#46

What I cannot create, I do not understand.
— Richard Feynman, American physicist

The Speed Dial - An abbreviated set of articles for the reader who has limited time.

RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War - 9 min
[nytimes]

Over the past several years, the network has come to form the hub of a new kind of state media operation: one that travels through the same diffuse online channels, chasing the same viral hits and memes, as the rest of the Twitter-and-Facebook-age media. In the process, Russia has built the most effective propaganda operation of the 21st century so far, one that thrives in the feverish political climates that have descended on many Western publics.

 

On the Equifax Data Breach - 4 min
[schneier]

The market can't fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn't notice, you're not Equifax's customer. You're its product.

 

Busywork - 6 min
[theartofmachinery]

In the most politically sensitive way I could, I tried suggesting a few small ways this process could be made more efficient and less error-prone, but this just raised those eyebrows. I was told outright that it was very important to include as much manual intervention into things as possible because “computers make mistakes”. The fact that I even thought the process could possibly be improved was taken as proof that I didn’t appreciate just how important the reports were.

 

Management/Culture

As Your Company Evolves, What Happens to Employees Who Don’t? - 5 min
[hbr]

Often, I doubled down on an untenable position to keep an employee on because I didn’t understand how much harm the wrong fit could cause — especially when a person had been with us for so long.

 

A New Approach to People Ops That Puts Employee Experience First - 12 min
[firstround]

That’s how she’s ended up at the helm of a distinctly nontraditional People Ops organization. It's an umbrella that includes the recruiters and HR generalists you might expect, plus a few teams you might not: IT, facilities, and administration. For Guillory, there's a clear common thread — “All of these functions are aligned in their primary motive: caring for our employee base.”

 

Development/Releases

How companies strangle innovation – and how you can get it right - 7 min
[steveblank]

What the company needed was a self-regulating, evidence-based innovation pipeline. Instead of having a committee vet ideas, they needed a process that operated with speed and urgency, and innovators and stakeholders who curated and prioritized their own problems/idea/technology.

 

How the definition of quality evolves with a project - 5 min
[binary-studio]

The definition of quality should correspond to the project goal and context. It is basic common sense that you won’t approach development and management of a prototype project the same way as you approach a long term or high-risk domain project.

 

The Customization Curve - 3 min
[blog.ycombinator]

I think about this optimization as operating along three variables: cost of customization, happiness generated, and cost to support that customization.

 

Technical

Boosting Product Categorization with Machine Learning - 11 min
[techblog.commercetools]

Our goal was to develop a machine learning system that can predict which categories fit best to a given product, in order to make the whole process easier, faster and less error-prone.

 

News/Other

The World’s Most Powerful Woman Won’t Call Herself a Feminist - 5 min
[nytimes]

Such unflappability is one reason so many voters simply do not focus on the fact she is a woman. Asked whether she thought being a woman had influenced how Ms. Merkel governs, Ute Oskrowski, a nurse from Dresden, shot back, “What kind of question is that?”

 

The U.S. has a lottery problem. But it’s not the people buying tickets. - 5 min
[blog.ycombinator]

Even as evidence emerged that lotteries were not magic budgetary bullets, states kept enacting them to avoid the painful choice between programs and low taxes.

 

How the Vietnam War Broke the American Presidency - 8 min
[theatlantic]

The war undermined the country’s faith in its most respected institutions, particularly the military and the presidency. The military eventually recovered. The presidency never has.

 

Who Will Build the Health-Care Blockchain? - 3 min
[technologyreview]

Every pointer a doctor logs on the blockchain would become part of a patient’s record, no matter which electronic system the doctor was using—so any caregiver could use it without worrying about incompatibility issues

 

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Ignoble Laureate - 7 min
[newyorker]

The Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who won the prize for her advocacy of girls’ education, condemned the “tragic and shameful treatment” of the Rohingya. “I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same.”

 

Sonic “Attacks” on US Diplomats in Cuba: Don’t Rush to Conclusions - 6 min
[justsecurity]

...the use of intrusive technical collection and surveillance which sometimes causes harm in its own right, is consistent with past practice in Cuba and elsewhere

 

Purdue invests in students’ futures with new model of financing - 8 min
[pbs]

If the student’s career doesn’t pan out too well during those early years, then the student is not on the hook and the loss falls on the investor. The investor is banking on the fact student is going to do well. And they’ll get their money back and maybe a little more.

 

Podcasts

Moonshot - A podcast exploring crazy ideas that might change the world.
[moonshot.audio]