Oh, Bro—what art thou?

Kate Losse, writing on the transformation of “brogrammer” from modest irony to oppressive fixture:

The creation of the mythical brogrammer has had very real consequences. New classes of startups in the Valley, anxious to “fit in” to a culture that is now shaped as much by external media as by internal community, are emulating the same flat stereotype imagined by the Brogramming page (a sponsored ad in my Twitter feed recently read “seeking brogrammers” :/). The “joke” becomes real, the brogrammer becomes the flat, oppressive ideal, and the fact that “bro” was originally a term of complex, critical affection within a community is lost, replaced by a distorting mirror in which people see themselves reflected as comic Hollywood caricatures, while disavowing their own, very real participation in what remain very real cultural issues.

Boulevard of broken dreams.

David Carr, on Yahoo wanting a piece of Hollywood pie:

Wandering around Sunset Boulevard with a big bag of money shopping for programming is more likely to result in a mugging than a hit show.

Mike Judge adds his two cents:

People in Silicon Valley are generally smarter than people in Hollywood, but it takes a different kind of intelligence to make television, especially a lot of it, and do it well.

And a closing thought that includes Steve:

The list of technology companies that have prospered over the long haul in entertainment is short. I can think only of what Apple [really, Steve Jobs] did with Pixar before selling it to Disney. In that case, vast processing power was paired with an absolute devotion to great stories. No other lasting success comes to mind.



You succeed because you’ve chosen to be confident. It’s not really useful to require yourself to be successful before you’re able to become confident.

Hail the King.

Patton Oswalt, reflecting on Stephen King:

Most people, they can build their reputation on two or three. This guy has written a small bookstore of his own stuff. That is how hard he has played the shit out of his own game.

Facebook is like a reverse Amazon.

Sarah Lacy, at her best:

Facebook is like a reverse Amazon. Amazon squeezes out prices through efficiencies and passes on the savings to everyone else. Facebook sucks in cheap capital through high valuations and spreads the inflation to the rest of the Silicon Valley machine.

The next ubiquity isn’t running on every device, it’s talking to every device.


Cloud computing is one potential path forward. The cloud is nascent, like the PC industry of 1980. In 30 years we’ll look back at our networked infrastructure of today and laugh, wondering how we got a damn thing done. The world is in need of high-quality, reliable, developer-friendly, trustworthy, privacy-guarding cloud computing platforms. Apple and Google each have glaring (and glaringly different) holes among that list of adjectives.

Satya Nadella needs to find Microsoft’s new “a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software”. Here’s my stab at it: Microsoft services, sending data to and from every networked device in the world.

The next ubiquity isn’t running on every device, it’s talking to every device.

Facebook’s “Paper” and the challenges of brand management.

Facebook’s challenges with separate apps is a brand management issue.

People’s perception of what you are determine your success, not your actual product.

If what you build feeds into how they’ve slotted you in their minds, you win. Otherwise, you lose.

(People don’t change their minds once made.)

YouTube worked for Google precisely because it wasn’t Google Video.

Instagram works for Facebook precisely because it isn’t Facebook.

The problem with Paper is that it’s *fed* by Facebook. The name and interaction model don’t shift the perception. It’s still Facebook.

Poke suffered the same problem: Facebook underneath. 

Digital services have to reckon with brand management at scale: Individual, Endorsed, or Monolithic brands?

Tumblr is an individual brand under Yahoo. Verge under Vox. This is the P&G approach.

Apple is an endorsed brand: Mac, iPhone, iPad are 50/50 with “Apple”. This is how Nike works.

Google’s integrated services have led it to a monolithic brand, like GE (with Android and Nest as individual brands).

How much your technical & interaction model define your brand defines your brand decisions. They’re part of your aesthetic.

Analog: Tiffany can’t use its baby blue colour for a new brand. That’s destructive (and what FB is doing w/Paper).

Takeaway: anything powered by Facebook should be Facebook. Anything different can (and should) be different.

You just have to be sure that you understand why they’re laughing.

Benedict Evans, on the necessary ignorance to be savvy:

The problem is, this sort of ignorance and misunderstanding is often how we get true disruption - people are so ignorant that they don’t know something can’t be done and won’t work, so they go and do it, and it works. Dropbox and Paypal are particularly good examples of this, while Bessemer’s ‘anti-portfolio' is a fun look at the sensible reasons why some amazing companies would never work. The challenge of venture investing is that the model depends on investing in things that are laughable, because those are the only things that can make billions of dollars from zero in a few years. So you kind of want people to laugh at you and think you don’t understand the sector. You just have to be sure that you understand why they’re laughing. 

Bletchley Circle: Enigma meets The Killing, with art direction by Mad Men. Impeccable in every way. Also: this photo rocks.

Bletchley Circle: Enigma meets The Killing, with art direction by Mad Men. Impeccable in every way. Also: this photo rocks.

Why I Love My Team: Reason #213

  • Adam: I want a Tardis.
  • Christina: You could make your own. My friend Lisa just did a blog post with 37 Dr. Who craft ideas.
  • Adam: Does it work?
  • Christina: Are you a Time Lord?
  • Adam: No.
  • Christina: Well then.
Alana reunites with Flo @ Glastonbury.
I could not love this photo more.

Alana reunites with Flo @ Glastonbury.

I could not love this photo more.


I’m very sympathetic to attempts to increase security against organised crime, but you have to distinguish yourself from the criminal.”

Tim Berners-Lee, speaking with The Guardian, on the NSA and GCHQ.



Have I mentioned Episodes? We stumbled upon it in the wake of Breaking Bad and found a perfect counterbalance to the anxiety-provoking Heisenberg roller coaster: a smart, gentle comedy; deftly written and carefully directed, with a near-perfect cast; assembled to tell the story of two Brits imported to LA to reproduce their hit UK series for an American audience. (Disaster ensues.) Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan are winning as the distressed duo (as is, surprisingly, Matt LeBlanc as their American star), and the assorted players are fantastic, from Mad About You’s John Pankow to newcomer and scene-stealer Kathleen Rose Perkins (taking Carrie Fisher’s “other woman” from When Harry Met Sally to new and better heights.) On Netflix. Two seasons, with the third in production. Highly recommend.