It’s no secret that I’ve fallen off my own #52weeks bandwagon. Between my day job and a project of passion I’ve undertaken, I’m on the hook for 3-5 blog posts and various communications throughout the week, which leaves me at the end of the day with very little energy to take to WordPress/Tumblr/Twitter with the fury of a thousand ‘saurusrexes.
Here are a few things that may happen when you meet someone and you talk to each other all
dirty nerdy. Continue reading
Just a few days ago, a new LinkedIn feature called “Intro” — a series of technological hacks that would display a bar featuring the LinkedIn profile of anyone who communicated with you through email. As a long-time user of Rapportive, an add-on that shows you the LinkedIn account, Twitter feed, and the last few posts a contact has made across other social media properties, even I was excited about it.
A few months ago– August, to be exact– I hopped a plane to attend my second-ever DefCon, a renowned hacker conference that entered its 21st year. This year’s gathering of security experts, hackers, makers, and technology enthusiasts from around the world was full of incredible talks (all of which seemed like pretty incredible feats of technology to me, given my current status of Codecademy dropout), hardware hacking, hacking contests, and other shenanigans felt feistier than ever. After having spent ten collective days in the middle of the desert (so, so hot) with hackers, here are the top four reasons I think that everyone should love them: Continue reading
So this happened today:
And I’m still not quite sure what to think about it, though I do have a few very important questions for its makers about functionalities that, let’s be honest, should just be standard on all internet-enabled devices:
A little known fact about me: I’m horrible with new technology. At first, I approach it, whatever it is– a coding language, some SQL database thingy, a new app– and I am full of “Ugh! WTF is this?” only to turn around a day or so later and give it another try. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was essite when I got my hands on them and put them on– because I was, how could I not be?!– but I didn’t get that magical transformative feeling that I’ve heard so very many people describe when they got their hands on Glass for the first time.
I’m well aware that my opinion doesn’t matter on this, and that there are many, many others out there ready to tell me what I should think about Glass and why I should think it, but I had a thing on my face today and I’m not quite sure what it was really about. It sat on my head funny, it was totally confusing to use, it didn’t take directions well (and we all know I deal with that) and I just can’t see wearable devices making sense unless the experience is just right. I’ll give it a few more chances, of course, but I didn’t love the distraction that it created or that it very literally got in the way of my being able to focus on and interact with the world around me.
There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.
- Michel de Montaigne
If you’ve been anywhere near me on Twitter in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed one thing: I can’t stop raving about how much I love Betaworks.
Have you ever played Dots? Have you shortened a link with bit.ly, saved an article for later reading with Instapaper,* used the new Digg, clipped a quote with Findings, or chased down a much sought after GIF on Giphy? If you have, or you’re crossing your fingers and toes in anticipation of their Google Reader replacement (because I am not down with Feedly, oh HALE no) you’ve used or hoped for a product in the Betaworks family, one of my most favorite ever companies that builds and ships beautiful, beautiful products. (Note: Instapaper was a Betaworks acquisition, and thus was not a product of their own creation. Thanks for helping me keep the facts straight, Allen!)
When we think of engineers, we very rarely speak of them in the same terms that we use for people commonly accepted as creative– artists, musicians, architects, writers, etc. Most of the reasons that we don’t consider our engineers and coders creative, however, have to do with the incredibly poor state of web literacy, and a widespread miscomprehension of the basic underpinnings of the web and the many technologies we use as a part of it every single day.
give any fucks care about their users is through security– given my propensity for security engineers, however, that is a whole ‘nother post for another day.)
All of that being said, it’s incredibly, incredibly rare for me to develop the kind of affinity I have developed for Betaworks for any company, and yet they have absolutely won my heart. Every single Betaworks product I’ve used (even the ones in beta!) I’ve loved, and every time, I still walk away thinking “Damn, that was good.” That they care about their users in the most important ways is easy to see. And as an avid reader, how could I not love a company that has this to say about the act of reading?
“We believe that reading as an activity still matters: the display and delivery may change (from paper to big screens to small screens and tablets, from human carriers to wires to wireless), but reading remains one of the most wonderful parts of civilization. We’ve bet on reading in the past and we’re going to keep making those bets.
No startup nor codebase nor user interface nor user experience is perfect– they are the work of humans, after all– but together, these things can be studied and analyzed to determine whether an idea, a company or a team are deserving of the time a user may invest in their product. When it comes to technology, the better the design and the user experience (and the better the security), the better the chance that the technologists behind the product care about their users. When it comes to Betaworks, more than any other group of builders I’ve seen out there, they just get it– they nail it every single time, even when they’re experimenting and rebuilding and launching, and even when they pivot a product entirely. I won’t say that they can do no wrong– everyone, everywhere can still come up with a way to do something wrong– but I have absolutely fallen for their artistry, their creative spirit, their cleverness because it is all so very prevalent in everything that they do. I’m incredibly proud that (because they funded the company that I work for) that they are somehow part of my startup family tree, though they may need to apologize to Couple for blowing my mind and rendering me useless if I uncover another artist-inspired dots badge, say… one by Damien Hirst for getting a score of eleventy million.