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Track Changes

Technology and culture, hosted by the people of Postlight.
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May 10, 2016

How do you define success—or failure? This week, Paul and Rich tackle ideas about failure in business, the tech industry, and their lives. The result is part topical conversation (Apple, Yahoo, the penetrating gaze of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes) and part therapy session. “I don’t know how to feel successful, personally,” Rich admits early on. Paul eventually matches him, announcing, “I think that everything I do and everything I touch is a failure.”

May 3, 2016

Programming and blogging for programmers: this week Paul and Rich talk with Gina Trapani, the founder of Lifehacker and one of their newest employees. Gina talks about her journey from coding to the technology and lifestyle blog Lifehacker—and about her decision to return to the programming fold. She also reveals why she took a job at Postlight. (spoiler: simpler tax forms!)

Apr 26, 2016

Is the web dead? This week Paul and Rich eulogize the web, which has been dying since its inception. They compare the early, organic days of the web with today’s trends towards massive commercial centralization. They also talk about Outbrain and Taboola (“20 slides spread over 400 pages”), Disqus and Facebook comment threads, and the hellscape that is wish.com, leading Rich to declare, “Maybe the web sucks! Maybe it should die!”

Apr 19, 2016

What is it like to be a CTO? This week Paul and Rich talk to two former chief technology officers: Camille Fournier, who was previously at Rent the Runway, and Kellan Elliott-McCrea, who was previously at Etsy. They discuss the CTO’s role within a company, share experiences from the trenches, compare managing engineers versus managing CEOS, and swap stories about the most colossal technical outages that happened on their respective watches (Kellan took down Yahoo Messenger; Camille ruined everyone’s Thanksgiving).

Apr 12, 2016

Why is publishing on the web so fractured? This week Paul and Rich make a podcast about making a podcast—or more specifically, about the difficulties of publishing content on disparate platforms across the web. They discuss native advertising versus more traditional marketing, and Rich asks the important question: “I just need to know Paul Ford hasn’t whored himself out.” Plus they answer a few listener questions and talk about how to build a great team.

Apr 5, 2016

Microsoft Word and the legacy of Clippy: in the second of a two-part episode, Paul and Rich continue their conversation with Dean Hachamovitch, former corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. This time they spend a while making fun of Microsoft Word’s infamous Clippy—while discussing conversational interfaces, security and privacy, and the responsibilities of software. As Rich puts it, “I just want to congratulate everyone here for smoothly weaving Clippy into some NPR-ish conversation.”

Mar 29, 2016

Going deep inside Microsoft: in the first of a two-part episode, Paul and Rich talk to Dean Hachamovitch, the former corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. In this installment, they talk about what that job is like on day one, and how to motivate a large team working on a massive scale.

Mar 22, 2016

Why is LinkedIn so unpleasant? This week Paul and Rich want to connect with you, as they tackle the messy hellscape that is LinkedIn. What makes the site so bad—and what, if anything, could make it better? And in the second half of the show, they break down design culture, and how it shapes the things that get built.

Mar 15, 2016

Ethics and access on the web: in this week’s episode, Paul and Rich talk to entrepreneur-turned-activist Anil Dash about the early days of the web, access and inclusivity, and the ethical responsibilities of the people who build digital technologies. Plus they try to settle how much you should tip on a New York City cab ride—no matter what the interface.

Mar 7, 2016
What does your CMS say about your chances as a presidential candidate?
“The last couple election cycles, your typical Republican website looked like it was ten years older than it was, and was prepared by dogs.” –Paul Ford

But man, things have changed. This week we go deeeeep inside the source code of the presidential candidates’ websites and assess their web platforms. Which candidates have the best platforms, and which are phoning it in? 

Spoiler: “If you are an uninspiring political candidate that can’t really get people to vote for you, WordPress is your platform of choice.”

Mar 1, 2016

The debate over security, privacy, and technology: this week’s episode starts with a battle between two titans, Apple vs. the FBI and/or Paul vs. Rich. Weighing in on the ongoing phone encryption saga, Rich sides with the government’s right to protect its citizens, and Paul trusts literally no one on earth. Then they discuss former Microsoft exec Steven Sinofsky’s piece on how hard it is to change product, and they wrap things up with a question from a listener about whether or not it’s worth learning to code in 2016.

Feb 24, 2016

From a design firm in Toronto to Facebook and Silicon Valley: on the first-ever episode of Track Changes, Postlight founders Paul Ford and Rich Ziade introduce themselves and sit down with Jon Lax, director of product design at Facebook, to talk about his work and the culture of the Valley.

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