29 May 2022
Welcome back to the Week That Was series highlighting things from the interwebs which are interesting, noteworthy and/or probably worth your time.
Articles📝, Tweet(s)📱, Videos🎥, Charts 📈 all fair game with or without attendant commentary.
🎨 Still Waiting
“Still Waiting”, Eric Pause, Digital, 2022
Despite VC in the US freezing up in light of the current downturn, Africa appears to still be rolling strong with private and early investment. The 2019 - 2022 YTD picture
⌚📊 Rolex Rollover
The Rolex market index is an indicator of the financial performance of Rolex watches in the secondhand market. It is comprised of 30 popular Rolex models with high trade activity. The index shows the average market price of these 30 watches over time.
👩🏽💻 Hashtag UsedToBeTechnical
From 📝Karim Jedda’s blog.
He has a post called “Lessons learned as a software developer turned project manager” where he describes how becoming a project manager after being a software developer for many years changed him quite a bit - and he chronicles the lessons learned under the following headings:
A technical solution is a journey and a goal > Put simply, the most difficult challenge in a technical project is the communication between parties: it’s the maximum speed at which your project can efficiently progress.
Communicating technically is an art > Just like there are linters, tests and code for a programmer, there are tools you can use for effective project communication. The main point being that you need to adapt to the purpose: who you talk to and what needs to be talked about should be front and center.
Write everything down > Much of my time is spent writing, discussing and documenting findings. Writing requirements, design documents, project proposals and communicating those to both your team and the external interfaces to the projects is the key here.
Agile is not efficient and doesn’t scale > Agile rituals and other regular meetings are more like housekeeping tasks - or refactoring tasks - and don’t count as project management per se. They are necessary from time to time but forcing them and spending more than half your time on them is a sign that something is going wrong somewhere.
A project is usually a business within the business > As a project manager in a company you are essentially managing a business within the business. The important points are that your project has to be sustainable and solve a business need.
You deal with humans > Never forget that
Be careful with tools > “When you adopt a tool you also adopt the embedded management philosophy within that tool” - Clay shirky
Branch your roadmap ahead of time > Change is the only constant. Plans change, people change, contexts change, having a few contingency plans ready for discussion is great.
Make it your mission to know your stuff > Don’t fall into the project management cargo-culting or the new management fad du jour. Just like in software development, there are practices in project management that are purely unjustified and not universal.
Watch out for liabilities > Assume good intent but always watch out for outliers.
There is no complete recipe > You make your own journey and path adapted to your current context and circumstances
The original Pong video game had zero software - it actually had no code and was built using hardware circuitry.
These are the 🏗️original schematics.
For any folks with an electrical engineering background looking to fully nerd out, 📝this page hosts a simulation of the 1972 Atari game Pong at a circuit level - from the logic chips governing the clock generator and doing the paddle positioning to drawing the paddles and creating the hit sound.
🔫 Civilian Weaponry
Free 5-minute tutorial on the logic of great typography which focuses on:
- Best practices for styling text
- How to pick great fonts
- Typographical design patterns
⚔️📱 Information War
Stephen Kotkin is an American historian, academic, and author currently at Princeton University, who has been one of the more vocal counterpoints (similar to 📹Garry Kasparov) to the various realism and realpolitik international relations observers like John Mearsheimer. Lex Fridman invited him onto his podcast soon after interviewing Oliver Stone - whose views are diammetrically opposed.
May be worth going through both interviews to get a sense of the topology of the two positions regarding Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
That said one of the most salient aspects of how this conflict has been waged is the information war and the careful curation of narratives by both sides.
In this clip Kotkin, a full-throated supporter of Zelenskyy and unapologetic defender of “The West”, the current neolibieral world order and NATO - makes some fascinating observations about why Ukraine has done so well (over and above the legalities and morality of Putin’s aggression as well as Ukraine’s steely defence) in the global information war.
“Ukraine, before the war, is run by a TV production company”
“There’s 20 guys or so running a country the size of Ukraine. One’s a producer, one’s a make-up artist, one’s a video editor…”
Going on to say how a TV personality and a TV production company at the helm during this conflict is exactly why they’re “crushing” the information war - in his words.
On the flipside, much of the Russian effort - particularly on social-media - has been outside of the West; especially in Asia and Africa. In fact South Africa is one of the countries which has featured heavily in promotion of hastags like #IStandWithPutin and other counternarratives to the prevailing sentiments seen on most mainstream Western media.
You have probably heard people saying that the problem with quantum mechanics is that it’s non-local or that it’s impossible to understand or that it defies common sense. But the problem is much simpler, it’s that quantum mechanics is a linear theory and therefore doesn’t correctly reproduce chaos. Physicists have known this for a long time but it’s rarely discussed. In this video I explain what the problem is, what physicists have done to try and solve it, and why that solution doesn’t work.
You’ve heard the term; you probably know how it works. However this is as clear a diagram of the mechanics of re-districting and gerrymandering to influence election outcomes as I’ve seen.
Born in the unlikeliest of places — the terrible, wasteland-like aftermath of post WWII Japan — Sony rose to capture the imaginations (and wallets) of consumers and engineers around the world. The company produced hit after hit after hit: portable transistor radios, CDs, the Walkman, the PlayStation, DVDs, life insurance(!!)… and yet ultimately fell behind its greatest American admirer, Steve Jobs and Apple. This is the incredible story of Sony’s human and technological optimism in the face of overwhelming odds — a story that, given recent world events, remains as relevant today as ever.
💕📊 Tinder Economy
Zac Stern, summarising a few other blog posts looks at the Tinder “economy” asking if the matching imbalance on Tinder and other dating apps be a factor in the rise of the incel movement and young men reporting low sexual activity.
The bottom 80% of men are fighting over the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are fighting over the top 20% of men.
If modern dating apps were a country, it would be one of the most unequal in the world. The Tinder economy has a higher Gini coefficient than 95.1% of the countries in the world.
Ultimately, most women only swipe yes on a handful of men per day while men are more freewheeling with their swipes. This creates a highly competitive environment where many men find it difficult to get matches consistently.
The median female user receives about 2.75 matches per day while the median male user only receives about 1.1 matches. At that rate, to expect a match, a typical woman would have to like just three men while a man would need to like over 50 women.
Gender distribution on dating platforms exacerbates this inequality, with male to female gender ratios being unequal on the majority of apps
🪑🧮 4 Legged Chairs
Per Fermat’s Library
Why are 4-legged chairs 🪑 more common than 3 or 5-legged chairs
✍🏽 Evolution of Language
Per 📝The Browser:
Vai, one of about 30 indigenous languages of Liberia, had no written form until 1833. Then, a man who had never learned to read or write dreamed that Vai’s symbols were revealed to him. Once awake, he reconstructed the 200 symbols, which were quickly adopted. The subsequent modifications that came with use have greatly advanced understanding of how language develops
We thank the Houghton Library Harvard, and other archives, as well as senior Vai scribe Bai Leesor Sherman (left) and Jeremiah Williams who contributed expertise on current uses and vitality of the script ꕮꔻꔒꔻꕇ pic.twitter.com/64S4o8uqyq— Piers Kelly (@perezkelly) May 1, 2020
🎨 Back to School
Back to School, Julie DeFeo, found objects, 2018
💬 Deep Cuts
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” - Omar Khayyam, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
🤔 One More Thing
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Thanks for reading. Tune in next week. And please share with your network.