Why it takes as long as it takes

Today at work I had one of those lengthy, impassioned discussions with the senior leadership of my company – the sort of discussion that makes me love working at a startup. We talked about our wishes for the product and our worries about where it is now, and we ended up with a list of urgent stuff that I suggested would take about ten months to accomplish. “Really?” asked the CEO. “I thought some of […] Read More

On Interviews and Evangelizing User Experience

I received a rejection email the other day from a man who had interviewed me for a job. I haven’t been rejected many times in my interview history, and I don’t think I’ve ever received a rejection email. So I find myself reflecting on it. I’m not sure if any further action on my part is expected, required, appropriate. Do I thank him for considering me? It was a strange interview. A phone call. I […] Read More

The Internet Bubble

Don’t misunderstand. I believe in the Internet. It’s deeply embedded in my life. It makes so many things so much easier than they used to be. It’s the source of my paychecks. But the Internet is a bubble. Still. Most of the people I deal with on a daily basis would laugh at that thought, but hear me out. The Internet is a bubble in three ways: 1. A lot of people don’t use the […] Read More

Rdio, Spotify and the Paradox of Choice

Spotify has arrived in the US! Twitter was all abuzz when the announcement came, and lots of my friends jumped on board as soon as they could scrounge up invites. I was excited to sign up too, but then I procrastinated. And then procrastinated some more. For one thing, I have a pretty big collection of music I’ve purchased over the years, and when you consider that, say, 500 years ago, many people on the […] Read More

Bad News? The Future of NPR and the New York Times

There have been a couple of interesting developments in news media in recent weeks. The first development is the mostly symbolic vote by the House of Representatives to “defund” NPR. I’m a big fan of NPR, but I’m divided on this. I can’t say philosophically that I believe the government should be in the news and media business. On the other hand, I think the healthiest news media is one that’s not-for-profit and publicly-funded. In […] Read More

Game Changers: Dyson

James Dyson was not happy with his vacuum cleaner. It wasn’t powerful enough, and he determined that the problem was the bag. The bag’s purpose was to catch the dirt, but as it filled up, it quickly compromised the suction. So he set out to create a bagless vacuum cleaner, and through much trial and error (5,271 prototypes according to some sources), James Dyson came up with something he called “dual cyclone” technology. His design […] Read More

How One Security Expert Kicked The Hornet’s Nest that is Anonymous

As promised. The second article I alluded to in my last post is really a series of articles ars technica ran last month. It’s an absolutely riveting tale of how the CEO of a well-known Internet security firm stirred the wrath of a loose collective of hackers known as “Anonymous” and paid a heavy price. Anonymous has been around for a while, but if you’re unfamiliar with them (it?), they’re not easy to define. The […] Read More

Game Changers: Apple

This is intended to be the first of seven (possibly more) posts on game-changing business ideas. It’s often difficult to recognize when something changes the game. A few months or years down the road, you can usually trace a trail of copycats and wannabes back to the original idea, but even then, sometimes it’s not immediately apparent how something changed the game, or which aspect of the thing was responsible. Other game changers are instantly […] Read More

Gawande on Healthcare’s Super-Utilizers

In my last post I attempted to list the things I found especially resonant last year in media, entertainment, art and journalism. I say “attempted” because I didn’t keep track of this stuff very well during 2010. In lieu of keeping track, I retroactively scoured my bookmarks in places like delicious, Instapaper and Evernote, and as a result I probably favored things I consumed toward the end of the year and forgot things I encountered […] Read More

Instapaper and Readability restore the pleasure of online reading

It would probably be better not to say anything. Advertisers won’t like it, and publishers who depend on ad revenue will like it even less. If this sort of thing catches on, there are only two possible endings, and they’re both bad. I’m talking about two services that rescue online content from the twisted carnival of banner ads and assorted noise, and restore the pleasure of reading on the web. I’m talking about Instapaper and […] Read More