Showing posts from September, 2010

Would you ship it if it had your name on it?

Painters and sculptors sign their art. Writers have their names on the jacket of their books. Journalists get bylines.
Their name is forever tied to the what they worked on. Some of this is the narcism that we all have and the desire to mark ownership we all crave, but I remember reading that it started as a way to take responsibility. You put your name on what you worked on so that people would know that it was your brilliance, and your errors and faults, that were on display.
A question that I'm now teaching myself to ask and wish more people shipping software would ask themselves is "Would I ship it if it had my name on it?" Not just my company's or my products, but mine.
Releasing products, especially in a fast-moving industry and in a launch-and-iterate culture is often about what you leave out, and what you will get to later. You have a vision to begin with or at least a plan, but then as deadlines approach or other evil things happen, you decide what features you …

10 years in the United States: a decade just sounds like a long time. :)

Ten years ago on this date, on a British Airways flight from Mumbai I landed in the United States.
My cousin picked me up from SFO and let me crash at his place for a couple of days before dropping me off at the International House at Stanford, where I picked up keys to my grad student housing.
Ten years; 2 incredibly fun graduate degrees, 2 stints at startups, 1 go at a startup of my own, 3.5 cities lived in, 3+ years at Google, 1 summer consulting gig, lots of great new friends at school and work, tons of experiences and thoughts, a slight change in accent, and 2.75 years of an incredible engagement+marriage later... it still seems like it was just yesterday.

Exercises in closed and open systems: FB 1, Email 0

A few months ago, Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook, COO) declared at a conference. "Email is probably going away."
My immediate reaction was: "Umm...ok." I knew what she meant, but still disagreed with the phrasing.
A lot of communication that would've been email for me in the past was now posts to my Facebook wall or messages in my FB Messages (which is really just a closed, ok-ish webmail client.)
Some of this was for the better (e.g. Wall posts), some of it was definitely for the worse. Here's what happens when someone sends me a FB Message (!!rant warning!!) I end up opening a message in my gmail account.Read it; occasionally hit reply before remembering this won't work....GrrGo to Facebook and complete the communication.... 3-4 completely unnecessary clicksAnd if someone forks a message thread, it results in a huge mess that generally makes me want to punch my computer screen..... Whoomp! The need for a system that reliably delivers text and more to a person is…

"Open or Closed, you're still hosed." ... or catching up on the whole "The Web is dead" series.

I wrote most of this 4 weeks ago, but came back and hit "Publish" on it today, so its a little raw...its been that kinda month. :)
The long weekend allowed me to catch up on the entire "The Web is Dead" series of articles, and the blogosphere brouhaha that followed. Its really great material to think about. Here's the original Wired article(s) from Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff.My favorite analysis and conclusion was this one from Jason Fry at Niemanlab.orgAlso great: a related series of articles, are from last week's Economist. This is a summary re: the balkanization of the Internet.Fred Wilson has a really clear take on it as well. The series forced me to think a little longer about what's motivating this behavior from the companies and individuals driving this change, and analyze my own behavior as well. Eventually though, the line from this Richter Scale's song ("In the Valley") is what stayed with me: "Open or closed, you'…

Sigh...'cause unfortunately, "pretty girls" still help to get clicks

A long, long time ago as an 19-ish-year old undergraduate student looking for sponsorship from companies for an event we were putting on, I was wrapping up a conversation with a Marketing Head from a local software company. They were going to be a sponsor the event, and as part of that have a recruiting/marketing booth that a few students were going to volunteer at. His parting comment; he looked me straight in the eye and said "Let's make sure there are a couple of pretty girls at our booth."
I was caught by surprise, and was simultaneously annoyed (for obvious reasons) and grudgingly admiring (the man knew his audience.)
There's nothing new or even novel about this. From time immemorial, its a tactic that's been applied to most obviously to cars, guns .... basically anything that you want us guys to buy.
Internet banner advertising is all about trying to find a way to get the users attention through great copy and content/images/flash; and in a sad commentary on …

Quick, quick movie review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Quite simply the most fun I've had in a movie theatre in a while (how many million times have I said that this year already?? :))
Anyway, I don't find myself compelled to applaud during the middle of a movie often; and it happened twice on this one...and I had company in the theatre!
The movie is ridiculously faithful to the comics (though some side-plots have been changed) but it's really the direction that makes this movie.
Edgar Wright played around brilliantly with genres, breaking storytelling formats, and some really slick editing and camera work in Hot Fuzz, and even Shaun of the Dead. This story, where genre and storytelling bending material abound, was perfect for him to direct. He nails it and infuses it with tons of energy and humor to boot.