“Life is a mask through which the universe expresses itself. We assume that all of humankind and its supportive life forms represent a natural community.”
Frank Herbert

Children of Dune

Matt Mullenweg on being a CEO

n

From an interview with Matt Mullenweg who is now filling the role of CEO at Automattic – this is a profit-oriented company that just raised $160m:

“… Headcount stuff, budgeting, P & L’s, I just think those don’t really matter. In some ways I’m a non-traditional executive. But part of what we do, myself and Stu the CFO, is we worry about that so no one else in the company has to.

… The majority of the company isn’t focused on making money. It’s a very small percentage. The circle gets smaller and smaller.”

change

Posted in Intake, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Five Skateboards

n

Everything is Broken is a well written article about security and software … though I feel it is somewhat undermined by excess drama rooted in Quinn Norton’s activist energy.

Whey back when I worked in software analysis and design I was inspired by and specialized in UML (in it’s early years). One time I attended a talk given by Ivar Jacobson, one of the core contributors to UML, where he described writing software as a balancing act akin to riding a pile of 5 skateboards (an application on top of on OS on tops of a kernel on top of machine language on top of …).

It isn’t just security that is fragile in software, everything is. Function, purpose, performance, security, scalability … everything. I don’t know if there is another fields where there is an engineered (=man made) complexity that rivals that of software. Right now we are super-sensitized to security and this gives Quinn Norton an opportunity to pounce on the security perspective … and if nothing else it is a good opportunity to realize and appreciate how fragile software (which is so deeply embedded into our lives) really is and how much better we can make it.

Posted in Intake, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment

Drupal & WordPress

n

I’ve been using WordPress for about 7 or 8 years. After a couple of years into it I did some research into other publishing platforms (including Drupal & Joomla). I chose to go (stay) with WordPress. In the last 8 months I’ve had two encounters with Drupal (one only as a user and one with a glimpse into the insides) and I am glad I chose to stay with WordPress. I am not an active member of the WordPress community.

This morning I came across this post (via PostStatus) written by a professional Drupal developer about getting to know WordPress. This shimmered for me:

“The WP community is focused on the user. It’s one of the ways they make decisions. While Drupal developers tend to value technical excellence and architectural flexibility — “what can I do with this as a developer?” WordPress people seem to ask the same question with the content editor or website visitor in mind. That’s refreshing.”

This statement seems to be implying that there needs to be a choice between either technical excellence or user focus, as if WordPress, because it gives priority to user experience gives less priority to technical excellence. This statement is, while technically correct, misleading (ironically that is a typical consequence of engineering mentality). There is no doubt in my mind that Drupal is dominated by an engineering mentality (while giving much less priority to users and user experience) … it is evident everywhere I’ve looked.

To me what is more interesting is that focus on user experience will likely lead engineers to technical excellence but the opposite isn’t true. You can focus on technical excellence forever without ever meeting user experience.

User experience is, in my opinion, one of the most strategic weaknesses of open-source software (though in a few cases it seems to be getting better). WordPress out-performs Drupal on user experience and at the same time I believe user experience is also a weakness of WordPress.

Ironically, WordPress and Drupal (and most open source software) are actually both user-centric – the user being the developers of the platforms (developing software for themselves – the way they’d like it to be). With Drupal that is painfully obvious, with WordPress it is more subtle, but also very dominant.

 

Posted in AltEco, outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

I was happy there

n

Shahar has revised his website and published some new materials.

This is a good way to taste Shahar:

I remember magical moments in studio exploration that seemed more evasive in performance. This is a beautiful example of what studio can birth:

I was happy there.

 

Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Savage Capitlism (is back)

n

From Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself:

“Back in the 90s …  there was a series of assumptions everybody had to accept in order even to be allowed to enter serious public debate. They were presented like a series of self-evident equations. “The market” was equivalent to capitalism. Capitalism meant exorbitant wealth at the top, but it also meant rapid technological progress and economic growth. Growth meant increased prosperity and the rise of a middle class. The rise of a prosperous middle class, in turn, would always ultimately equal stable democratic governance. A generation later, we have learned that not one of these assumptions can any longer be assumed to be correct.

… Capitalism does not contain an inherent tendency to civilise itself. Left to its own devices, it can be expected to create rates of return on investment so much higher than overall rates of economic growth that the only possible result will be to transfer more and more wealth into the hands of a hereditary elite of investors, to the comparative impoverishment of everybody else.

… The period when capitalism seemed capable of providing broad and spreading prosperity was also, precisely, the period when capitalists felt they were not the only game in town … rather than high rates of growth allowing greater wealth for capitalists to spread around, the fact that capitalists felt the need to buy off at least some portion of the working classes placed more money in ordinary people’s hands, creating increasing consumer demand that was itself largely responsible for the remarkable rates of economic growth that marked capitalism’s “golden age”.

… The 1% are not about to expropriate themselves, even if asked nicely. And they have spent the past 30 years creating a lock on media and politics to ensure no one will do so through electoral means.”

Posted in Intake, outside | You are welcome to add your comment