Labnotes

Published

Weekend Reading — No idea what you did online

Weekend Reading — No idea what you did online

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Programmer Humor “days since last timezone issue”


Design Objective

Product Value: Hands, Shovel, or Tractor? “Product value is the perceived value your product adds to a user’s life.” This is a good framework for looking at products (and features) from the user's point of view.

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dburka Most business models are pretty simple:

Designers are pushing each other to learn more about business, which is a great. But, keep in mind that you don't need to need an MBA or an economics degree to ask "How does my organization make money?" and work backwards from there to learn how most decisions are made. 💸

Joel Califa 😭

Less than 3 days since I started working on my new side project, and it's already almost done! Title TBD but it's a password puzzle game:

Kelly Sutton Interesting take:

Design tools are outside the critical path of a finished software product.

You can build an app without Sketch or Figma, you can’t do special effects without AE or equivalent.

Mike Rundle: The current era of UI design tools we use daily are a joke compared to the power and flexibility of other professional software like SolidWorks, RenderMan, Maya, Unity, Ableton Live, After Effects (and others) used by design professionals in other fields. Why is that?


Tools of the Trade

obiwankimberly “As all programmers know, estimating is hard.”

lemire Knuth did it: The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 5 is out!!! (Was supposed to come out in 1960.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0134671791/

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Sara Vieira “GraphQL and Rest Differences explained with burgers 🍔”

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axbom 👇 A reminder to calibrate your tests:

  1. In 2008 a salmon (yes the fish) was put through an MRI scanner. The salmon was shown a series of photographs of humans in social situations, and asked to determine the emotion of the person in the photo (yes, really).

foone Just a reminder of how far things have come:

OK SO let's say it's 1962 and you're lucky enough to be a programmer working somewhere that has an IBM 7090.
This is a top of the line transistorized revision of the IBM 709, capable of 100,000 floating point operations per second.

But how do you code for it?

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cats can have a little salami “I'm gonna tell my kids this was the cloud” (context)

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Web-end

Guy Bedford How come I just learned about this?

Periodic reminder that await import('//dev.jspm.io/[pkg]') allows you to import anything from npm in the browser instantly. I often use this in the console to test things out.

Star Simpson 🤯

This is my new favorite galaxy brain stackoverflow answer: abusing double-precision float behavior to make discontinuous CSS rules. It works and I truly hate it. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/40528290/how-to-implement-max-font-size/53146935#53146935

Web Bloat Score Calculator “WebBS” is such a fitting name:

Page web bloat score (WebBS for short) is calculated as follows:

WebBS = TotalPageSize / PageImageSize

TotalPageSize is the size of all requests, and PageImageSize is the size of a full-page screenshot.


Lingua Scripta

Dylan Beattie 😂

It's not that JavaScript is broken, you understand.

It's just that the language specification contains plot twists.

ES2020 Speaking of plot twists, optional chaining (foo?.bar) and nullish coalescing (foo ?? bar) are now part of ES2020, and enabled by default in Babel.js.

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Architectural

Local-first software: you own your data, in spite of the cloud This is an interesting problem to solve. If anyone working on it, let me know:

The authors coin the phrase “local-first software” to describe software that retains the ownership properties of old-fashioned applications, with the sharing and collaboration properties of cloud applications.

localfirst-table-1


Peopleware

Some tips for supporting friends in executive dysfunction crisis 👍

Executive function is a broad term for the cognitive system humans use to start and stop tasks, direct goal-oriented effort, and make decisions in our self-interest, among many other things. 99% of what people call "adulting" is actually an exercise of executive function.

There are two main ways to help a person in an executive dysfunction crisis:
• Don't put things on their plate.
• Take things off their plate.

Jesse Noller 👍

Random thought: I’ve stopped worrying as a (leader, person, parent) about the people who speak up and express themselves.

People who speak up are invested, mentally and emotionally. Worry about the ones who used to talk, or who simply don’t.

Ethan Mollick That's a significant sample size:

Experiment with 60,000 job applicants to Uber shows that the words used in a job description changes who applies. Optional language in descriptions appear to be taken more seriously by women then men, leading to more credentialed women than men applying. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YKifRzy_kWuIIdB3MLS4VHht3okJa8pa/view


Teamwork

The most important thing Dropbox did to scale Product Management This I find super helpful. I wish more people would operate this way:

Separated getting agreement on the problem from getting agreement on the solution.

It’s hard for me overstate the importance of getting agreement on the problem you’re trying to solve before beginning work on the solution, particularly once there are many stakeholders from different parts of the business.

Grinding 👍

If given a choice between a flashy operator or a grinder, I will take a grinder every time. It is a much higher percentage bet. It requires faith and patience and the results are sometimes hard to see. But if you look at the results from grinding it out over a long enough time frame, you can see the power of that approach.

johncutlefish

Really love this. 60+ companies represented. 150+ ppl

  • Experiments that resulted in increased momentum
  • Experiments that "failed", but that taught the team something new

You can explore the board here

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Startup Life

Emotional Baggage Verge goes to town on the toxic work environment at ~luggage~ travel company Away. And people have opinions about it. This thread has a varied collection from founders and VCs.

My opinion? All of this can be true at the same time:

  1. Away has a toxic work environment, I mean seriously, cancelling PTO is a ‘lesson in accountability‘? These Slack messages are prime example of gaslighting.
  2. But also, CX is a difficult job: they make up for deficiencies in other teams (that's the job); and direct-to-consumer companies get extra busy during holiday season.
  3. Not all business models are high margin, it's common to be stretched thin and way under-staffed and make bad judgement calls at 3AM.
  4. This article is a hit piece — this burnout culture is an industry playbook, pinning it on a single company is exactly what a ‘hit piece‘ means.
  5. This is both a takedown of Away, and indirectly a jab at Slack.
  6. The lesson may well be: “Never work for your dream brand”

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David Rogier 👇 Thread:

I don’t know the secret to starting a great company. I am not sure there is one. But a few things that helped me starting out:

  1. Picking a few constraints. They fueled my creativity. My first one: pick an idea that even if it fails, I’ll be proud of it.

VC Starter Kit “If you assemble enough people wearing Patagonia vests, a venture fund spontaneously forms around them.”

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(Don't now if anyone is buying these, but proceeds go to All Raise, so that's good)


Locked Doors

Firefox Year In Review 🔥

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How Facebook Avoids Ad Blockers Winner of the obfuscated HTML competition.


Available To Hire

Signal boosting people looking for a job. If your company is hiring, or you know someone who is, reach out to them.

Jessica Joy Kerr Available for consulting (or contracting, or full time work). “Help your team become a learning system of learning parts.” https://blog.jessitron.com/consulting/

Dan Klinedinst Senior security person ~20 years experience. Pittsburgh or remote. Would love to stay in robotics/AI.


None of the Above

Glitter “are you kidding me”

Andrew Myers 🤔

In mathematics, the purpose of the prefix co- is to turn something you don't really understand into something you really don't understand.

ESPN “Incredible ending! 👶”

No Quarter Will Be Given 🚌 What a story …

Oooff. Overhearing this relationship in trouble on the shuttle bus and the guy just told the girl, "I love you and I want to make us work but you're mean AS FUCK and it's wearing me down."

She's just looking at him like she knows he's right but doesn't know what to do about it.

Akki “The best use of technology is to improve the quality of life”

rands 📦 this gift doesn't cost money or add to pollution:

Early Xmas gift. Go to your TO DO list and delete that TO DO that has been there forever and is never going to happen. AhhhhhHHhh.

talia “this is so much better with sound”

jaycaspiankang 👇 This. So much this. 😬 If you're working on a podcast app that automatically edits-out the narcissist host, send link:

Someone should write an essay comparing first person journalistic intrusions in print/articles/books and first person journalistic ‘hosting’ in podcasts. Seems like there is a lot there that touches on how modern narcissism operates.

Theo “Give me fucking strength.”

mykola 👇 This thread will ressure you that every field/industry has dark secrets:

Please quote this tweet with a thing that everyone in your field knows and nobody in your industry talks about because it would lead to general chaos.

Casey Newton “Sometimes Google goes two or three months without launching a new messaging app and I get worried. So this news comes as a great relief”

Google’s Double OGs Step Down at Alphabet I mean, this happened years ago, Google only remembered to announce it publicly this week. Speaking of monopolies, did you know Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates once made an Austin Powers parody? (h/t Jon Erlichman)

James O'Malley 🔥 DC Films still doesn’t know how to make Superman “relevant to modern audiences”, well …

Lex Luthor realises he can’t physically out-match Superman, so instead uses a disinformation campaign to destroy not just Superman’s reputation, but the idea of Superman.

The twist is that it isn’t Superman that can beat Luthor… It’s journalist Clark Kent. https://twitter.com/Forbes/status/1200459413791924228

Disappearing Polymorphs Revisited - Bučar - 2015 Know the feeling when the build starts failing for no reason … imagine manufacturing a drug, and one day it changes into a different crystal form, and you can’t re-produce the old crystal again.

Someone please help the woman from Peloton's awful new ad So the Peloton ad was really … ugh … everyone's talking about it so clearly the ad got visibility but … this thread explains so of the reaction.

‘Peloton Girl’ Stars as Herself in the Greatest Sequel Ever: An Aviation Gin Ad Shout out to Aviation Gin for this delightful chaser ad 😂