In the real world, no agent -however rational- can make optimal choices, as they don’t have nearly full information. To make things worse, solutions proposed at a given time might alter the underlying reality before they even go into effect, and no longer work as expected! By the time they are in place, policies are hard to change (this week’s EconTalk touched on that topic) and we deal with it by adding more crap on top. Living in a complex society does not by definition require the levels of complexity of modern legislation. Amazon’s Newest Ambition: Competing Directly With UPS and FedEx Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens - The Wall Street Journal
Trump was completely wrong about the Fed last night. But I’m glad the topic came up. Jared Bernstein - The Washington Post
Similar to the recent Bloomberg article. Amazon seems more and more serious about their last-mile effort, and the incumbents are still incredulous.
Uncertainty Wednesday: Limits on Observations Albert Wenger - Continuations
If the political system in the US is hard, and confusing, the Fed is probably one of the most misunderstood. Even having taken several courses on the topic, understanding the intended effects of central banking, and monetary policy, is tough. Bernstein makes a good case for the importance about better understanding it.
Another good one in Albert’s series on uncertainty, easter egg included. “All observation necessarily entails compression of reality,” further compression from our tool’s resolution limits, and even more from measurement error. Regardless of how good your observations are, they will always be uncertain. Moreover, observations themselves can change the underlying state of reality. Not only in the uncertainty principle quantum sense, but also in the user research sense, for example.
Links - September 27th, 2016
- How Slack and Facebook Are Making Access to Information Less Democratic Ezra Galston - BreakingVC
There are clear tensions regarding how information is stored and accessed on the internet. In the OSS world, there is a loud group that constantly complains about the IRC => Slack trend, for example. Whether the fringe is becoming more or less accessible, I don’t know, I have not tried to hang out there, but there is an overwhelming feeling of the walls closing in on themselves.
- The Falsity of False Equivalence Paul Krugman - The New York Times
The fact that this is not clearer to the public at large is insane. It is a bizarre time to live.
- A mistake is just a moment in time Jason Fried - Signal V. Noise
Internalize your mistakes, correct your course, but don’t forget you messed up.
- What San Francisco Says About America Thomas Fuller - The New York Times
I lived in Chicago for 4 years, and I never saw levels of poverty and homelessness as intense as I see in San Francisco. However, both cities have poverty. Both cities have homelessness. In Chicago it is a matter of “out of sight, out of mind”, while in SF you see it day in and day out. Market Street and the Magnificent Mile are a stark contrast, but both cases require society to provide solutions. This article is missing a call to action.
- The Free-Time Paradox in America Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
- Spotify Is Perfecting the Art of the Playlist Devin Leonard - Bloomberg
Probably one of the best features in Spotify. Pretty cool story of how it came about.
- Snapchat Releases First Hardware Product, Spectacles Seth Stevenson - The Wall Street Journal
A glimpse into the future of media/advertising, an interesting personal story, and a product I’d love to try. The back story of how this story got leaked by Business Insider, and the WSJ ended up being whipped into releasing it early says a lot about journalism in the 21st century, too. A lot to unpack.
- I Used to Be a Human Being Andrew Sullivan - New York Magazine
Another piece about the perils of living attached to our screens, and taking a break from the addiction. These have become more and more common, but somehow Sullivan gives a refreshing view.
- The MIT License, Line by Line Kyle E. Mitchell - /dev/lawyer
I wish I understood licensing better, but this is a first step. Open source software is amazing. It is one of the reasons computers today are as powerful as they are.
- Compressing and enhancing hand-written notes Matt Zucker
Another cool project on image processing by Zucker. Code that solves a real problem, however tiny, is always worth reading.
Links - September 22nd, 2016
So much for making an effort to post more consistently… 🙄
Links - September 7th, 2016
- Knowledge (2015) Albert Wenger - Continuations
In this post, Albert defines knowledge from a humanistic perspective. It nicely ties into a recent article I shared about nihilism. Knowledge only matters if it is worth reproducing.
- Learning and mastering isn’t the same David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal V. Noise
Slowly, one abstraction at a time, software engineering has become more and more accessible. The advent of Ruby on Rails marked the beginning of a wave that lowered the barriers to entry for programming, particularly web development, for thousand of engineers. I am one of them. Now it is time to put in the hours and master the craft.
- Story of My Life: How Narrative Creates Personality Julie Beck - The Atlantic
We contain multitudes. Our idea of the “self” is just an aggregate of layers of all previous actions and states of mind, wrapped in a narrative that also changes over time. It’d be an interesting exercise to try and model this computationally, somehow.
- When You Change the World and No One Notices Morgan Housel - Collaborative Fund
Real innovation takes time. It is, however, important to remember that cycles are contracting. Innovation itself is accelerating, and that needs to go into our decision making models, too.
- How Apple Helped Create Ireland’s Economies, Real and Fantastical Adam Davidson - The New Yorker
The events that are developing in the EU right now are potentially more important to the future of global culture than most people realize. Whatever conclusion comes from this case might define sovereignty and jurisdiction across national and supranational borders. As Tim Cook posits in his letter, “at its root, the Commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes. It is about which government collects the money,” and that is the actually interesting question here.
- How Harambe Became the Perfect Meme Venkatesh Rao - The Atlantic
Links - September 5th, 2016
- Labor Day: From the Job Loop to the Knowledge Loop Albert Wenger - Continuations
What is the point of work? What should people spend their time on, and why? Wenger argues that we are about to enter a post-capital and post-labor world. I still haven’t decided if I should read his book now, as a draft, or when it is published in a few months.
- Are We Really So Modern? Adam Kirsch - The New Yorker
I should make an effort and learn more about history and philosophy. We are solving different immediate problems, but ultimately trying to answer the same basic questions as those that came before us.
- The Pill, the Condom, and the American Dream Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
In a complex world, second order effects tend to be more important in aggregate than one would expect. Increased access to birth control results in better care for the kids who are born, and eventually a better society.
- What to Make of Andreessen Horowitz’s Returns? Mark Suster - Both Sides of the Table
Not often do you get a VCs view on another fund. Suster gives us some great insights in his piece.
- How Uber Drivers Decide How Long to Work Noam Scheiber - The New York Times
No data was released, but here is the original paper, in case you want to take a look.
- Trying Not to Try Edward Slingerland - Nautilus
Thinking fast and slow, from the angle of Butcher Ding and chinese philosophy. When your conscious mind lets go, the body can take over.
- Will Amazon Kill FedEx? Devin Leonard - Bloomberg
Amazon is an impressively interesting company (as an aside, the old timey look of the photos is great, too). The original bits and atoms startup, which somehow keeps innovating.
- All about Microservices a16z (Podcast)
Starting a career in software engineering during the days of AWS and Heroku gives me a strange vantage point. The story of how Netflix switched their whole infrastructure would not be half as impressive if I didn’t understand the role of culture in organizational change. The fact is that “this is how we do things around here” can make or break you. This episode talks about the architecture that underlie the modern web stack.
Links - August 30th, 2016
- Big data, Google and the end of free will Yuval Noah Harari - The Financial Times
Harari discusses the jump from religion, to humanism, and now Dataism: Letting go of “religion” and “feelings” to guide our choices, and allowing computers to make decisions for you. As much as “knowing thyself” is great advice, making good decisions also requires knowing the rest of the world. No matter how much you know yourself, there will be unknown unknowns about the people and things you interact with. Computers might be able to help us there.</br>A specific case I’ve thought deeply about is “choosing what content to consume,” which applies to books, articles, podcasts, MOOCs, etc. Objectively, there is some optimal solution to this question, and Harari’s Dataism probably has a better answer than humanism, regardless of how uncomfortable that thought makes you feel.</br>The idea is powerful, and we can similarly extrapolate to other questions.
- In Search of Ragu Roads & Kingdoms
A cuisine’s history, and its people’s sentiments about it, can tell us a lot about culture and how it is formed over time. There is a lot of value when food becomes more than sustenance.
- How artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple Steven Levy - Backchannel
Another one that I can’t comment much on, but want to share.
- I Got Scammed By A Silicon Valley Startup Penny Kim - Startup Grind
Lately I have been bringing up Maslow’s hierarchy over and over. I am one of the few lucky people in the world who (like you, probably, since you’re reading this) get to only worry about the very top of this pyramid. Food, shelter, health - all these are non-thoughts for me. My concerns are much less important. In the context of this article, I have been spending many hours considering how to be happier at work, and spend my time to maximize my learning and my future opportunities. Even in the tech bubble that I live in, things can be much worse, and it is sobering to remember that.
- Building Better Algorithms Requires Human Judgment Albert Wenger - Continuations
- Hunting for great names in programming David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal v. Noise
Naming things is much harder than it seems, and its implications much more widespread than one would expect. Spend more time thinking about names.
- Types Gary Bernhardt
Different languages have different ways of constraining and enabling programmers. Any language provides us with trade-offs. For a long time, I have thought of types as an added layer of complexity, which makes them unappealing. However, unit tests and documentation are also extra complexity, and I am more than happy to pay the cost for those. Perhaps its time to make the jump and get into static typing.
Links - August 24th, 2016
- The Unicorn Hedge Dave McClure - 500 Hats
As software seeps into our daily lives, everything becomes “tech”. I don’t like that word, it is too broad, and somewhat meaningless. A truck is technology. So is a self-driving truck, but the latter does much more by leveraging software. Every “traditional” company in some capacity uses “tech”, and as time goes on more and more firms depend on software for their daily operations. This is at the root of the reality that McClure describes. AirBnB is considered a “tech” company, but it should be compared against Hilton and Marriott, not against Google and Apple. That’s their actual competition. The hedge is real, and it is only a symptom of the overall trend towards a fully software enabled industry.
- Programming without Programmers? Aka Software Eating Software Development? Albert Wenger - Continuations
Software engineering, and the tools required for it, have evolved significantly over time. Barriers to entry have been lowered, making programming accessible for “normal” people, both in terms of monetary costs as well as in the amount of effort required to get started and build something significant. For better or for worse, modern programming languages are english-like enough that they can be grokked by children. Writing machine or assembly language can be seen as an esoteric exercise by today’s standards. On the shoulders of giants, we’ve climbed up several levels on the ladder of abstraction, and as Wenger implies, this is not stopping any time soon.
- Understanding VCs Fred Wilson - AVC
The “PR angle” Fred talks about is true of the blogs of VCs, startups, programmers, journalists, and pretty much any other piece of content on the web, even including this curated set of links. We should cast wide nets, and get information from every possible source before making decisions. Remember other people are driven by incentives just as much as ourselves.
- Penny Auctions - How to sell a $180 tablet for $7,264 Curious Gnu
Whether penny auctions can be classified as gambling or not, they could be a source of really interesting decision theory/behavioral economics research. If you know of any studies particularly worth looking at, please send them my way.
- Milwaukee's Divide Runs Right Through Me Bassey Etim - The New York Times
Over the last few weeks, I started watching The Wire. The longer I live in this country, the more I understand the tensions around race and class rooted in years and years of history. I want to spend more time reading about this, and exploring the narratives of the various sides. Building empathy is hard work.
- It really is the future Paul Biggar - CircleCI
A follow-up on last week’s post on Docker, and the state of distributed systems on the web. This one being the non-satirical version.
- Five Years of Tim Cook’s Apple in Charts Jan Dawson - Medium
Being on the inside, I can’t say much about this, other than: I’m still bullish.
- But What If We're Wrong Russ Roberts and Chuck Klosterman - EconTalk
Lots of interesting tid bits on culture, and how our perception of the world changes over time. What will we look back in N years and think “wow, how were we so stupid”?
- Slavery and Racism Russ Roberts and Michael Munger - EconTalk
The fact that two white economics professors at prestigious universities talk about this in public is already a big win. Not knowing the history of slavery in the US, this was quite interesting. The “us vs. them” framing, coupled with the Rawlsian ideas towards the end, was the most persuasive part. Incentives strike again.
- On Average Roman Mars - 99% Invisible
Had never thought about the fact that someone had to have introduced “average” into our culture. Another great episode from the 99pi team.
Links - August 22th, 2016
- This is strictly a business decision Tim O'Reilly - Medium
Incentives rule all our decisions. If the mandate of fiduciary duty is to “maximize shareholder value,” that is what any board will do. Whether the “business decision” was correct or not is a question of short-term vs. long-term thinking, discount rates, and how much the company values its employees. When labor is interchangable, this is not a surprising decision. If the well-being of the employees were somehow baked in into the pricing model, there could be a different outcome.
- Imaging, Snapchat and mobile Benedict Evans
As usual, Evans gives us a lot to think about. Our phones aren’t really just phones, and our cameras aren’t really just cameras.
- It’s The Future Paul Biggar - CircleCI Blog
Overengineering is a real problem. I need to learn more about this new dev-ops world, and play with Docker et al, but the fact is that to get started, a monolith running on Heroku is more than enough. Scaling will be harder? Yes, but you might actually get something done and sell to real users. Good enough is good enough. Once again, short-term vs. long term incentives.
- All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Gray Cate Huston - Accidentally in Code
Perspective on software engineering impact: Somehow, the industry keeps moving forward as our projects die, 1 by 1. Stay motivated, and learn from your errors.
- The stuff we really need is getting more expensive. Other stuff is getting cheaper. Christopher Ingraham - The Washington Post
- The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Medium
A draft of a chapter of Taleb’s upcoming book. He argues that asymmetrical rules lead to minorities dictating choices when there are large benefits to a concentrated minority and small diffuse costs among the majority. All his examples are negative, but its not hard to think of how this same effect can affect us positively.
- The Night That Obama and Hillary Founded ISIS Liz Meriwether - New York Magazine
The world of politics is odd.
- Page dewarping Matt Zucker
Math lets us do some really interesting things. This post presents a relatively simple model that solves a real problem for a real person.
- Firms and Inequality Claudia Sahm
An analysis on the future of work, and labor compensation. I am not surprised that gains are concentrated in a set of firms, the real question, as Claudia points out, is “is rising worker segregation a sign of reduced competition, greater economic rents, or is it telling us about a change in the nature of production?” My guess? The latter.
- The meaning of trust in the age of Airbnb Tim Harford
The fact that we can walk into a store and exchange a piece of paper for a loaf of bread is a sign of trust. Our economies, and our lives, are all based on trust, and Tim’s article explains how important this is in an age where “reputation” becomes currency. Reminded me a lot of Seabright’s Company of Strangers.
Links - August 18th, 2016
Hello there old friends. It has been forever since my last post, and I apologize for that. Here is a mixed bag of technology, management, and politics pieces. My interests haven’t changed, hopefully yours haven’t either.
Expect more frequent updates coming back soon.
- Serverless Architectures Mike Roberts
“Serverless” is the Next Big Thing. Serve static stuff on S3, make everything stateless, and plug a bunch of functions in Lambda. AWS once again changing the paradigm.
- The hedgehog and the fox Benedict Evans
I like to think of myself as a much more fox-ey than hedgehog-ey person, and I think success comes from getting a fox to surround themselves with hedgehogs. This is true in the AI context, as well as many others. “To think about tech now is to think about many things.”
- Stalking your Facebook friends on Tinder Alex Hogue - Literally Words
The internet: where nothing is really private.
- What Did You Do? What Will I Have Done? Albert Wenger - Continuations
While the comparisons with WWII are extreme, this is one of those “better safe than sorry” situations. Go vote, I can’t.
- Watch this very chill video of virtual soft-bodied creatures swimming underwater James Vincent - The Verge
- The Uber Engineering Tech Stack, Part I: The Foundation Lucie Lozinski - Uber Engineering Blog
It is always interesting to see how others do things. Especially interesting is the migration from python/node to Java/Go, and the heavy usage of OSS projects. I agree that having less languages is good, however, this might be a bit quixotic.
- Central bank digital currency: the end of monetary policy as we know it? Marilyne Tolle - Bank Underground
One of the most intriguing aspects of bitcoin is what kind of effects a constant, predictable, and stable money supply would cause in our financial systems. Coming from the Bank of England, this post holds more water than the usual cryptocurrency wonk posts.
- Delusions of Chaos Paul Krugman - The New York Times
The world is a mess, its just less messy than it used to be.
- The Unbundled City Paul Krugman - The New York Times
Not the usual Krugman. A really interesting take on how the Internet has changed cities. While he thinks of “back office operations,” I think of AWS and outsourced manufacturing.
- The Dreaded Weekly Status Email Christina R. Wodtke - Elegant Hack
In the modern office, email defines workflows. Communicating over email is hard. Do it right.
- Apple and the gun emoji Jeremy Burge - Emojipedia
Related, and somewhat more in depth, is the a16z podcast on emoji. Why do these icons carry so much weight?
- Judaism is not a major player in the history of humankind Yuval Harari - Haaretz (Paywall)
Exceptionalism is not just an American problem.
The only way I was able to get around the paywall was to click on the link from Facebook Messenger, which adds a referrer to the HTTP request. Let me know if you find another workaround.
- What Marissa Mayer Brought to Yahoo That Can’t Be Bought or Sold Jelena Woehr - Medium
Leadership is hard, and requires personal sacrifice. People appreciate that, and can tell when a person in power doesn’t put in the required effort. According to Woehr, Marissa did.
- Rectangular countries David Barry
Useless but fun geospatial data analysis, because why not?
Links - July 14th, 2016
As you can tell from the articles below, I’ve read a lot about consciousness lately. In general, I like the topic a lot, but I was actually trying to find an article on the subject from a couple of years ago that I remember being really good. Sadly, I didn’t find it, but it did take me down the rabbit hole of the Internet, and I found all of the consciousness related posts below, so hopefully you will enjoy those.
- A Nihilist's Guide to Meaning Kevin Simler - Melting Asphalt
A graph theory approach to the meaning of life, and, by extension, every one of our actions.
- Square is guilting us into tipping basically everyone Ester Bloom - Quartz
Because who wouldn’t tip $3 on a cup of coffee?
- The Facebook of ecommerce Benedict Evans
- A Technical Glitch Ben Thompson - Stratechery
- Medieval technology, indistinguishable from magic E R Truitt - Aeon
- Six centuries of secularity began with the first 'how-to' books William Eamon - Aeon Essays
- How Did Consciousness Evolve? Michael Graziano - The Atlantic
- Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking Veronique Greenwood - Nautilus
- Postcards From the Edge of Consciousness Meehan Crist - Nautilus
- End of Cycle? Elad Gil
- Why Python is Slow: Looking Under the Hood Jake VanderPlas
- Why Does Pepperoni Curl? J. Kenji López-Alt - The Food Lab/Serious Eats
Yeah, its a post about pizza. To be more accurate, pizza + science.
- Fintech Revolution or Evolution? Alex Rampell, Angela Strange, and Charlie Warzel - a16z
In a recent post, I shared Charlie Warzel’s analysis on the future of payments. This episode of the a16z podcast takes a deeper dive.
- Remembering Stonewall 99% Invisible
Living in San Francisco, and having just attended Pride, this seemed very fitting. A really interesting story, which made me think a lot about how what is socially and culturally acceptable changes over time and space.
- Who Do We Think We Are? This American Life
I listened to this several weeks ago, but just noticed I hadn’t posted it. Mostly recommending it for Act 1, which deals with a really hard story. Especially interesting due to the herd mentality of “we do this because it is the way we’ve always done it,” which I hate so much. Other people’s decisions can change our lives forever. Sometimes unknowingly, and for all the wrong reasons.
Links - July 4th, 2016
I haven’t read much lately. I checked my stats today (yes, I keep track of how many articles I read) and my rolling one week daily average is about to hit 1 article read per day. That is scary, because I don’t know what is consuming my time in place of my usual online reading.
It might be Twitter, and the bots, but that doesn’t add up in my head.
Links - June 3rd, 2016
- What Tech Workers Can Learn From Harry Bridges Kelsey Gilmore-Innis
San Francisco and the Gold Rush, both old and new. Labor, unions, and narratives of success.
- Deep Reinforcement Learning: Pong from Pixels Andrej Karpathy
Another in depth look at modern solutions to artificial intelligence and problem solving. As usual, Karpathy makes complex ideas understandable, this time using OpenAI’s Gym to play Pong.
- Video is the new HTML Benedict Evans
HTML, Flash, Video, etc, are only a medium. Corporations today are working hard to exploit these new means of distribution.
- Why the World Is Drawing Battle Lines Against American Tech Giants Farhad Manjoo - The New York Times
- Can social science yield objective knowledge? Noah Smith - Noahpinion
Great analogy between natural science vs. religion and natural science vs. social science. As Noah points out, the idea of the “God of the Gaps” fits in quite well. I have long been a fan of Paul Davies and his take on the classic fight. Noah gives a good explanation for why they are, in a way, the same.
- Carts Without Horses Aaron Harris
Understanding that developing markets are fundamentally different beasts, and not just waiting for copies of what has already been done, is both challenging, and exciting. Makes me wonder what I could do if I went back home.
- Why Trump voters are not “complete idiots” Chris Arnade - Medium
The expanded version of the tweetstorm. Poor people understand optionality, too. If your downside is flat, and your upside isn’t, logic says break the system.
- What happened, what's happening now and what's next Benedict Evans
Yes, two posts by Evans today. It’s that good.
Links - May 27th, 2016
Hi there. It had been a while! I have read a lot less than usual lately, but here are a few things I’ve recently enjoyed.
- I know how to program, but I don't know what to program Nano Dano - DevDungeon
Through an analogy between learning CS, and how to play musical instruments, the author explains the value of reinventing the wheel: cloning other people’s projects allows you to learn useful patterns as you go. Start by mimicking, and continue adding your own features. The important part is putting your fingers to work. For example, I got my start with Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial, and modified it bit by bit to fit my needs. One of the best pieces I have read on how to “level up” as a software engineer.
- If Philosophy Won’t Diversify, Let’s Call It What It Really Is Jay L. Garfield and Bryan W. Van Norden - The New York Times
- The Netflix Tech Blog: Creating Your Own EC2 Spot Market Andrew Park, Darrell Denlinger, and Coburn Watson - The Netflix Tech Blog
I learned this exists from my manager, who used to work at Netflix. Mind blown.
- What happened when a professor built a chatbot to be his teaching assistant Matt McFarland - The Washington Post
TLDR, no one noticed until the guy revealed it.
- 1,700 years ago, the mismanagement of a migrant crisis cost Rome its empire Annalisa Merelli - Quartz
- Government Must Play a Role Again in Job Creation Eduardo Porter - The New York Times
- Today's rich families in Florence, Italy, were rich 700 years ago Matthew Yglesias - Vox
- Google’s Go-to-Market Gap Ben Thompson - Stratechery
The “best” is not always enough.
- The Curse of Culture Ben Thompson - Stratechery
Culture is fascinating, but also really subjective, making it hard to quantify, or analyze. To make it worse, it is turtles all the way down: culture matters at the company, division, group, team and individual basis, and the larger the company the more culture solidifies as a “thing” that makes that company what it is.
- The Empty Brain Robert Epstein - Aeon
- Ruby has been fast enough for 13 years David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal v. Noise
Speed is rarely the reason to pick a programming language these days. See below.
- Blue. No! Yellow! Robert C. Martin - Clean Coder Blog
Mostly, its a matter of taste. See above.
- Ethereum is the Forefront of Digital Currency Fred Ehrsam - The Coinbase Blog
It takes guts to describe your company as the “…most popular way to buy, sell, and use bitcoin” or, more humbly, a “bitcoin wallet and platform” and then come out and say that something else is better, and possibly more sustainable, than BTC. Smells like a soft pivot to cryptocurrencies in general could be coming.
- The Father of Modern Metal Jonathan Waldman - Nautilus
Never thought steel could be this fascinating.
- What disturbed me about the Facebook meeting. Glenn Beck - Medium
If I am sharing an article by this guy, it must be good. Never thought I’d do that, but he does bring up good points.
- Make America Great Again for the People It Was Great for Already Bryce Covert - The New York Times
- The G.O.P. Is Not America, Clinton Is Not Rubio Paul Krugman - The New York Times
- The End of the End of the World Jonathan Franzen - The New Yorker
An epic article about Antarctica, family ties, global warming, and the future.
- Hello, This Is London Rising Andrew Godwin - Aeracode
A very cool project. Can’t go wrong with mapping + Python + 3D Printing.
- Fizz Buzz in TensorFlow Joel Grus
Links - May 11th, 2016
- How AI And Crowdsourcing Are Remaking The Legal Profession Sean Captain - Fast Company
The legal field is not very technologically enabled. As Casetext’s Jake Heller points out, “We’ve all seen this story. Whether it’s restaurants or encyclopedias, this is going to be replaced by an open knowledge solution.” The question is, which of all these services will win the market (full disclosure, my girlfriend works at Casetext, and I think they are doing great work at making legal data easily available).
- Writing with the machine Robin Sloan
While I enjoy reading about the breakthrough techniques in deep learning, applied machine learning, with weird and fun objectives and non-standard datasets is much more exciting.
- Three Years in San Francisco Mike Davidson - Mike Industries
The article talks about topics beyond management, but spends a good chunk of time discussing why projects with many moving pieces, many stakeholders, and many contributors are hard to do right. Mostly, because people are hard to understand. If you understand people, you’ll be a better engineer, better designer, and better manager.
- Apple’s actual role in podcasting: be careful what you wish for Marco Arment
As Marco says, “…the last thing we all need is for the ‘data’ economy to destroy another medium.” Implied, but not mentioned in the article, is the discoverability problem of podcasts. Finding 10 shows that you generally like is easy. Finding the best episode of those 10 shows is impossible.
- The perils of mixing open source and money David Heinemeier Hansson
- Today I accept that Rails is yesterday’s software. Rob Robinson - Medium
- It Takes All Kinds Justin Etheredge - CodeThinked
- Fifty years on, one of Mao’s ‘little generals’ exposes horror of the Cultural Revolution Tom Phillips - The Guardian
- Hot Chili Peppers, War, and Sichuan Cuisine Andrew Leonard - Nautilus
Links - May 7th, 2016
- Who Was Ramanujan? Stephen Wolfram - Backchannel
Life is strange. One letter (email?) could really change yours. Send it today.
- What Military Jargon Says About Military Service Matti Friedman - The Atlantic
- Dynamic Typing > Static Typing? Greggman
It is weird when you can’t credit an author because their work doesn’t list their name. </br> As a side note, tweeting this got me into a strange twitter fight.
- Stuck in the Middle With You Mark Suster - Both Sides of the Table
Good analysis of why the US can’t play the isolation game going forward. Even if you don’t care about politics, and you should, it is worth your time just for the amazing list of books that Suster recommends.
- Eye Doctors Want To Shut Down This Online Vision Exam Startup Stephanie M. Lee - BuzzFeed News
While I understand the point of regulation, Opternative delivers exactly what it advertises: refractive eye exams. The incumbents are just using regulation to push their interests and avoid getting pushed out of the market. But, obviously, I am biased. I used to work there.
- I’ve got a few questions for virtual reality filmmakers Lucas Matney - TechCrunch
Possibly my favorite opening paragraph in a TechCrunch article, ever.
- Brad DeLong pulpifies a Cochrane graph Noah Smith
Economic models can be bent to lie. Usually, not this blatantly, though.
- I tried to make my own tortillas from scratch the Mexican way in the US, and it was a disaster Ana Campoy - Quartz
This article is just a curiosity. The fact that Quartz opens with “Leer en español” was very unexpected.
Links - May 4th, 2016
- The Increasing Problem With the Misinformed Thomas Baekdal
Extreme clarity on the future of journalism, media, and strategies for companies in the space to respond to change. TL;DR: create better content or disappear. The arguments fit perfectly with Aggregation Theory, and while the article is a bit too focused on politics, the analysis could apply to any other news covered by the media, from the Tech Bubble, to ISIS, or Millenials. Long, but worthwhile.</br>I have been reading Baekdal for years. I can’t even remember how I ran into his blog, but it must have been 7 or 8 years ago, and I am glad I did.
- Demystifying Venture Capital Economics (Part 4) Andy Rachleff - Wealthfront
While I have read (…skimmed 🙄) Mary Meeker’s report several years in a row by now, I had never consciously noticed the acceleration of adoption rates of new technologies.
- AdBlock Plus teams up with Flattr to help readers pay publishers Anthony Ha - TechCrunch
Possibly more interesting than the opt-in model championed by Blendle.
- Inevitability in technology Benedict Evans
Evans has a knack for finding great analogies from history. In most cases, path dependence, network effects, consumer lock in, and feedback loops matter more than any one decision. I wonder if we can systematically figure out the decisions that matter more…
- My path to OpenAI Greg Brockman
Somehow, the dots connect in the future.
- Type Wars Robert C. Martin - The Clean Code Blog
Was not expecting Uncle Bob to finish on that note. The history of programming languages is a big question mark for me. If you have a good book/blog post to recommend on it, please send it my way.
- Everything as a Service Ben Thompson - Stratechery
Ben sounds more bullish in this article than in the past few, especially Exponent.
- Apple's Numbers Bob Lefsetz
Yet another bear case for Apple pinned on the cult of personality for Steve Jobs. While I disagree with the overall message, the writing is really good, and Lefsetz does have a point on the strategy of innovation, viz. Christensen’s disruptive innovation.
- Obituaries My Mother Wrote for Me While I Was Living in San Francisco in My Twenties Bess Kalb - The New Yorker
Links - May 2nd, 2016
- The Case Against Reality Amanda Gefter - The Atlantic
I have linked to Hoffman’s work before, and encouraged some of my friends to read his research. I think Gefter did a great job with this interview.
- The Feed Is Dying Casey Johnston - New York Magazine
- You play like you practice Jason Fried - Signal v. Noise
- Why is Amazon all of a sudden not re-investing all its profits? Marcel Weiß - Early Moves
- Neural Networks Are Impressively Good At Compression Probably Dance
A good explanation of neural networks by example. It is amazing how quickly the toy problem of learning a couple of weights, basic high school math, becomes untractable.
- Do Experienced Programmers Use Google Frequently? Umer Mansoor - Code Ahoy
- How does knowledge get locked up in people's heads? Julia Evans
Reminded me of Cesar Hidalgo’s book, Why Information Grows. At some point info HAS to be spread out across brains in the organization.
- On the (Small) Number of Atoms in the Universe Peter Norvig
- What Will Come After Payday Lending? Bethany McLean - The Atlantic
- Handcuffed to Uber Connie Loizos - TechCrunch
Most of modern economics is based on the idea that people make decisions with a clear understanding of the consequences. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether we’re talking of switching to a new job, moving to a different state, picking an insurance plan or making a donation, there are always economic consequences that people don’t understand. The complexity of our world, some of it designed, some of it emergent, makes rational decision-making almost impossible. These Uber employees were definitely not aware of how big of an issue this policy would be years after they joined the company. (For more on the topic, take a look at Zach Holman’s post.)
Links - April 27th, 2016
- I was an undercover-bot for 2 months. Here is what I learned. Ami Ben-David - Chatbots Magazine - Medium
I don’t buy the bot craze. The technology is not there yet, and as the author well describes, the user experience feels just like calling a bank, or a telco, and being greeted by a distorted digital voice asking how one can be helped. Some day.
- The Rising Costs of Scaling a Startup Tom Tunguz
An oldie, but goodie. Someone should repeat this analysis and include 2015/2016 data. We’ve probably already crossed the 2x threshold.
- 15 Fundamental Laws of Software Development Matthew P Jones - Exception not Found
One of those lists that invariably will be printed out, and pinned to a cube, by a grumpy coworker.
- Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP) Fred Wilson - AVC
- F*** You, I Quit — Hiring Is Broken Sahat Yalkabov - Medium
I have been on the other side of the table of many interviews since I started working at Apple. It is unbelievably hard to gauge the skills of a front-end engineer, even more so when more than half the people involved in the interview process do back-end work day to day.
- Antitrust and Aggregation Stratechery - Ben Thompson
As is mentioned toward the end, “the most effective monopoly killer is the next monopoly.”
- Wikipedia’s Piracy Police Are Ruining the Developing World's Internet Experience Jason Koebler - Motherboard
Sometimes, free is a problem.
- The Log: What every software engineer should know about real-time data's unifying abstraction Jay Kreps - LinkedIn Engineering
To be honest, I haven’t finished reading this, but it was profusely recommended by randos on HN and coworkers alike. The preferred stack, and the JS framework du jour might have changed since then, but the basics are still the same. This essay tries to explain distributed systems fundamentals from “the log” up.
Links - April 26th, 2016
- You can take the derivative of a regular expression?! Julia Evans
Even though I didn’t take a regex class, the similarities with my stochastic modeling class are stark. Now I want to learn more!
- I Have Valuable Information Cory Watson - One Mo' Gin
We can always be better, smarter, etc. Watson talks about why he shares what he learns: one step at a time, helping others along the way, understanding that there is always more than we can process.
- Understanding the Rich Tapestry of American Culture as Experienced Through Food Mark Suster - Both Sides of the Table
Last time Suster recommended a movie, Supermensch, I wasn’t sold, but watched anyway. It was awesome, and now I want to watch this one too. VCs should do more movie/book/etc reviews. After all, a deep understanding of culture can give you an edge to make better bets than others. I am sure it has helped Upfront Ventures get where they are.
- When to Rewrite from Scratch - Autopsy of a Failed Software Umer Mansoor - Code Ahoy
Building software is hard. Learn from others’ mistakes.
- Economics and Self-Awareness Paul Krugman - The New York Times
When reality contradicts your beliefs, most likely, you have to change your beliefs.
- O Reader! My Reader Silvia Killingsworth - The Awl
A little bit hyperbolic, I use Feedly and it works more than fine, but the internet definitely changed the day Google shut down Reader.
- Uncanny Valley Anna Wiener - N + 1
Long, but so worth it. As Paul Ford tweeted, this essay is “a great catalog of Silicon Valley self-deceptions.”
Links - April 25th, 2016
- The Average 29 Year Old Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
In this short and data-centric piece, Thompson makes the argument that since most mainstream media is based in large cities, “…well-educated journalists in these dense cities wind up with a skewed impression of the world” and they feed us their biases. “An irony of digital media is that the Internet distributes journalism, but it concentrates journalists.”
- Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps. Dan Grover
Everyone talks about “bots”, but “bots” are not new. Grover makes a great analogy between early iOS skeumorphism and the metaphors of “conversational UI” that have leaked into these new user experiences. He goes on to argue that the notification systems in modern operating systems are broken, which I fully agree with, and suggests the rise of meta-platforms like WeChat and Facebook Messenger as the path forward.
- Why Write in English? Tim Parks - The New York Review of Books
A few months ago, an article titled Teach Yourself Italian was published in the New Yorker. In it, the author (Jhumpa Lahiri) discusses her journey from the United States to Italy, and her discovery of how language affected her identity as she wrote a book in a language that wasn’t her own. Parks discusses Lahiri’s work, compares her to other authors that went through similar transitions, and ultimately explains why he still writes in his mother tongue, even after years of living abroad.
- Minimum Viable Superorganism Kevin Simler - Ribbon Farm
Perhaps a bit too paranoid, discussing conspiracy theories more than it should, but interesting nonetheless. Simler explains the economics behind the social structures that align our incentives to work together toward common goals.
- Machine Learning Meets Economics, Part 2 Nicolas Kruchten - Datacratic MLDB
If you haven’t yet, go read Part 1.
- Making 1 million requests with python-aiohttp Paweł Miech
- The Rich Don't Work Anymore—Working Is for Poor People Robert Reich - Alternet
Links - April 18th, 2016
- How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained) Kim Mai Cutler - TechCrunch
A deep dive into the history (and disaster) of the San Francisco housing crisis.
- In Cramped and Costly Bay Area, Cries to Build, Baby, Build Conor Dougherty - New York Times
Politicians in the San Francisco Bay Area are getting pulled in every direction, this NYT article tries to explain some of the complexities involved. In a strange coincidence, this article came out roughly a week after I read Kim-Mai’s article, linked above.
- School Is To Submit Overcoming Bias - Robin Hanson
- Machine Learning Meets Economics Nicolas Kruchten - Datacratic MLDB
- Growing a Nation Won't Always Grow Its Economy Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
When I tweeted at him asking for resources to understand the math behind this research, Noah recommended reading this pdf. To be honest, I haven’t had time for it yet.
- Domino's: Pizza and Payments Paul Price
- The Sacrificial Pancake Neal Sales-Griffin
A great analogy that prompts us to get started, knowing that, most likely, we’ll fail at first.
- Cellmates Radiolab (Podcast)
- Richard Jones on Transhumanism EconTalk (Podcast)
Links - April 8th, 2016
- Broken Promises: The Housing Market in SF (And Ten Ideas to Fix It) Zac Townsend
A clear economic analysis of the housing market in San Francisco, its history, its distortions, and its intricacies. Zac makes good arguments, proposes attainable solutions, and brings examples of other cities arount the U.S. that have solved similar housing crises before.
- The Weird Redemption of SF's Most Reviled Tech Bro Lauren Smiley - Backchannel
While the city officials’ skepticism is understandable, their stubbornness to work with a capable person due to his background is not. Two very unexpected things I learned from this piece: 1) San Francisco’s homeless population has been around 6000 for over 25 years. 2) between nonprofits and city departments, $241M/year are spent on supporting San Francisco’s homeless population. That is, roughly $40k per person.
- Declining Mobility and Restrictions on Land Use Alex Tabarrok - Marginal Revolution
- A 26-Story History of San Francisco Alexis Madrigal - The Atlantic
I went to a meetup at 140 New Montgomery this week. The event was unremarkable, but the venue was odd. This essay tells its story.
- On your marks. Get set. Go. The fourth Facebook goldrush just started. Jeremy Liew - Lightspeed Venture Partners
Everyone is talking about bots.
- Why Kik Thinks Chatbots Will Kill Webpages Cliff Kuang - Fast Company
- What the iPhone has done to cameras is completely insane Roberto A. Ferdman - The Washington Post
- Stop Voter Suppression Robert Reich
- What Bernie Sanders Gets Right Mark Thoma - The Fiscal Times
As usual, Thoma asks the right questions. I am particularly interested in the “how is the social interest is defined?” aspect of his article. When companies, and identities, span across the world, our definitions of society change too.
- Losing Money Fred Wilson - AVC
- Film Dialogue Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels - Polygraph
Links - April 5th, 2016
Between researching camera lenses and teaching myself machine learning, there hasn’t been much reading lately.
Links - March 31st, 2016
I have spent a lot of time lately trying to understand, and playing around with, computer vision, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and other machine learning models. Between Stanford’s Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition course, Trask’s neural stack explanation, playing snake with Keras and creating image analogies, I have spent a lot more time than usual coding and training machine learning models after work. More accurately, I have spent hours poring over complex equations I don’t yet fully understand, and waiting for models to converge.
Even if you are not a computer scientist, you should read the intro to reinforcement learning linked below. With some understanding of economic modeling, and a bit of effort, you’ll get the basics of how a system like AlphaGo works. Machine, or otherwise, learning is fun.
Links - March 16th, 2016
- The Amazon Tax Ben Thompson - Stratechery
An extremely bullish case from a former Amazon bear. Ben’s writing is usually great, but this one takes the prize for clarity: connecting the dots from Bezos’ famous letter to shareholders in 1997 to the beginnings of AWS in 2006, to today. A must read.
- Ping21: Earn Bitcoin by Monitoring Uptime and Latency Tyler Pate, Andrew DeSantis, Eli Haims, David Harding, and Balaji S. Srinivasan - Medium
Very seriously considering buying one of these. Seems like the investment would pay for itself with a few hours of tinkering.
- The Era of Free Trade Might Be Over. That’s a Good Thing. Jared Bernstein - The New York Times
- Elegant Economic Theories Get Shoved Aside by Data Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
- Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet Amy Harmon - The New York Times
An interesting account of incentives at work. Nobel prize winners, and other already well-known scientist, do not care about the prestige of the important journals, so they get to publish directly. Young, unknown, scientists on the other hand, are stuck with the old, considerably inferior, publishing system to prove their worth.
- After Cash: All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses a Bank Account Megan McArdle - Bloomberg View
- The Changing Value Of ARR Alex Wilhelm - Mattermark
On one hand, the article makes good use of historical data to make a clear point: SaaS has been hit hard by the markets, both public and private. On the other hand, the URL makes good use of pirate jokes.
- On Trade, Angry Voters Have a Point Eduardo Porter - The New York Times
- The macabre truth of gun control in the US is that toddlers kill more people than terrorists do Lindy West - The Guardian
Some things about this country are still baffling to me.
Links - March 14th, 2016
- Resetting the score Benedict Evans
Shifts in the landscape, and analogies of history, or how innovation in warfare technology can explain the implications of the rise of the smartphone.
- The Second Smartphone Revolution Fred Wilson - AVC
- Trackers Jacques Mattheij
A story of anthropomorphic cookies, scripts, and ad-blockers.
- The Blood Harvest Alexis Madrigal - The Atlantic
Our dependence on other species is not surprising. The depth of our dependence is.
- Zoning Plays a Big Role in San Francisco's Housing Crisis, Gentrification, and Wealth Disparity Kriston Capps - CityLab
New wealth flowing into a city, plus old wealth’s “build new things in other places” attitude leads to gentrification. We’re not in a bubble, but in a bifurcation, and SF has no relief valve to rely on. Only new city policies could change that.
- The First Micropayments Marketplace John Granata, Ali Fathalian, Michael Goldstein, Eli Haims, Saivann Carignan, Matt Storus, and Balaji S. Srinivasan - Medium
In which 21, the Bitcoin company, unveils what the future of the web might look like.
- Why Snapchat is an Important Media Company Mark Suster - Bothsides of the Table
- The Obama Doctrine Jeffrey Goldberg - The Atlantic
A fascinating (but, at 65+ pages, excessively long) piece on the Obama administration and its foreign policy legacy.
- How to Code and Understand DeepMind's Neural Stack Machine Andrew Trask
Academic papers tend to utilize terse language and jargon to precisely describe processes and outcomes, but these “precise” explanations end up being impenetrable walls for the uninitiated. Thankfully, there are bloggers like Trask, Olah, Karpathy, and others who lower the bar to understanding the intricacies of academic machine learning. I am still trying to get through this one. Trask definitely made the task accessible. The DeepMind researchers, on the other hand, did not.
Links - March 9th, 2016
- In San Francisco and Rooting for a Tech Comeuppance David Streitfeld - The New York Times
In a way, it is surreal to be living this first hand, knowing that I am part of the problem. How long can SF keep going without a policy change?
- Valley VCs Sit on Cash, Forcing Startups to Dial Back Ambition Lizette Chapman - Bloomberg Business
As Ben and James have discussed in the last few episodes of Exponent, this is not a bubble. It is a bifurcation.
- Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why. Thomas Frank - The Guardian
Very related to yesterday’s Noah Smith article on Bernie, and last week’s Stratechery on “The Voters Decide”. Both Trump and Sanders appeal to a population that is not addressed by mainstream media.
- Why the poor pay more for toilet paper, and just about everything else Emily Badger - The Washington Post
- The Data Sleuths of San José Christian Caryl - Foreign Policy
I remember these events from when I was a kid, and it really interesting to see them exposed here again, a decade later, when I can actually understand them and their implications. I wonder what kind of data is available today, in Costa Rica and elsewhere, just waiting to be analyzed to uncover other schemes like these.
Links - March 4th, 2016
Today I am posting from Indianapolis! I am spending the weekend here with Hannah’s family, and I got a lot of reading done on the flight here, so the article selection today is better than usual.
Links - March 1st, 2016
- Toolkits for the Mind James Somers - MIT Technology Review
Languages, both artificial and natural, define how you think. Since I speak three natural languages, and I am trying to learn a fourth, it is somewhat strange how fixated I am on refining one, and only one, programming language. This article might have some clues as to why.
- The Computer in the Basement: Learning to Code, Then and Now James Somers - The Atlantic
- The Majestic Monolith David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal v. Noise — Medium
It would be amazing if DHH could back this up with more than a sample of n=1. How much of their success is the monolith, and how much is the culture, process, and care that Basecamp has refined over the years?
- Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You Samuel Hulick - Better People — Medium
- The Instagrams of Food Deserts Julie Beck - The Atlantic
- London vs San Francisco - back and forth Jamie Henson
- Pipelines Randall Munroe - XKCD
Links - February 25th, 2016
It seems like this is a good reading week for me. A ton of articles, plus about to finish two books. Can’t complain.
Links - February 11th, 2016
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much.” ― Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
As I said in my last post: attention is a zero sum game. I checked how much I have been reading online lately and I’m way below average (Yes, I keep stats on this. Yes, I know its nerdy). According to data from the past 2.5 years, I read about 10 articles per day (avg. 10.02, median 9) but in the last three weeks I’ve been floating between 5-7 per day. I think it will be impossible to keep up the usual 10-12 while maintaining my book reading goal and my new (bad?) habit of scrolling through Twitter a couple of times a day.
However, I’m proud to say that in the past couple of weeks I finished Why Information Grows and moved on to Cool Gray City of Love. Some thoughts on those two are coming.
Links - January 29th, 2016
Random assortment of thoughts:
I was sad to hear that Marvin Minsky passed away this week. I was exposed to his work by chance, as I picked up Society of Mind at a used book sale in Chicago during the summer I read GEB, and became obsessed with the seminal ideas of AI and consciousness. His book definitely helped me shape my views on intelligence.
A couple of weeks ago I started compiling a list of resources worth reading/watching. They are mostly programming related, but we’ll see how the list grows.
My resource list prompted my friend Leon to introduce me to Buster Benson’s Codex Vitae which is an awesome idea. I might do something similar in the future.
Attention is a zero sum game. I have started using Twitter which is fun (follow me! @avyfain), but is super time consuming. Its hard to come to terms with the fact that the stream is infinite while time is not. Between that, and my new goal of reading 3 books per month, blogs and news have taken the back seat.
Complex systems are awesome. I have been reading about them, and so should you.
Anyway, links for the past few days:
Links - December 15th, 2015
I have not actually read Feinstein’s whole paper, but the abstract makes it seem like an amazing read:
In this paper we study the financial repercussions of the destruction of two fully armed and operational moon-sized battle stations (“Death Stars”) in a 4-year period and the dissolution of the galactic government in Star Wars. The emphasis of this work is to calibrate and simulate a model of the banking and financial systems within the galaxy. Along these lines, we measure the level of systemic risk that may have been generated by the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star. We conclude by finding the economic resources the Rebel Alliance would need to have in reserve in order to prevent a financial crisis from gripping the galaxy through an optimally allocated banking bailout.
Links - December 11th, 2015
Well, I finished the first season of Startup, and then, I got bored… Take note Alex Blumberg! The reasons why I was enjoying it so much were the SV outsider tone, the feeling of surprise when lingo had to be explained, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that I listened to a whole season of Reply All before I started with StartUp. To me, Gimlet is just a more interesting business to learn about than Dating Ring (sorry matchmaker aficionados).
Now, since I always NeedMoreContent™, I started a class on coursera and it has been awesome to learn about the low level pieces that make up a computer. It’s been less than a week since I started, and I am already halfway through week 4 of the course. The class is aimed at people with 0 engineering background, and I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in computing.
Links - December 1st, 2015
I have been listening to Startup the past couple of days, so I have not been reading that much lately. It provides a view of the tech and startup world from an outsider’s perspective, and when discussing concepts that I take as general knowledge it constantly makes me think “Wait, most people don’t know that?”
If you have not listened to it, you should.
Links - November 30, 2015
Took a break for thanksgiving. Read a lot. Choosing was hard. This week’s winner seems to be Noah Smith.
Links - October 28, 2015
Several comments today:
First, if you are reading the AVC posts, make sure to read them together. I think the analogy is flawed, but the underlying idea of “collecting the economic surplus of a revolution” is spot on.
Second, I’d like to thank my friend Yoav for pointing out Sapiens. I had skipped the EconTalk episode until he called it the best book he’s ever read. I trust his recommendations, even though he doesn’t trust mine.
Lastly, Politico’s website is kind of annoying, but their article about transportation-oriented development in Evanston was super interesting.
Having lived there for a good chunk of my life, I can tell first hand that Evanston doesn’t feel like a suburb. In fact, when discussing this article, I said “Evanston is actually part of the city, it is basically Chicago” and the response I got was “the fact that you think so means that the policy was successful.”
Links - October 13th, 2015
It’s not that there were no interesting things to read on the internet this past week, its that I was lazy and have not posted them.
Here’s another catchup post.
Links - September 30th, 2015
Today I discovered an amazing LinkedIn feature that I did not know existed. It is called “Connections In The News”.
With the subject “News about Aaron Dallek” sitting in my inbox, LinkedIn’s email really intrigued me. Clicking through took me to a New York Times article about Opternative, the startup where I used to work, and where Aaron is CEO. Quite simply, LinkedIn parsed Aaron’s name from the piece, and notified me that one of my contacts was mentioned in it. How the software distinguishes between various people named John Smith, or whether it tries at all, is unclear to me, but the feature provided me with a pleasant surprise.
Links - September 28th, 2015
My apoligies for the lack of links on Friday. Hopefully today’s set makes up for that.
Links - September 23rd, 2015
I am amazed by the fact that Caltrain ridership tracks the Nasdaq. This is the kind of relationship that I would never think about on my own, but once I read it, it clicked and makes perfect sense. I wonder if similar correlations can be found for other cities and their public transit.
Links - September 21st, 2015
I can’t recommend Gopnik’s article enough. It is a really interesting read about history, faith, and human life. If you read any online article today, this should be it.
Links - September 17th, 2015
I started a new book this week, which means my time has shifted from online consumption to staring at dead trees. More on that soon.
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Links - September 7th, 2015
I spent most of last week moving to my new apartment in San Francisco, which meant I had no time to post links.
Here’s a big list to make up for a lost week: