#50

Don’t be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product.
— Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

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

What Facebook Did to American Democracy - 19 min
[theatlantic]

The truth is that while many reporters knew some things that were going on on Facebook, no one knew everything that was going on on Facebook, not even Facebook. And so, during the most significant shift in the technology of politics since the television, the first draft of history is filled with undecipherable whorls and empty pages. Meanwhile, the 2018 midterms loom.

 

Selling Products Is Good. Selling Projects Can Be Even Better - 5 min
[hbr]

In the beginning companies sold products. And then they sold services. In recent years, the fashionable suggestion has been that companies sell experiences and solutions, solving the needs and aspirations of customers.

 

Software architecture is failing - 5 min

[alexhudson]

Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve noticed developers advocating for architectures I consider to be extreme and limited in utility, foisting highly complex systems into startup environments at great cost. It appears to me to be getting worse.

 

Management/Culture

8 Ways to Prevent Participation and Innovation - 3 min
[lizkislik]

Just use these eight approaches that have been perfected by other leaders who only want to do things their way without any interference or disruption. And if you work with particularly optimistic, forward-looking, tenacious people, don’t despair: It may take a little while to wear them down, but dull, unyielding persistence on your part will surely win in the end.

 

The Downside of Full Pay Transparency - 5 min
[wsj]

Proponents tout the benefits of sharing pay information across an organization. But for most companies, the costs outweigh the benefits.

 

Why GE had to kill its annual performance reviews after more than three decades - 10 min

[qz]

The annual performance review has been a ubiquitous and generally loathed fixture of the corporate world for decades. But haters can rejoice: It’s finally starting to topple. The best part? Even the company that popularized the toughest form of formal annual review is moving away from them.

 

Development/Releases

Make Product Decisions Without Doubt — My Lessons from Twitter and Slack - 13 min
[firstround]

Even for products that aren’t that widely experienced (yet), a hint of a feature change will often spawn impassioned arguments between proponents and traditionalists on product teams. Regardless of the final decision, there’s always a fine dusting of doubt on every feature choice that gets released, leaving product teams wondering: What if we made the wrong call?

 

From File→New Project to Best Practices - 7 min
[building.usebutton]

Starting new projects is fun.. everything will be different this time. There won’t be any technical debt, everything will be tested and onboarding new team members to the codebase will be a cinch.

 

Technical

Relational Databases Considered Incredibly Useful - 2 min
[theartofmachinery]

But relational databases are still popular today, even in greenfield projects. That doesn’t mean relational databases will stay forever, but it proves that they’re pretty damn useful, and whatever replaces them will have to be pretty damn good.
 

Publishing with Apache Kafka at The New York Times - 14 min
[open.nytimes]

Specifically, we will cover how Kafka is used for storing all the articles ever published by The New York Times, and how Kafka and the Streams API is used to feed published content in real-time to the various applications and systems that make it available to our readers.

 

Fact Checks - 5 min
[developers.google]

If you have a web page that reviews a claim made by others, you can include a ClaimReview structured data element on your web page. This element enables Google Search results to show a summarized version of your fact check when your page appears in search results for that claim.

 

News/Other

How Retailers Use Personalized Prices to Test What You’re Willing to Pay - 4 min
[hbr]

Have you ever looked up flights or hotels on an app on your phone, only to open your laptop and see different prices?

 

Getting Physical: The Rise of Hybrid Ecosystems - 15 min
[bcg]

Whatever the specific motivation for this transaction, we believe the acquisition is not an isolated occurrence but part of a broader trend: the shift from the largely digital ecosystems that dominate today to ones richly exploiting both the digital and the physical worlds. This shift signals opportunities not only for digital giants but also for physical incumbents to build new digital-physical ecosystems. Orchestrators of these hybrid ecosystems must follow some new principles and adopt a set of behaviors different from those that purely digital ecosystems require.

 

The Secretive Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis - 24 min
[esquire]

You’re aware America is under siege, fighting an opioid crisis that has exploded into a public-health emergency. You’ve heard of OxyContin, the pain medication to which countless patients have become addicted. But do you know that the company that makes Oxy and reaps the billions of dollars in profits it generates is owned by one family?

 

The useless design features in modern products - 7 min
[bbc]

Meet the hidden pressures shaping design, from the waistlines of kings to the whims of 18th Century wagon drivers.

 

Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and This Guy Is Declaring War on Them - 6 min
[technologyreview]

“It’s so invisible what we’re doing to ourselves,” he says. “It’s like a public health crisis. It’s like cigarettes, except because we’re given so many benefits, people can’t actually see and admit the erosion of human thought that’s occurring at the same time.”

 

Tech Firms Seek Washington’s Prized Asset: Top-Secret Clearances - 5 min
[bloomberg]

Under siege for letting their platforms be co-opted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election, Silicon Valley companies are learning what many businesses with interests in Washington have long known: It pays to have staff with government security clearances.

 

Aid groups say they’re ’empowering’ women with cows and chickens. They’re not. - 3 min
[washingtonpost]

They wanted, in other words, a women-led movement that actually gave women some power. They're still waiting.

 

Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico. - 26 min
[nytimes]

But the factory anchored her otherwise tumultuous life. Men had come and gone. Houses had been bought and lost. But the job had always been there. For 17 years. Until now.

 

It Takes Just $1,000 To Track Someone's Location With Mobile Ads - 6 min
[wired]

The University of Washington researchers didn't exploit a bug or loophole in mobile advertising networks so much as reimagine the motivation and resources of an ad buyer to show how those networks' intentional tracking features allow relatively cheap, highly targeted spying.

 

Attack of the Hack Back - 6 min
[slate]

It’s hard to fathom why, in 2017, Congress is taking up this idea, unless members are so completely out of ideas for cybersecurity that they’re stuck recycling the worst ones over and over again.

 

Turning on Project Loon in Puerto Rico - 3 min
[blog.x.company]

Working with AT&T and T-Mobile, Project Loon is now supporting basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones. This is the first time we have used our new machine learning powered algorithms to keep balloons clustered over Puerto Rico, so we’re still learning how best to do this.

 

MH17 Animation regarding the transport route and the launch site (2016) - 12 min
[youtube]

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters.

 

Podcasts/Books

Cyberspies: The Secret History of Surveillance, Hacking, and Digital Espionage
[goodreads.com]

The previously untold―and previously highly classified―story of the conflux of espionage and technology, with a compelling narrative rich with astonishing revelations taking readers from World War II to the internet age.