• It’s not that we’ve failed to rein in Facebook and Google. We’ve not even tried. “The logic of surveillance capitalism begins with unilaterally claiming private human experience as free raw material for production and sales.” “As one data scientist explained to me: ‘We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way … We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.’”

Best things I heard at Altitude London

The most exciting things I heard about yesterday at Altitude London were QUIC and HTTP/3, BBR, TLS 1.3 and some of the exciting things that you can soon do on the edge with VCL.

Patrick McManus on TLS 1.3: “It includes a performance dessert to make the security vegetables go down better.”

Moving TLS negotiation to the edge is in itself a performance improvement.

Ilya


  • The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.

Purchase data tips off babies and divorce

A few old stories (from 2012 and 2010), but the references come up from time to time: how supermarket loyalty programs know you’re pregnant and how credit card companies can predict divorce.

Ilya




  • Bloomberg Businessweek: Germ-killing brands now want to sell you germs. I remember reading about David Whitlock’s experiments with ammonia-eating bacteria years ago and have been fascinated by this ever since. Exciting to see that it’s still progressing.



  • “Time management” is not a solution — it’s actually part of the problem.
    Being prolific is not about time management. There are a limited number of hours in the day, and focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many of those hours we waste. A better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.
    This reminds me of agreeing to a fixed scope: all emphasis is placed on delivering a set number of features irrespective of their value or quality. In fact, in this situation, the only thing that can give is quality.

  • Wilfred Hughes: The siren song of little languages. “Sometimes a usable language struggles simply because it’s too much fun to write your own. Developers end up building their own implementation rather than actually using the language.”




  • Logic Magazine: An interview with an anonymous algorithmic trader. Some interesting points on how difficult it is to prove your algorithm works, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to: in order to sell your fund, you need a narrative, and simply saying you have AI can be enough. Also, did you know that: “JP Morgan Chase employs 50,000 technologists, two-thirds of which are software engineers. That’s more engineers than many big tech firms; Facebook, for example, employs about 30,000 people total.”

  • Mozilla releases Common Voices, the largest to-date public domain transcribed voice dataset.



How to build product/market fit

How Superhuman built an engine to find product/market fit. Ask your early users: “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” Focus on the “very disappointed” group. These are your biggest proponents, they will tell you why your product is important.

This reminds me of finding a beachhead from Crossing the Chasm.

I also really liked this piece of advice:

Our next step was somewhat counterintuitive: we decided to politely pass over the feedback from users who would not be disappointed if they could no longer use the product.

This batch of not disappointed users should not impact your product strategy in any way. They’ll request distracting features, present ill-fitting use cases and probably be very vocal, all before they churn out and leave you with a mangled, muddled roadmap. As surprising or painful as it may seem, don’t act on their feedback — it will lead you astray on your quest for product/market fit.

Ilya

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