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“We’re Just Flipping Through Index Cards”

“We’re Just Flipping Through Index Cards”:

When a Marvin Gaye record came out 40 years ago, presumably, you went and spent your record-buying allowance on it, and you brought it home and listened to it exclusively for 2 weeks. It was an investment. This was it! You’re going to listen to this, or you’ve got an AM radio and a newspaper.

Now, we’re just clicking through songs. “How does this one sound? Oh, that’s good. How does this one sound? Pretty good. This one’s good.”

We’re just flipping through index cards.

This is equally true in all media today, including software.

This is why a hundred other sites are trying to be Daring Fireball, why everybody’s starting a podcast, and why nobody’s buying your app in the App Store.

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Don’t Glorify Startup Failure

Don’t Glorify Startup Failure: And the counterpoint, from Ben Yoskovitz:

“But we should also be careful about glorifying startup failure. There’s nothing awesome about it. The entrepreneurs that fail are not heroes or celebrities. They are special–because they’re entrepreneurs (which already puts them amongst a very small percentage of the population that’s taking a shot)–but we shouldn’t put them on pedestals and worship them.

Failure is still failure. It means you, as the founder, didn’t do what you set out to. And you have to own that failure. There are almost always external factors at play (failure rarely comes from one thing), but at the end of the day it’s on you. You started something, and then you finished it, without succeeding.”

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14 Startup Post-mortems

14 Startup Post-mortems: I think you learn more from failure, both in details and its looming possibility, than endless success stories. Well worth a read, even if you aren’t of the startup world.

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How can I accelerate my personal growth?

How can I accelerate my personal growth?:

You’ll have to click through for the graph but hopefully this makes sense. I’ve never seen a better summary of how I feel about working life.

Choose “anxiety-driven growth” over “boredom-driven growth“.
For Csikszentmihalyi, flow is a magical zone between anxiety and boredom.The vertical axis represents the size of the challenges we are facing.The horizontal axis represents the power of our skills in relation to those challenges.When our challenges exceed our skills (in the upper left part of the diagram), we feel anxiety.
When our skills exceed our challenge (in the lower right part of the diagram), we feel boredom.When our skills and challenges are closely matched (the diagonal zone from lower left to upper right), we are in a sweet spot where we feel neither too much anxiety nor too much boredom.Csikszentmihalyi calls this diagonal channel the “flow channel”.
Flow is what we feel when we take on challenges that are well matched to our skills. That doesn’t mean the challenges are “easy” relative to our skills. In fact, Csikszentmihalyi says that to feel fully engaged, we must stretch ourselves a bit beyond our current comfort level – but not so much that we feel helpless or completely disoriented.

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Mobile to the Future (or Max’s idea of “cloud screens”)

Mobile to the Future (or Max’s idea of “cloud screens”):

A good watch but while he’s keen on mobile being the next big channel, I think I’d just call it something like “cloud screens” now. Convergence is most obvious in your mobile, but it’s going to become decreasingly important which screen your looking at.

Your Google Now predictions are the same across them. Your emails are. Your documents are. Your mobile is just the most converged example. Discuss.

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We Didn’t Eat the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Ate Us.

We Didn’t Eat the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Ate Us.:

A fun but interesting analysis of the old Marshmallow/ instant gratification test.

We want the instant gratification of an easy answer. We want to hear that character traits can be taught like algebra and geometry and that if you can resist eating a marshmallow at 4, you possess the secret to a successful life. We want the world to be a big fluffy marshmallow, and we want to gobble it up. We want to eat the first marshmallow, but get the second one, too.

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The reality of digital newsrooms: ‘copy thrown online with a photo’

The reality of digital newsrooms: ‘copy thrown online with a photo’:

A young journalist who read the Fleet Street memories of Brian MacArthur (here) and Phil Moger (here) wants to make clear that it isn’t only veterans who miss the “glory days” of hot metal.Currently working in a digital newsroom, here is her response to their items.

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Some of what we did at Danger

Some of what we did at Danger:

The company was called Danger, the platform was called hiptop, and what follows is an account of our early days, and a list of some of the “modern” technologies we shipped years before you could buy an iOS or Android device.

I’m interested by situations where even providing a great solution just isn’t enough. Solving tons of problems, offering a better way to manage aspects of life is the mission of many businesses. But the world just doesn’t care.

Some massive problems will continue forever, no matter what technology companies arise to solve them or how good their team is. This isn’t meant to be depressing, I think it’s just something that must be accepted when trying to make a dent in the universe.

Either way, Danger’s story is an interesting one. Enjoy.

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Casinos’ (and Facebook’s) worrying knack for consumer manipulation

Casinos’ (and Facebook’s) worrying knack for consumer manipulation:

Now consider addiction by design. What is not understood about modern slot machines – certainly not by the UK’s Labour party, which recently tried to spark a moral panic on the subject – is that they do not try to drain your money away quickly. They do so slowly, by maximising “time on device”. The machines are cheap to run: what is the hurry? Machine gamers do not even play to win: they play to play. The aim of the machine is to deliver constant reinforcement – for instance, the “false win”, where a player is treated to fanfares and flashing lights after betting $3 and winning 60 cents.

Here, the natural analogy is with Facebook, Twitter and Google. These companies, ultimately, are selling one thing: our attention. Nothing about Facebook makes sense until you view it as a well-honed system for persuading you to check Facebook one more time.