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.
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.
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.
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:
I put the (ADD WORD LATER) in Procrastination! by Bonnie Burton, guest blogging over at Wil Wheaton’s blog.
A friendly reminder that we all procrastinate sometimes.
Over on her site, Jessica Abel has a series of articles going discussing creativity, and getting out from under your idea debt (I like the term):
The Pain With No Name by Abby Covert over at A List Apart, talking about Information Architecture (IA), an aspect of UX that often gets overlooked, but is (imho) hugely important as we get more and more overwhelmed with information throughout our lives.
7 Things I Did to Reboot My Life by Wil Wheaton. It’s a good read, and resonates a lot. Something I should be doing myself, I imagine.
Last autumn, A List Apart had some posts discussing mental health. The Couch Cone of Silence is a good read discussing an important topic (namely, how to be respectful of friends and coworkers who are dealing with some mental/emotional issues).
Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard over at Viking Code School. Nice article discussing the different phases of learning to code, and how to deal with each.
I usually wipe out somewhere in phase 2 or rarely phase 3, which is why I like to say I can read/figure out a fair number of languages, but not write them. Next time I take a stab at learning to program, I’ll try to bear this info in mind.