Facebook and the endless string of worst-case scenarios

Facebook has naively put its faith in humanity and repeatedly been abused, exploited, and proven either negligent or complicit. The company routinely ignores or downplays the worst-case scenarios, idealistically building products without the necessary safeguards, and then drags its feet to admit the extent of the problems. This approach, willful or not, has led to […]

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How reinventing software testing can transform your business — and change the world

 Software isn’t “eating the world.” It’s feeding the world, healing the world, educating the world and bringing the world’s top minds together to solve our most challenging problems. At least that’s what I’ve witnessed while leading digital transformation initiatives across organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Genentech and… Read More

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Some hard truths about Twitter’s health crisis

 It’s a testament to quite how control freaky and hermetically sealed to criticism the tech industry is that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey went unscripted in front of his own brand livestreaming service this week, inviting users to lob awkward questions at him for the first time ever. Read More

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Snapchat is stuck in the uncanny valley of AR glasses

 “Timing”, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said cryptically when asked what the greatest threat was for Snap Inc. “I think the big risks are always the really big product ideas that we’re investing in that are just hard to get right” he told the Goldman Sachs conference two weeks ago. The statements got lost amongst flashier quotes. He defended the Snapchat redesign… Read More

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Going public pits Spotify’s suggestions versus everyone

 The secret to Spotify’s public market debut is actually an acquisition it made in 2014. The Echo Nest was powering music recommendations for Beats Music, Rdio, Vevo, and iHeartRadio too before Spotify pulled it out from under them by buying it for a reported $100 million — 90 percent in Spotify equity. That deal paid off big time. Today, in Spotify’s SEC filing to go… Read More

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The three key CTO skills

 I’ve been CTO of HappyFunCorp since last year, and it has been a deeply edifying experience. Everything people told me was mostly true: I write less code; I go to more meetings, and turn up in more conference calls; I think more strategically, and less tactically; my time is spent in a more fragmented and kaleidoscopic manner. Oh, yeah — and I’m a lot more involved in bizdev… Read More

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Fake news is not the real problem

 It’s the Internet’s fault, we’re told. Brexiters and Remainers, Republicans and Democrats — every side of every political dispute now lives in its own separate reality, bellowing “fake news!” at every attempt to breach their borders of belief. The fragmentation of the media, coupled with the filter-bubble effect and the dominance of Facebook and Google,… Read More

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How ad-free subscriptions could solve Facebook

 At the core of Facebook’s “well-being” problem is that its business is directly coupled with total time spent on its apps. The more hours you pass on the social network, the more ads you see and click, the more money it earns. That puts its plan to make using Facebook healthier at odds with its finances, restricting how far it’s willing to go to protect us from the harms… Read More

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Facebook should actually be Tinder too

 There’s beauty in the double-blind opt-in. That’s the way you match with someone on Tinder. You like them, they like you, you both find out and get connected. But to date the feature’s largely been trapped in dating apps that match you with randos or that not everyone wants to be on. That means this anti-loneliness technology is leaving some people out. Facebook, meanwhile, is… Read More

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AMP for email is a terrible idea

 Google just announced a plan to “modernize” email, allowing “engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.” Does that sound like a terrible idea to anyone else? It sure sounds like a terrible idea to me, and not only that, but an idea borne out of competitive pressure and existing leverage rather than user needs. Not good, Google. Send to trash. Read More

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