Archive of posts with tag 'software'

Chris Spiek and Ryan Singer on Shape Up

September 28, 2022 • #

Reading Ryan Singer’s Shape Up a few years ago was formative (or re-formative, or something) in my thinking on how product development can and should work. After that it was a rabbit hole on jobs-to-be-done, Bob Moesta’s Demand-Side Sales, demand thinking, and more.

Since he wrote the book in 2019, he talks about 2 new concepts that extend Shape Up a little further: the role of the “technical shaper”...

The Simplest Thing

September 20, 2022 • #

When working through problems, the most impressive creators to me aren’t those that divine an entire solution in their brain for an hour, then slam out a perfect result (spoiler: this doesn’t exist outside of the occasional savant). I love to watch people who are great at avoiding the temptation to overcomplicate. People who can break problems down into components. People who can simplify complex problems by isolating parts, and blocking and tackling.

I enjoyed this, from an interview with Ward Cunningham (programmer and inventor of the wiki):

It was a question: “Given what we’re trying...

Software and Entropy

June 28, 2021 • #

Marc Andreessen was recently interviewed by Noah Smith in his newsletter. It’s a great post-pandemic update to Marc’s views on technology (spoiler: he’s still as optimistic as ever), following a year after his “Time to Build” essay.

Entropy and Software

When asked about the future of technology, he responds to the common criticism that tech is often gives us progress in the virtual, but not physical world:

Software is a lever on the real world.

Someone writes code, and all of...

Weekend Reading: Collaborative Enterprise, Algorithms, and Fifth-Gen Management

October 3, 2020 • #

💼 Collaborative Enterprise

Elad Gil describes the trend of continuing consumerization of enterprise software.

🤖 Seeing Like an Algorithm

Part 2 in Eugene Wei’s series on TikTok. See part 1.

🏫 Fifth Generation Management

Venkatesh Rao’s Breaking Smart podcast is always a must-listen.

Weekend Reading: Software Builders, Scarcity, and Open Source Communities

September 19, 2020 • #

👨‍💻 We Need More Software Builders, Not Just Users

On the announcement of Airtable’s latest round and $2.5b valuation (!), founder Howie Liu puts out a great piece on the latest round of changes in pursuit of their vision.

No matter how much technology has shaped our lives, the skills it takes to build software are still only available to a tiny fraction of people. When most of us face a problem that software can answer, we have to work around someone else’s...

Weekend Reading: Children of Men, Google Earth at 15, and Slate Star Codex is Gone

June 27, 2020 • #

📽 How Children of Men Became a Dystopian Masterpiece

I didn’t realize until reading this piece that this movie was a commercial flop. $70m gross on a $76m budget. I remember seeing this several times in theaters, and many times after. This retrospective (from 2016) brought the film back to mind and makes me want to rewatch.

🌍 15 Years of Google Earth and the Lessons That Went Unlearned

Brian Timoney:

Google Earth led us to...

Annotating the Web with Memex

June 5, 2020 • #

I linked a few weeks ago to a new tool called Memex, a browser extension that touts itself as bookmarking for “power users of the web.” Its primary unique differentiator is how they approach the privacy angle.

I’m a couple of weeks into using it and it brings an interesting new approach to the world of bookmarking tools like Pinboard or Raindrop, both of which I’ve used a lot. Raindrop has been my tool of choice lately, but it’s heavy for what I really want,...

Hardy Boys and Microkids

March 17, 2020 • #

Physicians hang diplomas in their waiting rooms. Some fishermen mount their biggest catch. Downstairs in Westborough, it was pictures of computers.

Over the course of a few decades dating beginning in the mid-40s, computing moved from room-sized mainframes with teletype interfaces to connected panes of glass in our pockets. At breakneck speed, we went from the computer being a massively expensive, extremely specialized tool to a ubiquitous part of daily life.

Data General Massachusetts Office

During the 1950s — the days of Claude Shannon, John von Neumann, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab — a “computer”...

Image credits: Wikipedia, RCS/RI

Weekend Reading: Software Dependencies, Conversational AI, and the iPad at 10

February 8, 2020 • #

🛠 Dependency Drift: A Metric for Software Aging

We’ve been doing some thinking on our team about how to systematically address (and repay) technical debt. With the web of interconnected dependencies and micro packages that exists now through tools like npm and yarn, no single person can track all the versions and relationships between modules. This post proposes a “Dependency Drift” metric to quantify how far out of date a codebase is on the latest updates to its dependencies:

  • Create a numeric metric that incorporates...

Weekend Reading: Figma Multiplayer, Rice vs. Wheat, and Tuft Cells

November 23, 2019 • #

🕹 How Figma’s Multiplayer Technology Works

An interesting technical breakdown on how Figma built their multiplayer tech (the collaboration capability where you can see other users’ mouse cursors and highlights in the same document, in real time).

🌾 Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture

A fascinating paper. This research suggests the possibility that group-conforming versus individualistic cultures may have roots in diet and agricultural practices. From the abstract:

Cross-cultural psychologists have mostly contrasted East...

The Magic of Recurring Revenue

September 17, 2019 • #

Any business that makes money from the same customer more than once can be said to have “recurring revenue.” But the term in the SaaS universe has a more specific flavor to it, thanks to the unique nature of the business model, value delivery, and the commitments between vendor and consumer. You may think “so what” when you hear that SaaS revenue is special or somehow better than other ways of making money; after all, the money’s still green, right? But there are a number of benefits that come with the “as-a-service” relationship between vendor and customer. Software companies fit...

Elevate for Strava

August 29, 2019 • #

Jason turned me onto this Chrome extension for Strava data analysis called Elevate. It’s a pretty amazing tool that adds deep analytics on top of the already-rich data Strava provides natively as part of their Summit plan.

Elevate fitness curve

In addition to having its own metrics like this fitness/freshness curve, it overlays additional metrics into the individual activity pages on the Strava website. My favorite ones are this (which Strava has its own simpler version of) and the year-over-year comparison graph, which lets you see your progression in total mileage...

Wireframing with Moqups

May 16, 2019 • #

Wireframing is a critical technique in product development. Most everyone in software does a good bit of it for communicating requirements to development teams and making iterative changes. For me, the process of wireframing is about figuring out what needs to be built as much as how. When we’re discussing new features or enhancements, rather than write specs or BDD stories or something like that, I go straight to a pen and paper or the iPad to sketch out options. You get a sense for how a UI needs to come together, and also for us visual thinkers, the new...

Weekend Reading: Product Market Fit, Stripe's 5th Hub, and Downlink

May 11, 2019 • #

🦸🏽‍♂️ How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit

As pointed out in this piece from Rahul Vohra, founder of Superhuman, most indicators around product-market fit are lagging indicators. With his company he was looking for leading indicators so they could more accurately predict adoption and retention after launch. His approach is simple: polling your early users with a single question — “How would you feel if you could no longer use Superhuman?”

Too many example methods in the literature on product development orient around asking...


March 14, 2019 • #

I was a big user back in the day, pre- and post-Yahoo. For anyone unfamiliar, it was one of the first tools (before Twitter) for sharing web links and making bookmarks social.

I signed up for Pinboard around the time it launched. Creator Maciej Cegłowski had an interesting concept for making his service paid, a tactic that could allow it to generate enough revenue to be self-sustaining and avoid the acquisition & stagnation that suffered at the hands of Yahoo after they acquired it in 2005.

When it launched it cost around $3 to...


October 24, 2018 • #

Since I got the Mavic last year, I haven’t had many opportunities to do mapping with it. I’ve put together a few experimental flights to play with DroneDeploy and our Fulcrum extension, but outside of that I’ve mostly done photography and video stuff.

OpenDroneMap came on a scene a couple years ago as a toolkit for processing drone imagery. I’ve been following it loosely through the Twittersphere since. Most of my image processing has been done with DroneDeploy, since we’d been working with them on some integration between...