Notes for June 9th 2023

  • One thing software companies tend to do is provide 'gates.' These are, in essence, access control mechanisms to lock features behind a gate depending on the user. On a macro level, these are ways to gate features behind tiers, subscription types or user size, etc. On a micro level, they tend to be ways for engineers to build specific functionality for specific users, without releasing it out to the wild. But over time, and not a lot of time is needed, they become tech debt. People don't follow naming conventions or store explainers of what those gates do. And in some user accounts, that gate might be mission critical. Ideally, you never need them. But I've yet to see a business operate without them.
  • I'm tackling a lot of work culture stuff lately. Our business has grown a lot, but most people joined during or after the pandemic. So they all feel slightly disconnected to the company, in a very physical way. Solving that will be tough, but worthwhile. I do think people broadly want to feel connected, but like the flexibility of being able to drop kids to/from school, walk the dog at lunch etc. But in some ways, we can't have it both ways all of the time. Being flexible can get in the way of being connected to the company and your colleagues.
    • I fully get that some folks don't want to be so connected to their company and colleagues. But I definitely felt like I was missing something when I joined a company and interacted with it, in essence, over Zoom exclusively.
  • I had a wonderful quote come from one of our investor relations folks who pushed back on a flippancy around "legacy" competitors in the market. But it applies to so much more than just my industry or these specific companies. He effectively said (I've stripped the quote of identifiable metrics etc.), "if we quate 'legacy' with 'low ability' (this 'modern' with 'high ability'), we commit a pretty expensive error." He's spot-on. We can flatter ourselves by simply thinking that anyone "legacy" in any context is thus, worse. When sometimes, if not often, that is a compliment to them; they have staying power and must have been doing something right. There is nothing derogatory about being 'legacy.'
  • Driving non-linear growth demands a growth mindset. That sentence fell out of my mouth this week and we had to stop to think about it. It's too obvious, but is that the problem? People don't necessarily equate growth mindset to themselves when the overall ecosystem is growing. And if everyone is growing, the rising tide shouldn't be relied upon to ultimately come out on top. You need to be non-linear, and out-curve the other growth curves.
  • Next week I'm in NYC, so seeing the news about wildfires in the city is... alarming.

  • This week Apple announced a slew of new, fairly decent but underwhelming updates to their various software platforms. But the big reveal was a mixed reality headset that looks like impractical ski goggles with a pile of tech attached. The looks were awful, and the demo was mixed. But the overall sales pitch was brilliant. I'm not sold on whatever the hardware is today (particularly at that price) but the concept of "spatial computing" is brilliant, and very much so something I can see being ushered in by the next wave of power users. Phones are now in the way. Desktops are for "work," but spatial computing, if they get the hardware right, could be a new sweet spot.
    • I'm also all for Apple rocking in with new tech that absolutely embarrasses Zuck and his team at Meta, who absolutely fucked up on Metaverse. Wrong audience, wrong hardware, wrong persona.

  • The enshittification¬†of the Internet continues. Alongside whatever demented decision-making is happening at Twitter & Reddit, Wordpress is adding generative-AI to its blogging software. And you thought keyword stuffing techniques in 2010 was bad!