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Link: Advice about Writing

25 habits that will make you a writer by Shaunta Grimes — ignore the terribly clickbait-y title, the advice is actually pretty good. A lot of it may come off as pretty obvious (write every day), but I think it’s still worth a read, and includes some links to some other good books and resources. (Also, pretty relevant regardless of whether your chosen medium is writing or painting or sculpting, or any number of other creative outlets.)

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Link: Jobs are for Machines

Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines, by Scott Santens.

Advances in technology are now so visibly exponential in nature that we can expect to see a lot more milestones being crossed long before we would otherwise expect. These exponential advances, most notably in forms of artificial intelligence limited to specific tasks, we are entirely unprepared for as long as we continue to insist upon employment as our primary source of income.

Scott Santens

There’s been talk about this coming in varying degrees for years (and the idea of a universal basic income has been tossed around for decades — it was a central idea in For Us, The Living, Heinlein’s first [unpublished at the time] novel back in 1938), but this article does a solid job of summing up the state of where things are NOW, and why we’re out of time to put off thinking seriously about what’s coming.

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Link: Life Lessons from a Lifestyle Business

Over at IndieVC, A Lifestyle Business Can Kill You Life Lessons from a Lifestyle Business: A really honest, worthwhile interview with Matt Haughey, the creator of MetaFilter.

I crave simplicity and I don’t want complications. I’ve counseled my friends many times to just make things that make a little bit of money and make you happy. Why isn’t that good enough?

Matt Haughey

It should be good enough. You don’t have to build an empire to make people’s lives better and to do things you love. I’d even go so far that digital empires are in direct opposition to making people’s lives better. But that’s a rant for another time.

Update: So, the title felt kind of incongruous, and doesn’t really have a lot to do with the post. Apparently Matt felt the same, so it’s been changed:

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Link: Anna Wiener on the SF Tech Scene

Good article about the bullshit startup culture in San Francisco by Anna Wiener over on n+1.

But we see now that we’ve been swimming in the Kool-Aid, and we’re coming up for air. We were lucky and in thrall and now we are bureaucrats, punching at our computers, making other people — some kids — unfathomably rich. Anna Wiener, “Uncanny Valley”

It’s a good read, and captures a lot of what makes me uncomfortable/unhappy about the Bay area and the tech scene here.

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Link: The Cult of the Attention Web

Good article discussing the “Attention Web” over on Medium by Jesse Weaver:

The finite nature of time means that, in the world of the attention web, the competitive landscape is all encompassing. Everything is in competition with everything else. Facebook is as much in competition with Twitter, as it is with Spotify and Apple Music, Gawker and BuzzFeed, Hulu and YouTube, Candy Crush and Two Dots, Amazon and Walmart, Xbox and Playstation, Chipotle and your family dinner table, your hobbies and your bed. Because in the attention web, time spent shopping, eating, talking, playing, or sleeping is time that you are not looking at ads. It’s why Facebook has experimented with in-feed shopping. It’s why they bought a messaging app and VR company. It’s behind their big drive into video, as well as article self-publishing. They have to compete on all fronts to win the attention war.

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Link: Being tired isn’t a badge of honor

Jason Fried speaks Truth about the tech industry’s love affair with overwork over on Signal v. Noise. This has been a perennial issue in games (where terms like “crunch” and “death march” are used often), but is definitely happening in general software as well. It’s a demonstrably stupid and abusive idea with repeated studies showing it is, and yet it’s still prevalent. When an industry is attractive (like games, like the current 2.0 Dot Com gold rush), it’s easy for investors and management to adopt a “burn and churn” mentality about their workers.

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Links on Conversational UI

The latest fad in user onboarding has been adding a bot or pseudo-bot to chat and interact with users, called a “Conversational UI.” I say fad because it’s getting a lot of attention and attempts right now — it may well be a useful tool for the arsenal, but I’ll be happy when it’s out of vogue and is “just another tool.”

My grumbling aside, there’s some useful articles over at A List Apart about it, if you care to learn more: