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The Mind Hackers – George Monbiot
The purpose of this brain hacking is to create more effective platforms for advertising. But the effort is wasted if we retain our ability to resist it. This is why Facebook, according to a leaked report it sent to an advertiser, developed tools to determine when teenagers using its network feel insecure, worthless or stressed. These appear to be the optimum moments for hitting them with a micro-targeted promotion. (Facebook denies that it offered “tools to target people based on their emotional state”.)
behavioralmarketing  advertising  adtech  psychology  design  business  communication 
yesterday by kme
Closed for Business - Matt Gemmell | https://mattgemmell.com/
No-one stops to consider that “choice” is maybe a bad word. Consider that for a moment. What would you like Windows to do with this USB key? Just show me the damned files. Do you want to be warned when you view a web page with mixed secure and insecure content? No, go away. Do you want to pick the font for this text-editing field? No, just use a sensible default. Do you want a lot of after-market crap popping up on the desktop of your new PC? No, I want an experience I’m familiar with.

Nerds like to say that people care about choice at that level. Nerds are wrong. Nerds care about choice, and nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think. Android is designed with far too much nerd philosophy, and open is gravy to those people because it’s synonymous with customisation.

Customisation matters deeply to people who are deeply troubled by what they perceive as minor imperfections or inefficiencies. These same people, as a rule, have a stunning lack of ability to even imagine that others may not share their position. “Pick a sensible default, and skip the Options window” isn’t just anathema; it’s incomprehensible. They need choice.
appstore  walledgarden  business  closedsource  appdevelopment  devel  choice  choices  customization  fuckina 
december 2018 by kme
Talent acquisitions – Marco.org | https://marco.org/
Instapaper has had multiple similar inquiries from large companies over the last few years. We’ve never gotten very far in talks because I don’t want Instapaper to shut down, I don’t want to move my family across the country, and they didn’t want to pay enough — for them, they’ll pay a premium to hire me, but they won’t pay much for a service they’ll shut down immediately and an app they’ll throw away.

I was only able to reject those offers because Instapaper is a healthy business, and the life that Instapaper provides for me and my family is better than what the big companies offered.

If you want to keep the software and services around that you enjoy, do what you can to make their businesses successful enough that it’s more attractive to keep running them than to be hired by a big tech company.
talentacquisition  acquisition  aquihire  business  sustainability  payforit 
december 2018 by kme
The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews - The New York Times
The key psychological insight here is that people have no trouble turning any information into a coherent narrative. This is true when, as in the case of my friend, the information (i.e., her tardiness) is incorrect. And this is true, as in our experiments, when the information is random. People can’t help seeing signals, even in noise.

There was a final twist in our experiment. We explained what we had done, and what our findings were, to another group of student subjects. Then we asked them to rank the information they would like to have when making a G.P.A. prediction: honest interviews, random interviews, or no interviews at all. They most often ranked no interview last. In other words, a majority felt they would rather base their predictions on an interview they knew to be random than to have to base their predictions on background information alone.

So great is people’s confidence in their ability to glean valuable information from a face to face conversation that they feel they can do so even if they know they are not being dealt with squarely. But they are wrong.
theinterview  employment  career  business 
april 2017 by kme
Watch: Bill Maher slams Apple (AAPL) for pointless iPhone upgrade and consumers for falling for it — Quartz
“Somewhere along the way we bought into this insane idea that everything always has to get bigger, especially sales,” he said. He argued that the constant drive for better financial performance can lead companies to engage in unethical behavior, citing the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal as a prime example. “It’s that very pressure for growth, endless growth, even when you’re filthy rich, that led them to a crime where they cheated and deceived their customers,” he added.
capitalism  infinitegrowth  business  muahahaha  apple  upgrades 
september 2016 by kme
Enforcing high heels in the office is the height of workplace sexism | Women in Leadership | The Guardian
We know how you dress is no longer a signifier of success or importance, Steve Jobs’ dedication to jeans and trainers ended that, so why do we still feel it’s necessary to dictate the type of shoes that women wear? Yes, dress codes might ask men to wear ties and not apply this rule to women but there’s one clear difference here: unless your office takes its influences from Fifty Shades of Grey, there is nothing particularly sexual about a tie. High heels on the other hand, they’re designed to sexualise women. They lengthen our legs, change the way we walk and, whether we intend it or not, make us more attractive to both sexes.

When you’re a working woman there can be advantages to heels, particularly if you’re the shortest person in a room filled with tall men who want to literally talk over your head. They can elevate you, force you to throw your shoulders back and lift your head up, they can make you feel powerful. But that power comes from choice, when I walk around the office in a pair of shoes that risk my ankles it is my decision, and there is power in the freedom to make that decision. For some reason I don’t believe that Portico wants its female employees to feel empowered by their shoes, if they did they wouldn’t have minded so much when one of them pointed out the company’s blatantly sexist policy. So why is it so wedded to this outdated dress code?

It’s not enough to have a professional, competent receptionist welcoming your guests, she also needs to be sexy. Because for some reason companies still seem to think that true success is coming through the door to a woman who is both beddable and biddable, the 1950s housewife brought into the office. And there’s nothing empowering about that, no matter what shoes you wear.
dresscodes  gender  uk  heels  business 
may 2016 by kme
Stealing From The Company
"Stealing from the company" is a phrase some employers (Wal-Mart is often alleged to use this phrase) use to describe any of the following behaviors:

Work on anything other than the assigned task(s) on company time (excluding the 15-minute breaks hourly employees in the US are required to be given)
Giving less than 100% effort while on the clock
Disagreeing with them about WhoOwnsYourMind

Sometimes, this phrase is used for FullTimeExempt employees--a bit curious, as part of the definition of FullTimeExempt is (should be?) that the employee manages his/her own time.

I manage a small US technology company. I have an system to avoid the StealingFromTheCompany anti-pattern. It starts with recognizing that employees have other things to do in addition to work and those things don't all fit neatly into non-work hours. So I tell my employees to figure out what work hours make them productive. (Productivity is a little subjective. When they do things I like, I tell them what I like about it and to do more things like it. When they do things I dislike, I tell them why and ask them to do less of it.) I tell them to shop on-line during using the company provided Internet, to call their families on our long distance bill, to show up late if they had a flash of brilliance and worked late the night before, to take a three-hour lunch when their daughter has a school event, to leave work early if they think their work would benefit from an afternoon of biking. I also tell them to buy themselves comfortable chairs and expense them and I tell them the company will pay for books they are willing to read. We have a nap room for sleeping on the job. The result is fierce loyalty, pride, hard work, and good productivity. The odd thing is, this is a very easy approach to manage because no one wants to lose this kind of job. --CharlieMitchell
business  ethics  programming  motivation 
october 2015 by kme
Parkinson's law of triviality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the context of programming language design, one encounters Wadler's law, named for computer scientist Philip Wadler.[7] This principle asserts that the bulk of discussion on programming language design centers around syntax (which, for purposes of the argument, is considered a solved problem), as opposed to semantics.
software  business 
february 2015 by kme
Optimize for Happiness
A side effect of bootstrapping a sustainable company is what I like to call infinite runway. This is another element of optimizing for happiness. With venture backed endeavors you generally find that during the first several years the numbers in your bank account are perpetually decreasing, giving your company an expiration date. Your VCs have encouraged you to grow fast and spend hard, which makes perfect sense for them, but not necessary for you. Not if you're trying to optimize for happiness.

VCs want to see quick success or quick failure. They are optimizing for money. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you want the same things they do. But if you're like me, then you care more about building a kickass product than you do about having a ten figure exit. If that's true, then maybe you should be optimizing for happiness. One way to do this is by bootstrapping a sustainable business with infinite runway. When there are fewer potentially catastrophic events on the horizon, you'll find yourself smiling a lot more often.
github  entrepreneurship  business  startup  happiness  management 
october 2014 by kme
Why non-profit pricing? by Jason Fried of Basecamp
I recognize some companies use discounted software for non-profits as a way to sneak into the for-profit companies some of the people work for at their day jobs. While it may work, it feels like a slimy motivation.
lookingatyoumicrosoft  pricing  501c3  nonprofit  business  software  services 
september 2014 by kme
jwz: Watch a VC use my name to sell a con.
I did make a bunch of money by winning the Netscape Startup Lottery, it's true. So did most of the early engineers. But the people who made 100x as much as the engineers did? I can tell you for a fact that none of them slept under their desk. If you look at a list of financially successful people from the software industry, I'll bet you get a very different view of what kind of sleep habits and office hours are successful than the one presented here.

So if your goal is to enrich the Arringtons of the world while maybe, if you win the lottery, scooping some of the groundscore that they overlooked, then by all means, bust your ass while the bankers and speculators cheer you on.

Instead of that, I recommend that you do what you love because you love doing it. If that means long hours, fantastic. If that means leaving the office by 6pm every day for your underwater basket-weaving class, also fantastic.
startup  culture  business  venturecapitalism 
july 2014 by kme
justin-singer.org » Beautiful Illusions: The Economics of uberX
It would be easy to look at this post and say I don’t get it. That I’m anti-innovation and a known Uber bear and I can’t hear Jimi. I don’t really have a good response to that. All I can say is, when I do the math and make reasonable assumptions based on available research, I don’t see where the excess profits are supposed to come from. I don’t mean to reason defensively — quite the opposite, in fact — but the numbers and industry dynamics lead me to the same conclusions as before. You are, as always, free to disagree.
uber  forhirevehicleindustry  economics  business  illusion  canthearjimi 
june 2014 by kme
Parkinson's law of triviality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Parkinson's law of triviality, also known as bikeshedding or the bicycle-shed example, is C. Northcote Parkinson's 1957 argument that organizations give disproportionate weight to trivial issues. Parkinson demonstrated this by contrasting the triviality of the cost of building a bike shed to an atomic reactor. The law has been applied to software development[1] and other activities.
idiom  management  business  somebodyslaw 
june 2014 by kme
managers are awesome / managers are cool when they’re part of your team (tecznotes)
This bothered me a bit when I heard it last summer, and it’s gotten increasingly more uncomfortable since. I’ve been paraphrasing this part of the talk as “management is a form of workplace violence,” and the still-evolving story of Julie Ann Horvath suggests that the removal of one form of workplace violence has resulted in the reintroduction of another, much worse form. In my first post-college job, I was blessed with an awesome manager who described his work as “firefighter up and cheerleader down,” an idea I’ve tried to live by as I’ve moved into positions of authority myself.
management  github  business  organization  culture  holacracy 
march 2014 by kme
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