Weekend Reading — Enter a compelling CTA

This week we learn how to use a clothespin, defend our life from work, freak out about 2038, take the introvert test, annoy our neighbors, and take a trip to the post office.

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r/gifs - If Instagram would’ve existed 20 years ago When I watch this video, I can hear the screeching modem voices in the background.


Hey Weekend Readers. Sorry for this week's delay. I spent the weekend in sunny Cabo with bunch of extroverts. 🏖 It was tons of fun, highly recommended. It also fried up all my brain circuits 🧠, so needed some time to recover.


Design Objective

Bobby Goodlatte 🤔

Design is more important than ever for startups. One theory why: almost everything else has gotten easier.

Basic tech stacks are a commodity—automation enables smaller, focused teams—capital is abundant.

Product design is a larger percentage of what’s left.

Max Wendkos 🔥

Design leader interview tip:

Nothing impresses non-designers more than casually mentioning "design thinking" and showing them a photo of a wall covered in different colored sticky notes.

It doesn't even have to be your photo. Here, use this one.

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Joe Morrison That is not wrong …

So much of the world’s knowledge is hidden behind hamburger menus.

Marc Randolph “I’m an Imperfectionist. I’m always trying a cheaper, faster, easier way to test my ideas. Any time spent polishing a test is wasted time. Just get it out.”

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Eryk Salvaggio “In case anyone thinks I know what I’m doing, here’s how I tell Photoshop to batch resize 1400 images when I don’t want to manually confirm the JPEG quality options for 1400 images”

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Tools of the Trade

Paul Henschel This is the magic we were promised many many years ago:

first time im trying react-refresh and the experience is crazy. notice how all components stay safely mounted, counter keeps on ticking, threejs stuff just stays put. not a single page refresh i could see. hmr never felt that safe and fast. 2 lines added to my build config. 👏

LifeWork Calendar – Defend your life from work I love the title: “Defend your life from work“. A simple app that blocks time on your work calendar for personal events, but without revealing what those events are.

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Don't Ditch the Laptop Just Yet: A Direct Replication of Mueller and Oppenheimer's (2014) Study 1 Plus Mini-Meta-Analyses Across Similar StudiesTL;DR the latest scientific finding says that we can use our computers to take notes in class/meetings, it's just as effective as pen & paper:

Exploratory meta-analyses of k = 8 similar studies revealed large effects of note-taking condition on word count and verbatim overlap but near-zero effects on quiz performance. Results do not support the idea that longhand note-taking improves immediate learning via better encoding of information, at least not with no opportunity to study.

(Of course, only if you turn off your Slack notifications)

Castro Podcasts Love this feature. Easy way to listen to talks:

Ready for another hidden gem?

Plus subscribers can listen to audio from YouTube in Castro.

  1. Open the video in Safari

  2. Tap the Share button

  3. Tap "Sideload to Castro"

John Cutler 👍

pmtip ...

97.5% of ideas/options/things don't need to be in a "ticketing system". The "ticketing system" is not a great place for interrelated ideas, concepts, research, maps, etc.

None of them are built for that.

Wrong tool for the job.

Kilian Valkhof “AWS accidentally sent me their email newsletter template, and it's kinda great.”

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Lines of Code

Goodbye, Clean Code It's good practice and part of the learning experience. Everyone should go through this phase, but you also need to know when to stop:

Obsessing with “clean code” and removing duplication is a phase many of us go through. When we don’t feel confident in our code, it is tempting to attach our sense of self-worth and professional pride to something that can be measured. A set of strict lint rules, a naming schema, a file structure, a lack of duplication.

John Feminella 👇 2038 sounds far off, but bugs will start showing up years earlier. Is your code ready?

⏲️ As of today, we have about eighteen years to go until the Y2038 problem occurs.

But the Y2038 problem will be giving us headaches long, long before 2038 arrives.

I'd like to tell you a story about this.


Architectural

Daniel Vassallo “Once you realize that a monolithic app running on a few "medium" servers can get you a Top 40 website, you start seeing unnecessary complexity all around you.”

Nick Craver: If it helps, Stack Overflow is more than capable is running through one CentOS machine as load balancer (a very “medium” server and ~300-500M hits a day) without much tuning or breaking a sweat. I really don’t understand most of the “we need F5”. You’d need to be massive.

Imogen 🎡🤡

someone I work with uses "circus factor" instead of "bus factor", as in how many people would need to run away to join the circus for a project to fall apart, and it's super cute and I'm gonna steal it

Mark Dalgleish “"Don't worry about this tech debt, we'll clean it up next sprint." Senior developer:”

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Peopleware

Jayson J. Phillips 👇 How do you work/life balance when working from home? This thread makes several good points, in particular take sick days!

I’ve been working remote, managing teams/projects for a couple of years now (with a brief stint back in an office at a hyper growth startup), and @kf’s tweet re: remote employees taking sick days (please do!) reminds me of a few tips I have...

Remote work will get more popular, and with it, I expect we'll witness a form of “remote work burn-out”. Don't know what we'll call it, or how we'll deal with it. For now all I can say is watch out and take care of yourself.

Mean Fat Girl 👍 You most likely have ADHD in your work/social circle:

If I could ask neurotypical people to do one thing to help people with ADHD

It would be to stop treating someone forgetting something like it is a personal and deliberate crime against you

Middle Age Misery Peaks at Age of 47.2, Economist Says So I do have a few questions: a) how did they guess my age? and b) why is the guy in the picture wearing the same shirt as me?

Middle age is miserable, according to a new economic study which pinpoints 47.2 years old as the moment of peak unhappiness in the developed world.

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The medications that change who we are We use Paracetamol for pain relief, and don't think of it as psychoactive, and yet:

“Just like we should be aware that you shouldn't get in front of the wheel if you're under the influence of alcohol, you don't want to take paracetamol and then put yourself into a situation that requires you to be emotionally responsive – like having a serious conversation with a partner or co-worker.”

Turns out a lot of drugs for different conditions are psychoactive, at least for some people. Asthma medication can increase hyperactivity and the development of ADHD. People on antidepressants score more highly for extroversion (this could be a good thing). And drugs for treating Parkinson’s can have unexpected side effects:

Consequently, the drug can have life-ruining consequences, as some patients suddenly start taking more risks, becoming pathological gamblers, excessive shoppers, and sex pests. In 2009, a drug with similar properties hit the headlines, after a man with Parkinson’s committed a £45,000 ($60,000) ticket scam. He blamed it on his medication, claiming that it had completely changed his personality.

Alex “I just found a quiz called “Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or a sea monster?” and it’s the best thing I’ve read all week.”

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Teamwork

Corey Quinn 👇 If you are going to speak at a conference, local meetup, or a company meeting, I suggest you read this thread and pick up from Corey's experience. It will save you time and embarassment. For example:

  • Never, ever, read the comments on videos of your talks.

  • The first 45 seconds of your talk are when I'm figuring out whether I'm going to listen to what you say or read Twitter instead. Are you sure you want to use those seconds to say "Hi, I'm X, I work at Y, and I'm going to talk about Z?"

  • At most corporate events, if you don't charge a speaking fee you look like a rube. At most community events if you charge a speaking fee you look like an asshole.

  • The key to giving a lot of great talks is to give a lot of shitty talks first. Try not to do those in front of huge audiences.

Andy Johns 👇 This has been my experience as well:

Two methods of recruiting fantastic product managers that startups commonly overlook: (1) hire founders of recently shut down startups (2) cross-functional transfers from within. Both methods often yield higher quality PMs than external recruiting of "career" PMs. Here's why...

People who run a business have a vantage view of how businesses work. People who come from a different role, bring that other part of the business with them. Ironically, career PMs are often so focused on one side of the business — their silo — that they miss the basic premise of the job: working across teams and business areas 🤷‍♂️

Allison Grayce If you really want to work for a company, increase your chances by getting to know them, and personally addressing the hiring manager:

turns out companies are flattered when you take the time to do something unique for them and show that you've put time/energy into it... remember it's a person on the other side of that screen just looking for a great reason to bring you in!

BTW this totally works on me, people who personally reached out were more likely to get interviewed/referred to hiring manager. We're all human.

Jacque Schrag Async communications is a form of accessibility:

It’s not even just potential language barriers, but differences in ways of thinking too. Some people need more time to process & get their thoughts in order. In a fast moving conversation, they can lose the opportunity to share their thoughts.Async comm helps w that. #DevDiscuss

The Remote Work Report by Zapier — predicting that office space will be obsolete by 2030 Interesting that saving money (not time) is the top reason.

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Today In Business Models

Kyle Tibbitts 🤔

One reason you know product-market fit is forged and not discovered is the market almost never knows what it wants next until a team with a vision delivers it.

The Top Five Myths About Building Billion-Dollar Startups Some myth busting here, for example:

92% of companies were developing a product that was offering either incremental or radical innovation compared to incumbents, with incremental innovation comprising 58% of companies.

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Locked Doors

Kashmir Hill Shady:

The privacy paranoid among us have long worried that all of our online photos would be scraped to create a universal face recognition app. My friends, it happened and it’s here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/18/technology/clearview-privacy-facial-recognition.html

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Joel Winston 😱 It was only a matter of time before your personal finances and health data were merged together, so they could easily be leaked on the internet:

Ever wonder what credit reporting agencies are up to? “Experian Health announced today that every person in the U.S. population, of an 328 million Americans, have been assigned a unique Universal Patient Identifier, powered by Experian Health.” https://www.experian.com/healthcare/products/identity-management

Brock Wilbur 👇 OMG. This is an epic design fail!

Short Thread: staying with some friends and last night after everyone went to bed I could not figure out how to turn off the large ceiling light in their living room. There is a wall controller that seemed fairly straightforward.

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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. If you'd like to get included next week, email me at assaf@labnotes.org

David Raffauf Senior Software Engineer (JavaScript, Unity C#, Ruby, Elixir). Interested in feature development with collaborative teams and possibly leading a team. Remote. https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidRaffauf

logan Decade of experience as a developer and two as a teacher. PDX or preferably remote. https://pgood.dev

Dan Levy Programmer, teacher, mentor, and leader. Over 15 years of software development experience.  https://danlevy.net/


None of the Above

Jeannette Ng 🤔

Speakeasies are apparently really easy escape rooms where the prize is a bar

Matt Haughey 😭

find someone that loves you as much as reddit loves to insist I download their mobile app before proceeding

Adrian Hon “Why does every Hacker News discussion on dating sound like it’s between a bunch of Ferengi?”

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Hosuk Lee-Makiyama “Ever again”, and you must be thinking, who would try such a thing?

Yamaha (instrument makers) issue a warning on social media: “somewhat belatedly, and for reasons that cannot be mentioned, please don’t try to fit human beings into our flight cases ever again. They are made for instruments, not people. Thank you.”

Related, here's how one could escape house arrest.

Harriet Williamson 👇 Don't feel bad. Other people had worse job interviews than you:

Twitter, what’s the worst job interview you’ve ever had?

Forget Top Gun: Maverick—let’s settle Blue Thunder vs. Airwolf once and for all Ars Technica does the really really important research – watching hours of VHS tapes is dedication to the art — to find out which of our childhood helicopters would win head to head. And, just in case you thought your job lacked meaning:

In short, season 4 is not meant to be good. It's not even meant to be watched. It's just a means to more easily sell all the episodes of Airwolf that were already in the can.

There's something... if not admirable, then at least relatable about pumping out one more season of Airwolf just to reach syndication. Sometimes you gotta stay at the office until 5pm.

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Jenks Peoples is weird:

Just had a very weird experience in the Post Office. It's not funny or amusing. Just weird. There's no humorous ending or anything like that, it was just...odd.

So anyway, I'm standing in the Post Office, with about 5 parcels to mail, and I've been in there for about 20 mins.

cowboy sally “anyway here’s how to get the barnacle off of your car”

What's funnier? That this unnecessarily complex device is easy to remove (with a credit card)? Or that people take it apart and use the SIM card to tether for free? 😭

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Sam Barlow 😭

Just showed my son The Matrix. He loved it.
"Are there any sequels, dad?"
"No, son. They were happy to make just one great movie."

Zoe Hong 👏

Y'ALL.
I was watching that new Netflix show "Cheer" and the coach said something like, "Practice until you get it right and then practice until you can't get it wrong" and that's my new motto.

Brian MacDonald 👇 Good to know:

Here's a story: When people find out I'm an editor, they assume I have some kind of mastery of grammar, honed through extensive training and constant practice, and that seeing grammatical errors in public is like sandpaper on my nerves.

It's actually the opposite.

...

But if you write "utilize" when you mean "use," yes, I will judge you for that. I mean, I'm not made of stone here.

𝕃𝔼𝔼 👇

There are only 10 types of movies. (A short thread)

  1. Orange and blue action”

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Weekend Reading — Page 2 is the Dark Web

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Karie Westermann “Good night to Indiana Bones.”


✈️ So I'm travelling next weekend to catch some sun. There will be a Weekend Reading but maybe not until late Sunday or Monday.

But this week is full of awesome stuff and I hope you enjoy it. If there's anything in particular you want to see/read, let me know.


Design Objective

Choosing the right UI component for communication with your users When should you send an email to your users? When is it better to show a popover? Use modal or push notification? This article has you covered with a handy reference of all the UI components, and the context to use them in.

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Ha Phan 👇 If you're hiring a product manager or product designer:

1/10: Some interview questions I would ask Product Managers

Suz Hinton 👍

we talk about our tools to death because yes, they're important. They are what helps us build these services. But I want 2020 to be the year that conversation expands (more than now) to "but does this tool actually make an impact on the quality of our end-user experiences?"

Ben Schwarz Related. It would make a huge difference if accessibilty was a ranking factor, and everyone would benefit:

Given one in five people have vision impairment, do you think it’d be reasonable for Google to use a perceived accessibility score as an SEO ranking factor?

If 20% of people have trouble reading or interacting with content, why recommend it?

Steve Schoger Of course you can learn design. Design schools existed long before computers:

A lot of developers will tell me that you can learn to code but you can’t learn design.

Learning design requires the same skill as learning to code: the ability to sit down and focus on learning it for many hours at a time.

Jeff Morris Jr. Yes!

Product idea:

“Grammerly for product design”

A Figma & Sketch plug-in that uses AI/ML to predict performance & offer suggestions for copy, images, button placement.

We have amazing tools to help writers communicate better.

We should have the same tools for product design.

Kyle Hill True.

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Tools of the Trade

Look Busy $0.99 to 10x your productivity? Sounds like a bargain to me.

Look Busy fills your work calendar with realistic-looking (but secretly fake) work events. Your co-workers won’t schedule conference calls and meetings, so you can get actual work done.

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Replace Your To-Do List With Interstitial Journaling To Increase Productivity I'm digging this idea. The premise is very simple and it doesn't take much effort. Once you're done with a given task/project, you write the conclusion in the journal — dump it from mind to make room for the next task. Then you write down the first action of the next task/project — easier to jump into when you know where to start. An entry would look like this:

9:37am.
Finished email to Nik about writing another article for us. I probably don’t need to follow up. Also, part of my mind is still wondering if I should have suggested a topic to him.
Now, switching over to writing an article. What’s my next action? Oh. Just open Medium. The article is going to flow easily once I get the intro down. I should steel myself for having to rewrite that intro a few dozen times.

connor4312/cockatiel Resilience and transient fault-handling library with backoff, retry, circuit breaker, timeout, bulkhead isolation, and fallback policies. Looks great, going to give this a try.

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hakluke/how-to-exit-vim A comprehensive guide to all the different ways you can exit Vim. Simpler and more complicated versions of:

The reboot way

:sudo reboot


Lines of Code

Angelina Fabbro I do look for these things in a technical interview. Delivering working software — includes design, tests, docs, etc — should be ingrained practice:

I don’t know who needs to hear this but if you’re interviewing for a position and the pipeline has a code exercise - even if it doesn’t explicitly ask for tests and a README, include tests and a README

Devhumor “Programming in a nutshell”

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Peopleware

M. Shemayev Hyperfocus is good until you get stuck and need to find another path. Then hyperfocus keeps you on the treadmill. Want to get unstuck? Any distraction will do. And who doesn't like cat videos?

I'll never forget the time that while intensely frustrated debugging I asked a coworker for help who came over & starting loudly playing cat videos.

I was livid. Then got distracted by the cat videos & was awwing.

10min later, looked up -- "Oh, I see the error!" #DevDiscuss

Ben Nicholas 👇 Burn out is not the result of long hours, but lack of wins. Long hours are a co-factor, another symptom to the same underlying problem that will lead to burn out:

When we talk about burnout, we often attribute it to working long hours. But that's not the only cause. Constantly shifting directions or expectations on a project wears people down. It ensures that they have no goals to work toward and sets them up to fail often. So rather than

Laziness Does Not Exist What we attribute to laziness is the result of different factors — anxiety, missing skills, lack of coping mechanism, etc:

For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.

So help people overcome procrastination, instead of trying to make a bad situation worse:

Students with barriers were not always treated with such kindness by my fellow psychology professors. One colleague, in particular, was infamous for providing no make-up exams and allowing no late arrivals. No matter a student’s situation, she was unflinchingly rigid in her requirements. No barrier was insurmountable, in her mind; no limitation was acceptable. People floundered in her class. They felt shame about their sexual assault histories, their anxiety symptoms, their depressive episodes. When a student who did poorly in her classes performed well in mine, she was suspicious.

Peter Brannen “You: This one untested supplement will restore balance to my body

Your body:”

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For reference, here's a map of the marketing tech landscape.


Today In Business Models

Kevin Roose “Casper is a very inefficient wealth transfer from venture capitalists to prestige podcast makers and I’m here for it.“ I never bought a Casper mattress, but I appreciate that they gave us so many podcast choices to listen to:

Derek Thompson: This appears to be Casper's business:

Buy mattress at $400.
Sell at $1,000.
Refund/return 20% of them.
--> Keep $400, on avg.

... then spend $290 of that on ads/marketing.
... and $270 on admin (finance, HR, IT).
--> Lose $160.

Repeat.

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Kay K. 😭

Math problems I wish I had gotten as a kid:

Sally has 30 🍎. She gives one 🍎 to Joe for free. Joe buys 5 more 🍎 as a result for $1/🍎. She sells the rest for $0.50/🍎.

What was Sally’s blended CPA, ROAS, CLV, and does she have product/market fit? If so, why? Show your work.


Startup Life

Paul Ford Alec Baldwin posting animated GIFs in Slack:

If you remade Glengarry Glen Ross today it would just be a screencast of Salesforce.

David 👇 If you want to get an introduction, make it as easy as possible. This thread expains how to do it well, and without too much effort:

1/ I love to connect people when it's a mutually beneficial intro, but I always request that the asker send me a "Clean Email" so that I can clear the intro with the prospective connection.

What is a Clean Email ™

  1. Forwardable subject (i.e. not "Great to hang, DK!")

  2. Focused, customized blurb explaining the purpose of this potential intro -- no mention of other topics/ideas we may have discussed

  3. No strange formatting

  4. Has a single email signature from the asker

Assume I am using a Gmail mobile client.


Locked Doors

Tess Rinearson 😭

my mom asked me if I use a password manager.

me, pleased she's asking: "yeah, I use 1password."
mom: "really? I thought you're not supposed to do that."
me: "really? where did you read that?"

[5 minutes later]

me: "wait, one password is the NAME OF THE PASSWORD MANAGER"

nick “Ladies take notes!

Met this girl online YESTERDAY, and she’s already trying to learn more about me, not just hook up. It’s called conversation. Learn it.”

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Techtopia

Vicki Boykis “Streaming Ad Insertion sounds like a medical procedure you never want to be offered”

https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/08/spotify-brings-streaming-ad-insertion-technology-to-podcasts/

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Antonio García Martínez “GDPR is working exactly as everyone who knew the first thing about ads thought it would.”

Jonathan Mendez: This is a hell of a chart. Facebook and Google each grow $80B over the next 4 years. "Rest of Online Ad Marketplace" shrinks over same period.

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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. If you'd like to get included next week, email me at assaf@labnotes.org

Aditya Rao Front-end developer: ReactJS, Redux, GatsbyJS, NodeJS. Mumbai or remote. https://www.adityarao.dev

James Harris Designer and web developer looking for remote work. I love tackling complex stuff and making it easy to understand and work with.

Kevin Garcia Looking for lead/staff product design, UX, or design systems opportunities. Early stage startup in the big data/ML/enterprise space. San Jose/South Bay area. https://www.kevingarcia.me

Jesse Heady Web performance engineering, Site Reliability Engineering; DevOps with a focus on UI/UX and front-end development.  https://jesseheady.com

Dom SysAdmin with experience in SQL, O365, Active Directory, HelpDesk, with a Network+ certificate and a knack for sales.

Sam Sneddon Decade+ experience with contributing to web standards and working cross-vendor to meet goals, testing complex software, and associated large test automation systems. Contract work. London/remote.


None of the Above

Merrill Markoe I remember those brave times!

When I want to remind myself how much courage I actually have, I remember that when I was growing up, the phone would ring and I would just pick it right up with NO way at all of knowing who was making the call. None.

Erinalope needs SPAAAAACE🚀 “Decipher this, I spent a good 5 mins aimlessly walking a con floor figuring this shit out.”

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Sarah Skinner It's like you know me or something …

Stages of form filling:

  1. Avoid

  2. Avoid more

  3. This isn't so bad

  4. Oh no! I don't know the answers to these

  5. THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT SPECIFIC

  6. I hate this

  7. Write essay explaining each answer

  8. Nearly done! I hope they don't ask me for tons of eviden-

  9. NOOOOO!

  10. Cry

Jill Biden's right index finger “this is fucking METAL"

Kakslauttanen: Herders spraying reflective paint on their reindeer's antlers to avoid road accidents leads to absolute surreal and scary pictures #Lapland #Finland

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Eric Nelson “First time I’ve ever seen someone quit their family, saying it’s to spend more time with their jobs.”

NBC News: JUST IN: Harry and Meghan say they plan to step back as senior members of the British Royal family, and "carve out a progressive new role within this institution" while working "to become financially independent."

Meredith Haggerty Best use of meme to describe this week's very British drama (context):

I [38F] don't feel welcome in my husband [35M]'s home country. His family [93F, 98M, 71M, 72F, 37M, 37F] and subjects [all ages] are very demanding. How can I convince him to set boundaries?

With ingestible pill, you can track fart development in real time on your phone Ars Technica busted the thesaurus to bring you this article. That we have this miniature technology is pretty remarkable, and as close as we'll ever get to the Fantastic Voyage.

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Kent Roth It's a scary place that nobody dares venture …

I consider page 2 of google results the dark web.

Sally Lait Maybe you want to think that “device-free zone“ policy:

Insulin pump apps? Autistic or extremely anxious people who use their devices to recentre? Alcoholics who want to glance at an affirmation? Those needing help with English? There are myriad reasons why a device may be incredibly important to someone.

Dr. Jacquelyn Gill 🔥 There's a huge PR machine running behind the scene, trying to deflect responsibilty for climate change away from major corporations, and often they get away with it:

I have a theory that these terrible (and often wrong) hot takes are actually designed to get people to stop caring about combatting climate change altogether. I promise climate scientists don’t actually care that you just binged The Expanse. Half of us did, too.

Big Think: Your Netflix binge-watching makes climate change worse, say experts. The emissions generated by watching 30 minutes of Netflix is the same as driving almost 4 miles: http://bit.ly/2SSrPxg

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Alex Giampapa 🤔

America just needs a mom to be like, “A new war? You got new war money? You never even finished the last two. We have plenty of war at home.”

Amy 😱 oh my …

looking for an app that stabilizes time-lapse videos and i uh

i would have maybe gone with a different name. and logo. and just everything

On Hiring, But Not Your Everyday Advice

Hey, it’s January again, the busiest hiring month, at least here in the US.

If you’re the hiring manager, I wrote this post for you. Or share it with your manager/HR/CEO.

Hiring is challenging. Most people I know would rate hiring somewhere on the scale between a root canal and a poison ivy rash. Loads of fun.

There are many articles out there on how to conduct interviews, or which questions to ask.

I wanted to cover something different. What most people don’t talk about, that hiring managers struggle with.

How do you deal with the stress of interviews? Why you should have a hiring buddy? How to see potential in candidates? Who should write the job listing?

Read It Here

Weekend Reading — Looking for Amanda

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Kitze “design vs dev”


Hey there Weekend Readers. Hope you’re having a great start to a fresh new year.

📆 January is the busiest month for job seekers and hiring managers everywhere.

So if you’re looking for a new job, drop me a link and I’ll include you in next week’s newsletter.

If you’re the hiring manager, please … no whiteboard interviews.

And if you’re saying goodbye to a co-worker, I know this can be rough. Hand in there.

And if you just landed a new job … good luck! 😉


Design Objective

Inside the secret world of price tag codes There is a “secret menu”, and it's part of the user experience/customer retention:

Other retailers have similar codes: At Home Depot, prices ending in $X.06 are on sale but will drop further in 6 weeks, while prices ending in $X.03 are marked down fully and will disappear forever in 3 weeks.

… But what do the retailers get out of these mind games? …

These “price vocabularies” are the secret menus of big retailers — they engage shoppers by letting them in on a “secret” and create loyalty among the frequent shoppers (who matter most to large retailers) by making them feel like they’re in the club.

Austin Petersmith 👇 Speaking of pricing, if Alice in Wonderland made too much sense, then check this thread on SaaS pricing …

For a team of 10 users, Jira costs $100/year
For a team of 11 users, it costs $1050/year

Alun Jones “Yes. Yes, that's what I meant!”

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Tools of the Trade

A Recap of Frontend Development in 2019 - Level Up Coding A look back at the top events, news, and trends for frontend and web development.

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Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) For when you need to transmit binary data, and want the schema-less convenience of JSON.  Aaron Abramov:

i just switched data serialization in my app from JSON to CBOR and got 10x perf improvement. how did i not know about it before? took literally 10 min to migrate

Kristian Köhntopp 👀

A: dns record
AA: battery
AAA: battery
AAAA: dns record

Andrew M. Webb This applies to more than animals, eg using sample data to measure application performance:

To count an animal population if you can't catch them all: capture some, mark them, release, and capture again. The ratio of new vs already seen tells you something about the total number. Shown here is iterated mark-and-recapture with a Bayesian updates to belief about pop size


Lingua Franca

JavaScript Weekly sums their most popular links of 2019 Catch up on the best of 2019.

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Michel Weststrate 🤔

I figured I'm tired of seeing const vs let vs var, so from now on I won't use any of those.

I call it "functional programming"

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Lines of Code

Jef Poskanzer If you have a date-related bug, just time-shift it by a few decades. It is now “other people's problem”:

Apparently a non-trivial number of systems are experiencing #Y2020 bugs. A common Y2K "fix" just postponed things by 20 years, interpreting 00-19 as the 2000s and 20-99 as the 1900s. 20 years is now up, some of those systems are still in use, and they think it's 1920. Oooops.

Changelog “new year, same old bugs”

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Peopleware

Cyd Harrell Not “untidy“, I prefer “differently organized“:

I see a ton today about resolutions, goals, self-tracking, & discipline. if those things work for you, then bless! but if you’re like me & you work through gut feelings, opportunism, & just enough order, please don’t feel bad. we untidy folks get a lot done too. be you 💪❤️

Beautiful Brains (PDF) This is one part manifesto, one part a getting started guide for improving mental health in the workplace:

Beautiful Brains is a no-nonsense roadmap that shows you how to get to the heart of what makes a true culture of wellness. It combines culture change with progressive policy so employers can stop relying on quick fixes and get to the root of this crisis. And employees can start making their workplace work for them.

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Teamwork

Jason Evanish 👇 Epic thread about product management, maybe the most misunderstood profession. If you are/working with product manager, you'll want to check this out. Few picks (it was so hard to choose):

25/ Quick Wins (aka - simple things you can do to make the product better for your customers) is a great way to let your team recharge and build some momentum after shipping a big feature.

Sometimes customers are more excited by this than your big feature.

37/ The #1 skill to develop to be a better PM is to become a better writer.

49/ PMs should be tool agnostic. Whatever your engineers will actually use and keep up to date is the project management tool you want to use.

The tool you love for the burn down and gannt charts is not the hill to die on if all your engineers hate it.


Startup Life

I wasted $40k on a fantastic startup idea Sometimes you have a solid product idea that fills a real need, an MVP that works, yet no way to turn it into a profitable business …

All stakeholders. You can’t just create value for the user: that’s a charity. You also can’t just create value for your company: that’s a scam. Your goal is to set up some kind of positive-sum exchange, where everyone benefits, including you. A business plan, according to this textbook, starts with this simple question: how will you create value for yourself and the company?

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How the Digg team was acquihired. What it's like to go through an acquihire:

About a year after the catastrophic Digg V4 launch, our last-ditch experiment to salvage the site showed a spark of hope. We’d cajoled our way into a Facebook beta that allowed us to publish each Digg users’s read articles into their Facebook newsfeed, sending every clicking friend directly to Digg’…

You'd think that when one company buys another company — team of people, culture, IP and code — they would be wiser about it. But chances, there will still be a whiteboard interview.

The 20 top reasons startups fail (2019 edition) (PDF) CB insights looks at the top reasons why startup fails, and it's very much what you imagine.

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Locked Doors

Matthew Green “Remember when Facebook collected millions of phone numbers — ostensibly to secure user accounts — then used them for targeted advertising? By all means, give them your private health data.”

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Techtopia

Chris Herd 👇 Chris shares some predictions on what the 2020's – the Remote Work decade — will look like:

🚜 Rural Living: World-class people will move to smaller cities, have a lower cost of living & higher quality of life

These regions must innovate quickly to attract that wealth. Better schools, faster internet connections are a must

✅ Output focus: time will be replaced as the main KPI for judging performance by productivity and output

Great workers will be the ones who deliver what they promise consistently

Advancement decisions will be decided by capability rather than who you drink beer with after work

I think all of that is likely, but in ten year's time, we'll also witness the reverse trend, towards companies that can build and maintain a strong local workforce.

Arvind Narayanan 👇This thread talks about YouTube and radicalization, but more important, about the limits of our ability to research:

A new paper has been making the rounds with the intriguing claim that YouTube has a de-radicalizing influence. https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.11211

Having read the paper, I wanted to call it wrong, but that would give the paper too much credit, because it is not even wrong. Let me explain.

The key takeaway for me:

If you’re wondering how such a widely discussed problem has attracted so little scientific study before this paper, that’s exactly why. Many have tried, but chose to say nothing rather than publish meaningless results, leaving the field open for authors with lower standards.

In our data-driven world, the claim that we don’t have a good way to study something quantitatively may sound shocking. The reality even worse — in many cases we don’t even have the vocabulary to ask meaningful quantitative questions about complex socio-technical systems.

Vlad Magdalin Sometimes I miss “email and just email and nothing but email”:

My group chat stack:

• Wife+kids → iMessage
• Besties → Marco Polo
• Siblings → Telegram
• Wife’s fam → Viber
• Church friends → Messenger
• EU friends → WhatsApp
• Tech friends → Twitter
• Work → Slack

Wanted seamless communication, got annoying fragmentation.

ICE Contract With GitHub Sparks Developer Protests Open source has a moral dilemma and no easy solution.

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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.

Andy Bell 👇 New year, new job. Check this thread for people looking to start 2020 with a new job.

Women Who Design 👇 This thread is specifically for woman who designs, looking for new job, speaking opportunity, or growing their design busines.

Matthew Looking for that unique glue between design and engineering? Product Designer. I design and build UIs for the Web.  https://matthewmorek.com/about/


None of the Above

Chinchillazllla 😂

If you have dirt on your boss, message me on Signal. I'm not a journalist or anything I just love drama

Crazed54678 “When the harsh sun is directly overhead in Hawaii, everything looks like a shitty video game render.”

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Rowan Simpson 😂

Nobody ever asks the family if they want to spend more time with the former CEO

Kelly Vaughn 🐞 “Businesses, take note. This is how you do Google reviews.”

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Nora Loreto 🤔

Remember how a decade ago we all stole music from the Internet and the only problem with it was that artists weren't being paid?

And then somehow, a decade later, we all pay for our music now but artists still aren't being paid?

Apollo Arts | COMMISSIONS OPEN “I didn’t ask to think this hard”

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Am I the Asshole? 🧛‍♂️

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Subbu Allamaraju 👏🌎

Let’s trash this planet less in the next decade.

katey 🌙 hoshboo “hate to inconvenience youse but THIS is what australia looks like today, no filter, no effect, just australian bush burning. this isn’t some dystopian novel, this is real life, this is AUSTRALIAN LIVES. #AustralianFires”

Unknown

hannah “thousands of years of art, language, and cultural development led up to this exact moment”

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Weekend Reading — Reasonable Hours Weeks

This week nothing gets done and all meetings are cancelled, so Twitter debates 80 hour work weeks, hackers do some hacking, and cats do some jumping.

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Chaz Hutton “Welcome to the nothing time.”


Design Objective

The Navy Installed Touch-screen Steering Systems To Save Money. Ten Sailors Paid With Their Lives. Yes, good design does save lives!

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Amy “Ruins Social Media” Hoy 👇 This thread is good read, worth your time. A couple of highlights that resonated with me:

\17. design has a passion problem

it attracts people who want to Do Cool Shit which is, as the obnoxiously overbearing nerds like to say, “orthogonal” to doing a good job of the thing design ACTUALLY IS, which is caretaking &; stewardship

I've seen too many designers fall for these trappings. Which often results in working on the wrong thing:

\9. there is much that is objective about Design Quality - and it’s not stickiness, but successful task completions, time per task, fudging and going back and trying again,

but you can’t get those out of google analytics and that’s why you virtually never hear about it


Tools of the Trade

RICE Scoring Model for Prioritisation - Lazaro Ibanez A simple forumla to prioritize different features/projects/tasks. Like all formula, the weak link are the numbers you plug in, which are not entirely objective. But if you stick to one context (same PM, team, etc), then you can compare apples to apples.

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Chad Loder 👇 Epic rant about technical debt and over-engineering:

One day we’ll all wake up and realize Kubernetes was a huge scam.

Doing this for 25 years, I’ve learned something:

Whatever the Thing is that you can’t get people to shut up about?

It’s invariably the Thing that creates a giant turd-polishing ecosystem.

There is utility initially, and then it turns into urban decay.

1970’s Detroit. Or EJB.

Pranay Pathole “Secrets computer developers don’t want you to know”

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Teamwork

Tobi Lutke 👇 It's the holidays, so of course Twitter is debating whether people should be working 40 or 80 hours a week. Here's a good perspective, from one of the better success stories in tech:

I realize everyone's twitter feed looks different. But I'll go ahead and subtweet two conversations that I see going by right now: a) How the heck did Shopify get so big this decade and b) You have to work 80 hours a week to be successful.

Thread/

Justin Kan 👍

The most important success factor in your work is who you choose to work with.

This has been more important to my success than having the right idea, the right resources, or anything else. Having the right people around you is the difference between success and failure.

Jennifer Kim Also known as DRI, or directly responsible individual:

StartupHiringTips: For each new opening, be sure to designate a clear Hiring Manager, aka Decision Maker.

Good hiring is done not by a committee, but a single individual who owns the decision.

There are 2 main reasons for this, which I’ll explain in this short thread 👇

cgosimon 😂

Apparently assigning work to other people via an electronic tool is “collaboration”


Startup Life

Founders — Get Your Own Personal Board The personal board that will help you through challenging times: the professional mentor, the mental health coach, the bigger picture person, and the pressure release valve.

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Tren Griffin 👇 Thread:

1/ People often get confused how the existence of a moat translates into a better investment return. The moat increases the probability that the business will continue to earn returns on capital that substantially exceed the opportunity cost of capital. http://people.stern.nyu.edu/adamodar/pdfiles/eqnotes/cap.pdf


Locked Doors

Bully For the people in the back …

Blockchain isn’t some magic silver bullet that will protect user privacy.

So far, it’s very much been the opposite.

An immutable public ledger doesn’t really scream “privacy!”

There’s a reason China is embracing blockchain. And it sure as hell isn’t protecting user privacy.

Adam Liaw 🌲🎅

Home security reminder. A lot of people are going away for Christmas which makes their homes easy pickings for burglars. For security reasons I strongly recommend leaving one of your children behind to construct a series of elaborate booby traps and defend your interests.

Yousef “When someone tries attacking your site but fails”

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None of the Above

Susie Dent So there's a word for it:

It’s surely time for this again.

scurryfunge (verb; US dialect, 1800s): to dash around the house in a frenzied attempt to tidy up before visitors arrive.

The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech Some unexpected contenders in there, and some products I forgot even existed in the first place.

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Andrew Reid “This is what I think of every time someone smugly posts about all the plot holes they spotted in a popular film/TV show/book.” (The original post is here)

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