Findings – Feb/27/2016

General

Joshua Brown’s post on Abundance.

Clear 360° circles – A Lawyer’s rant on a case where defended a 17 yo kid.

These Millenials man. I litteraly can’t even.

Warren Buffet writes an annual letter to his shareholders and it is well regarded.

Umbero Eco

Umberto Eco passed away this week.

His review of the Bible.

His interview with the Paris Review

INTERVIEWER

You are one of the world’s most famous public intellectuals. How would you define the term intellectual? Does it still have a particular meaning?

ECO

If by intellectual you mean somebody who works only with his head and not with his hands, then the bank clerk is an intellectual and Michelangelo is not. And today, with a computer, everybody is an intellectual. So I don’t think it has anything to do with someone’s profession or with someone’s social class. According to me, an intellectual is anyone who is creatively producing new knowledge. A peasant who understands that a new kind of graft can produce a new species of apples has at that moment produced an intellectual activity. Whereas the professor of philosophy who all his life repeats the same lecture on Heidegger doesn’t amount to an intellectual. Critical creativity—criticizing what we are doing or inventing better ways of doing it—is the only mark of the intellectual function.

Umberto Eco's Library
Umberto Eco’s Library

Tech

Interview with Jay Kreps on Apache Kafka and further pointers to learn more about it.

Chris Dixon on what’s next in tech.

 

Getting Feedback

Jason Fried in a podcast with Jeffrey Zeldman:

The best testing I’ve ever seen is shipping something to real people who use it daily, every single day and depend on it. And charging people for it. And they’re the ones who are going to give you feedback.

I hear this from people all the time: “how do you get customers to pay for something?” I say you charge them for your product. When people pay for something, they tell you what they think. They’re not just entitled to it, they’re now invested in this thing. They’re going to be honest with you. When you give stuff away for free, people will be like “oh yeah, it’s cool. Its awesome” they dont care as much. So, you don’t get good feedback.

 

I think the best way to get feedback to improve something is to ship something, charge for it, iterate in the wild and make it better over time. Thats how things get great. Things don’t get great in the lab.

OneNote

I’ve been a happy camper since I moved to a mac. Most apps on the mac are awesome. But the notes app on the mac has been bothering me. It’s simplicity taken to an absurd level. I’ve tried many note taking Apps: Evernote, Mac Notes, Quip, Google Drive, Word, Pages etc. Nothing satisfactory. My manager quipped that he saw me using three notes apps in a three day conference. 

I think that is all going to change. The same Microsoft that I was happy to ignore, has launched One Note for the mac. And it syncs to the cloud. They also have clients for the iPhone and iPad. All this for free. The feature set is limited, but OneNote is by far the best interface for note taking.

One annoying thing is that there is less smartness across the board. For ex: If I’m able to create a To-Do list, I want a fully functional todo list. Not a simple checkbox next to my text. But these are enhancements that could me applied on top of a simple app.

Talking of enhancements, Microsoft also released a api for OneNote. This means if you want it, you can build it. The sad part is, there is only one api. And that is the create a new page in OneNote. There is no way to get data out of the system. I hope Microsoft solves it and gives us the comfort to trust that they won’t kill it.

 

Unconquered

I was introduced to this poem while watching the movie Invictus.

Out of the night that covers me, 
Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate: 
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Nelson Mandela died today. When unknown strangers feel emotions on the news, you know that was a life worth lived. He lived such a life. It will be a while before we see the next Mandela.

Career starters

I fell in love with computers at school. Thanks to my accountancy group friends and Swarnalatha* sister(My computer science teacher). She used to chase us out of the computer lab, but actually loved to see us in. We did simple graphics in Basic on black and white terminals. Now doing the same in SVG/d3 and nostalgia kicks in. Amazing how trivial & fun activities create careers. May be thats the only one that does.

* sadly she passed away a few years ago.

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, a 26 year old handsome young man,
who founded Reddit,
and founded an organization to fight for internet freedom,
and wrote RSS 1.0 spec at the age of 14,
and created the web.py Python framework,
and writes a brilliant blog

committed suicide today. At the age of 26. 

Why?
The US gov was about to send him to jail for 50 years.

What was the crime?
He shared a bunch of academic papers (yep those boring ones) to the public. Yep. Thats it. Interestingly many of these academic researches were also funded by tax money.

The tech world is angry and rightly so. http://twitpic.com/bunsqs

Sometimes its scary to see what America can do to you.

Get rid of the reasons

Seth Godi – Clean Bathrooms

The facilities at DisneyWorld are clean. It’s not a profit center, of course. They don’t make them clean because they’re going to charge you to use them. They make them clean because if they didn’t, you’d have a reason not to come.

What is the reason your customers leave the door? Find’em. Get rid of ’em.