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Track Changes

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Now displaying: 2018
May 22, 2018
 

Paul and Gina meet up with Christian Madsbjerg to discuss the ideas behind his new book, “Sensemaking: The Power of Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm”

What happens when you take a philosopher out of their element and plunk them into management? How can the business and tech worlds benefit from the humanities? Are we putting too much trust into algorithms and the promise of artificial intelligence?

Courtesy of ReD Associates

Just because Google does it, doesn’t mean we should do it too: This week Paul Ford and Gina Trapani meet with Christian Madsbjerg, author of Sensemaking: The Power of Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm. Christian ruminates on the limits of the algorithm, bringing human insight into tech and business where artificial intelligence falls short, and the impact of Elon Musk (ed. note: unfortunaltey this interview was recorded before the Met Gala)


4:00 — Christian: “Philosophers are for critique and against suggesting anything. But if you want to make something, you’ve got to suggest something.”

4:55 — Christian: “[Philosophers] see there’s still a way to have integrity in what you’re doing, and still deal with the kinds of things and the way they want to deal with them but in a different world.”

7:15 — Christian: “I suppose philosophy is just making manifestos — what’s sort of underneath us all the time, and that we didn’t think about. What’s happening, at least in the technology space right now, it’s this big reckoning. There’s this big sort of realization that there’s more to this than we thought there was. That’s what a philosopher would do, they would ask, ‘based on what do you say that? What are the underlying assumptions?’”

8:15 — Paul: “A vast number of our conversations… are ultimately about ethics. It’s a constant refrain through the organization. It’s daily and it’s top-to-bottom. Everything we do — maybe also because we deal with so many abstractions and so many requirements from the client — it’s more about preventing unethical situations.”

10:40 — Christian: “It’s often a group of people that aren’t like you and trying to understand what their life is like. ‘What is it like to be them?’ is the basic idea. You can enter their world and you can enter it in a way that can inform that world with whatever you’re making.

13:45 — Christian: “There are things we humans can do that we don’t understand yet. The fact that the machine can beat us in chess doesn’t mean that it can beat us in every other aspect of life, including understanding each other.”

16:20 — Paul: “No one is going to buy a car that sacrifices your life to save another life… We’re about to hit a wall. This is where capitalism and ethics are about to have a very exciting moment around self driving cars.”

16:45 — Christian: “Another way to think about driverless cars is [asking] are they really so attractive? Some people enjoy driving cars […]and that’s worth something as well. Another way of seeing it is that you can look at the people that get slaughtered in traffic every day, but does that really mean that all cars have to be driverless? Isn’t it a magical thing if you think about all the people that step into a car every day and they somehow find their way through these streets and they don’t crash?”

20:50 — Christian: “I wish [Elon Musk] would represent a more interesting dream for eighteen-year-olds than going to Mars.”

21:05 — Christian: “The first process is that in any public institution or any company there is a language that is often native to that place… The first thing is to translate that business language, or the language of the institution, into a human language. So how would human beings think about this? What would be the human phenomenon at the heart of this?”

24:15 — Paul: “So sensemaking as a practice is observing and understanding an organization well enough that you now have a foundation for organizational change, for defining what needs to happen now.”

25:55 — Christian: “The humanities are the place where you can try to exercise the muscle of [understanding] others in the most advanced way… The world of literature and art is a place where you can see human worlds in a way that’s advanced and interesting and often beautiful. So, often, the people that are good at [sensemaking] have a level of sensitivity to it.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight. 

May 15, 2018
 

What conversations can we have in email? When do we need to transition them into meetings? How can we make meetings more productive, and less of a waste of time? 

Like Startups, Most Meetings Fail: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade chat about the inefficiency of frequent meetings. We discuss what makes a meeting fail within the first few minutes, and provide strategies that can be deployed to make them successful (like defining a leader). We also complain about the neverending email thread, and the disconnect between our daily lives and the design of Google Calendar. Rich shares his best excuses (Ed note: lies) to get out of a meeting! 


3:45 — Paul: “There’s the Two Pizza Rule for Amazon where no team should be bigger than what you can feed with two pizzas.”

4:00 — Paul: “I think there are three good meetings. There is, ‘hi, let’s all get in the room as higher primates and get a sense of each other.’ You need to see and understand the people who are going to be working with you on something. There’s the kickoff. Then there’s the ‘we went away and did some work and we wanted to show you that work and get your discussion within about a half hour.’ Then there’s the standing process focus meeting in which you know what you’re going to do, it’s about a half hour long, and it’s just more efficient to […] find out what the tasks are and walk away.”

6:10 — Rich: “This is free for all our listeners. It’s the opposite of saying ‘this is a waste of time.’ Ready? Here’s the sentence: ‘You don’t really need me for this.’”

6:30 — Paul: “The calendar is this territory that belongs to you.”

10:35 — Paul: “Let’s be honest. Calendering software is terrible. The way that we’ve arranged the weeks so that they’re verticle stacks from top to bottom, that’s now how humans think about things.”

11:00 — Paul: “Time really works like a slithering snake. It goes from left to right.”

11:50 — Paul: “95% of meetings fail within the first six minutes.”

13:37 — Rich: You know what the worst invite is? The preface is this: ‘We all gotta get into a room.’ You get in a room and you realize the email thread was way more productive than us getting in a room.”

15:00 — Paul: “I’ll tell you what I like. Email or meetings? Neither. They’re both terrible.”

18:30 — Paul: “My brain works that way. Business brains don’t work that way. They talk and talk… My brain works in 8.5 by 11 inch paper, top to bottom. I can’t get that in business, and I accept that. I always feel a little bit like a space alien.”

20:40 — Rich: “If there isn’t a clear path to failure, then that meeting is useless.”

20:50 — Paul: “What favour are you doing anyone by hiding the fact that you’re secretly a compulsive lunatic who needs them to do things?”

21:00 — Rich: “The three legs of a stool are ‘what is the thing?’, ‘who’s responsible for the thing?’, and ‘when are you gonna get the thing?’”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 
May 8, 2018

How can true information be used to rile communities? What is the difference between misinformation, disinformation and malinformation? How is deception tracked and quantified? Is the next generation more media literate?

Häagen-Dazs is from the Bronx; Umami is from LA: This week, Paul Ford sits down with Encyclopedia of Misinformation author Rex Sorgatz. We discuss his new book, the ways marketers, newsrooms, and scientists use deception to their advantage, and the diffusion of misinformation. We talk about our role as consumers and how we’re changing the media literacy movement to revolve around systems of thought, rather than presenting everything as opposition. Rex also shares a list of supermyths (Spoiler: Colombus knew the Earth was round before he set sail).

1:40 — Rex: “Misinformation is data that is incorrect, effectively. Disinformation is intentionally spreading that information… Malinformation, which is relatively new, is not actually incorrect information, it’s information that is correct but spread with the intent of abuse.”

6:30 — Rex: “[Conspiracy theories] moved out of pop culture and onto the internet. I think back then, it was a playful thing, but now in the age of Infowars, I don’t know what to call it anymore. It’s a completely different thing.”

11:00 — Rex: “I grew up in a small town before the internet and I still remember having access to information that didn’t seem right.”

15:34 — Paul: “So this is a practical guide to the nightmare mediascape in which we find ourself.”

16:40 — Rex: “I tell people it’s barely a book. My publisher said to stop saying that…”

25:30 — Rex: “Instead we should try to think about how other people are coming to the conclusions that they’re coming to — it’s not a matter of what, it’s a matter of how. I think there’s a lesson in there about media literacy for kids, that we work toward letting them understand systems of thought, not presenting everything as opposition.”

26:20 — Paul: “We consume so much media, so much, all day… People are willing to lightly hold and connect to all kinds of ideas as they suck media down their media holes in their brains. Part of the literacy is giving people the credit as discerning consumers who accept and reject the things that they’re hearing.”

28:30 — Rex: “Learning is systems more than it is facts.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

May 1, 2018
 

How have sales funnels changed in the past 20 years? What actually is a CRM or CMS? Are they merging together into a larger client management platform? This week, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss the new way of onboarding customers.

Systems Collide Into Each Other: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk about bringing the right clients into your company. We explain the three pillars that are working behind sucessful customer relationships: sales, customer service, and marketing. We define the differences between CRMs and CMSs, and discuss the convergence of the two. We also announce that we’ll mail a box of chocolates to anyone who comes up with a good name for this convergence!

 

1:30— Paul: “At some level, your funnel is everyone in the whole world. …”

2:20 — Paul: “Funnel is kind of a marketing term about getting from less qualified to more qualified. … about somebody signing on some dotted line and saying, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do that’.”

3:53— Rich: “There was a day you’d have to stand out in the street with a sign. …That’s the old school, analog way of somehow taking the millions of little atoms that make up New York City and somehow filtering just a few into your shop.”

6:02 —  Rich: “There is software today that gets you way, way further ahead than standing outside of your shop with french fries.”

9:06 — Paul: “CRM is a big bucket term… but it’s basically how do I track people and how I’m doing at persuading them over time.”

18:07 — Paul: “Everybody’s a publisher on the web. Everybody.”

25:12 — Paul: “This platform is emerging where the people are in the funnel, the kind of content they see, the kind of opportunities that they have to integrate and connect to your thing… are all in one.”

28:33 — Rich: “It’s something big and beautiful. I would even say it’s broader than System A and System B colliding into each other.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 
Apr 24, 2018

 

How can you build software on small budgets and short timelines, without making everyone’s life worse? How can clients get a bunch of vendors on the same page? Is it even worth trying?

A Bad Way to Build Software?: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade chat about the problems you’re going to face when you hire multiple companies to build a single piece of software. We discuss the communication, latency and separate agendas that hinder the process of software creation and give advice on how to make it work.

 

4:28 — Rich: “When I go to management … I need dollars, I need timelines, and I need what it is…what are you going to give them, when, and how much is it going to cost.”

15:32 — Rich: “There is nothing that will bring more friction, more latency, and more disagreement than human beings that view themselves as orbiting around separate entities but have to somehow come together to build a thing.”

15:50 — Rich: “The single biggest risk to designing and building stuff is the dependencies and the reliance and the agendas of different groups of people.”

17:21— Paul: “The overall software experience is a unified thing, and it comes from a unified team. So if you put those different vendors in the room, really what you’ve done is you’ve incurred a month or more of teaching them to communicate with each other, and they’re all going to have different processes that they use to get stuff done.”

20:51— Paul: “What you’re doing is creating a pathological work environment, even if these places have good work environments themselves.”

28:19— Paul: “If people would take this seriously, and think about it, they could save themselves so much… just so much emotional pain.”

28:58 — Paul: “It’s a big messy world out there… but vendor madness is very dangerous.”

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Apr 17, 2018

How did cyberpunks and activists affect the tech industry? Do we understand the history of the internet? How much of what we know comes only from a man’s perspective? This week, Claire L. Evans tells us about her new book, Broad Band, and the women who created the internet.

Photo by Jaclyn Campanaro

There Were Women In The Room: This week Paul Ford and Gina Trapani sit down with Claire L. Evans to chat about her new book, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. We discuss the impact of online communities, how weird the dot-com era was, and the stories of the women who made things work. We also get a window into YCHT’s future project — the Broad Band Musical!


2:29 — Claire: “[This book is] a corrective if you will, of all the books we’ve all read and love about Silicon Valley, and the garage-to-riches stories of entrepreneurship… These are the stories about the women who were in the room the whole time, and nobody asked about them.”

5:06 — Paul: “Women get forgotten from activist histories too, and it was kind of an activist scene in the early days.” 

5:22 — Gina: “Weird was welcome, in a way that is no longer the case.”

7:03 — Claire: “My big takeaway is how little we value long-term care and maintenance when it comes to building things… I profile Stacy Horn, who founded Echo BBS in the late 90s. It still exists. And she has devoted 25 years of her life to fostering and caring for this community. … She’s taking care of something, because she’s responsible for a community, and I think that’s really beautiful.”

8:24— Claire: “We mythologize the box, but it’s the users that change the world; it’s what you do with it. The culture work, the development of making things worth linking is almost as important as making the conventions for linking. 

8:24 — Gina: “It’s broadening the definition of what making the web was. It wasn’t just about standardizing protocols and running code, it was about building the places where people wanted to come and connect and share.” 

9:07— Paul: “Moderation…it’s critical, it’s key to these communities but it doesn’t get as much appreciation as ‘I wrote a page of code.’”

20:51 — Claire: “We’re all very siloed in the contemporary media landscape.”

A full transcript for this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Apr 10, 2018

What information is Facebook gathering? Do we really understand how our data is being used? Is it time for Silicon Valley to step up and address our concerns around privary? This week, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss the problems with Facebook (beyond its ugly interface) and the lack of governing body around our data security.

Mark Zuckerberg holding a cat (that is very much alive)

They Have One Product: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to chat about the hellscape that is Facebook. We chat about the lack of communication around what is happening with your data, discuss what Silicon Valley’s role is in protecting our privacy, and complain about how ugly the Facebook interface is. Rich also paints us a picture of Zuckerberg holding a dead cat!

 

2:01 —Paul: “They have one product, the product is the social network and your access to that social network. So privacy should actually be something they have worked out in my opinion.”

2:01 — Rich: “They’re doing stuff to me I don’t know about. That’s very different to me than privacy.”

9:37 — Rich: “And so what I just described to you is the human cookie, right?”

13:34 —Paul: “what we’re seeing here is that there’s no . . . centralized controlling authority for all this stuff, right? Like people think that there’s might be order or like a governing body . . . but it doesn’t work that way.”

17:34 —Paul: “What the hell is goin’ on in that interface though? As we make fun of it as a giant, monolithic privacy destroying pseudo-government… as a product it’s just an insane circus — it’s just this blue and white hellscape.”

21:57 — Paul: “I think people assume that consuming is a kind of making, right?”

26:03 — Rich: “Zuckerberg? He creeps me out. The way he holds his hands out… It’s like there’s an imaginary dead cat in his hands. I can’t — I can’t peg it, man. He freaks me out.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 
Apr 3, 2018

How do you grow a company successfully? How do you build a company that values its culture over its profit margins? Can you successfully grow a company that started in NYC, in Lebanon? This week, Paul and Rich sit down to talk about the growth of Postlight and the amazing new team in Beirut!

The Postlight office in Beirut, Lebanon!

Growing in Two Places: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk about the growth of Postlight. We chat about how Rich’s Lebanese background informs the culture at Postlight, the misconceptions around outsourcing work, how to let your own team of engineers make hiring decisions, and the lessons we’ve learned from growing a company across an ocean. Paul and Rich also revel in the snacks they miss from Lebanon!


7:28 — Rich: “Being Lebanese is part of the way we do business.”

9:24 — Rich: “There’s no factory farm of humans that you lease out, to put some code out in Lebanon. They just don’t think that way.”

12:15 — Rich: “A team starts to form and they said, ‘we want to be part of you, we dont want you to just throw stuff across the ocean because you had a thing that needed to get done that wasn’t interesting. We want to join you’. And to hear that from the other side was really, really interesting.”

14:49 — Paul: “We got a clear signal back saying, ‘[outsourcing] wont work, just like it wont work anywhere. You need to have us be part of your culture, we need to connect, and then we’ll do work at the quality that you expect. And we want that for ourselves and you should want it from us.’”

15:07 — Paul: “What you don’t get is some easy, spreadsheet savings; but what you do get is increased capacity to do quality work, which is actually where our growth is as a company.”

16:48 — Rich: “We’re actually not driven by metrics. We’re driven by doing great work, finding great opportunities, doing great work again.”

24:05— Paul: “Theres a really good chance here that the good cultural things that helped us grow, are gonna happen in Beirut too.”

LINKS

 

Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 
 
Mar 27, 2018

Is the blockchain more than bitcoin? Can the publishing space be taken out of the hands of banks and billionaires? Can local journalists band together to make the change? This week, Paul and Rich sit down with Maria Bustillos to discuss the future of the news on her new blockchain-powered publication, Popula.

Blockchain Fever: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with Maria Bustillos to talk to about Popula— a blockchain based publication on news and culture. We chat about what it means to publish journalism on Civil: Self-Sustaining Journalism, honouring archives, the power behind direct and transparent news, and how Popula is working to address the problems that centralized banks have caused the world. Rich and Paul also try to write a song, titled Blockchain Fever! 

 

5:05 — Paul: “The internet exists because people took a piece of technology and an idea into their heart, and couldn’t leave it alone until it manifested…and I can see that happening with bitcoin.”

5:34 — Maria: “Blockchain technology isn’t the answer, but it’s the paper that you can write the answer on.”

7:55 — Maria: “Journalism has a lot of problems: in its funding model, in its deteriorating archives, in the vulnerability to billionaires who don’t like what we write. …And all these things can be addressed using blockchain technology.”

9:37 —  Maria: “Whenever we publish anything on Popula, a text version of it will be published to the Ethereum blockchain, and it cannot be altered. Ever.”

12:00 —  Maria: “It protects again Peter Thiel, it protects against linkrot, it protects against the degradation of search engines.” 

16:00 —  Paul: “So local journalists are banding together and they are going to publish using these blockchain technologies on Civil. So does this get rid of the quixotic billionaire who funds the news?”

24:54 — Maria: “We know it’s anti-bank, it’s anti-central bank, that it’s anti the dilution of currency. These are significant problems. They’re serious problems. There’s nothing bullshit about this. It’s not about instantaneous wealth, it’s not specifically anti-government either. It’s about addressing the problems that centralized banks have caused the world.”

25:28 — Rich: “So this is a statement. Can you build economies and startups on a statement?”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 

 

Mar 20, 2018

Can electrical engineers create tangible objects? Do we really need to be writing lines of code in a text-editor to be programming? Is it time for society to redefine what it means to compute? This week, Paul and Rich sit down with Bret Victor to discuss his journey from Electrical Engineer at Caltech, to UI Designer at Apple, to Creator of his ultimate vision, Dynamicland.

The building is a computer; the computer is a building: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with Bret Victor to talk to about Dynamicland — a non-profit that’s inventing a new computational medium, where people work together with real objects in the real world (not alone with virtual objects on screens). We chat about the tech behind Dynamicland, the importance of creating intentional communities, and how a culture of secrecy at Apple inspired a life-long vision of community computing. Bret also shares a surefire way to impress a date — bring them to GuitarCenter and show them your analog modeling synth!


3:58 — Rich: “The bureaucracy got obliterated; all the machinery that usually slows you down was gone. The parents weren’t home!”

13:14 — Bret: “I came in the first day, went ot my desk and there was an iPad sitting on my desk. This was 2007. The iPhone just had been released. The iPad was not a thing at all… and I said ‘what is this?’ and my boss said ‘well we don’t know, Steve wants a tablet’.”

16:03 — Bret: “I was starting to see that my values and Apple’s values were a bit at odds. Apple ultimately wants to enable people to listen to their music, and read their email, and watch videos, and have an entertaining digital experience. I wanted to enable people to understand things more deeply or create amazing things that they couldn’t create before.”

22:08 — Bret: “It’s hard to have the level of motivation to pull off something really huge like that, if you don’t have the right support structures in place.”

22:08 — Bret: “We want to create a medium that works for all people. So growing our community, we’ve been pretty deliberate about reaching out to people who aren’t on Twitter and who aren’t traditionally advantaged by technology.”

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Mar 13, 2018

Has the entry-level to the internet become too high? Has the purpose of the web shifted from a software platform to an information delivery tool? Have we lost site of what the internet really is? This week, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss the levels of abstraction we’ve created to make the web easier, and the problems it has created.

The website as we know it is gone: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk to about the expansion and simultaneous shrinking of the web. We talk about creating abstractions to make the web more accessible (like Google Docs) and the ways that has also limited our ability to understand what the web is. Paul takes over Can I Tell You, and Rich provides words of comfort — no one gives a shit about your life!

 

4:11 — Paul: “on one hand you have someone saying the web is about giving people access to publishing, giving people the ability to publish and communicate outward … and on the other hand someone is saying, you’re asking us to move backwards in time”

5:55 — Rich: “The story arc of the web to where we are today… isn’t even the web. It’s just this wild network of protocols that have been appropriated by a few companies.”

7:33 — Rich: “It’s over. The notion of having to do the heavy-lifting is gone. Everything is shrinkwrapped.”

8:26 — Paul: “A designer does better if they actually understand the stack underneath”

11:06 — Rich: “There is a generational thing… that they view the web as a software platform and not an information delivery platform.”

12:09 — Rich: “I think the term ‘website’ and what it represents, is gone.”

13:28 — Rich: “the infrastructure of the world, the things people use day to day, the way that people access information… the web is still actually flawless and unmatched for accessing that information.”

14:54 — Paul: “you’re always playing catch-up and then there’s all this new stuff… it’s hard to get it done.”

15:58 — Rich: “The web originally had the organizational characteristics of a library — this notion of stuff in rows and columns. Google abstracted away any notion or implication of organization… the notion of a page, the webpage, was obligerated.”

19:53— Rich: “Technology should give you abstractions that give you more power.” 

22:05 — Rich: “We’re getting dumber, it’s getting smarter. It got smarter because we got smarter.”

Mar 6, 2018

Are your photos scattered across multiple platforms? Can you access them anymore? Are you locked into platforms you barely enjoy? On this week’s episode, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss the impossibility of getting all your files in one place.

Photo by Martin 

We’re locked in: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk to about a major problem with giant platforms — getting locked into them. We talk about having our documents scattered across multiple platforms, the impossibility of possessing your photos, and becoming trapped by a giant platform without realizing it. Rich also pitches an app that’s based on the hugs he didnt get from his father!

 

4:11 —Rich: “I want all my shit in one place… and it turns out, it’s hard.”

5:55— Paul: “Apple didn’t do anything particularly nefarious. We entered into a relationship without thinking about how that relationship was going to end. Which we all do; as humans, we’re optimistic creatures. So you get into Apple and you think it’s going to work forever … and then you’re caught, you’re locked in.” 

6:30 — Paul: “The more lock-in [technology companies get], the better they’re doing. The more their stock prices go up, the more people like and respect them.”

11:23— Paul: “It strikes me as sort of hilarious because everyone in Silicon Valley is like ‘disrupt, disrupt, disrupt’, but there is nine levels of middle men here, all owned by one or two companies. And you can’t wedge in there.” 

18:54 — Paul: “These big platform companies love to lock you in. It’s absolutely in their best intrest.”

22:37 — Rich: “Google’s doing it right. Lock-in is scary. Own your shit.”

LINKS

Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 

 

Feb 27, 2018

Is bitcoin still operating in a vaccuum? How do we trace it back to market value? What does startup technology and bitcoin have in common? Paul and Rich talk to Aaron Lammer about smoking weed, the similarities between startups and bitcoin, and the future of the blockchain as a post-national project. 

Photo by Anna Rose

It’s healthier to see it as gambling: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with Aaron Lammer to talk about his new podcast Coin Talk. We discuss the stability of bitcoin, the value of human satisfaction, and the similarities between bitcoin investors and startup founders (spoiler alert: it’s that you have to be a bit insane). Rich also grills Aaron on his shift from marijuana enthusiast to financial advisor!

 

4:00 — Aaron: “[bitcoin] combines a lot of stuff that I’m really interested in. It has elements of startup technology media world, but it also has some game theory, and some like . . . just like gambling-y stuff. And I also think that people who are like, say, investing their own time and resources in startup technology are doing a form of gambling.”

4:41 —Paul: “It’s healthier to see it as gambling; if you see startups as a business, you’re an idiot.”

8:17 — Aaron: “There are a lot of currencies in the world that are less stable than Bitcoin.”

8:53 — Aaron: “I believe really strongly in like experiencing these things…like you don’t want to get lectured about Twitter by someone who’s not on Twitter. You really have to like experience technology to get it.”

14:36 — Rich: “I think today [bitcoin] is nonsense. Eventually there has to be a dotted line to actual value, whether it be services or resources. Bitcoin is in a vacuum, as I see it today, and eventually somebody is going to want to trace that line. It leads to nothing today. 

17:45— Aaron: “It could potentially be a post-national project, in the same way that many opensource software projects are post-national. The blockchain is really just the lowest layer. Once you take that idea of an immutable server that everyone can access without anyone controlling it, whether the project succeeds or fails is whatever people can build on top of that. And the first thing that they’ve built on top of it that’s truly been viral is money.”

26:16— Aaron: “Is your religion art or is your religion technology? And where will it be in a hundred years? Will it be with a technological religion or an art religion?”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

 
Feb 20, 2018

Do you need a security camera for your front-door? Do you need programmable lighting? Are smart homes really innovative? Paul and Rich talk about the pros and cons of connected homes, the security of our information, and the impossibility of competing with giant platforms like Google and Amazon.

Smart Homes, Foolish People: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk about connected homes. We talk discuss the pros and cons of distributed networks, the fear of sharing data with giant platform companies, and ask if smart-tech is eating away at our creativity. Paul also predicts that one of Zuckerberg’s 2018 goals will clam-digging!


5:15 — Rich: “All of this stuff is so you have to do less. I used to love that sense of achievement when I had a 486 computer and when I finally got it to print in colour, because I bought a colour printer that took 20 minutes to print a colour page and it only worked right because I got the latest drivers that were crashing before, but finally it was working right. That felt so good. We’re eating away at the skills needed to do some incredibly complex things.”

7:57 — Paul: “This is the fundamental flaw of everything though right? Which is that your home is increasingly becoming a set of distributed network processes and the way the cable companies and the routers are set up it’s very difficult to gain access to those from outside of your home”

11:44 — Paul: “What’s happening is you’re seeing the same thing that always happens, which is that enormous consolidated players are starting to get their platforms together. They’ll get into a partnership. Like Amazon, I’m sure, is talking to Netgear right now.

13:30 — Paul:“The big platforms, because of their ability to form relationships with other big platforms, always tend to win.”

14:17— Paul: “In ten, 15 years from now this will be built in like HVAC.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Feb 13, 2018

Are we living in a post-file world? Has our cultural understanding of “notes” changed? Paul and Rich talk to Chris O’Neill about innovation, acquiring talent,and the importance of focusing your team. 

The Ups and Downs of Focusing: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk to Chris O’Neill, CEO of Evernote to discuss the company’s shift in focus. We talk about acquiring talent as an established company, digital hoarding and how to compete with a pen and paper. Paul also compares NYC to a hatchet, and California to a widdled stick!

 

 

4:30 — Chris: “[We] came from a place of wanting to be innovative and I think we spread ourselves fairly thin as a company. So part of the first step for me, was to spend time with our users and spend time with the founder of the company and really reflect on what is our purpose in the world? And how do we rally solely around that?”

7:09 — Paul: “You’re not the new hotness, you’re ten years old, you’re Evernote, everyone’s heard about you, they’re 23 years old so they’ve known you to exist since they were 13. How do you convince talent to come work for you?”

13:18 —Chris: “WordPerfect and Microsoft Office were only like 30 years ago, 40 years ago. And all the metaphors were physical things: desktop, file, folders, and there’s a very good reason for that: Microsoft needed to have a metaphor that people understood. Now the problem is we’re stuck in that metaphor. You use Google Docs. Like a Doc is an eight and a half by 11. That little picture I scribble on the pad of paper, a whiteboard, an audio note, a business card — is that a file? I don’t know. I don’t think so. We’re in a post-file world.”

17:36— Chris: “People are going to find things that work, whether that’s pen and paper or Evernote, or whatever, people are gonna find what works for them. So why don’t you actually empower and enable them? That’s a mega trend I think you’ll see in the workplace . . . things are going to be user chosen but then companies will enable them.”

16:45— Rich: “Let’s talk about Information bankruptcy. I have a friend. I once took a look at her computer for a moment and she had about 77 tabs open. They didn’t look like tabs anymore…It is digital hoarding to some extent. It is that feeling that if I just put it away somewhere then I put it in my brain.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS

Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Feb 6, 2018
 

What does Chief Compliance Officer really mean? What do you actually do? Paul and Rich sit down to talk about job titles, ruining our LinkedIn profiles, and the value of clarity.

What does Grandpa do?: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk about terribly unclear LinkedIn profiles. We chat about the evolution of titles like Evangelist or Entrepreneur In Residence, and how to capture someone’s attention in three seconds. Rich complains about contracts and Paul makes a compelling defense for white chocolate.


0:38 — Rich: “There’s the ceremonial title which is ‘Co-founder’, which speaks nothing to skill or vocation.”

2:11— Paul: “Boss [as a title] is a great. You never see that on a business card.”

7:05— Paul: “The X at Y is a really good formulation if you’re trying to break through and let people know what you’re about. ‘Self-employed’ is tricky. It should be Self-employed Something at first. You know? Self-employed Writer, Self-employed Designer.”

9:47 — Rich: “I think this is a good piece of advice, generally: LinkedIn flies under people’s noses… You’re always on a list with about 200 other people… so if somebody’s giving you the three seconds, you gotta really nail your headline.”

23:55 —Rich: “ If you keep going back to Clause 6A1, you will destroy the relationship. You will destroy it. The thing exists in the first place for mutual benefit. I get money from you, you stay in my apartment, right? If I go back to Clause 6A1, because you didn’t take the garbage out and put it in the front, therefore I’m gonna ask you for an extra 50 dollars, right? Cuz it’s in the contract. You just destroyed actually something far more durable than the actual contract.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Jan 30, 2018

How can a side-project become a multimillion dollar venture? How has San Quentin become a technology incubator? How can we work to curb America’s prison problem? Paul and Rich talk to Chris Redlitz about Venture Capital and his newest nonprofit, The Last Mile.

Invest in the Pivot: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with VC, Chris Redlitz to talk about his newest venture, The Last Mile (TLM). What started as a mission to instill hope in prisoners has become a technology incubator and coding school. We talk about access to information, the stigma around hiring criminals, and the tangible steps we can take to curb mass incarceration and reduce the recidivism rate in America. Rich also reveals his subconscious love of tight polyester pants!


3:52 —Chris: “We’ve seen some of the best companies come out of pivots or side projects.”

9:34 — Chris: “Kenyatta Leal who was in our first [round of the program], he’s on our board of directors, he was serving a life sentence when I met him as a result of the three strikes reform. He was released, now he’s on his four year anniversary and he works for a technology company here in San Francisco. Someone like that has just become a beacon of hope for those inside.”

11:56 — Chris: “The first thing that we recognized was that many of [the students] just lacked hope. They lived in a box and they thought in a box…And so our first premise was to instill hope and confidence, so that they could dream big.”

12:58 — Chris: “It’s come a long way from this idea of just instilling hope. Now we are teaching practical skills and we have guys getting out, getting hired as software engineers. We just had three guys hired within the last month in the Valley as Javascript coders.”

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Jan 23, 2018

Are we experiencing bitcoin’s tulip-mania moment? Do we need to care about the iPhone X? Is Russia our biggest threat? Paul and Rich talk about the top three letdowns of last year, and make predeictions for what’s coming down the pike.

A Bad Technology Year: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk scrutinize 2017. We talk about being letdown by iPhone X, relate the bitcoin economy to tulipmania, and question how we will deal with cyberwarfare in the future. We also make goals for the year ahead —  Paul wants to go to more museums; Rich wants a good omelet!


5:01 — Rich: “I think if you trace money back to its roots it’s goods and services, right? … So, I don’t understand where the dotted line goes from Bitcoin. It seems to go back to Bitcoin.”

5:40 — Paul: “we live in an economy that favours bubbles…It takes an entire aluminum smelting plant in China to process one transaction on wish.com with Bitcoin… At what point do you look at this and go, ‘Maybe this isn’t sustainable.’”

6:05— Paul: “The Silicon Valley ethos around technology, if you talk to venture capital people they are very, very focused not necessarily on making amazing, awesome products. That’s a big part of what they do but what they really wanna do is make the marketplace. Google is a great search engine. Truly great. Probably the best in the world. However, where it really is, is a marketplace for ad distribution.”

11:19 — Rich: “If you can maintain scarcity that’s where value lies.”

13:26 — Rich: “This is a big deal, right? Because what we saw is that platforms can be consolidated to the point on the internet that they have massive, direct cultural power. And then you can feed that with complete garbage information that satisfies the users.”

17:17 —Paul: “We’re two Mr. Digital Guys and we went to war without knowing it. And we just got the crap kicked out of us….the Russians were like, “Well, what can we do?”… “We can’t use nuclear weapons. That’s really bad. Let’s avoid that, at least so far.” ... “But boy, you know, with one relatively cheap cable modem line we can destabilize a giant global democracy”.

A full transcript of this episode is available.

LINKS


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.

Jan 16, 2018

For decades, the Library of Congress seemed to err on the side of keeping information on lockdown, but Kate and Abbey have changed that. We talk about digitizing archives, creating cultural memory, and rethinking what a library really is.

Jan 9, 2018

What does product management really mean? How can you effectively couple design and engineering to bring a product to life? Paul and Rich talk about the difficulty in defining the discipline of product management, the three red-flags you should avoid on a resume, and how to demonstrate value under an ambiguous title.

You report to the product: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down to talk about hiring product managers who do more than the hand-off. We delve into the intersection of design and engineering, why product management is so difficult to define, and the value of curiosity. We also share our top three ways to destroy your resume! 

Jan 2, 2018

How can you pitch your product without boring an investor? How have audio platforms won the competition for user attention? Paul and Rich talk to Matt Hartman about product development, chatbots and the importance of creating products that establish a sense of connection.

Competiting with the Infinite Scroll: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with Matt Hartman, Partner and Director of Seed Funding at betaworks to talk about creating products that stick. We delve into the future of chatbots, why audio is an exciting space to invest in, and how to not bore an investor with your pitch. We also challenge Rich to start the new year with daily positive affirmations!

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