#61

I very frequently get the question: ‘what’s going to change in the next 10 years?’

I almost never get the question: ‘what’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’

I submit to you that the second question is actually the more important of the two.
— Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon

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

Google Maps is Different in Other Countries
[youtube]

How Google handles international border disputes.

 

Continuous Delivery Sounds Great, but Will It Work Here?
[queue.acm]

Continuous delivery is a set of principles, patterns, and practices designed to make deployments—whether of a large-scale distributed system, a complex production environment, an embedded system, or a mobile app—predictable, routine affairs that can be performed on demand at any time. This article introduces continuous delivery, presents both common objections and actual obstacles to implementing it, and describes how to overcome them using real-life examples.

 

Forget the pecking order at work
[ted]

Organizations are often run according to "the superchicken model," where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn't what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It's a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because as Heffernan points out: "Companies don't have ideas. Only people do."

 

Management/Culture

Why Implicit Is Evil In Leadership and Beyond
[engineering.blogfoster]

Do you express your wishes and expectations towards your team? If the answer is no, it is a sign that you lead or manage implicit. It is a natural habit that leaders and managers need to be aware of and handle it. Plan and express expectations towards your peers. Help and support everyone to gather understanding. Handle communication more active; do it explicitly; it is your job!

 

How Warby Parker Makes Every Point In Its Employee Lifecycle Extraordinary
[firstround]

The year is 2010 and Dave Gilboa is hard at work designing Warby Parker’s very first homepage — in PowerPoint. He’s sitting among stacks of inventory in his co-founder Neil Blumenthal’s tiny apartment (the same apartment that would double as the company’s first showroom). That’s the moment Mara Castro walks through the door, starting as Warby’s first official employee just hours after receiving her offer. She jumps in with little more training than, “Ask us if you have any questions.” Just as suddenly, employee experience becomes a top priority.

 

The Swedish CEO Who Runs His Company Like a CrossFit Gym
[hbr]

Work hard and you’ll see results. For many in today’s knowledge economy, this feeling is elusive. They struggle to see how their labor contributes directly to the performance of the corporation, or how it helps the progress of their career. While there’s often increased pressure to be more productive in the office, it’s sometimes hard not to wonder, “What’s the point?” Whether in marketing or sales, it often feels like jobs are contingent on external circumstances, the whims of executives, strategic pivots, and shareholder demands. What happened to being rewarded for consistent, quality work over the long-term?

 

Development/Releases

Towards Feature Teams
[blog.novoda]

At Novoda, we pay close attention to what’s going on in terms of development and process best practices. In 2012 Spotify popularised the feature team approach, and from that point the idea has been revised, rebuked and modified. Throughout this post we will talk about our own experience with feature teams, based on what we achieved working with various partners, including SoundCloud and ImmobilienScout

 

Tracking where your time went with Lego workstream visualisation
[code.joejag]

How much of your time do you spend on planned work? The work which you set out to do today?

 

Fixers need good air cover
[rachelbythebay]

There's a concept in business called being "the fixer". It's something that people in my family before me did, and it's something I wanted to do, and then eventually got to do. In the right sort of scenario, both management and the employee have an understanding about how things will work. Management sends the employee into the most messed up situation by definition, since that's where the biggest gains can be had. It's the place that needs them most.

 

How we run project retrospectives at Intercom
[blog.intercom]

One of the first things that struck me when I started working at Intercom was the culture of transparency and how every team is constantly striving for improvement.

 

“We don’t need a designer for this.” (Yes, you do.)
[blog.carbonfive]

Carbon Five has been practicing design for 10 years and in that time we have had the privilege of working with many design-driven companies. However, even the most design-focused companies get cold feet. Here are some things we have learned over the years on the (thankfully rare) occasion the value of design is called into question.

 

Technical

Queryparser, an Open Source Tool for Parsing and Analyzing SQL
[eng.uber]

Given the decentralized ownership of our tables, this was not a simple endeavor. The most promising solution was to crowdsource the information by scraping all the SQL queries submitted to the warehouse and observing which columns were joined together. To serve this need, we built and open sourced Queryparser, our tool for parsing and analyzing SQL queries.

 

Meet Bandaid, the Dropbox service proxy
[blogs.dropbox]

With this post we begin a series of articles about our Service Oriented Architecture components at Dropbox, and the approaches we took in designing them. Bandaid, our service proxy, is one of these components. Follow along as we discuss Bandaid’s internal design and the approaches we chose for the implementation.

 

Go Fast or Go Home: The Process of Optimizing for Client Performance
[techblog.expedia]

Increasingly there are a lot of signs that indicate customers hate slow pages. According to data from Google and many other sources, customers leave a page or become frustrated if loading page takes longer than about three seconds.

 

News/Other

Why it's Impossible to Accurately Measure a Coastline
[popularmechanics]

Does Norway really have the second longest coastline in the world?

 

Guantánamo, Forever
[longreads]

The message came in on a spring day via the undisclosed U.S. government facility that approves all correspondence out of the military prison in Guantánamo Bay. It was a request for representation from Haroon Gul, a detainee, to Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, an attorney. Gul had never had a lawyer. He was one of the last men in Guantánamo without one.

 

YouTube, the Great Radicalizer
[nytimes]

Soon I noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and “autoplay” videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.

 

Feds Bust CEO Allegedly Selling Custom BlackBerry Phones to Sinaloa Drug Cartel
[motherboard.vice]

Phantom Secure is one of the most infamous companies in the secure phone industry. Sources and court documents detail that its owner has been arrested for allegedly helping criminal organizations.

 

For all their risks, opioids had no pain-relieving advantage in a yearlong clinical trial
[latimes]

For years, doctors turned to opioid painkillers as a first-line treatment for chronic back pain and aches in the joints. Even as the dangers of addiction and overdoses became more clear, the drugs' pain-relieving benefits were still thought to justify their risks. Now researchers have hard data that challenges this view.

 

Baathism Caused the Chaos in Iraq and Syria
[foreignpolicy]

The United States invaded the Levant 15 years ago – but the region’s scorched-earth ideology has kept the fire burning.

 

Google Is Quietly Providing Ai Technology For Drone Strike Targeting Project
[theintercept]

Google has quietly secured a contract to work on the Defense Department’s new algorithmic warfare initiative, providing assistance with a pilot project to apply its artificial intelligence solutions to drone targeting.

 

Palantir Has Secretly Been Using New Orleans To Test Its Predictive Policing Technology
[theverge]

Palantir deployed a predictive policing system in New Orleans that even city council members don’t know about

 

Why Civil Wars Are Lasting Longer
[foreignaffairs]

In Syria and Elsewhere, New Norms Are Changing the Face of Conflict

 

The Persistent Crime of Nazi-Looted Art
[theatlantic]

The discovery of more than 1,500 artworks in a flat in Munich serves as an inconvenient reminder of one of the unresolved wrongs of the Third Reich.

 

High seas shell game: How a North Korean shipping ruse makes a mockery of sanctions
[washingtonpost]

The rusting seaport called Kholmsk is one of the sleepiest harbors in Russia’s Far East, a place that sees more full moons than coal ships in a typical year. Yet for a few weeks late last summer, this tiny port was chockablock with vessels hauling outlawed North Korean coal.

 

Most Gun Owners Support Stricter Laws—Even NRA Members
[bloomberg]

A majority of gun owners in a new poll favor stronger background checks.

 

Theresa May: ‘Highly likely’ Russia responsible for spy’s poisoning by nerve agent
[washingtonpost]

Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday that British investigators have concluded it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the poison attack that left a former Russian double agent and his daughter comatose on a park bench last week.

 

Books/Podcasts/Videos

Why European Clocks are Running Slow, and British Clocks Aren't
[youtube]

Many people sent me this story: it covers my favourite topics of power grids and temporal anomalies. But when the mainstream press have already covered it, how could I add something more? The answer: by adding another pet topic, Unnecessary British Patriotism. And a teasmade.

 

The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel
[goodreads]

The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history's violent return to Lebanon after fifteen years of quiet. Michael J. Totten's version of events in one of the most volatile countries in the world's most volatile region is one part war correspondence, one part memoir, and one part road movie.