I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and you (in theory) signed up for this weekly letter from me sharing things that I have found notable and engaging for the week.
A lot of people mention that they read the Weekly Thing with their coffee on Saturday morning. ☕️ Well, sorry if that got messed up since this one is coming a little late. If only I could bend space and time like a Guild Navigator in Dune. Alas no. If you prefer coffee, maybe hold off and read it tomorrow morning. 🤷♂️
Let’s get right to the links and updates! Much going on this week… 👍
I don’t think there is enough clear thinking in product delivery around executive engagement, so this article caught my eye right away. I found this list of Interaction Principles brilliant. This frames up, with a bit of detail, how these different roles should and can work together to create great solutions. As a taste, here are the items.
Lead With Context Not Control, Outcomes not Output, Knowing What You Can’t Know, Data Beats Opinions, High-Integrity Commitments, The Main Thing, Missionaries not Mercenaries, Transparency, You Are Not The Customer, Fix The Team First, Empowered Engineers, Ideas vs. Directives, Prototype vs. Product, Minimize Surprises, and No Silver Bullets.
Go to the article to read up on each one of those. I should probably put this on a reminder to re-read every couple of months. “Ideas vs Directives” is one that I get tripped up on with some regularity.
I don’t agree with all of Cagan’s viewpoints on agile delivery, notable his negative view on SaFE, but his spirit is always spot on and this one frames up a sticky topic so well.
A “call to action” piece focused on bending the trend with privacy more towards people. Interesting as well since it is written by the Vice President of Data Governance at The New York Times, a media company that collects a tremendous amount of data from their customers and visitors.
I found this paragraph interesting.
Perhaps the most important property of the Web is trust. You can browse around freely from site to site because you can trust that your browser will protect your security and that, even as those sites run code on your computer, they won’t endanger it. That is a strong promise, much stronger than what you can expect from native platforms, but when it comes to privacy it’s a promise that we have broken. As you browse freely from site to site, your privacy is not in trustworthy hands.
I disagree with his assertion here on trust. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but I think the model that the web will follow is more like email. I used email before spam (wow, how old am I?). Email in 1991 was a lot like today in that I had an address, and it just worked to send anyone a note. It was fabulous. However, there were no pictures and web formatting, just plain text. Elm was my email client of choice.
Then spam arrived. Then scams arrived. With HTML email, we got beacons in our email. We have open rate tracking. We no longer trust mail servers, they could be bad actors. We don’t trust any email that arrives in our inbox. We use sophisticated algorithms to judge every email and filter it in various ways. We have complicated digital signing practices to try and make it better. Real humans, that send real email to people, just hope that it actually shows up in an Inbox.
That is the model I think the web is trending toward. I think the days of using a web browser, with no protections, are numbered. These days you would never use email without spam protection and hundreds of things your server is doing for you. That is the model I suspect the web is evolving to.
Browser extensions, proxy servers, content blockers. That is what I will trust.
Sailboats in the harbor at Grand Marais with the lighthouse on the pier.
Sep 11, 2021 at 10:44 AM
Grand Marais, MN
Indexing this link to the interview with Lyn Alden. I found the dialog insightful, and her perspective on macro trends was deep. I appreciated how she dovetailed a variety of different investing assets into it, including crypto and Bitcoin. Her commentary on crypto and energy usage is very similar to mine.
All of the trivial feedback loops that social platforms have introduced to our world are fundamentally addictive tools to increase your engagement. Additionally though they change the creator, getting us to be the mouse in the cage pressing the button for more likes.
I agree with Hansson’s concern on these. This is actually why I collect no data on what people click on in the Weekly Thing. I know that if I see what articles people will click on, I will subconsciously start trending content toward that activity. By completely removing that signal, I can better insure that I’m not being led by anything but my own curiosity. With that I can truly share my journey, as opposed to following the scent of further engagement.
Loot makes your head hurt a bit. Imagine creating a very detailed component of a fictional world, that leaves the vast majority undefined, and then leaving it to others to build around.
Similarly, Loot and its 8,000 NFTs can serve as the foundation of an entire gaming metaverse. The ideal end state being an entire ecosystem of games where Loot items like the Divine Robe of the Fox serve different functions: think Dungeons & Dragons in the metaverse. Whoever builds something on top of Loot NFTs can determine the function served by a given item.
By building the foundation of a game, without building a game itself, Loot leaves its fate in the hands of a decentralized community. Whether or not one thinks it will be successful, it’s an intriguing idea to many.
When folks talk about decentralized approaches, this is probably what it looks like. In a way, it is very organic, generative, almost biological and evolutionary. Such a different ecosystem than your typical approach.
This is a good example of tokenization and using NFT to manage value.
This is an experimental 1 of 1 NFT. This token gives the holder the right to 5 minutes of airtime on the My First Million Podcast.
Current highest bidder is 5.25 WETH or just over $18,500. There is no expiration, so they are allowing the buyer to hold this token over time. There seems to be no limit on resale, so you could sell it to someone else. To use it, you burn the NFT.
Let’s Encrypt has to be the single most important service brought to the open web in the last several years. We have an incredibly more secure web as a result. We simply could not have gotten HTTPS by default without it. I 💛 Let’s Encrypt. Join me and donate to help keep the web secure.
I have been saying for a while that COVID is here for good. The pandemic engagement isn’t though, and integrating COVID into our future world may change some practices. I found Gottlieb’s article a pragmatic perspective.
But while the other four coronaviruses typically cause little more than the common cold, SARS-CoV-2 is likely to remain a more serious threat even after this pandemic wanes, even after the virus becomes primarily a seasonal pathogen, even after drugs and vaccination limit the damage it does. The virus will become a persistent menace at least on par with the yearly flu—a threat that, though seemingly routine, strains health-care systems, businesses, and schools every winter. With SARS-CoV-2 mingling alongside influenza—and causing a comparable level of death and disease—the harm to public health and economic productivity will be too great for society to simply shrug off. The dual viral threat will compel better defenses. We won’t have a choice.
Fundamentally I read his perspective one of being aware and adaptive. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit but before COVID I don’t think I ever got a seasonal flu shot. My brain hadn’t fully embraced the logic behind it, but the pandemic experience has taught me a lesson. I will be getting it going forward. In short, we will need to be more adaptive and frankly aware of these viruses and manage them to the extent possible.
If you haven’t updated your iPhone (and all iOS devices) recently you should stop reading and go update it. This article has some additional details about how this exploit was used by NSO Group to gain access to phones. It is one of those worrisome exploits that can be done entirely remote.
Citizen Lab forwarded the artifacts to Apple on Tuesday, September 7. On Monday, September 13, Apple confirmed that the files included a zero-day exploit against iOS and MacOS. They designated the FORCEDENTRY exploit CVE-2021-30860, and describe it as “processing a maliciously crafted PDF may lead to arbitrary code execution.”
Security gaps are not new, and the technology industry has a long-standing practice of letting the company with the vulnerability know of an issue, so that overall we have a safer environment. It has typically been the criminals that find these vulnerabilities and then exploit them for some gain. So what do we call companies and governments that find, exploit, and hide these exploits for their own use?
It has been a while since I dove into another chapter of Horrible Things that Facebook does, but this article from the Wall Street Journal on XCheck is a worthwhile read. My position on Facebook and all of its services is very clearly negative. I block all Facebook services on my devices.
The documents that describe XCheck are part of an extensive array of internal Facebook communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. They show that Facebook knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands.
Moreover, the documents show, Facebook often lacks the will or the ability to address them.
The article goes into detail on the XCheck system which gives “important” accounts the ability to post and bypass the companies automated and routine content moderation. This shouldn’t be news, but if you thought that Facebook was a level platform where everyones voice was treated the same, it isn’t.
Time and again, the documents show, in the U.S. and overseas, Facebook’s own researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects, in areas including teen mental health, political discourse and human trafficking. Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them.
I would be hard pressed to highlight any positive outcome of Facebook’s various actions over recent years.
The article states there is “chronic underinvestment in moderation” which I think is a convenient out for Facebook. It suggests that they can buy themselves out of these issues. You cannot make a system that is designed, intentionally or by accident, to drive extremes safer by adding moderation. It is like saying that with a big enough filter, smoking cigarettes will be safe for you. No, it is unsafe at the core. You cannot compensate for that.
Other employees said the practice was at odds with Facebook’s values.
What even are Facebook’s values? Your guess is as good as mine.
For another take check out Why Facebook is filled with hate, anger, and conflict by Josh Bernoff.
Very glad to be fully vaccinated.
The CDC’s data shows that not fully vaccinated people are over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 and over 10 times more likely to die from it. Not fully vaccinated people are also five times more likely to catch COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
Assuming you are comfortable managing secret keys such as this, it is a good idea to create a recovery key and take custody of it. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, or have no tool to manage it, you might want to not do this and leave it with the provider. I put stuff like this in 1Password.
I’ve made a couple of these as well. I like when people share the things that have tripped them up. It helps the rest of us not trip. Now go make sure you manage your CPU credits. 😊
This is a good overview of NFT investing, and what some of the use cases are.
NFTs make cultural relevance an investable asset class. They enable pure expression of digital identity in a digital first world. And, yes, they can offer dividend streams tied to some project or underlying asset.
I agree with that framing, but think the technology can also power many other use cases beyond a cultural sphere. I still don’t understand the prices that people are paying for some of these NFTs, but I do definitely see greater than $0 value.
Anheuser Busch recently bought beer.eth for 30 ETH (~$90k at the time).
We only have one member of our family that is not vaccinated, and it would mean a lot to us for all of us to be able to be vaccinated. Hoping this moves forward.
This project seems more like a piece of performance art than anything else.
Minus is a finite social network where you get 100 posts—for life. While you can reply to a post as often as you like, every time you add to the feed, it subtracts from your lifetime total. When you reach 0 posts left, that’s it. No exceptions.
I created a profile but I’m scared to post anything and use one of my 100 posts yet. 🥸
Galloway’s observations on education, from elementary to university, are very relevant. I would have quoted nearly every section of this, so instead I’ll quote none and suggest you read it all.
For our recent team all-hands we had a photo theme on back to school. I used my very formal High School graduation picture, and decided to make set my virtual zoom background as if I was still in that shot. This was pretty fun. 😉
TeamSPS had a great time playing Kubb today, connecting with colleagues, and having a fun time. We weren’t able to have this event in 2020 due to COVID-19, but thanks to vaccines we were able to throw some batons together! Several people commented how much they loved this event. Here are some selected photos from Tim Van Cleave who was so generous to volunteer as official photographer! He has an entire album of additional shots as well.
You can also see the official SPS Tech Blog post on the Kubb event, and looks back to our 2019 and 2018 events. This event got real momentum after we did Kubb at Tech Jam in 2016. The first introduction was a Kubb Class in 2014 that was part of our SPS Charity Auction. Kubb has some deep roots with Team SPS!
Had my mini studio setup today to present at the MnTech CIO Forum: Straight talk on emerging technologies event. Green screen, mic, key light improve things a lot!
Final stop Up North at the Great! Lakes Candy Company and then on our way home!
Stopped at Cedar Coffee Company in Two Harbors for the first time this morning. Delicious pour over coffee and a great breakfast burrito. We will be back!
Sunrise on Lake Superior. I always find it surprising how fast the sunrise happens. There are just moments from when you see that first glimpse of the corona peering over the horizon until it is fully in view.
Before that sequence the sky was filled with these tremendous reds.
Weather: Still a lot of warmth. Morning was very windy. Sunny and warm in afternoon. Cooled down at night.
Campfire and S’mores tonight on the North Shore.
We visited Gooseberry Falls today. We have had extreme draught conditions and the falls have been greatly impacted. The Lower Falls are completely dry. It was rather shocking to see. I renamed it Mini Gooseberry Falls this year.
We visited Sugarloaf Cove for the first time today. It has a nice loop hike and a fun shoreline. There is a trail that goes out to the point as well. I enjoyed hiking through the Red Pine Forest.
Hiking Artist Point in Grand Marais. We stopped for a 5-minute silent meditation at the very end of the point.
We walked out to the lighthouse on the pier in Grand Maria’s today.
Worlds Best Donuts in Grand Marais! 🍩🤤
Nice spot to watch the sun coming up over Lake Superior and enjoy my morning coffee.
We stopped at Love Creamery in Duluth after dinner at OMC Smokehouse. It was our first time trying their ice cream and we were very impressed. The Salted Peanut Butter & Jelly was amazing. We also had Nutella and Salted Caramel. 🍦
As a CTO it is very important to have a strong alignment and partnership with your CFO. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kim Nelson for over 8 years. She is incredibly deserving of this recognition. 👏 → SPS Commerce’s Kim Nelson wins Career Achievement Award - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
Great to see some additional capital flowing in to build tech companies in our local market! 👏 → Matchstick Ventures Closes $55M Fund | Twin Cities Business
Several good book recommendations in here. 📚 → High-Performance-Organizations-Reading-List: Ideas for creating and sustaining high performance organizations
SimCity is one of the few games I ever really got into playing. → The Philosophy of SimCity: An Interview With the Game’s Lead Designer - The Atlantic
Infinite wavey backgrounds! → Wicked Backgrounds
Checkbox art? 👀 → Checkboxland
I have been following what Willison has been creating with Datasette for a long time. Creating a desktop app should make it more accessible to a wider set of users. → Datasette Desktop — a macOS desktop application for Datasette
I could watch this video over and over. Hits top speeds around 160 mph! 🏁 → Model S Plaid at Nürburgring - YouTube
Here is your fortune…
Your domestic life may be harmonious.
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I’m a focused practitioner of the Getting Things Done methodology and am focused on it as a lifelong skill to continually improve my productivity but even more important to give me the mental space and clarity to focus on what I want to focus on at any time.