Never write a concession speech in advance. Set a goal, give it everything, and then figure out what’s next. True for politics and software.→ 2017/01/31 1:34 pm
Final 20 hours of my Kickstarter for Micro.blog. $4k+ short of the stretch goal. Still time to get the book and your username.→ 2017/01/31 11:16 am
We watched All the President’s Men a couple times over the weekend. Wonder what it’s like at the Washington Post and New York Times right now. Press needs to do the best reporting of their lives this year.→ 2017/01/29 5:56 pm
You know it’s getting real when Kickstarter switches from counting down in “days” to counting down in “hours”. Here we go.→ 2017/01/29 7:59 am
Just crossed over $70k on the way to the $80k stretch goal for Micro.blog. Thank you everyone for the support. Gonna be close.→ 2017/01/28 12:43 pm
Getting a little work in at Houndstooth Coffee this morning while my daughter volunteers nearby. How is January almost over? Busy few days.→ 2017/01/28 9:53 am
Maybe you aren’t building a new social network. Maybe you aren’t obsessed with the rise and fall of tech giants. But if you are at all interested in why Instagram and Snapchat took off, check out episode 102 of Exponent with Ben Thompson and James Allworth:
Ben and James discuss the history of messaging apps, the rise of Snapchat, and why Instagram Stories was such a brilliant move.
I feel like I just had a whirlwind business school class in 57 minutes. So much of what they talk about is applicable to what I’m working on.
We posted this week’s Core Intuition today, with the latest Apple developer news and a debate on Alexa vs. Siri:
Manton closes in on the last week of his Kickstarter, and Daniel catches up on his progress. They discuss new beta updates from Apple for both Mac and iOS. They react to Apple’s forthcoming review prompting system for iOS, and the ability for developers to respond to reviews on both Mac and iOS. Finally, they debate the merits of Siri vs. Alexa on grounds of reliability and viability as an international, long-term success.
I haven’t kept up with Timetable recordings lately, but hope to do another one before the Kickstarter campaign wraps up too. Thanks for listening.
I’ve been following Seth Godin and reading his books for many years, but recently two of his statements caught my attention. The first is an older video episode with Gary Vaynerchuk, where Seth talks about why he has no presence on social media except automatic cross-posting of his blog posts.
The second is equally relevant to what I’ve been thinking about with Micro.blog. Seth says that we’ve surrendered control over how our software works to algorithms instead of human decision-makers who can take responsibility for mistakes. It’s too easy to blame the computer:
That person who just got stopped on her way to an airplane—the woman who gets stopped every time she flies—the TSA says it’s the algorithm doing it. But someone wrote that code.
Algorithms are a shortcut. They should give us more leverage to go further, faster, not dictate where we go.
The social web is now permeated with algorithms. Today, Twitter again promoted what’s trending higher up in their app. That may be a step in the wrong direction. Trends can sometimes surface the better parts of Twitter, but they’re also an invitation to view the worst possible tweets you’ll ever see.
Let’s not be afraid to add curation by humans. That’s not an admission of failure. It’s an acknowledgement that algorithms are imperfect.
Software has consequences. How it’s designed informs what behavior it encourages. If it’s built without thought to these consequences, it will succeed only by accident. For 2017, one of my goals is to slow down and be more deliberate about features that can have this kind of impact.
Since I launched it over 3 weeks ago, thousands of people have watched my Kickstarter video, but I haven’t watched it again myself since that first day. I knew if I watched it I’d find new problems with it, and remember all the things I wanted to fix. It’s too late.
I had fun creating it. I wanted something with a hand-drawn feel, because to me blogging is about individual creative expression. It’s about not being afraid to publish something that isn’t perfect — something that is personal and a little rough, like a quick sketch.
Because I love traditional animation I wanted to draw all the frames with a pencil and paper, not digitally. Here’s me flipping through some of the drawings:
At 30 frames per second, doing any animation at all is extremely tedious, even with these little sketches. I made about a hundred drawings and scanned them in one at a time. I composited everything in Apple’s Motion, then ended up using Motion for sliding objects around and fading them in or out, which cut back on the number of drawings I would have otherwise needed.
The inspiration for introducing the video was the early 1920s-era Max Fleischer and Walt Disney cartoons, like Alice’s Wonderland. I also thought it would more naturally cut from me talking at the camera to illustrating the story of why independent microblogging matters.
I’m not sure whether I will ever do another Kickstarter campaign. But I hope to have the chance to make a video like this again. I learned a lot from it.
Finally added a note about the stretch goal at the top of the main Micro.blog Kickstarter page. Should’ve done this a week ago.→ 2017/01/24 2:36 pm
Slack community for Micro.blog is off to a fantastic start. 300+ people and some very interesting discussions.→ 2017/01/24 10:23 am
Kevin Hoctor has a great post about staying above name-calling and focusing instead on positive change during a Trump presidency. Standing up for people, exposing lies, and supporting the free press:
If you have a website, use it. Write more words than you can fit into a tweet. Call out injustice and hold your House and Senate representatives responsible for their actions and their voting. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
You’re not alone if you’ve been aimlessly reloading news sites all day for weeks. It’s easy to fall into a trap of indecision, failing to create anything, unsure of what to do next that will matter. I struggle every day to rebalance my time on the right things.
But to Kevin’s point, a marathon is finished one mile at a time. And I’ll add a quote from Steve Jobs, which I think about sometimes when I can’t focus on making real progress:
Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Remember that Twitter was still in the middle of taking off 8 years ago when Obama was first elected. Not quite mainstream, no Trump account. We’re going to blink and it will be 2018 and then 2020. Everything can change again if we work to make it better.
Since I launched on Kickstarter, backers have asked if there should be a Slack community to discuss Micro.blog and related microblogging topics. I wasn’t sure. I know some people are already in multiple Slack groups, including the excellent IndieWebCamp IRC/Slack, and I also didn’t want to distract from any posts that should happen in the open on blogs.
Some discussion just fits better in chat, though. There’s an emerging community of indie microbloggers. Having a place to share tips, tools, and ask questions about Micro.blog just makes sense.
I’m experimenting with the Slack channel now, and I’ll be opening it to all Kickstarter backers next week. If you’ve backed the project before Monday, expect a backers-only project update with information on how to join.
Manton talks about marketing for the Kickstarter, how many people watch the video, and how to transition from marketing the passionate philosophical backers, to making a case for the sheer utility of the product. They talk about modern advertising technology that allows hyper-focused delivery, and follow up on Chris Lattner’s departure from Apple, and the exciting opportunities he will likely have at Tesla.
The last segment of the show is about Chris Lattner going to Tesla. We recorded before we listened to the latest ATP, but our conversation still holds up as pretty relevant. Hope you enjoy it.