Jen Rao on Self Sabotage

Jen Rao’s article on self-sabotage is succinct and insightful. Here’s my hot-take on it.

You are your own worst enemy. I tell my kids this all the time when it comes to sports. It’s proven very true for me over the years in business as well.

I don’t often go for self-help type articles, but Jen Rao’s article was direct, succinct and insightful:

Jen Rao on Self-Sabotage, via Fizzle.com

The one that made me read to the end was “busy work”. I recently had a Twitter exchange with my friend Josh Pollock about that

Josh puts the important stuff first to avoid busy work and procrastination.

Jen wraps it all up affirming that we all do these things, and there’s ways to tackle them with effort and determination.

It’s a great read, I’d love to hear your hot-take.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

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Matt Cromwell: Scaling your WordPress Support for growth

My presentation on Scaling your WordPress Support for growth is live on WordPress.tv now. It covers the importance of reliable and consistent data collection, reporting, and my own custom formula for calculating our team’s support capacity.

http://wordpress.tv/2016/10/08/matt-cromwell-scaling-your-wordpress-support-for-growth/

WordPress.tv

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.blog!!!

Glad to see Automattic entering the TLD space. It makes sense for them. Definitely tempted by a .blog domain.

Matt on Not-WordPress, mostly photos

dotblog-social.png

You might have noticed something different around these parts, after over a decade at matt.wordpress.com this blog has now switched to matt.blog. Automattic is rolling out this new TLD (top-level domain) over the next few months and I’m lucky to have one of the first ones live on the internet. The namespace is wide open, and if you’re interested in reserving or bidding on your favorite name you can go to get.blog.

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US vs THEM

Jeff Chandler raises an important “insider” issue within the WordPress community. I’ve not only heard the same types of comments, but felt similar at times. But just like any other “Us vs Them” type scenario, it only improves with people willing to do the brave thing and break through it with experience.

Anyone who feels threatened, or intimidated by the WordPress Core team simply needs to speak up, contribute, learn about how to contribute, and do it regularly.

I’ve challenged myself to contribute to each new default theme each year, and I’ve been active in contributing in Plugin Directory Meetings. I can say that the more I contribute with quality input and feedback and code the more accustom the team is to me and my personality and the more I grow as a contributor.

Medium: Embedly is joining Medium

Medium announced today that it has acquired the embed service, Embedly.

Interesting. This is obviously Medium’s way of supporting oEmbeds in their platform, with the addition of statistics and data added to it.

I’ve used Embedly a bit, and it works well, but their Dashboard really still needs work. Medium will probably be a great boon for that development.

SOURCE: https://medium.com/@embedly/embedly-is-joining-medium-7acf54088fd2#.rqtzztyws

Embedded content overall is a great way to encourage more engagement. When my content is shared on another person’s site, I’m more likely to share it. But how will I know that it was embedded there? Embedly doesn’t currently send notifications like that, but if you are on the Medium platform already, I can imagine getting something like “Embed Alerts” could really be beneficial.

That’s part of the power of a hosted publishing platform like Medium. WordPress.com could easily implement something like that. This is different from the “reblog” tool. WordPress.com has a powerful notification area already, and notifying users of embeds of your article on other blogs would be a great feature.

The self-hosted WordPress platform would have to implement something like that as a plugin, but I’m not sure how that would work except that embeds would ping your local API when a post is published.

As the internet gets more and more complex and there are more and more ways to publish content and share content across platforms, these kinds of data notification tools will become more and more necessary and common place. That’s also why an “Open Web” is vital. But I’m getting clearly off topic now… for another post!

QUARTZ: Ethicists say voting with your heart, without a care about the consequences, is actually immoral

SOURCE:
Ethicists say voting with your heart, without a care about the consequences, is actually immoral

A friend of mine shared this article asking for input from her friends, many of which happen to be educated in philosophy, ethics, theology, and/or social science. It’s a valuable read in this political climate.

This was my response:

  1. The first ethicist, Jason Brennan, sets up a premise before making his ethical claim. We’d have to agree on that premise before agreeing to the claim. His premise is that “the purpose of voting is to produce outcomes”. I’ve had some interesting conversations with California Republicans who feel their presidential vote absolutely has no OUTCOME whatsoever. So, I have problems with that premise.
  2. Ilya Somin provides a formula for deciding the most ethical voting practice. I think it’s laden with subjectivity so not overly useful, though it’s an interesting exercise I don’t find it valuable to actual ethical decision making or behavior.
  3. I like Michael LaBossiere approach because he basically says there’s two camps: Utilitarianism (do what works) versus Deontological (do what’s right).

I believe the national conversation for Bernie voters comes down to that fight between the Utilitarians and the Deontologists. Is voting for Hillary because she is the only one who can beat Trump the “moral” thing to do; or am I betraying my own values by the very act of voting for Hillary.

In the end, I think there’s room for both types of ethical decision making. But the consequences of each have serious ramifications. Let no one think for a second that choosing the lesser of two evils is OK for a presidential race. In the long term is just opens things up to get worse and worse. On the other hand, let no one think that if we “stick to our guns” and vote our conscious — risking the chance of a Trump win — that we would have a “good” outcome.

Then on the other hand, if by voting our conscious we signal that we won’t put up with crappy sold-out options, we might have short-term pain, but start a long-term revolution.

 

Cory Miller: How Simply Clicking Publish Changed My Life

“The tragedy of life is what dies within a man while he lives.”
–Albert Schweitzer

Cory Miller shares his insight into “Simply Clicking Publish”. Cory is so great at speaking truth into people’s workdays based on his own experiences, both failures and successes.

In this presentation he talks about how publishing, putting it out there keeps you honest. If you just wait on it, sitting on it, it just becomes a narcissistic exercise.

Hit Publish! And don’t look back.

WordPress.tv

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In Defense of Windows 10’s Data Collection

In Defense of Windows 10’s Data Collection

Windows 10 is now running on more than 14 million devices worldwide since the software began rolling out on July 29, saving users’ Bing search information, private email content and the apps they access, along with “your typed and handwritten words”.

Do a casual search for “Windows 10 collecting my data” and you’ll find all kinds of crazy pieces claiming that the sky is falling with Windows 10. Afterall, who in their right mind would give away their operating system for free unless they get something in return?

The first thing that really makes these kinds of claims just sound unjustified is that there are laws in the U.S. against such practices. Specifically the Federal Trade Commission Act which — among other things — “prohibits unfair or deceptive practices and has been applied to offline and online privacy and data security policies” (see more in this great Practical Law article).

But the Telegraph article itself lists exactly what Microsoft is collecting and tells you exactly how to turn it off if you like. Here’s what they collect:

  • Search queries submitted to Bing
  • A voice command to Cortana
  • Private communications including email content
  • Information from a document uploaded to OneDrive
  • Requests to Microsoft for support
  • Error reports
  • Information gathered from cookies
  • Data collected from third parties

I actually think this list is not specific enough. I don’t believe, for example, that they are collecting information “gathered from cookies” generated from the Chrome browser, but rather the new Edge browser. Further, I highly doubt they are collecting “private communications including email content” when those emails are your Gmail account. Instead, I believe they are scanning your email content from Outlook.

All together that means that they are scanning data from services that they provide in order to improve their products.

As a product guy, I know how important information like that is to making the products better. I often say that when it comes to advertising Americans want to have their cake and eat it too. We get upset if Amazon — for example — suggests books or movies that we have absolutely no interest in, but we also complain when they want to collect the data necessary to make better recommendations.

In the case of Windows 10, there are several notes I make personally:

  • They are collecting a lot more information than in previous versions
  • I don’t like that most of it is “opt-in”, they should first get permission before enabling that communication
  • But at the end of the day, the data isn’t to invade your personal life (because really, no one cares), but to improve their products.

So let’s all take a big deep breath and be thankful that there are laws that protect our privacy, trust that giant corporations really don’t care about the intimate details of your life, and be thankful that your computers can run much more reliably and safely because of these efforts.

Source: The Telegraph

RELEVANT:How Netflix is demanding a pardon from the White House

A dash of pop-culture, a touch of presidential politics and this story becomes really interesting.

Have you seen the “We the People” website? I think it’s an amazing resource that should be leveraged more often. Basically, people can create a petition there and gather signatures. If your petition reaches 100,000 signatures or more within 30 days then the White House Administration will respond to it directly.

As soon as I learned about it, I had a feeling this could be amazingly hilarious. The Christian Post has a nice summary of really funny petitions and awkward responses from the White House.

In this case, the petition is real, but it’s informed primarily by a Netflix series called “Making a Murderer”. Forbes Magazine calls it “Netflix’s most significant show ever” primarily because

This feels like the first truly national conversation Netflix has started about one of its shows… this feels like something much more profound. A genuine phenomenon, possibly the service’s first.

So combine an amazingly unique and anger-inducing documentary series on Netflix, with a population-driven mechanism to demand a response from the White House and you’ve got a really interesting story.

Here’s the whole petition (which you can still sign if you like).

Source: Relevant Magazine

Reuters: Facebook fights for free Internet in India, global test-case

Can Zuckerberg’s Internet.org really raise 1 in 10 people out of poverty in India?

India has become a battleground over the right to unrestricted Internet access, with local tech start-ups joining the front line against Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to roll out free Internet to the country’s masses.

~ Reuters.com

This is a big story worth watching. A large US-based internet company is trying to provide free internet to countries which have a very low connection rate per their population.

It’s being debated in India at the moment. There are really generous and “BIG” ideas about how powerful this could be for marginalized people in countries like India. But there are also very loud and intelligent skeptics who see Facebook’s strategy as a corporate grab for market-share rather than a benevolent act of charity.

The crux of the matter is whether or not Facebook can provide, via it’s service Internet.org, a free and unfettered Internet access, or whether — by it’s very nature — it would bias or provide benefits to internet sites with bigger pockets. The word used to describe a “free and unfettered Internet access” is called “Net Neutrality”.

Historically, Facebook is a very significant proponent of Net Neutrality. It’s in their best interest for as many people as possible to not only be able to access Facebook.com, but also any and all services and articles that are linked to Facebook. Nevertheless, here’s the summary of concerns that some in India (and other places) are voicing:

It is our belief that Facebook is improperly defining net neutrality in public statements and building a walled garden in which the world’s poorest people will only be able to access a limited set of insecure websites and services. Further, we are deeply concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full Internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of Internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local ISPs. In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

Read their whole Open Letter here (ironically posted on Facebook).

To these concerns, Mark Zuckerberg has his own post on his platform:

Internet.org doesn’t block or throttle any other services or create fast lanes — and it never will. We’re open for all mobile operators and we’re not stopping anyone from joining. We want as many internet providers to join so as many people as possible can be connected.

Arguments about net neutrality shouldn’t be used to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity. Eliminating programs that bring more people online won’t increase social inclusion or close the digital divide. It will only deprive all of us of the ideas and contributions of the two thirds of the world who are not connected.

It’s also a bit interesting that the ruckus over Internet.org in India comes on the coattails of seeing it abruptly shut-down in Egypt just weeks ago.

My bottom line is that the aims of Internet.org are praise-worthy. And what they were providing in Egypt and would like to provide in India also seems praise-worthy. But — as we say in the U.S. — the “proof is in the pudding”. There’s no real way to know whether this initiative really can lift 1 in 10 people out of poverty (as Zuckerberg claims in Reuters article) until it has a long-lasting and well-tested trial in a country where it’s impact could be significant.

That could be India. There is no shortage of tech-saavy users and advanced developers in India. But there is a shortage of Internet availability. Here’s to hoping for the best.

This article is a commentary on the article of the same title on Reuters.com