Thursday, November 29, 2018

Amazon FSx for Lustre | AWS News Blog

Shared file systems are a pain to do well, and are often times not a great solution, but sometimes they are needed. Doing them fast is even harder. Grid computing applications need highly performance shared file systems, and now there is one of those coming for the cloud.

GraphQL: A Retrospective - Verve

I like this article because it is written after having made the transition to GraphQL, so it has the benefit of time and experience. Overall a positive endorsement for GraphQL as a solid way of connecting systems together.

The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen – The Mission – Medium

Nice breakdown to create a compelling and engaging story to connect with a prospect. This structure would definitely engage better than the typical sales presentations that are all about the vendor, and not about the problems you, the potential customer, are trying to deal with.


Firecracker is an open source virtualization technology that is purpose-built for creating and managing secure, multi-tenant containers and functions-based services. 🧨

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Information Attacks against Democracies - Schneier on Security

Bruce Schneier is a security expert, not a politician, but for this summary of the paper he did provides interesting perspective.

This framework not only helps us understand how different political systems are vulnerable and how they can be attacked, but also how to bolster security in democracies. First, we need to better defend the common political knowledge that democracies need to function. That is, we need to bolster public confidence in the institutions and systems that maintain a democracy. Second, we need to make it harder for outside political groups to cooperate with inside political groups and organize disinformation attacks, through measures like transparency in political funding and spending. And finally, we need to treat attacks on common political knowledge by insiders as being just as threatening as the same attacks by foreigners.

It’s thought provoking to consider the attack surfaces of political systems in this way.

Is it finally time for media companies to adopt a common publishing platform? » Nieman Journalism Lab

As a former media CTO I found this article an interesting read, and close to a topic that I have owned previously in my career. I think this is a really tough call, even today. My perspective on the matter is influenced by some key thoughts.

  1. In general, for digital companies, if it’s your business then you build it, if it’s not your business you should buy it. To be clear, “buy it” may not always mean buying it, you may use an open source product. I just mean don’t build it. Media companies make content. Content is their business. By that thought, you should build this. It’s expensive, but the options that you have to present content to customers is a key market differentiator and if you don’t build it you will not be able to differentiate as well as another company.

  2. The article references “unique content edge cases”. My background in content publishing is all financial services, and that content definitely had “unique content edge cases”. Financial stories reference companies and stocks, and those references have meaning that most generic content systems cannot deal with. If you carve out “unique content edge cases” is there anything left? Shouldn’t all media companies have a unique content edge?

  3. The market of companies that buy these solutions is not great. You have media companies, which are struggling with digital transformation. The lack of investment in that sector will limit the providers selling into that market. I would wonder if you will get a vibrant community of providers for such a small market that has a wide variety of growth rates.

This is a tough call for the digital team at any media company. I think you have to go to the core value that your company delivers, and be really honest about it, and then make the call. Deal with the limitations or benefits that that provides after.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Errata Security: Some notes about HTTP/3

QUIC is a brand new transport layer under HTTP that is now being branded HTTP/3. This is a fairly easy-to-read overview of what is coming with HTTP/3. It is all very transport layer.

The One Where I Announce I’m Joining Mac Power Users – 512 Pixels

I listen to Mac Power Users from time-to-time and it’s funny — I got the sense that Katie Floyd was less into the content in recent episodes, or something was off. It didn’t surprise me to hear that after.a 10 year run she’s stepping aside. I think it will be interesting to see if the podcast gets some new spirit with a new cohost.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

I hate manager READMEs – Camille Fournier – Medium

I’ve never jumped on this bandwagon. I’ve always felt that it was a bit presumptuous, and had the wrong polarity. Your job as a leader is to adapt to your people, not to expect your people to adapt to you.

If you want to build trust, you do that by showing up, talking to your team both individually and as a team, and behaving in an ethical, reliable manner. Over, and over, and over again. You don’t get it from writing a doc about how you deserve their trust.

I’ll pass on this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The future of photography is code | TechCrunch

I’ve been amazed at the innovations that have arrived via computational photography and I am sure that there are many more coming. I tend to think that our phones will be able to get amazing pictures, and displace so much of what traditional cameras do. However, I still see nothing that will be able to replicate a long telephoto lens with a really fast shutter. Nearly every other scenario, I think computational photography will likely surpass.

A Different Photography Workflow – The Sweet Setup

I’m in a similar camp with the author of this rethinking my cameras and where I keep my photos. The amazing developments in mobile photography have changed so many of the tools and processes that photographers use today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pivot or Fail? – AVC

I’ve heard startup teams announce that they are pivoting as if it was the next natural step in their plan. That’s never made sense to me. A pivot is recognizing that the original path doesn’t work, and pivoting to a new path.

So my view is if you’ve failed, accept it, announce it, and deal with it. Shut the business down, give back the cash, and rip up the cap table. Then do whatever you want to do next. If it is another startup, do it from scratch and keep as much of it as you can. If it is something else, well then do that too.

I’m surprised Wilson doesn’t highlight to me the main reason people pivot instead of doing what he suggests — to avoid failure. If you pivot, sure there are some downsides, but you didn’t fail, you pivoted. Neat! Do it a couple more times and still, no failure. If you actually do what is suggested here you have to acknowledge the thing you are avoiding at all costs.

A Facebook patent would use your family photos to target ads - The Verge

I don’t think most users realize how much private data can be gleaned from your photos. I won’t store my photos with Google or for sure a social media company. This patent shows just some of the use cases that companies like Facebook can get from mining your personal photos.

Tim Bray · Post-REST

Thoughts from Tim Bray on the points of evolution for API transports on the web. I like the depth of history Bray brings to this. 😎

Sunday, November 18, 2018

How Zapier Reached $35M ARR With This SaaS SEO Strategy

I like a lot of what Zapier is doing, and this analysis of their search strategy is superb.

Rather than trying to pitch users on the value of integrating tools, Zapier realized early on that people were already looking for specific integrations. To capture this existing intent, Zapier decided to make the app partners in their integration ecosystem the stars of their marketing and piggyback on their success.

I’ve found these landing pages many times from various searches. It’s impressive how well they thought the process through beyond discovery, all the way to initial value!

After creating login credentials, Zapier doesn’t waste that user intent by dropping new users into a central dashboard or control panel. Instead, users are dropped right into the integration set-up flow where they can get the integration from the CTA up and running.

Very impressive and good results. Plus the strategy gets stronger with more connectors!

When is someone ready to manage managers? – Camille Fournier – Medium

Good direction for managers seeking to move into bigger roles. This part about feedback is critical.

So many line managers think that they are temporarily embarrassed CTOs, and don’t realize that they are lacking in many critical skills. If you bristle at every bit of corrective feedback, if you have an outsized ego that everyone can see, or even if you simply never actually act on the feedback that you get, you’re not going to be top of the list when the opportunities come about.

If the above isn’t happening, you never move ahead because you don’t learn from feedback.

The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

This article is a great reflection on how our devices have changed certain events.

People were visibly enjoying the opening band, at least in part because that band no longer compete with the entire internet for the crowd’s attention. Even the crowd’s milling around and chatting between acts was so much more lively. People were either talking to their neighbors, or taking in the room. And everyone taking in the room was taking in the same room. It felt great.

I had heard that Jack White did this for his shows and I have want to go just to experience it, plus the music is great.

Shortcuts Archive – MacStories

Updated and thorough collection of Shortcuts for iOS. Shortcuts is one of those tools that is best learned bully doing, and checking out examples like these is a great way to learn. Frederico and the MacStories team make some amazing Shortcuts.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Steve Blank How to Keep Your Job As Your Company Grows

I think people have heard this advice before but it’s worth repeating, as it still catches everyone off guard.

What I wish I knew was that if you’re an early company employee, it’s not likely that the skills you have on day one are the skills needed as the company scales to the next level. This sentence is worth reading multiple times as no one – not the person who hired you, the VC’s or your peers -is going to tell you when you’re hired that the company will likely outgrow you.

If you want to read a whole book on this topic pick up The Leadership Pipeline where it highlights that you need to be very thoughtful when you move into a new role, specifically on what you are going to stop doing, so you can be successful. By the way, sometimes the stuff you may need to stop doing is stuff you really like.

I’ve personally done an annual inventory every year for the last twenty years or so where I try to objectively ask myself what I need to start or do more of than I’m doing now, and what I need to do less of or completely stop doing. Companies, successful ones at least, grow much faster than the talent in them often can. By willfully giving up things and reassessing your own skills to the organizations needs, you stand a much better chance of continuing to stay relevant in the organization. 🚀

The Haunting of 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey

This headline got me. When I was a kid my family moved into an honest-to-goodness haunted house. That however is a story for another time. The headline is a bit of a tease here, there isn’t any direct evidence of the supernatural. But it’s a super creepy story. 👻

Reclaiming RSS – Aral Balkan

Another call-to-action to support some of the original plumbing of the web around syndication. I found the term surveillance capitalism novel here. I do think that using the term surveillance as opposed to privacy is a good idea. People seem to not value their privacy, but they don’t want to be surveilled. I’m a big fan of RSS and highly recommend Feedbin for anyone looking to get their content direct, with no algorithms and surveillance in the middle.

Open-Sourcing Our Incident Response Training | PagerDuty

I like this continued trend of opening up incident management information from PagerDuty. It has obvious commercial benefit to them, but importantly will help a lot of team not have to learn from the same exact mistakes that others have already made. 🎓

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