Monday, March 18, 2019
Somewhere in Kruezberg
16:45 UTC

Trevor Sumner’s tweet thread about why the 737MAX tragedies aren’t a software problem is an insightful read.

Hint: it’s probably a systems problem.

12:20 UTC
Sunday, March 17, 2019

Not everyone likes untitled blog posts. Dan Steinberg argues:

As a reader, I remember a post I liked from an author I admire and I look back through their posts and I see a sea of posts without a title. It makes it hard for me to find the one that resonated with me.

Titles are a straightforward affordance for scanning through posts in an archive page. And, it’s not just a human reader that might appreciate the hierarchy a title gives. Search engines really lean on them as well, both for indexing and for displaying search results.

Going title-optional in a meaningful way means thinking about both of these issues.

09:20 UTC
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Worth a re-read is Zeynep Tufecki’s article for the MIT Technology Review last August: How social media took us from Tahir Square to Donald Trump.

The conclusion:

If digital connectivity provided the spark, it ignited because the kindling was already everywhere. The way forward is not to cultivate nostalgia for the old-world information gatekeepers or for the idealism of the Arab Spring. It’s to figure out how our institutions, our checks and balances, and our societal safeguards should function in the 21st century—not just for digital technologies but for politics and the economy in general. This responsibility isn’t on Russia, or solely on Facebook or Google or Twitter. It’s on us.

So, what are we going to do about it?

15:30 UTC

Beto O’Rourke was a member of a group famous for hacktivism back in the days of the Apple IIe and 300-baud modems? Alright.

10:15 UTC
Friday, March 15, 2019

What are we going to do about this?

There’s not much that’s reasonable to say about the horrific news from Christchurch today. The actions of the gunman, a self-proclaimed fascist, being amplified and repeated by so many others online…

I just can’t…

I’ve been stuck most of the day. Stuck in thoughts that don’t go anywhere, at least not anywhere good.

The last few years, the worst side of humanity has been winning in a big way, and while there’s nothing new about white supremacy, fascism, violence, or hate, we’re seeing how those old human reflexes have adapted to the tools that we’ve built in and for our online world.

What are we going to do about this?

14:40 UTC

Steven Sinofsky’s tweet thread about going through the Microsoft security crisis is related to Facebook starting its own pivot, but is useful thinking for taking any kind of organization through a significant shift of strategy:

All you can do as an organization executing on this sort of pivot is to do the work. Keep people informed. Build incremental trust across all stakeholders by actions.

Nobody knows if Facebook can pull off what Mark Zuckerberg says that he wants to do, but for sure it’s going to be messy, take a lot of time, and it will be a hard time for all involved to build up trust.

09:20 UTC
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Of course Kubernetes isn’t always the answer

Kubernetes is the new hotness, for sure, and pretty awesome to boot. But is it really needed, especially when you’re bootstrapping a new idea? Maybe not. UK-based Freetrade started out with a decently designed Kubernetes-based stack, complete with all the bells and whistles, but ended up scrapping that plan and launching with Firebase functions.

Even now at 20k users, it’s been the right decision for them.

In fact, not only did we not need it - but if we’d launched with this stack with just two engineers (our launch team size!) I’m confident our customers would have been very unhappy.

As they continue to grow, I’m sure that Freetrade may end up putting some functionality into on-demand container instances or even spin up a Kubertnetes cluster to handle the parts of their app that need it. When they do, however, I’m sure they’ll be able to leave a significant portion of their application surface in functions.

10:40 UTC

Helping companies through the Microsoft for Startups program has reinforced my feeling that many problems companies face as they grow are really people problems in disguise.

To help figure out what a startup needs to focus on at each phase of the startup lifecycle, Wendy van Ierschot gives us a road map:

We’ve identified five stages, each pegged to a certain number of employees. For each stage, we’ve established which areas an organisation should put its HR focus on.

The diagram in the article showing what to focus on at each stage feels about right, and it’s a better starting point to implementing HR strategy in a startup than having nothing at all.

09:45 UTC
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My group at Microsoft is going on tour to twelve cities around the world. This is a big part of my current work and I’m pretty stoked about it.

First stop: New York on April 9th.

11:30 UTC