Tumblr and Yahoo
I’m joking around about Tumblr and Yahoo a lot right now, but that’s because making people laugh is my favorite thing. For those who care to hear it, I’ll be clear: let’s give ‘em a chance.
Yahoo lost its way a while ago, but Marissa Mayer has done some good stuff to right the ship in the 10 (yep, only 10) months she’s been there. Yahoo stated that Tumblr will be run as an independent company anyway, so we probably won’t see much “oh no everything’s purple and I have to dust off my Yahoo account” change. The change we do see could very well be great, considering Tumblr’s independence and Yahoo’s crazy resources.
Change isn’t inherently bad, but fearing it is. I’m eager to see where this goes.
A Tumblr Primer for Yahoo! Employees:
- Please leave our blogs alone. Don’t tell us what to post, what political leanings to have, what stuff we can link to. Unless it’s outright criminal, in which case please feel free to come over and give us the full Yahoo!-Acquires-Geocities-for-$3.6 billion treatment.
- Please leave the Tumblr staff in place. Say what you will about David Karp and crew — they built this thing from the ground up, Tumblr Hiccups, Tumblarity, stupid GIF ads and all. Despite all the tragicomic (mostly comic) melodramedies (see what I did there?) over a variety of silly things like Missing E and cancelling Storyboard, they’ve done a good job on the whole.
- Please leave Tumblr alone. You acquired it for the cool factor, amirite? (If you say you acquired it for the hipster factor, I will take all your reblogs away.) Don’t tinker with it; don’t change it; don’t fuck with it. Leave it alone. Let David and staff do what they do best: continue to help foster an online community where lots of people give a shit about what lots of other people are blogging about. Let them engage one another with Yahoo! futzing around with trying to “monetize eyeballs” or whatever the fuck it is Wall Street wants you to do. Let Tumblr live; let it flourish. Google’s homepage has looked almost exactly the same since it launched, and look where they are now! (Ed. note — No, dumbass, they offer Gmail and Google Docs and Hangouts and Google Glasses and — dumbass, it’ not just the homepage!)
- Ask us. If you must experiment with Tumblr’s tried-and-true formula, don’t leave out the most important focus group: us. The 100 million + bloggers who are here, using the platform every. Damned. Day. We pretty much know what works and what doesn’t. We’re pretty vocal and outspoken, too, when it comes to stuff we don’t like and do like. Our response is pretty much instantaneous, save for the few of us who like to keep things all bottled up before passive-aggressively spewing all over the Dashboard (Ed. note — Guilty! Sometimes.) We have Ask boxes and Fan Mail and emails so don’t be shy.
- And lastly, there is no rule that you have to like cats to be here. Just thought we’d make that clear.
Stressing Gorilla Glass Makes It Stronger
by Sophie Bushwick, Inside Science
Alterations to the usual glass production process, such as putting the material under stress, can introduce effects that linger even after the material hardens. While manufacturers have long exploited this phenomenon to strengthen glass, a new theory aims to get closer to understanding why it happens.
Glass is not as well understood as most materials, because it straddles the line between liquid and solid. In typical crystalline materials, molecules assemble into a set structure over the span of the entire material as the substance solidifies from a disordered liquid form. Glass, on the other hand, retains a liquid-like disorder even after it hardens.
Without a set architecture, these disordered molecules are particularly vulnerable to outside forces. If you push or pull on a substance, you create internal forces, or stress, in the material itself. Once you remove that force, you’d expect the molecules to return to equilibrium, removing the stresses. But glassy materials “remember” the long-gone force.
Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing.
So what’s new? Simply, Tumblr gets better faster. The work ahead of us remains the same – and we still have a long way to go! – but with more resources to draw from.
Yahoo is the original Internet company, and Marissa and her team share our dream to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas. I couldn’t be more excited to have her help. We also share a vision for Tumblr’s business that doesn’t compromise the community and product we love. Plus both our logos end with punctuation!
As always, everything that Tumblr is, we owe to this unbelievable community. We won’t let you down.
Moshe Vardi: Robots Could Put Humans Out of Work by 2045See on Scoop.it - Tracking the Future
Robots began replacing human brawn long ago—now they’re poised to replace human brains. Moshe Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University, thinks that by 2045 artificially intelligent machines may be capable of “if not any work that humans can do, then, at least, a very significant fraction of the work that humans can do.”
So, he asks, what then will humans do?
See on singularityhub.com
Thoughts on the Yahoo! Thing
First, I love Tumblr and want to keep loving it. And yes, it is immediately terrifying to hear that Yahoo (which, from a lot of our perspectives, is a laughably backwards and culturally irrelevant company) is going to own Tumblr. I sympathize.
But there are a number of circumstances in which this will not be a disaster. Let’s think:
WHY TO NOT BE TERRIFIED
- David Karp is being kept on as CEO for at least 4 years. Karp’s policies made Tumblr what it is.
- Tumblr is only as good as we (its creators) are. The idea that the cultural identity and creations we’ve fostered here have become worth a billion dollars is both inspiring and worrisome. But nevertheless, since we hold the value, we hold the power.
- Tumblr is being kept as a separate company. This is what Google did with YouTube and significant changes were very slow to come to YouTube (though they eventually came, and are still coming). My guess is there will be no significant changes to Tumblr for at least 12 months.
- They’re buying it to become more culturally relevant. They know that controlling the platform will reduce or even remove that relevance, so they would be idiots to do it.
WHEN TO ABANDON SHIP
- If Tumblr requires an account somehow linked to Yahoo.
- If David Karp steps down, no matter what the reasons are.
- If you have to pay to reach all of your followers (FACEBOOK!)
- If Yahoo begins censoring legal images and videos.
- If your dashboard becomes three columns by default.
- If more than 10% of the dashboard is taken up by advertising.
ADVICE TO YAHOO! PEOPLE
- Don’t do any of the above things or we will leave and you will own a billion dollar hole in the internet.
- Drop the exclamation point for chrissake…it’s gaudy and grammatically confusing.
Yes, I do wish that Tumblr (being a more interesting kind of company) could have found a more interesting kind of exit for its founders and investors than the old standby of selling to a floundering company trying to revitalize itself. But I think Yahoo and Marissa Mayer are intelligent enough to not totally fuck it up. Here’s hoping.
You must stop coding, you must keep coding
Our dev team’s grown to twenty-three and when the summer intern zenith hits we’ll be — this is weird to type — forty for a few frightening days.
My biggest personal challenge now, by far: How do you stay connected to a product amidst all this scary m͓͇̘̗a̴̹̠̜̝͖̘n̩͙̘͙̫ͅa̬͙̖̬͍̦͔g͓̼͈͇̙i̪̺̘̙̻͘n͕̠̰̦̗g̗? Do you launch the damn editor? Write a single line of code?
I’ve been trying to squeeze every last bit of advice out of role-models I respect. I’m seeking stories from folks who’ve successfully navigated these waters. From personally writing tons of code in v1 to scaling and managing teams who then receive profuse apologies for all those v1 hacks. If this is you, plz send tips.
Here’re the various mentor voices in my head so far.
You must stop coding. But you must not stop coding. Stay very connected to your product. Make mockups and decisions and docs. Scale your team. Intimately know your tech and your tools. Don’t get out-of-date. Be a coder, but don’t waste time in the code.
You absolutely without a doubt need to keep coding, but under no circumstances should you be coding.
Got it. ✔ Chhhheck!
As confusing as that seems, there is solid agreement for how a technical manager should spend, say, 85% of her time. Scaling, recruiting, empowering, refining some teams’ focus, blah blah blah BLAH we’ve all heard it. Everybody agrees.
It’s the other 15% of the day that’s up for debate. This is that short bit of time when you do something creative that magically keeps you tied to your product and on top of your tech stack and immunized against pointy-haired-boss disease. Some suggest mockups, some suggest small production bug fixes, some suggest adding unit tests, some suggest writing code that you never intend to check in.Being a coder without coding
There’s leeway here, so for anybody else who’s trying to figure it out, here’s how I’ve chosen to spend my intentionally non-managerial time.
- Fixing small bugs for various teams. From a performance tweak to fixing a x-browser bug. Small, maybe 1 hour of work. I see the code, I make sure my dev tools are up-to-date, I ship, I communicate what I fixed. In and out. I can lightly connect with multiple teams this way.
- Pairing with somebody for 1 or 2 hours a week. I work with a developer who’s extremely effective at making use of my time if I give it to him. I put a block on our calendars, show up at his desk, and do exactly what he tells me to do. His project moves a bit faster, he steals whatever codebase knowledge I have left from earlier days, and I get to make a difference in our product by following his lead. I don’t personally think this would work if I showed up at just anybody’s desk. He’s unique, I’m lucky.
- Asking teams to send 1-4 hour dev tasks my way. I’d normally assume that this would overload me and I’d have to turn everybody down, but I’m actually still waiting on these tasks. *wink*.
- Participating in hackathons. I am excited to run another healthy hackathon this summer just so I can drop my managerial hat, hide in a corner, and hack.
- Using the weekends. This is a dirty secret. Little management needs to happen on weekends, so I use some free time to hack. Controversial and not a great tip to give everyone, but it’s important to me.
- Shutting myself away for a few days and coding a small feature. Last time I did this? Months ago. Last time I did this without feeling that I’d shirked more important duties? Over a year ago. I no longer think it’s wise. “You must stop coding.”
Rands’ Technicality is the authoritative piece on this search for maker/manager balance. He opens with “Stop coding.” By the end he commands, “Don’t stop developing.”
What’s clear is these waters are murky. Any good technical manager must go through the difficult transition from coding to spending almost their entire day empowering smarter teammates. But how you maintain that certain je ne sais quoi that separates you from the non-technical manager you never want to be is a pretty personal choice.
Me? I have to launch the damn editor. Just for 30 minutes. Not to code, but to code a single line.