The right to be a geek

Who, upon seeing a woman cosplaying without an accompanying curriculum vitae posted above her head on a stick, laying out her geek bona fides, says to him or herself “Everything I loved about my geekdom has turned to ashes in my mouth,” and then flees to from the San Diego Convention Center, weeping? If there is such an unfortunate soul, should the fragile pathology of their own geekdom be the concern of the cosplaying woman?

The premise that geekdom is about sharing things you love, not hating it when the things you love reach other people, is something bigger than just geekdom, and I think sharing is magical.

However, most of the things I enjoy, I enjoy as a monk. I sit in my dark corner and work. And then, I share the results. Hopefully I still get to keep my geek card.

The a-social tendencies of Google

We don't want to spend time agonizing over which GIF of a sparkler or peach cobbler to send to our uninhabited Google+ circles so that our guests can in turn upload photos of the jumpoff in real time, providing some bastardized function halfway between party and panopticon.

This article very clearly articulates how I have been feeling about Google for a long time now. There is the real life, and then there is living virtually (say, chat on Facebook), but they do not seem to mix very well. We tend to go all in, because otherwise we’re being stretched, socially. Just like having two conversations at once, it is really only useful to nerds trying to lifehack themselves.

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads.

Free Time: Necessity or Danger?

Ads in Your Face

Maybe the thinking is that the Facebook database will reach some magical tipping point where the data becomes immensely valuable to advertisers, and the price of ads will reverse its trend, will go up instead of continuing to go down.But I think that’s recklessly optimistic. Faith that the data will be valuable is the opium of the executive class.

It’s easy to think that the thing you worked hard for and spent a lot of time on is inherently valuable and can be monetised. While true that personal data of ten gazillion human beings is valuable, it is not easy to monetise. So you have a huge database of valuable information that is worth zero dollars.

Justin Bieber

Everyone gathers around as Bieber tours the van. He is euphoric. So much so that he has decided to pledge his loyalty to West Coast Customs forever and to decry its rival, Platinum Motorsport. "Fuck Platinum," he says. "Platinum can suck a dick, man. West Coast all day." This is a different Bieber from the one who was imprisoned with me just five minutes ago. This must be the Bieber that Bieber would like to be all the time. His R-rated rant, though, draws a reprimand from Friedlinghaus. "I respect everyone's business—it's all love, dog," he tells Bieber. "Dudes came from my neighborhood, you know what I mean?" Bieber is chastened. "I respect that," he says. To atone, he invites Friedlinghaus and the entire West Coast Crew into his recording bungalow to listen to the new songs. "I'm 18 years old and I'm a swaggy adult!" he yells. "Come on, swaggy bros!"

You can’t manipulate people forever. Justin Bieber is in no way an interest of mine, but people in the middle of change are always interesting to watch.

Valve: How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing | Valve

When he looked into the history of the organization, he found that hierarchical management had been invented for military purposes, where it was perfectly suited to getting 1,000 men to march over a hill to get shot at. When the Industrial Revolution came along, hierarchical management was again a good fit, since the objective was to treat each person as a component, doing exactly the same thing over and over.

I like it when people use the most over-the-top comparisons for management techniques.

In Search Of: Instances of Collaborative Type Design | Typophile

Years ago, I read a witheringly funny short story in a magazine, and was moved to buy the compilation from which it was excerpted. I was shocked to find that the 20,000-word original was a such a mess: overwrought, poorly organized, and lacking the sharp turns and taut rhythms that made what I'd first read so marvelous. I realized more than ever just how crucial a good editor is to the process, and how vastly improved a work of art can be when it benefits from a colleague who understands you, sometimes even better than you understand yourself, and is indisputably on your side. That's how H&FJ makes fonts.

Jonathan Hoefler explains how the meat is cooked at H&FJ.

Rands In Repose: Hacking is Important

The growth paradox is that the chaotic means by which you found success might become distasteful to those you hire to maintain and build on that success. Once they’ve established themselves, they will point at the hacking and ask important sounding questions like, “What is it they are building?” or “How does this poorly defined thing fit into our overall strategy?” They will label these hackers “disruptors” and they are 100% correct. Hacking is disruptive, and whether you code software, write books, or film movies, I believe bringing anything new into the world is a disruptive act. By being novel and compelling, the new is likely to replace something else and that something else isn’t being replaced without a fight.

Corollary to the first statement is that these people averse to chaotic development are endemic to growth. You have to nip it in the bud.