fascinating profile

I loved Zootopia guys. Go and watch it. My take on gijinkas of Judy and Nick <3

Randi with his partner of more than 25 years, the artist José Alvarez, at their Florida home. Credit Jeff Minton for The New York Times

Fascinating profile of magician James Randi, but I really want his home library of 4,000 books, “arranged alphabetically by subject, from alchemy, astrology, Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle to tarot, U.F.O.s and witchcraft.”

Flickr was a treasure chest of innovation, but Stewart never even intended to make the damn thing. He’d set out, instead, to make a game called Game Neverending. It was a financial failure. Flickr was merely based on a set of features broken out of the game, but it took over the company and his life. You may have heard the regrettably trendy term pivot, where a startup abruptly shifts to a new strategy and suddenly thrives. This was one of the original pivots.

History has circled back on Stewart. After a few years at Yahoo, he quit and went back to work on his neverending game. This time he called it Glitch, it looked amazing and had a vividly imagined story line, but was conceptually similar to Game Neverending. Years passed. The game failed. Again. Then (again!) he broke out something he and his team had created by accident while making the game.

It’s a communications application, based on the system they created while building Glitch. It’s called Slack.


The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup

This is fascinating to me. His dream startup has accidentally become an incubator, spinning out other startups. Maybe there’s a model for repeatable innovation here.

The Blacklist Thoughts

Okay so I’m re-watching Season 1 of The Blacklist to get through this agonizing wait until February 1st (God bless Netflix) and I’m thinking about it in the shower (where all the best thinking happens) and I’ve come to the conclusion that I believe one of the sexiest things Red says to Liz occurs in episode two in the restaurant scene we all know and love.

“I so want to know how you… see things.”

Here’s why:

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Everyone at hot startups drinks a lot of coffee. But you can’t drink just any coffee. Nobody can drink just any coffee anymore and be taken seriously. (Except for those who proudly and intentionally do so. The key is doing it with intention. But you can’t just saunter up to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts and get a coffee and actually think it’s good.)

Stewart doesn’t think Silicon Valley is beyond skewering, and God knows he’s class-conscious. He lists the ways that he’s privileged: first and foremost he is a man, and a white man at that, which he notes gives him a huge advantage over being born black or a woman, and what’s more, he was born to affluent parents in an English-speaking country, at just the right moment in history for what he does. Oh, and he grew up on a commune.

His phone rattles with a message. It’s Joel Johnson. He’s blinking. All of Gawker is going to begin using the paid version of Slack. “We decided to pay so we could have maximum integrations,” Joel says, like all good tech journos, via instant messenger. “And because I like paying for software that we use. The price is so fucking painful, though. It’s just not priced for large organizations.”

But nonetheless Gawker slid its dollars across the table, and now everyone at Gawker Media uses Slack. Even Valleywag.

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