Browsing: Thoughts

It’s no secret that Facebook has been making a big push into capturing our attention around news. A decade ago news organizations “owned” creation, distribution, monetization, and attention. One could argue that Facebook has been making a play for just about every aspect of the news business, perhaps save for creation (for now). Two days ago I noticed something that might have been easily otherwise overlooked. Do you see what’s new? A little more context… I was running through my News Feed as I do a few times a day, and happened across this post from my friend Josh. The headline grabbed me, so inevitably I clicked on it for a quick read. Upon returning to the app something new appeared below the post that wasn’t there before. Let’s look at it a little deeper: Notice the new line, a sneaky addition below the title and graphic. “See more articles…

Last week’s #RIPTwitter ruckus, sparked by the news that they may be interesting an algorithmic timeline soon, really got under my skin. Time and time again I went to the app to construct a tweet that would perfectly illustrate my thoughts on the matter, and each time canceled it before sending it out. More was needed to be said than could be written in 140 characters. First I should say that I haven’t used Twitter in any conventional capacity for about a year at this point. Despite its incredible value as the zeitgeist for literally everything in the world, it was a massive time sink, distraction, and UX nightmare (emphasizing I mean UX, not UI). While there’s immense value in the real-time nature of the network, actually staying in touch with it all is not practical unless you work in news or basically have nothing else to do. Instead of…

Hint: It’s not about thinness Last week a big rumor started swirling around the Internet about this year’s upcoming iPhone release. It seemed to send chills down spines and sent Apple doomsayers into a fervor. The headlines said it all: New iPhone 7 Leak Exposes Apple’s Achilles Heel iPhone Users Are Already Petitioning Against This Rumored Change …and my personal favorite: Stop It Already, Apple The blasphemous suggestion that Apple abandon a 100 year old port seems to have caused straight-up panic and outrage. Everywhere I look articles are referencing Apple’s obsession with thinnness to be the likely culprit. I can’t blame them really, that would be a very easy first conclusion to jump to. It’s also hard for anyone to look into Apple’s future other than themselves. But I’ll argue something completely different: Whether in this upcoming iteration or a subsequent one, the reason for Apple getting rid of the…

*ping* Ev Williams This morning I logged into Medium to read some stuff and was greeted by a bright green indicator in the top right, shouting “80.” Now I love the dopamine rush as much as the next person, but after clicking on that I was completely overwhelmed. Each individual line-item was basically saying the same thing. Either I was followed by someone, my most recent post was recommended, or it had some highlights. Of course this is a good problem to have as I’m very happy that my most recent post was enjoyable by some. As I know this isn’t the case with every post, I do understand the value of showing each individual interaction…up to a point. Maybe we could call that “point” 5, or roughly the number of times you’d see it while on a mobile browser before seeing the same thing over and over again and…

Update: according to TechCrunch it looks like Facebook may be working on a fix for this! We have heard reports of some people experiencing battery issues with our iOS app. We’re looking into this and hope to have a fix in place soon.— Facebook Spokesman These screenshots should speak for themselves, but just to be painfully clear, I’ll set it up: Over the last 7 days, Facebook is the greatest offender of battery drain on my iPhone 6s PlusIt accounted for 15% of all battery drainDespite having background app refresh disabled, because the app isn’t “sleeping” properly when I hit the home button, it continues to drainThat extraneous background usage, despite not providing any value to me at all, is keeping the app alive 2x longer than my actual usageEven the resource hog Safari drained 3% less over the last week despite being on the screen for half an hour…

As the title would indicate, today I turn 31 years old. Not a milestone birthday but an important one to me. This will be the year of exploration for me. It’s a nervous excitement that I feel, but an excitement nonetheless. The last eight years have been an unbelievable whirlwind, doing pretty much nothing but navigating the startup life (3 companies— one great success, one mild one, and one failure). I’ve seen insane highs and lower lows than I thought possible. The stress would at times seem insurmountable yet here I am — another year older, clock still ticking. While I’m certainly sad to know that I’ll be soon closing an important chapter of my life that was my previous company, Circa, I’m ready to start a new one. This next chapter will be one that’s focused a bit more inward, at least for the foreseeable future. I’ve been unhealthy for a…

This is not an official Apple graphic. I made it up. Update: In the years since I made this post, Apple has since launched Business Chat. While it’s not all that I had outlined in this post, it gets at some of the core thoughts: we don’t need an app for everything. I’m excited to see where Apple takes Business Chat from here. There’s already been a fair amount written on the subject on the future of texting and of messaging-as-an-interface. Jonathan Libov had a pretty comprehensive set of ideas that established how a lightweight texting option could replace many of the apps that we deal with today. In the post title “Futures of Text” he says: In contrast to a GUI that defines rules for each interaction — rules which, frustratingly, change from app to app — text-based, conversational interactions are liberating in their familiarity. There’s only really only one way to skin this…

Apple’s News app as seen on apple.com As someone that’s been in the business of news for a while now, I thought I’d give my quick gut-check on Apple’s new News app and some industry trends. When we launched Circa nearly three years ago much of how we thought about news at the time was that it was a commodity and it would only continue to be further commoditized. Now here we are in 2015 and it’s happening even faster than I could have predicted. Simply put, the future for most is distribution and aggregation paired with a native reading experience. Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover are all examples of this trend. No longer will we be loyal to any one news provider, but rather, we’ll be loyal to the places that deliver us news right within the products we love. It will be a tumultuous time and a…

Quelling an addiction and considering value in a blank screen. In late 2011, screenwriter Charlie Brooker introduced the television show Black Mirror to the world that had yet to fully embrace smartphones. In fact, in Q3 of 2014 there were nearly as many smartphones sales as the entirety of 2011 when the series was released. The show is a Twilight Zone-like experience but one far more intimate and scary because it deals with the darkness of something that’s very close to us — our smartphones. Brooker explained the title of the series: If technology is a drug — and it does feel like a drug — then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area — between delight and discomfort — is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of…