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User vs Customer

The entire technology industry uses the word “user” to describe its customers. While it might be convenient, “users” is a rather passive and abstract word. No one wants to be thought of as a “user” (or “consumer” for that matter). I certainly don’t. And I wouldn’t consider my mom a “user” either, she’s my mom. The word “user” abstracts the actual individual. This may seem like a small and insignificant detail that doesn’t matter, but the vernacular and words we use here at Square set a very strong and subtle tone for everything we do. So let’s now part ways with our industry and rethink this.

The word “customer” is a much more active and bolder word. It’s honest and direct. It immediately suggests a relationship we must deliver on. And our customers think of their customers in the same way.

Jack Dorsey

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Reason behind Policy paralysis

“One answer that can be easily dismissed is that politicians simply don’t understand the gravity of the situation. Political leaders need not be economic geniuses to understand the advice that they hear, and many are both intelligent and well-read. A second answer—that politicians have short time horizons, owing to electoral cycles—may contain a kernel of truth, but it is inadequate, because the adverse consequences of timid action often become apparent well before they are up for re-election.

The best answer that I have heard comes from Axel Weber, the former president of Germany’s Bundesbank and an astute political observer. In Weber’s view, policymakers simply do not have the public mandate to get ahead of problems, especially novel ones that seem small initially, but, if unresolved, imply potentially large costs.

If the problem has not been experienced before, the public is not convinced of the potential costs of inaction. And, if action prevents the problem, the public never experiences the averted calamity and voters, therefore, penalize political leaders for the immediate costs that the action entails. Even if politicians have perfect foresight of the disaster that awaits if nothing is done, they may have little ability to persuade voters, or less insightful party members, that the short-term costs must be paid.”

Source: The public and its problems

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Hackers Manifesto: World belong to curious!

“This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch , the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals.We seek after knowledge.. and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias…and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you,something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.You may stop this individual,but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.”

Hacker's Manifesto_by_The Mentor

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Imperially second.

“What I realized during this Australian Open is that Nadal sets the tone for this state of affairs more than anyone else, certainly more than Federer. Roger is so cool and frictionless that, most of the time, he seems less like a prism of epic intensity than a dispassionate analyst of it.6 Djokovic, since his ascent, has been so much better than everyone else that he’s largely been able to act like a careful clinician, the administrator of his own talent. And Murray has lost to the other guys so often that his anger and frustration seem basically inconsequential. In other words, the game may be epic for the fans, but you won’t always catch that ground note of holy-shit intensity if you only watch the other three players. Left to themselves, they don’t exactly project deep contact with the secret fires of time.

Nadal, though? He plays like he’s fighting giants. It’s not just the sneer, or the muscles, or the hair, or that forehand — you know, the one where he swoops the racket all the way around his head like he’s whipping the team pulling his chariot. It’s also that frantic tenacity that used to drive me so nuts. Federer seems devastated when he loses but he also seems to sense losses coming and accept them before they arrive. When Nadal falls behind, he turns the match into life and death. He gets mad. He hesitates less. He hits the ball harder. He doesn’t look sad or scared. He looks defiant, and he plays like he’s possessed.

As a result, he carries matches to a higher plane than they have any business reaching. Djokovic could and should have won the Australian final in four sets, but Nadal refused to surrender, played lethal tennis, and took Djokovic to a place he’d never been. Instead of notching a routine victory, Djokovic had to tap into the same well of inspiration that Nadal was already drawing from. You could say that all these guys have learned what it means to fight on the plains of Troy because Nadal does it in every match. And we see him do it, so we know what it means, too.”

Source: The epic warfare

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Ron Huldai on how Tel Aviv became a tech hub

When you try to push Mr. Huldai on what he did to make Tel Aviv a center of entrepreneurialism, it’s a bit like pushing string. “I didn’t do anything,” he says. What advice would he give to other cities, such as London or Berlin? “I can’t give them advice. I don’t think I did anything by myself. I did not create the beaches in Tel Aviv.”

When pushed harder, he can think of just two initiatives: public Wi-Fi in the city’s open spaces, and providing a library and center for start-ups to meet and have coffee.

Just as you are beginning to think this is all a waste of time, he explains his strategy. It is nothing to do with high-speed Internet or venture capital or any of the mechanics of running a business. His strategy is about the people, not the organizations.

“We are creating a good place for hi-tech people to live in — I am doing it for the people working in hi-tech,” he said.

Source: How Tel Aviv Became a Tech hub

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Ex-Googlers thoughts on working in large company like Google .

“The nature of a large company like Google is such that they reward consistent, focused performance in one area. This sounds good on the surface, but if you’re a hacker at heart like me, it’s really the death knell for your career. It means that staking out a territory and defending it is far more important than doing what it takes to get a project to its goal. It means that working on Search, APIs, UI, performance, scalability and getting each one of those pieces across the line by any means necessary is actually bad for your career.

Engineers who simply staked out one component in the codebase, and rejected patches so they could maintain complete control over design and implementation details had much greater rewards”

Goodbye to google

“If you pitch an idea or a project to Larry and Sergey, their feedback is quite easy to anticipate. They’ll tell you you have to solve the problem in a more generic way. I tried to sell them on data communities, a place where like minded people could collaborate on structured data around topics they’re interested in. The feedback was predictable: why restrict yourself to communities? And why to structured data? Come up with something that solves everything!

The problem with this for an individual engineer like me is that you can’t work with a small team on a medium sized idea, get users and expand from there anymore. You either have to pitch something as the third coming of Steve or your idea will be relegated to being a feature of something else.

Google’s mode of operation used to be best characterised as strictly opportunistic. There were certain principles and leading ideas, but any project that met those and where Google thought it could do better than what was out there, would be taken on.

No longer. Google now has strategies. Once you offer an online spreadsheet and an online word processor, strategy demands that you also offer an online solution for presentations, even if it isn’t actually much better. And you start seeing presentations with product road maps and competitive landscapes and unique selling points.

No doubt this approach suits a bigger company better. But the engineer in me wants to go back to that whiteboard; hire smart people that exploit new opportunities that become available as technology develops to build new products and services, which in turn leads to user happiness. Having a plan easily gets in the way of doing the right thing there.”

Douwe Osinga

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Jonathan Kaplan of Pure digital on being an entrepreneur

“entrepreneurs have to be dogged and passionate. It’s like going into a bar filled with 100 beautiful women. You ask the first one, ‘Will you go out with me?’ And she says no. You ask the second one out, and she pours her drink on you. The third one slaps you. Well, most people would give up at beautiful woman No. 2 or No. 3. An entrepreneur is the one who gets all the way to No. 100. And marries her and lives happily ever after.”

Flipping with grilled cheese

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