Notes for March 17th 2023

Lá feile Padraig sona duit!

"As a manager (and leader), everything is your fault...You are in charge of processes and people...You either created the processes where this outcome happened or you hired (or did not fire) the wrong people."

Andreas Klinger nails it.

  • It's St. Patrick's day today, as I publish. And tradition sees fit that we depart Dublin for the weekend to avoid the need to decline invitations for drinking in the city centre, house parties and any other activity around it.
  • A former colleague that I'm very connected to recently received a well-deserved promotion. But another colleague that I'm also connected to is interrupting the first's ideas. Namely, they're bumping into each other over the US-based colleague pontificating to the EU-based one. I've seen this before, but it's toxic and rooted in a lot of bravado that I've only really truly seen in the US bro culture. Such a shame.
  • Silicon Valley Bank going under is huge. Especially so soon after FTX. A lot of hubris in the tech world has lead to this, in my opinion. And I called it a while ago, declaring that the tech world is in a bizarre self-fulfilling bubble that will get found out eventually. And here we are. The US is going to look after customer deposits, but not investors. Which feels balanced enough.
  • I'm leading a large project in work that had an awful monicker. It's not ready for primetime yet so I shifted the whole thing to being called "Artemis." Mostly so I could use the NASA/ESA badge in my docs. But it was received well as a change, which was nice!
    • I should point out that I am absolutely not on one project right now. This is one of a half-dozen major things I plan to ship this year.
  • We have two young kids (1 year old and 2.5 year old). We also have a 5 year old dog, Marla. It's funny how she went from queen of the household to right down to the bottom of the priority list. But in recent weeks I noticed she's getting a lot more positive attention from everyone -- myself included. I think this is as a result of the 1 year old being more independent (able to move around solo, eat without us intervening, play with his brother or alone, etc.).
    • As a total aside, it's also funny to watch the two kids and dog interact. They all play together, which is just incredible. You haven't lived until you've had two kids try to race a dog while crawling down the hallway.
  • I might be going mad but it seems a big visual update came to the Google Workspace suite of tools. It's not bad, but I've never particularly loved Google's design language.
  • 3 years ago this week the pandemic hit Europe. It was an odd day because I was off work, for some reason. I drove to one of the shopping centres near us to grab some food to cook for the evening. And I was met with absolutely torrents of cars in the carpark. The whole point of going at that time was that it wouldn't have been busy. Turns out, it was parents rushing to buy things to last a few weeks because their kids were being sent home. I had no idea, because I never listen to radio. Everyone thought it would be 2 hard weeks. Even the government did. Little did we know.
  • I added a tab to a story where Ring has been ransomware attacked. This means some malicious actor has gained access to Ring's data systems, and is holding them to ransom. We've seen this stuff a lot over the last few years, giving rise to systems like haveibeenpwned. I think companies should suffer enormous repercussions in the form of fines or criminal charges when customer data is leaked or compromised. It is not ok for software systems to be compromised. Moreover, EULAs are just a silly run-around the law. Software engineers & security engineers can make just about anything "secure," with enough time/money. As such, making it insanely costly to lose personal data is the stick to beat this problem with.
  • I tend to go to the office once or twice a week. It's not a difficult commute as it's about 15 minutes cycle (an hour if I drove!). And if I commute at an odd hour (after 9.30am, for example), the bus is quick and drops me behind the office. I've done this even pre-pandemic, working mostly at home but visiting the office regularly, or for customer meetings, onsites, etc. This is largely due to the last decade or so of my career very much being in a global context. I have colleagues in the US and APAC. Today, of my entire team that reports into me or works adjacent to me, not a single person is based in Dublin. So being at home online is far more convenient and sensible. But visiting the office is a nice break, good place to connect to folks and has obvious social advantages. Which makes me think that this is the ideal working modal for folks in the future. Fully remote means you're a hermit staring at Zoom all day for 30 years. Is that really what we want in society?
    • Companies should be considering budgetary flexibility to allow folks commute to the office as part of their benefits package. In Japan, a rail pass is a very common company perk. Similarly, a quarterly regional in-person onsite (in a designated office or hotel/facility somewhere) should be in the mix. I'm just back from an APAC onsite in Bangkok, which was insanely cheap to run because of the economics Bangkok provides over where our main offices are in-region (Tokyo, Singapore or Sydney).
  • It looks like Counter-Strike is about to migrate to Source 2, the most modern engine from developer Valve. It seems to be called CS2 officially, at least ahead of beta. Which is super exciting. It's the one game I've been playing since I was a youngster all the way back in the 1.6 days, and even beforehand.
    - Speaking of, Counter-Strike hits it's 25th birthday this year. 
    How CS was named
  • A few years ago at a conference, a speaker hosted a session that stuck with me. It was about AI. Which is obviously a hot topic right now. His pitch was this:
    - Imagine trying to explain the convention centre to a chimp. It’d be impossible to explain the evolution required to get us to steel, construction, electricity, etc. A chimp is just never going to have the skill or capability to understand. 
    - His point was that we are not far off of the exact same thing, but it’s AI explaining concepts to humans. We’ll be too stupid and useless to understand.
    - And now GPT-4 has been released, and it's mindblowing. We have no idea what's about to happen, but we do know _something_ is shifting in a seismic way.
    Bangkok at night

Bangkok during the day

Did you know that #Apple made design studies for a folding cell phone? In 1983!!! These designs where made by Frog Design. Awesome, huh? 🥰 @phrank apple prototype flip phone

apple press cutting