Notes for November 3rd 2023
Song of the week:
- SBF has been found guilty on all charges related to the fall of his crypto grift, FTX. What's intensely fascinating about the whole thing is that he was the face of the crypto world for so long. Even just last year, his face adorned magazines and news articles as the legitimate hero the crypto world needed. And it needed it. I feel like the crypto world is jammed with the same bro types who rammed dodgy VC money into startups and then founded dodgy startups themselves and then into crypto. And now, frankly, on to AI.
- Halloween happened this week. And while my kids are still a bit confused about the pomp and ceremony, we had our first real trick-or-treat run with a small bumble bee and a slightly less small dinosaur. The haul was good. And for them, it was their first taste of that kind of sweets. A door I fear we'll never close again!
- What's also interesting is the dynamics of where I live. I'm Northside Dublin in an area that borders perceived "posh" and perceived "rough." The reality is that there's no hard border between middle class and working class around here. Which I like. I'm a mid-level tech person who benefited from the stock market, next door to someone who does odd-jobs, window cleaning, etc. I love that. It's grounding. Also you want to live in an area awash with men and women who can actually do stuff. Like electric work, plumbing, etc.
- But I digress. The point I want to make here is that when I was a kid (in this same area), the place was awash with dickhead teens terrorising housing estates or kids, fires and fireworks being aimed at animals, windows or anyone with a pulse. But no longer. There was one rogue bonfire that didn't last long somewhere, but otherwise it was very tame and, dare I say, middle class. Watching gentrification happen is pretty interesting. Old, shitty terrace houses that were corporation accommodation for poor people turn into luxury, big-windowed houses with Range Rovers in the drive is not something my parents likely predicted.
- We're knee-deep in our annual planning cycle at work now. And the frustrating part is having so many people around me not seeing the wood for the trees. There are mini fiefdoms being architected, and they'll never work. I feel like the poor soul screaming at everyone about the bigger picture around seeing the customer experience as the first port of call, not the downstream impact of a "strategy doc." And that the goal we all have internally should be the same; to increase the share value so we all do well out of this. Syncing to a rhythm just isn't quite there yet in the organisation because it's so nascent, and I think we hired a lot of talented executive types from bigger, fancier companies. They're not used to 'build mode,' and associate the linear regression of more headcount to more success or bigger numbers. That's not the world I came from, and I don't even think that's particularly true in any business.
- I should clarify that this sounds like I'm whinging. I'm not; I love it.
- Apple had a 'spooky' event this week to mark Halloween, and the new generation of Mac hardware. Notably portables with faster and more furious CPU and GPU performance. I love how they always demo their gaming capabilities while absolutely no one turns to macOS for gaming. Partly because it's never been historically strong there. Partly because Apple seems to want to go it alone there (as opposed to leveraging Valve's Proton tech, or similar). Or just because they're really bad at speaking to that audience.
- All said, though, I feel like the lack of upgradability in their hardware is an issue. A big one. If I could find slick hardware I could tinker with, coupled with an OS that I could love and carry most of my apps with (considering I mostly use Obsidian, RSS readers, IRC/Slack, Firefox and Apple Music, that's not a challenge), I would drop the Mac hardware. Framework are a company I admire, but still find their hardware to be a bit clunky. And while Linux is magical, it's still a bit finnicky for daily use on a casual level. Like plugging it into my dock to power 2 screens, a mic/cam, mouse and custom built keyboard probably works. But only probably. That said, macOS is a giant tribute to the old days, not an actually efficient OS. I don't want to claim Apple are having a "Vista moment," but macOS is lucky that the silicon it sits on is so powerful. I feel like macOS (and iOS) have gone through death by a thousand pontificating product managers. Loads of small, utterly useless to most users features that should just be optional, or even open source additions to the OS. Not the core experience.
- macOS' UX is basically just trying to expose small features behind other small features to the point that the reason to be in a menu can be confusing or obfuscating the actual goal I have as a user. Like putting the audio out on a bluetooth headset to the headset on your head, that is actually connected to the computer. That is 3 clicks on completely divergent user interfaces right now. What the actual fuck is that all about? Well, it's probably because the bluetooth product manager has 6 other products to worry about and has no voice in the big fancy room with the people who care about whatever ridiculous name they gave the UI to control bits of the computer hardware like bluetooth and brightness, but also lumped "stage manager" and screen mirroring into the same spot.