It’s hard to imagine a time more intense or enjoyable than the last few years I’ve spent building Boundless with Ariel & team. We took a bold idea, partnered with bold investors, had the good fortune to assemble one of the smartest teams in Boston, and willed into existence an important and transformative education company - one that will continue to shape the landscape for a very...
Hiring and Leading a Superpowered Team →
This Intelligently class, run by Boundless’s own Nick Ducoff, should not be missed. Nick is an incredible manager/operator/entrepreneur, and has taught us tons - building out a killer team, getting everyone on the same page, and executing down complex projects without missing a heartbeat, paradoxically hitting outrageous goals with reliable predictability. A great deal of his success comes...
Whiteboard or Die
I have a theory: “He who controls the whiteboard controls the conversation.” There’s a certain level of implied command when you’re standing in front of the room putting your ideas into writing, or real-time editing the thoughts of others (no matter how subtlety) If you’re an introvert, it may be extremely hard to combat this extrovert-controlled reality. At...
What's Your Superpower?
When I get to know someone, I make it a point to identify their superpower: what’s the one thing they truly excel at? And once you know someone’s singular, superlative-strength, great things can happen! Over the past few years, I’ve met and worked with some exceptional people. I’d like to share a few super-hero friends/colleagues & their powers with you: Ariel Diaz:...
You're a Neuron, Upgrade Yourself
(Subtitle: buy the iPhone 5 or any other phone-upgrade you can afford) I have a pet theory I’ll share fully another day, but the gist of it is that as a knowledge worker, you’re a neuron in an emerging global organism (society), routing information and influencing other cells (humans) to keep the organism alive. As a neuron, even a 20% boost in ‘dendritical’ or...
How Healthy Is Your Office? →
boundlessinc: When building a company, it’s easy to neglect one of the most crucial resources in your arsenal—your team’s health. Getting a company off the ground requires tremendous effort from everyone involved, but if you’re proactive about building a healthy culture, you can help keep the team happy and productive, even in stressful times. At Boundless, employee health is extremely important...
Boundless Engineering: Why Scala? Our Take at... →
boundlessengineering: Nearly a year-and-a-half ago, Boundless Learning made the decision to use Scala as our backend language for three reasons: Functional programming & static-typing make for better code The robustness of the Java ecosystem The language hiring bias/paradox Functional Programming & Static Typing First of many technical blog posts from the team here at Boundless, we...
I'm Done Developing for Twitter
There’s a reason my side projects have favored the Twitter platform: I’m a fan of the service, and earnestly want to improve the experience of her users. No more: Twitter is a hostile partner to developers and has bluntly terminated my projects without so much as a reason. First it was Proxlet (now defunct). Chris Ricca and I built Proxlet because we wanted to improve our Twitter...
If you asked people in 1989 what they needed to make their life better, it was...– Sep Kamvar (via cdixon)
kottke.org: The Wirecutter goes long on standing... →
jkottke: The fantastically obsessive Mark Lukach just spent an outlandish amount of time researching stand-up desks and shared his findings at The Wirecutter. Even if you have no interest in standing on the job, The Wirecutter is worth a visit for their concise and excellent guides on what to buy from…
Machines may one day realize they are alive, but long before that we’ll...
I fear for future generations of programmers. Carefully engineered systems with the best of intentions turn into organic abstraction-sprawls as we build more and more on top of the old. I can easily lose hours of my day code-diving into software, systems, and services conceived & built 1 year ago, 10 years ago, or 30 years ago. In a hundred years from now, code-spelunkers will find the...
$8M in Funding and a Lawsuit to Boot? Game on.
Nearly a year to the day we began, we’re ready to tell the story of one of the most broken yet important areas of education. boundlessinc: It’s been a hell of a year for Boundless Learning. We’ve raised $8 million in new funding, reached thousands of students with our products and innovated in an industry that’s long overdue for disruption. But whenever there’s a great party, there are...
Just say no to testing red vs blue →
Great reality check / advice nabeel: The problem with A/B testing is not the testing, it’s the inputs. If you are an early stage company and you need 2x returns you need to be swinging big. I personally found this hilarious, tested these 2 ads for the sake of curiosity 15k impressions each: - Nice picture of actual in-game content - Green call to action button w/ “free”, “free online...
a face in a cloud: Minimalist →
afraser: Last night I noticed just how ugly the Disqus comment system makes my blog pages so I decided to take a knife to it and I thought I’d share some code. .disquscomments h3, .disquscomments #dsq-sort-select, .disquscomments #dsq-pagination, .disquscomments .dsq-comment-footer, .disquscomments... Great Disqus trimming CSS. Will be adding to this blog in 3, 2 …
Square Register →
Square’s latest app has a simple goal: killing the cash register. Fantastic, audacious, well articulated goal, and fantastic looking product. Does anyone else see something so shiny, and then fantasize about opening a retail store just to play w/ it? That’s probably one ‘tell’ for excellent product design & messaging. (via parislemon)
In Defense of SiliconValleywood & Pinterest
Yesterday, Jon Evans posts to TechCrunch that Silicon Valley is selling sugar water; that real innovation is few & far between, and too many folks are getting caught up in startups that “don’t matter” (his example, Pinterest) Oddly, as someone doing an education startup, I disagree with Evans. While it’s true there are many-many more startups focusing on...
markitechture: Demoing Product →
Excellent demoing tips from Christopher markitecht: Most product demos are disastrous. I’ve gone through more trainwrecks than I would care to have, and thought I’d share some of my scars and random learnings on the topic. Beware the projector. These things are the devil. You have three challenges here: a) severely limited resolution b) severely…
Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster, says the...– Barnes & Noble, Taking On Amazon in the Fight of Its Life - NYTimes.com (via infoneer-pulse) Someone needs a sanity check.
2011 Wistia Recap
brendanschwartz: Here’s a video recap of 2011 in Wistia Land. This was a surprise end-of-the-year present from super friends Chris Lavigne and Dan Mills. Wistia kills it. Great/fun 2011 recap video from them. Hope you guys have a great 2012!
Billion Dollar Startup Idea
Probably not the first to have this idea, but, “what if….” What if there was an Apache mod that let all web-devs target WebKit with HTML/CSS and on the fly translated the CSS to support whatever quirks the requesting browser/User-Agent might have. I’d pay handsomely to target 1 desktop browser, 1 mobile browser, etc. Let some crazy auto-updating plugin handle the rest,...
GIT HUB Y U NO HAVE FULL HISTORY/REVISION TEXT... →
Seriously though. I love love love github, and would kill kill kill for this. Anyone done this?
A Singulatarian Holiday
My brother & I decided to give exclusively “singulatarian” gifts this holiday. What’s that mean? Digital goods & services. What else could future meta-humans want/use? A sampling: Soundcloud Subscription Minecraft key-code Kindle eBook gifts iTunes gift card Not digital, but closer to meta-human: TurningArt subscription Foodzie subscription etc It’s all...
Computers Will Entertain Us to Death
Skyrim was released this winter, and players have already invested millions of hours in its single-player Nordic countryside. World of Warcraft boasts millions of years logged on its massively-multiplayer world of Azeroth. The human experience would claim billions of lifetimes spent in its omni-player reality, if it were to make a comparative claim on its marketing material. How soon until we...
Want a Coffee? A Brief Guide for Neophytes
Some quick thoughts on what I’ve learned, and how I prefer to conduct coffee meetings. Here follow my guidelines for whoever wants to set up a java-jam: Why Meet At All? When reaching out to ask for a coffee meeting, be immensely specific with you want to meet, and what you hope to get out if it. If the reason is only as good as “let’s connect!” don’t be sour if...
Developers: You are not a Language
Despite what recruiters think, despite what you might think, you are not a language. Years of hacking have sharpened your mind, your instinct, your reasoning, until you no longer even see the code: you see the answer. You are a problem-crushing warrior, an architect of logic. So why filter your job opportunities by ‘language’? I’ve seen this over and over: otherwise smart...
brinking.: 24 hours with the Fire →
nabeel: 24 hours in with the Kindle Fire and I feel like I’m coming to the same emotional place as I did with the Droid. The first 10 minutes were “wow, I think this might actually make it!” — but it buckled under extended use from lack of polish. The good. Hardware: A better form factor for media… Solid review; definitely share Nabeel’s sentiments.
jcg1013: A couple argues through Siri (language may be NSFW) Definitely not safe for work, still kinda hilarious.
Jeff Bezos Owns the Web in More Ways Than You... →
bijan: Levy: Two years ago, you bought Zappos. Was that an attempt to absorb their so-called culture of happiness and customer service? Bezos: No, no, no. We like their unique culture, but we don’t want that culture at Amazon. We like our culture, too. Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn’t want to talk to us. Every time a customer contacts us, we see...
The human/machine relationship is abusive. The computer tempts you with its...– John Graham-Cumming
Optimizing MongoDB: Lessons Learned at Localytics →
bdarfler: Check me out Super useful MongoDB info from Señor Darfler of Localytics
What Are You Afraid Of, It's Just Software
There has been a ton of interesting web-discussion recently. Has software failed us? Are we building skyscrapers or ever-higher piles of mud? I’m in the ‘mud’ camp, but I’ll share a secret with you: it doesn’t matter. It’s a question of intelligent design vs evolution. Unsurprisingly, software is on the evolutionary path, like a thousand other systems &...
A new generation, one that grew up with a data surplus, is coming along. To this...– Seth Godin - The Shower of Data