The greatest test of your expertise is how explicitly you understand your assumptions.
— Kevin Ashton, How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery

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

Shipping is your company’s heartbeat (2013) - 6 min

The scramble to get that one last feature done, the late nights, the compromises, the sinking feeling when we realise something major is broken, the post-mortems … it’s agony, but if it was easy everyone would do it. Shipping exposes mistakes. We’re nervous about it and our natural reaction is to do it reluctantly and infrequently, which actually carries higher risk, causing more reluctance in the future.


The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea - 45 min

To some in the Trump Administration, the gaps in our knowledge of North Korea represent an argument against deterrence; they are unwilling to assume that Pyongyang will be constrained by the prospect of mutually assured destruction. But, if the alternative is a war with catastrophic costs, then gaps in our knowledge should make a different case. Iraq taught us the cost of going to war against an adversary that we do not fully understand. Before we take a radical step into Asia, we should be sure that we’re not making that mistake again.


The Power of Anti-Goals - 3 min

So, instead of thinking through what we wanted our perfect day to look like, we thought about the worst day imaginable and how to avoid it. We inverted and came up with what we call Anti-Goals.



How to Help an Employee Who Rubs People the Wrong Way - 7 min

No matter the specific behavior, your employee is clearly rubbing people the wrong way. As the manager, you know it’s your job to address the issue, but you’re not sure how to start the conversation. What should you say? How do you broach the topic?


Failure to Lunch - 4 min

In the 1987 movie ‘‘Wall Street,’’ Gordon Gekko famously remarks, ‘‘Lunch is for wimps.’’ It has proved to be a prescient line in the American workplace, where taking time off for lunch has increasingly become a sign of idleness. Breaking for a midday meal might have made more sense when laborers toiled with their bodies on tasks — building, planting, harvesting, manufacturing — that required rest and refueling. But in an economy where the standard task is sitting in front of a computer, lunch is less intuitive and far more optional



Compression, Complexity and Software System Design - 7 min

We can also study what happens to complexity in a software system as components depend on or interface each other. Just like we can make rigorous arguments about how much information can be compressed, we can make arguments about how much complexity can be simplified, and use this to make better choices when designing software systems.


How to answer questions in a helpful way - 6 min

Your coworker asks you a slightly unclear question. How do you answer? I think asking questions is a skill and that answering questions in a helpful way is also a skill! Both of them are super useful.



Engineering Uber Predictions In Real Time With Elk - 7 min

To architect a precise and easily interpretable forecasting experience for engineering and operations, we built a custom prediction system by leveraging an open source distributed RESTful search engine composed of query engine Elasticsearch, data indexing pipeline Logstash, and visualization tool Kibana (ELK). Simple but powerful, our resulting architecture is easily scalable and works in real time.


Taste Graph part 1: Assigning interests to Pins - 7 min

With more than 100B Pins and a growing user base of over 200M monthly active users, the Taste Graph deepens and expands every day. Over the years, we’ve made major investments to better understand Pins and how they relate to users who’ve saved them.



Why you may not need all those days of antibiotics - 5 min

I’ll start with the bottom line first. It is absolutely false that continuing to take antibiotics after you feel completely better will reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Quite to the contrary, it will very likely promote the emergence of antibiotic resistance!


Mark Zuckerberg’s Fake News Problem Isn’t Going Away - 15 min

Of course, the Zuckerberg tour, which will hit six more states between now and Thanksgiving, isn’t just about understanding. It’s also an attempt to cast Facebook’s founder as someone other than an aloof operator who doesn’t care whether you use the platform to share pictures of your grandkids or advertise to aspiring Jew-burners. Zuckerberg wants America to understand him and, in doing so, understand Facebook.


Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you (2013) - 14 min

The parents seem to have some vague concept that spending hours each evening on Facebook and YouTube will impart, by some sort of cybernetic osmosis, a knowledge of PHP, HTML, JavaScript and Haskell.


Michael Phelps: A Golden Shoulder to Lean On - 4 min

“Michael can provide honest and direct feedback, and that’s what athletes of their caliber need the most,” Begay said. “Athletes at their level of accomplishment, they have 100 people lined up around the corner trying to sell something to them or do something for them, and it’s hard to filter out, to decide, who is looking out for their best interests.”


When Beliefs and Identities Clash in Court - 6 min

The Supreme Court may not be the right place to settle the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which pits marriage equality against religious freedom.


Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far - 4 min

While many in the tech industry had previously dismissed the fringe men’s rights arguments, some investors, executives and engineers are now listening. Though studies and surveys show there is no denying the travails women face in the male-dominated industry, some said that the line for what counted as harassment had become too easy to cross and that the push for gender parity was too extreme a goal.


Wall Street’s Best-Kept Secret Is a 72-Year-Old Russian Chess Expert - 7 min
For over two decades, Lev Alburt has been teaching strategy, patience, and prognostication to the finest in finance.


Keepers of the Secrets - 12 min

Lannon said that Google had changed the way people sought information. “They only want information based on the information they think they want,” he said. As a rule, he said, archivists at the library should give you the box you’ve asked for — but also suggest another box. There are fewer opportunities, now, to stumble into a world you don’t already know. “It’s important to look outside of your own existence.”



The Moth - Who Can You Trust?

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road