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Removing React is just weakness leaving your codebase

I’ve been seeing a lot of this type of sentiment about React recently…

By my reckoning, if you’ve maintained a React codebase for the past decade, you’ve re-written your application at least three times and possibly four. […]

By choosing React, we’ve signed up for a lot of unplanned work. Think of the value we could have produced for our users and company if we weren’t subject to the whims of whatever the cool kids were doing over in React.

Domestic Inequality Starts in Childhood

We already know that actions > words but this is still really interesting research:

Daughters of dads who talked a good talk about gender equality—but who nevertheless didn’t do as much as their partners in terms of domestic labor—had lower career aspirations than daughters of dads who pulled their weight around the house.

How platforms killed Pitchfork

This is such a good point about music discovery and the abundance of choice:

Before Spotify, when presented with a new album, we would ask: why listen to this? After Spotify, we asked: why not?

I also like this sentiment:

On one level it’s impressive that Spotify can perfectly capture my musical taste in a series of data points, and regurgitate it to me in a series of weekly playlists. But as good as it has gotten, I can’t remember the last time it pointed me to something I never expected I would like, but ultimately fell totally in love with.

For that you needed someone who could go beyond the data to tell you the story: of the artist, of the genre, of the music they made. For that you needed criticism.

Fix The System Problem, Not The People Problem

I love Paul Taylor’s perspective in Fix The System Problem, Not The People Problem. He points out that many managers look first at the people structure of an organization when it is struggling:

People often resort to blaming individuals rather than acknowledging systemic issues due to a psychological inclination for self-preservation. Additionally, societal and organizational cultures may emphasize individual accountability, discouraging a systemic analysis. Almost ALL of the leadership BS our organizations are clothed in focuses on individual accountability, the way we measure performance, the way we conduct performance reviews. It’s all down to you.

The point is—don’t resort to a re-org just because it seems too hard to figure out what the systemic issues are:

The next time you see a proposal for a restructure, ask if there’s been any attempt to tackle the underlying causes of the problem. Look for any changes to the actual system. If you can’t see any—it is doomed to fail.

“This city has my heart and I’ve been waiting”

We just got back from an incredible 2.5 weeks in South Africa. I have a lot of processing to do… but what I will say for now is that the sunsets in Africa are still the best in the world. Don’t @ me, it’s just science.

Also, here’s a Spotify playlist of chill South African jams that I think you will enjoy. Give it a try!

(more…)

This Is the Person Selling Your Product

It took me many years to rid myself of the commonly-held belief that Sales is the “enemy” of Product. Here’s a good reminder that (good) Sales teams are our allies:

Contrary to stereotypes, only part of sales actually involves convincing a customer to buy your product. The person selling your product spends a very large amount of time helping customers successfully navigate their own complex organizations, and purchase a product that they already want (yours).

To Own the Future, Read Shakespeare

I’ve always said that when I grow up I want to write like Paul Ford. Well, I’m all grown up now. I still don’t write like Paul Ford, and he still writes absolute gems like To Own the Future, Read Shakespeare—in my opinion the final word on the value of the humanities:

A programmer sneers at the white space in Python, a sociologist rolls their eyes at a geographer, a physicist stares at the ceiling while an undergraduate, high off internet forums, explains that Buddhism anticipated quantum theory. They, we, are patrolling the borders, deciding what belongs inside, what does not. And this same battle of the disciplines, everlasting, ongoing, eternal, and exhausting, defines the internet. Is blogging journalism? Is fan fiction “real” writing? Can video games be art? (The answer is always: Of course, but not always. No one cares for that answer.)

Generative image AI as reading companion

A friend recently mentioned that he is feeding DALL•E prose from the fantasy novels he is reading, and asking it to create images of the scenes. This sounded like an excellent idea to me and since I am currently re-reading Lord of the Rings (this beautiful edition), I’ve been doing the same. It has genuinely enhanced my enjoyment of the book to create “text-accurate” images of the characters and scenes as I read.

Here are a few of my favorites (yes, I’m still in Fellowship)…

Tom Bombadil exactly as he appears the first time in the book:

Aragorn the first time he is fully described:

Frodo when he encounters the Ringwraiths on Weathertop. I forgot about the red sword (since the movies gave their swords a blue glow):

In case anyone is interested, here is the prompt I’m using:

Please generate images of the description below. Create one image in each of the following styles:

  1. Surrealistic Photorealism: Combining hyper-realistic details with surreal elements to create a dreamlike yet sharply detailed image.
  2. Gothic or Dark Romanticism: Emphasizing darker, more mysterious elements of the description, with a focus on emotion, nature, and the macabre.
  3. Magical Realism: Blending realistic and fantastical elements in a way that treats the extraordinary as everyday, enhancing the mystical aspects of the description.

I then choose the style that seems most appropriate, and sometimes add/remove some details. It’s a fun experiment, you should try it!

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