“Backrub was possible because links were open & inspectable, and the web was crawlable by anyone. That isn’t really the case for mobile yet. Much of the content & services & connections is all locked up by the big, sophisticated players. So data is more fragmented, more separate. And less mash-uppable. So we got apps, and daily/hourly engagement with billions of people. But we haven’t figured out how to sort it yet. Haven’t figured out how to find & share.”—John Lilly, Mobile in the ‘pre-pagerank’ phase
“Without mobile, it doesn’t matter how much money Facebook has. If you’re asking whether Zuckerberg paid too much for WhatsApp, you’re asking the wrong question. Zuckerberg is sending a message, here, that Facebook will never stop in its attempt to dominate mobile — that no amount of money is too much.”—Felix Salmon
In addition to being good at other things, Stewart Butterfield writes good memo. His email to the @slackhq team is an instant add to the product management canon. Here’s the bit that stuck out for me:
A central thesis is that all products are asking things of their customers: to do things in a certain way, to think of themselves in a certain way — and usually that means changing what one does or how one does it; it often means changing how one thinks of oneself.
When you’re in the thick of validating your market and writing briefs and and working with engineers and designers and hitting your sprints, it’s hard to remember to be asking this question: Who do you want your customers to become? Can you imagine your customers as better people, thanks to your product? Is the work you’re doing right now helping those customers become better versions of themselves?
“Once a programming team has adopted a methodology it’s almost inevitable that a few members of the team, or maybe just one bully, will demand strict adherence and turn it into a religion. The resulting passive-aggression kills productivity faster than any methodology or technology decision.”—Typical Programmer - Why don’t software development methodologies work? via buzz.
"January 22nd Dong Nguyen was probably extremely excited about the couple months worth of revenue his marketing experiment had pulled off. … February 1st Dong Nguyen, on the other hand, must have questioned if the world had lost its mind."
“I had forgotten over the course of five years that I didn’t know in 2009 that Jimmy Fallon even had an animating principle, let alone know that it would turn out to be joy, which is the animating principle of entirely too little of popular culture.”—Linda Holmes on Fallon’s last show.
“Mr. Hoffman had three young children, a son and two daughters, with his partner, Mimi O’Donnell, a costume designer. The family lived in an apartment on Jane Street, neighbors said, not far from the building on Bethune Street where, according to the police, Mr. Hoffman was found dead in a fourth-floor apartment around 11:30 a.m. He appeared to have been living in the apartment for a short time, they said. The downstairs buzzer listed a different name.”—This is fucking heartbreaking.
2013 was a fantastic year for Twitter. You all should be very proud of the great work we did.
As we head into 2014, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what’s important to me and what I love to do. I’ve spent most of my career working at startups, helping them scale and having a direct hand on the product. Over the past few weeks I’ve talked with Dick and Ali about what I want next in my career, and what Twitter needs at this stage of its life. And I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on.
Starting today I’m transitioning to an advisory role. I’ll be helping with product strategy, providing input on the great work the team has lined up for 2014, and helping Ali find a new head of product. After that, I’m excited to go figure out what’s next. I hear this Internet thing has legs.
I am deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to work with an amazing team on one of the most important products on the planet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
“We’ve noticed that you have received this survey invitation in the past, but we have not heard from you. We hope you’ll consider giving us input. Feedback from our customers is critical in helping us improve our service and we act on it. We really are listening!”—This is from an email from our insurance company, but could have been pulled right out of The Circle.
“It may be that another telling of the Amazon story—for example, that people at Amazon have no secret agenda they’ve been able to keep hidden for 19 years, really do believe in the mission they keep repeating, and are working hard and of their own free will to realize it —would strike readers as less exciting than the version offered here.”—Amazon.com: MacKenzie Bezos’ review of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the A… (via heif)
“For me the starting point for everything, before strategy, tactics, theories, managing, organizing, philosophy, methodology, talent, or experience, is work ethic. Without one of significant magnitude you’re dead in the water, finished.”—Bill Walsh
Amidst all the chatter about the inanity / insanity of Goldberg’s PandoDaily post, this is the bit that stuck out for me. My first thought after skimming Goldberg’s piece was “well, he’ll have a hell of a time recruiting a good editor-in-chief now…who in their right mind would join Bustle after this?” But remember, his DNA is Bleacher Report, which was built on a community of distributed contributors covering individual teams. Bleacher worked because they rode the blog wave, surfing on the backs of geographically distributed fans who were writing about their local pro / college / high school football / baseball / basketball / soccer teams. The natural hierarchy of the sports media market meant that an individual contributor with a strong voice in a local market could get “famous” through B/R by covering games, spouting off about their local team, and slagging their rivals.
I don’t think Goldberg can run the same play here (to abuse a metaphor). The content structure isn’t the same (sports > leagues > cities > teams), and, frankly, the world’s moved on from the B/R model. The “young women who currently occupy the bottom floors at major publishing houses” don’t need a Bustle for exposure — they’re already doing it through Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. And without a strong editorial voice & vision at the top of the masthead (which would now be nearly impossible to recruit) what’s left to attract those young women to power the site? $6.5mm won’t buy you high quality content for long…just ask The Daily.
“This is hilarious and beautiful, and, like, even if everything else about the song sucked, that would be enough to make me want it memorialized forever with some national monument made of glitter and bro tears.”—owob on taylor swift’s dear john
2:what can i tell u, been a lot going on, always hustlin
1:it took you 5 years to respond again?
2:my bad man what up
1:how did you get my number, i havent heard from you in 19 years
2:hahah i know, you still with whatsername, her sisters hot
1:what are you talking about, my wife died 26 years ago, please leave me alone so i can be at peace
2:weak bro u can sleep when ur dead, lets rage
1:Hello? I found this old "phone" in my grandfather's effects, I cannot believe it still has a charge! Plus the cellular network no longer even exists, and it certainly couldn't reach Moonbase 12. Who are you? Where are you? did you know my grandfather? I'm composing a datawave on Old Epoch commsocial for Moon Uni, I'd love to hear your story.