Back in December, Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) posted a tweet commenting on the general dissatisfaction on the budget omnibus bill that had recently passed. It’s a surprisingly interesting problem, because Congress largely sets its own rules, so any change can be just as easily undone or even ignored in the name of an “emergency” or “extenuating circumstances” (which are incredibly easy to find if you don’t want to live by the rules). In other words, how do we convince people to act against their own self-interest without having the direct power to set the rules they’re operating under? I think there’s a potential solution, but it’s going to hinge on several states getting on board.
Elon Musk has tweeted extensively about Twitter and journalism, and what that can mean for the future. I know a lot of people like to complain about his approach to running Twitter, but I think there’s something to his ideas. I once thought that WikiTribune would be the bridge that leads to a new type journalism due to its wiki-style approach. I was clearly wrong, as WikiTribune lasted about 2 years and is now a social media site. Twitter, however, may be able to succeed where WikiTribune failed, assuming it can figure out a business model that keeps the servers on.
I came across an article titled “Devs don’t want to do ops” that started with the premise that developers managing their own production infrastructure is stressful (it is), questioned whether development and operations should be separated again, and settled on declaring “DevOps is dead,” and that platform engineering is the future. It was quite a ride. It also raised some good questions about DevOps, and the ideal approach to building and running code. Is DevOps really dead? Is platform engineering really the future? What does it mean to “own your own code in production?”
If you see any sort of headlines about CEOs and remote work, then you likely heard that Malcolm Gladwell does not like remote work. I had some thoughts on why I think his position (and others like it) is stupid. My position is hardly uncommon – most of the arguments for returning to the office revolve around saying either a) people can’t collaborate unless they’re in the same room (the fact that team-based jobs kept up just fine since Covid happened thoroughly disproved that), b) we need it for the “culture” (“culture” has nothing to do with physical proximity, and isn’t as valued as some people think it is – although looking at that meme makes me miss the days when we at least got cubicles), or c) people aren’t productive working from home (they weren’t productive in the office either, you just thought they were because you saw them sitting at a desk). In my tweet thread, I brought up a personal hypothesis that you can group most people into 1 of 2 groups, “true believers” and “mercenaries,” that I thought warranted more details than you can get on Twitter.
So a (semi-) local coding boot camp is going to be trying something that I really hope works out – partnering with a local company to sponsor and ultimately hire the graduates. I love this idea because of the way it shifts the financial risks in training people for future careers, the direct contrast it puts colleges in, and the fact that a set up like this is inherently designed to make the “graduating class” more successful, and not just because a higher percentage of them got their first job quickly.
Something broke with our approach to disagreements. We went from simply arguing with people who were wrong on the Internet to to demands that people be deplatformed because they’re wrong, according to people who seem to be right equally rarely. Thanks to the aggregation of content onto a few major platforms, a few people have the arbitrary ability to make other people vanish from public discourse. At this point, it’s impossible to tell who’s right, who’s wrong, and who’s been disappeared for having views deemed “unacceptable” by people who have no business making that determination. It’s starting to seem like the reason you can’t trust just anything you see online has moved from “anybody can post anything on the Internet” to “because publishing anything too contrarian will get you kicked off.” That’s not good.
A couple of years ago, Automattic (makers of WordPress, which powers this blog), Google, and some news-related organizations announced Newspack, a publishing platform that was supposed to be “WordPress for news organizations” (per their site). The original announcement, like all new product announcements, sounded very promising – a publishing platform that had best practices built right in, a curated list of plugins designed to support news organizations, all built on top of the platform that most of the web already runs on. So how did Newspack seem to peter out, especially when other publishing platforms, like Substack, take off?
Cryptocurrencies changed the game in terms of currencies, bringing money forward into the Internet age. Since its introduction in 2008, Bitcoin has redefined how people buy and sell online. Since Bitcoin’s initial introduction, we’ve seen more cryptocurrencies enter the market, from Ethereum to Dogecoin. And now, I’m pleased to announce a thrilling new cryptocurrency designed for artists and young professionals just starting out…Exposure.
Adapting business development to non-business activities
Like a lot of developers, I’ve worked on applications that solve business problems for almost all of my career (there was that brief time I worked for a government contractor). I’ve started to realize that there’s a lot of overlap between charities and businesses in terms of the general types of problems that they need solved. For starters, a lot of charitable organizations employ people to run the operation, so any employment/business management software would apply there. Then there’s the fact that there are certain types of problems that are universal to organizations trying to do something for other people. Businesses want to solve these problems to be better at making money, and charities want to solve them to be better at helping people, but they’re still the same classes of problems, and both of them could use cost-effective solutions to help them.