape teens’ lives head on. If we want to make the world a safer place, we need people to pay attention to what’s happening in their communities, not just in their households. We need concerned adults and young people to open their eyes on the digital street and reach out to those who are struggling. And we need to address the underlying issues that are at the crux of risky behaviors rather than propagate distracting myths. Fear is not the solution; empathy is.”—
Not only does freedom to take risks matter, but so does the willingness to engage with youth to understand what the hell it is they’re going through. Is it really a surprise that the way teens use the internet reflects their emotional and psychological needs? Is it really surprising that they know what they’re doing, and that they’re just trying to do anything they can do to feel normal, supported, happy?
“Hart’s methodology was novel, but he didn’t think he was recording anything radical. Many of his observations must have seemed mundane at the time. For example: “I was struck by the large amount of time children spend modifying the landscape in order to make places for themselves and for their play.” But reading his dissertation today feels like coming upon a lost civilization, a child culture with its own ways of playing and thinking and feeling that seems utterly foreign now. The children spent immense amounts of time on their own, creating imaginary landscapes their parents sometimes knew nothing about. The parents played no role in their coming together—“it is through cycling around that the older boys chance to fall into games with each other,” Hart observed. The forts they built were not praised and cooed over by their parents, because their parents almost never saw them.”—
Explain your current situation to your five-years-ago self.
wow. alrite. i’ll give it a shot…
your name is frank now..it’s a long story. your girlfriend is about to break up with you because of the long distance. it’s ok. & that job you’re working..well, you’re gonna have to work there for another year and some months.. & then you’re gonna get fired. you’re gonna work a couple more jobs after that too. nothing glamorous. kinkos and at&t if you really want the specifics. but you’re never gonna be homeless or starving. don’t worry you won’t fail and have to move back to new orleans either. you are gonna get your heartbroken though. twice. if it helps, the first one is gonna be worse than the second. contrary to how it feels, it won’t kill you. in fact it’s gonna help you write an album. yea, you finally finished an album. people like it man. you’re actually gonna write and record hundreds of songs. they won’t all be good and most ppl won’t think you’re talented at first, but you’re going to master your gifts. you’re going to become a lot stronger and wiser..even a little taller. be patient. i mean, you kind of have no choice. and be good to people. i don’t wanna spoil too much for you, but.. you’re on a plane right now to the east coast to work with kanye west & jay-z. it’s all working out kid. you made it.
“As for what governments should do to prevent social unrest in the wake of mass unemployment, the Microsoft cofounder said that they should basically get on their knees and beg businesses to keep employing humans over algorithms. This means perhaps eliminating payroll and corporate income taxes while also not raising the minimum wage so that businesses will feel comfortable employing people at dirt-cheap wages instead of outsourcing their jobs to an iPad.”—hahahhahahahahahaha fuck you bill gates. In BGR.