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I am so hoping you are right. I used to use gmail as my primary and throwaway services like Yahoo or Hotmail/Outlook for signing up for things I figured would be spammy. But over time my gmail has become just as clogged and I find that I just ignore it mostly. I look at alerts as they pop up on the iphone and if something I want to see happens to catch my eye I login and scroll through the last few days and try to pick stuff out. But email has become pretty unusable. I'd like to see this fixed.
1 year, 7 months ago on A sign that the new Gmail is really solving core emails woes
I watched Odeo closely as I was in that space at the time. I think it might be a fun after the fact narrative to say Odeo "pivoted" into Twitter but it's not true unless you throw away any established use of the word pivot and make it mean something approximating "same group of people working on something completely different shortly after previous project tanked". Not really a pivot though is it?
Odeo didn't work out, they shut the company down and returned the money to the investors. Twitter began as a side project of Dorsey, right? ...who was, yes, one of their engineers. So they decided to run with that instead. But that's not pivoting from Odeo to Twitter. It might sound good when making the case for the importance of the pivot. But it's more than a little revisionist.
I think by now EVERYONE in Silicon Valley has read (or at least got on their bookshelf) the Lean Startup and seen Eric Reis talk at least once. It's great stuff. Certainly the idea of pivoting rather than getting stuck in a rut is a very important one. It's a good tool to have in your entrepreneurial toolbox. You don't need to stretch an example to associate it with a big success like Twitter to make the case.
1 year, 7 months ago on A serial pivot to success story
Thanks to @dbrady for being responsive on Twitter to concerns over the whole "autistic language" thing, at 14:30 in.
I'd like to add a perspective for others who are tempted to use the Lisp is an "autistic language" framing, as this is the second time it's been brought up in an RR episode: As a parent of an autistic child this part of the discussion was concerning for a few reasons. Firstly it perpetuated certain unhelpful simplified stereotypes about autism, which is a complex set of issues that really doesn't lend itself to such shorthand descriptors. It also goes into the problematic area of equating autism to a programming language, which is very uncomfortable given that we have to deal every day with the unhelpful myth and hurtful caricature that our autistic children are little more than computers, alien and "other", who don't think or feel like "real" people.
Like retarded, the other word that popped up in this segment, autism and autistic are probably words you should try to use in the context they're intended for. Retarded, autistic, autism etc. are terms with specific medical meanings. Unless there's really good reason for it I'd suggest avoiding using them outside of the context of discussing conditions where they're relevant and not use them as metaphors and analogies for other things, if we can avoid it. Doing so, when you aren't going into a long convoluted definition of the terms, is almost unavoidably going to lead you to lean on stereotypes and caricatures, even when that's not intended, as it wasn't here. (The intent was value neutral, but I hope I've given some perspective on how, perhaps, it actually isn't a value-neutral usage.)
I love Ruby Rogues. As a latecomer to the podcast I've since gone back and I'm pretty sure I've listened to every episode by now. I particularly enjoy the fact that inclusiveness is important to the team. The use of some of these words in lazy ways by the programming community is something that I certainly find exclusionary, and I think it'd be good if we could discourage them being thrown around so easily. None of us bat 1.000 though, so the discussion on twitter and my taking the time to expand on it here is purely meant in a positive and constructive fashion, and I was very appreciative of David's equally constructive response. (And to be clear I'm not suggesting it be edited out, or removed from the record or anything, as I think provoking a discussion is always better than ignoring an issue.)
1 year, 11 months ago on 102 RR Rhetoric with Joseph Wilk
Or is that what they'd want you to say if they wanted to prevent the military internet security complex from preventing them from their nefarious ends? Oh, or is that the mistake I'm making and falling in line with the information security industrial complex's desire for me to think China wants you to blame them when in fact China is indeed the real threat. Though that could just be some really clever triple think by the Chinese spy agencies. No, wait, maybe it's more complicated than that... Damn. Oh, well. Good article though.
2 years ago on Yes, the Chinese are the Borg. And yes, they are spying on you
@LoraKolodny where did I make or state such an assumption regarding women being more comfort seeking than men?
For someone not looking to be combative ascribing statments not made to someone in order to then debate your own straw man (or woman) is a curious way to do it.
Where did I imply in any way that women don't want prestige or money?
I merely responded briefly and with a single comment, to your point that there are more single moms than dads by stating the obvious - that that will be the case so long as women are the ones having babies.
The entire text of my interaction on this post was "um... I suspect that the fact that women have babies and men do not has some bearing on why women comprise the majority of single parents."
If one was to draw any additional inferences from that it would probably be valid to assume that I intended to imply that your point about single moms was irrelevant and unhelpful in the discussion as it was off topic and was not comparable to the other points being made.
Your response was to make unwarranted stereotyping assumptions and to attack comments I hadn't made.
If you want to monologue that's one thing, but don't attack people for replying to points you made and do so by putting words in their mouths that they didn't say.
In doing that you're just trolling, seeking argument for argument's sake.
2 years ago on An article about gender, written by a man
@LoraKolodny your desire to be combative leads you to inaccurate conclusions that don't support your point.
As a single father raising two children, one of whom has special needs, while running a startup, I don't believe I need to be lectured about single fatherhood.
Secondly you chose to bring up the single parenting thing, which was completely irrelevant to the point you were responding to. I am rereading the point you replied to and no mention of single parenting.
Sarcasm in the place of argument didn't make your case a strong one in the first place. But ignoring the fact that there are more single moms than dads because moms actually do the childbearing misses the point when discussing that issue.
@LoraKolodny um... I suspect that the fact that women have babies and men do not has some bearing on why women comprise the majority of single parents.
@bgoldberg Well if this is to be taken at face value: With all due respect, I think there are other options from standing there like an MBA tool to never going to an event, no? I'm not an MBA so maybe I'm missing something, but couldn't one do what most in the tech world do and actually do enough homework to NOT be a know-nothing and actually be interesting to talk with. And I am not really referring to schmoozefests so much as the kind of events technically oriented founders frequent. Perhaps some founders would be flattered by the approach you describe - as you say that you would be i am not going to call you a liar - we all need validation in the tough times. But bringing someone on board with significant equity requires a level of trust and rapport that I don't see your approach building - after all it's a company that the entrepreneur is putting EVERYTHING into.
2 years, 4 months ago on Go west, young MBA: Important rules for building wealth in San Francisco
@bgoldberg @courtines that is sadly very true... the costs of living in San Francisco eat into even a high salary like $300k. Even living down the peninsula it's pretty hard to raise a family and own a home on what in other parts of the country would be a high wage.
Not trying to be rude here but I cannot tell if this is satire or meant literally.
If it's the latter what an awful cynical parasitic approach to SIlicon Valley and a reason so many founders avoid MBA types until they're at the point in the growth cycle they don't HAVE to give them big equity packages (and therefore can jettison them if they turn out to be bluster-merchants).
Specifically can we run a straw poll - how many of the quality entrepreneurs (the ones you want to work with) respond to this positively:
"Calling or emailing the CEO of a startup — even though he is a complete stranger — and insisting that he meet with you so that you can tell him why his company is fucked without you being part of his life, then demanding a compensation package rife with equity from his ESOP along with a market salary may appear far-fetched…"
I'd propose the hypothesis that the likelihood of response to such an approach is inversely proportional to that startup being a success and your equity being worth something.
How about this advice: Spend some time learning about areas that lots of startups are active in. Do your homework. Go to events and talk to founders BEFORE they have the money. Have them like you because you're likeable knowledgeable and helpful, not because you flim-flam them with garbage form letters full of sycophantic flattery. Then they may actually trust you enough to want you to have equity in the company that is the culmination of them dedicating their life to building something great.
Hopefully it was satire and you're not as horrendously cynical a person as this article makes you seem. Because it's people who would follow your advice who make us all poorer in Silicon Valley, who contribute to startups failing where they might otherwise squeak through a win and who waste resources that would otherwise be spent on people who add genuine value.
2 years, 5 months ago on The dangerous culture of comfort
A political culture of reminding Americans "we're number one - woohoo!" at every opportunity and a media that ferociously turns on any politician who doesn't comply with this. A childish public that is told it can maintain its superstitious beliefs in the face of evidence that we have to change our ways (on such things as climate chane), and acts out if anyone tries to bring it into reality. An education system that feels it's better to let people choose courses that are easy and get them credits and pipe them through an educational process designed to keep money flowing to the institutions, than to challenge students and push them into areas of study we need as a nation.
The problem is each of these things represents a stable attractor, a system which is self-reinforcing and hard to displace. Worse they work together to reinforce each other. Given that the political process is fundamentally broken, and funded by people who profit from this dysfunction, it's hard to see howe we make changes necessitated by the points raised in this article.
I'm not just being negative for the sake of it, but as a freshly minted American ready to vote in my first election, it is somewhat disheartening.
So, Google censors this video, to appease violent extremists who use it as rationalization for their violence. Then which video is the next one? Then the next one? There is no appeasing these people - and by these people I mean people who feel their violence is justified because their feelings are hurt by a video.
Apologists for this behaviour want videos pulled, and couch their arguments in seemingly nice terms like "why offend people and hurt their feelings?". But freedom of speech gives you the right to offend people. Murdering unrelated parties is not a legitimate response. Removing the offending speech to appease the murderers increases the boldness and demands of the murderers and encourages the apologists to believe they are right, as well as swelling the ranks of apologists by normalizing the behaviour.
This is a slippery slope.
2 years, 6 months ago on The Slippery Definition of Hate Speech: Google’s Great YouTube Hypocrisy
I love the stories about the quiet back end plays that folks don't hear about every day. Nice write-up.
2 years, 7 months ago on A $17 Million Round We All Missed
I'm not part of any problem. I don't feel I get $20 of value from an iPad game compared to other entertainment options I have.
This, like the deflation of all media bubbles this last decade, is merely a result of price discovery in a world where people have plenty of other options to waste time in ways that entertain - and we're talking video games, by definition nothing more than ways to waste time non-productively but hopefully in an entertaining way.
We don't owe game developers a living any more than magazine or newspaper proprietors. If the global market for their entertainment product is such that they can only justify a certain budget, they need to build to that budget. Me, I'll spend my $20 elsewhere and my life will be fine without their product.
2 years, 7 months ago on Don’t Want to Pay $20 for an iPad Game? You’re Part of the Problem
But the thing is this has been going on for many years now in local news - TV, radio and newspaper. So it's not surprising that PR firms are extending it to blogs and the like. I'd imagine they're pretty successful at it. It's statistically unlikely that this is their first attempt at doing this and they happened to run into someone with the integrity to call them out on it. They've probably had a ton of hits like this so figured why not shoot for SL & PD.
2 years, 7 months ago on No, Feedgen, I Won’t Publish the Article You Wrote About Yourself Under My Byline
@Todd Dunning it is both strange and ironic that you rely on religious terms ...I don't think it's climate scientists that are waiting for the Rapture... that's folks on the Denier side of the fence. Burning at the stake... yeah again religious folks not scientists. There is a fundamental difference between the scientific method and faith based decision making and trying to blur it by ascribing religious language where it isn't merited doesn't change that.
2 years, 8 months ago on What Silicon Valley Can Do To Save Us All
@2William @In_themiddle This conversation goes in circles. Climate-deniers use "some say" and unnamed sources to make bland generalized statements that make no claims other than liberals want to impoverish us all just for fun, and AGW is a tool in that nefarious scheme. When asked to name names and cite peer-reviewed studies that support these conclusions they resort to more ad-hominem attacks, generalized class insults and defensive passive aggressive sarcasm. This is often a tell-tale sign their "data" really comes from some Fox News rant where the hosts tend to use the same FUD tactics instead of genuine argument, because sadly the facts in this case are biased against them.
@Todd Dunning I note your inability to actually name this mythical climate science expert and scientific consensus in favour of your nonsense. That's alright I am sure your passive aggressive sarcasm will serve you well in life, where the ability to digest facts and come to sensible conclusions is clearly unavailable to you.
If nothing else you can keep popping up whenever this topic rears its head and make some noise that you think sounds like intelligent debate and feel better about yourself for lashing out against those evil liberal eggheads who make you feel so insecure about yourself.
You brought up qualifications as a way to somehow validate your ideas, unprompted - your aforementioned JPL PhD Climate Science guru. Presumably you did so because you clearly feel you are not qualified to talk on this topic, not because anyone else repeatedly stated you were not as there was no prior comment in the thread. You made in the same comment a series of incorrect statements - no warming in last 15 years, wrong; nobody knows if global warming is bad, wrong; and some weird allusion to the unrelated topic of Robert Mugabe (where did that come from?).
As to the fossil fuel ndustry that you keep implying your terrifying bogeyman "the left" vilifies. I worked in the oil industry in the 90s. Engineers in the oil industry don't sit there scoffing about AGW, just like they don't believe there's an unlimited supply of oil. To the contrary most in the oil industry are very concerned about both of these issues. The oil industry is split between two risks - the fact that their core product is causing huge harm, and the fact that they're running out of it. Managing the transition to a post-fossil-fuel world is a big priority to the oil industry both because of the AGW risks and because of the peaking of petroleum flow rates. There's a limited amount of runway we have to manage our limited energy resources to that future. The alternatives are civilization threatening economic shocks and the ecological devastation of dramatic climate change.
Ignorant amateurs with un-named friends (most likely some rant you saw on Fox News, in reality) do nothing to forward this conversation. But go ahead, respond to anyone who disagrees and argues on the terms you set out in your comment, with passive aggressive sarcasm, if it helps you get through the day and fight off the demons that come after dark. If that makes you feel bad, I feel one tends to get the civility one deserves in an argument.
Besides it helped distract me for a little while from a thorny problem I'm working on, so fun all round really. Cheers.
@Todd Dunning Name them. Name actual PhD planetary scientists and "all the people you know" at JPL (which isn't a body dedicated to climate science but whatever, you're trying to jam in some sort of "I know scientists who say" authority to your sending-money-to-African-dictators nonsense) who are disgusted by Global Warming talk and think it's all nonsense. Please also cite where the publications Science and Nature take this point of view. You claim scientific support for your views but then defensively say that otehrs can't point out that your claims of scientific support are nonsense. I am a Physicist by training. I HAVE got qualifications in this area. I do talk with scientists on a regular basis as all of my friends who didn't just "go to college" but actually studied this stuff in depth and attained qualifications in the sciences, and I read the literature regularly. From Science & Nature, to the more popularized journals of Scientific American and New Scientist. Funnily enough none of those sources jibes with your friend go-to-guy for planet weather updates - again not the same as Earth Climate Science.
So instead of your "some people say" actually cite stuff or stop your nonsense. You look like a fool.
@In_themiddle There isn't endless debate. There's 90+% of the scientific community and a tiny minority of paid shills. AGW is settled. The debate about what form the disaster takes is not trivial - it's about saving millions of lives and finding a way of salvaging the modern economic system in the face if such dire consequences. Just because newtons laws of gravity are "just a theory" doesn't mean you won't hit the ground if you fall out of a window. Your point about fossil fuels issuing in the post industrial age is moot. The question isn't whether we can change the history that got us here, it's what we need to do to mitigate the upcoming disasters. The problem the world faces a tiny vocal minority in the US and the cynical politicians that manipulate them for short term partisan purposes, and the drones who watch Fox news without the critical thinking skills to figure out they're being conned.
As a physicist by education and training, before coming to Silicon Valley, I see a disturbing lack of understanding of basic laws of Physics - like thermodynamics - among the tech set. There isn't some magical elixir that rescues us from all of this. The fact is we've vastly overpopulated the planet and overused its limited resources. As such we're left with harder and harder to get deposits of resources and more extreme solutions. AGW is one huge part of this problem. But the idea that we'll miraculously come up with a new way to sustainably produce energy which allows us to reduce AGW threats and maintain a population north of 7 billion people on this planet, is just nonsense. It's also a dangerous idea because it allows smart people to sit on their hands waiting for this miracle cure - an easy choice as it requires little personal change in lifestyle and almost no personal sacrifice - as the problem escalates. Once the economic shocks related to resource depletion start hitting (things like hitting the peak flow rates for oil) will make it almost certainly impossible to resolve the AGW challenge and things will escalate out of control. The window for a fix is closing and the pain of a fix is rising.
The tech media is increasingly a sizable bunch of monkeys with blog access, with a tiny number of insightful blogs & posts that one has to find among it. Thankfully filtering by Twitter helps, and Pando is doing a great job. But, ugh... this is not an isolated incident.
2 years, 8 months ago on Facebook Doesn’t Need a New CEO, Reuters Needs a New Technology Writer
Great article. There are a lot of challenges for all parents, in all walks of life. Doesn't mean we should be fatalistic and not try, you're absolutely right. I get a lot of skepticism, negativity and in some cases outright statements that I cannot/should not do what I am doing, being the primary caregiver for my two kids, one of whom has special needs, while also running a startup. Is it hard? Damn hard at times. But startups aren't easy anyway. Parenting is tough for all of us, if you care about doing it the best you can. But both are so very rewarding and you can indeed benefit from doing the two in tandem. I like that you're using the voice this platform gives you to remind some of the influential folks who read you that this is the case.
2 years, 8 months ago on Being a “Momtrepreneur” Is Hard. So Is Everything Else in the World. Let’s Move On.
I watched Sarah interviewing Elon Musk at the Founder Institute (last year iirc) and it was amazing. Really good interview and Elon Musk did not disappoint. The guy is a truly heroic entrepreneur. When asked how much skin he had in the game, at the point where SpaceX had had problems and Tesla was struggling: "all of it". Thunderous applause.
I like your categorizations though. There're certainly a lot of FOs around with the strength of modern alumni networks and lazy investment choices. I always wonder about these folks - they tend to be the most vocal about the meritocratic nature of Silicon Valley and most oblivious to their own helping-hand up - would they be able to cut it if they got to a stage where they struggled to pay bills and had all their skin in the game.
I think there are a lot of folks who'd cast themselves as TRD but really are just using entrepreneur and a project as placeholders till they get a real job post college. Nothing wrong with them. Some of them get bitten by the bug and stick with it, some of them hit a seam and mine it successfully, the rest wash out in the next economic cycle.
But then there are the rest of us - the TRD folks for whom this is more than just a lifestyle choice - it's a compulsion... we're often entrepreneurs to the point at which more rational folks would have given up... but we love what we do.
2 years, 10 months ago on The New Entrepreneur Classification System