Originally published on posts.postlight.com on February 24, 2016. PINSIDE: We’re launching a podcast, and this is the first one. Plus a short note. It’s the Postlight Newsletter for Thursday, February 25 (but we’re sending it out a little early) — subscribe here.
First, a bot-related clarification
In past issues of this newsletter I’ve been sharing “bot thots” by which I meant “thoughts about software that provides a conversational interface.” However it turns out (thanks Patrick Lucas Austin) that a “thot” is a recentish, widely-used slang coinage and sort of the new “ho[e]” (i.e. “That Ho[e] Over There” [maybe]). So “thot” is not a fun way to write “thought” but a cruel word used to diminish and belittle a woman who is sexually active — and also a term that has been claimed by women who want to assert their sexual independence and demonstrate their refusal to be belittled. I did not know this at all and apologize. If you’d like to learn more about thots, you can start with this Stack Overflow post. Don’t do a Google images search.
The Postlight Newsletter, whatever its eventual name, will be many things, but it won’t be putting people down. This corporate newsletter accepts and welcomes all readers without judgment, whether they use Windows, MacOS, Arch Linux, GNU Hurd, Haiku, QNX, TempleOS, ProDOS, Banyan VINES, Plan9, AROS, A/UX, TOS, VMS, IRIX, or z/OS. We welcome readers who run multiple OSes virtualized, or who refuse to define themselves in terms of any operating system — and those who choose to write their own OSes from scratch. As long as you believe in an open port 80 (or port 443), we’re your friend, and this newsletter will be for you.
And now! The first podcast! From Postlight! Possibly of many!
Introducing Track Changes
Today we’re launching TRACK CHANGES, a new podcast about technology and culture hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade, the founders of Postlight. The podcast will be mix of conversation, debate, Q&A, and interviews — and it’s early days, so your feedback and suggestions for things for Rich and Paul to argue/talk about are more than welcome. Here it is on SoundCloud. We’re still waiting for Apple to approve it, but for the next one we’ll have all the iTunes, Stitcher, etc. links worked out. Let us know if there’s some service we should be using.
Okay, great, what’s in the podcast?
In our first episode, Paul and Rich discuss Silicon Valley (one seems to vaguely enjoy his visits; the other is deeply unimpressed). They then open the debate to Jon Lax, director of product design at Facebook, who made the move to the Bay Area from Toronto last year.
Jon has been working in digital media for more than two decades: before heading to Facebook, Jon spent twelve years as a partner at Teehan+Lax, whose clients included Medium, Google, YouTube, GM, and Delta Airlines.
It has a transcript
Jon: I remember building some web page in ’93 or ’94 and putting up on my university web service we had some horrific URL structure.
Jon: Exactly. Then like a day later cracking open the log file, and seeing that fourteen people had been to the page.
Paul: Fourteen new friends.
Jon: They weren’t even friends, they were just number! I feel like I’ve kind of been chasing that dragon — the rush that I got is that I made something that someone at least visited or “used,” was just incredibly compelling to me.
Paul: I remember looking at the logs and it’d be, like, someone from London. And you would be like “Whoa! I have international impact.”
Jon: Mind blown, right? I think that my career has on some level just been chasing that upwards, up the curve.
Rich: So you’re very ego-driven?
Jon: [laughs] I guess but I don’t think of it as —
Rich: There’s nothing wrong with that.
Jon: I just think of it as I like making things that people use.
Three essential Jon Lax links
- An interview with Hey There about his work at Teehan + Lax . “When you have a product that doesn’t exist and needs to come into the world, you can’t and shouldn’t build every feature before you launch. You want to launch with the thing that is your product’s core value, that thing you can do better than anyone else, and then you add to that.”
- “Let’s Kill the Billable Hour,” a Creative Mornings talk: What you value is intrinsically tied to what you sell. It shapes you, it shapes your culture and it creates the wrong incentives when you sell time.
- “Jon Lax Speaks Out,” on heading to Silicon Valley: I’m not sure there is any one thing about Toronto that makes it special… except Drake… we have Drake.
People who helped with the podcast.
Elizabeth Minkel prepared the summary of the podcast. Coordination, research, management: Elizabeth Minkel. Production and editing: Tom Meyers. Podcast logo and design: Matt Quintanilla of Postlight. Studio:Argot Studios. And thanks as always to the staff at Postlight who provide good critical feedback, scare us a little, and thus push us to do better.
Today’s GIF Battles
- More bot thoughts & more (Wed, Feb 24)
- Executives around the fire (Tue, Feb 23)
- Bot thoughts (Mon, Feb 22)
- Maximalism, Digital (Fri, Feb 19)
- When the chips are up (Thu, Feb 18)