05 July 2015

În Londra la început de decembrie

in Bucharest, Romania

Prima mea ocazie de a călători la Londra a apărut legată de serviciu, un training de trei zile la început de săptămână. De vreme ce trebuia să ajungem cu o zi înainte ca să fim luni dimineața punctuali la birou, am ales un zbor matinal pentru a petrece ziua de duminică în capitala Marii Britanii. Am aterizat la Heathrow după 10 dimineața și m‑am mișcat rapid, pentru a ajunge la ora 1 la primul tur prin oraș pe care‑l rezervasem. La sosire, aeroportul nu mi s‑a părut atât de impresionant și aglomerat cum m‑aș fi așteptat – o impresie care urma să se schimbe la plecare. Așa cum fusesem instruit cu grijă pentru a reduce costurile, am căutat trenul rapid către gara Paddington, Heathrow Express, unde un bilet dus‑întors între oraș și aeroport costă 34£. N‑a fost nevoie de prea mult efort, pentru că am fost abordat pe culoar de un angajat, oferindu‑se să‑mi vândă bilete.

Odată instalat în tren, m‑am relaxat privind peisajul ce se desfășura din spatele meu. O înșiruire de clădiri abandonate sau pe jumătate terminate care mi‑a amintit cu amuzament de periferia Bucureștiului. În vâltoarea de mulțime de la Paddington m‑am ocupat întâi de lucrurile esențiale: un sandwich, o sticlă de apă, și un adaptor de priză fără de care Anglia e un tărâm interzis pentru echipamentele electronice. Pentru deplasare am cumpărat un abonament de o zi la metrou, destul de piperat, așa cum te‑ai aștepta: cam 7£ și jumătate.

04 July 2015

paperplanes: “Why hiring for ‘Culture Fit’ hurts your culture”

There’s one fundamental mistake in both using and looking for culture fit as a means for hiring: You’re assuming that your current culture is healthy and doesn’t need to be changed.

Using culture fit as a reason to fire or not to hire says more about you than it says about them. It says that you’re not willing to dig deep and figure out what exactly you think doesn’t match in your expectation and a candidates personality. It shows that your culture is a fixed property of your company and team, one that can’t be changed, one that is exactly where you want it to be.

“Culture fit” hampers the biggest benefit of any great team: diversity. Stop using it and start looking at the real reasons why you don’t want to hire someone. They might not be their flaws but yours.

Mathias Meyer

Absolutely! The same assumptions can hurt the work environment after people are hired, because ‘culture’ aspects new employees are ignorant about can contradict their expectations and values. Assumptions like ‘here we often do overtime’ or ‘we arrive on time for work even if there’s no real business need’ or ‘coffee breaks are wasted time’. New hires will be quietly frustrated by them, forced to abandon their own little conveniences to ‘fit in’ or to leave for a more flexible place. To quote some examples from the tech world, you often hear about Google’s ‘engineering culture’ or Apple’s ‘design culture’, but this internal culture bias caused deficiencies in other areas: has struggled for years to improve the design of its products, while is still weak in cloud services and data processing.

29 June 2015

lowercase capital: “What Twitter Can Be”

But Twitter needs to be bolder still. It needs to place more bets with potentially oversized payoffs. It needs to question aspects of Twitter it has taken for granted. It needs to operate with smaller teams that require less permission to make change happen. Twitter can afford to build the wrong things. However, Twitter cannot afford to build the right things too slowly.

Ultimately, while there is no one Twitter that fits all, there is nothing stopping Twitter from fitting most. There is a Twitter that hundreds of millions more people will embrace and use daily. This is what it might look like…

Chris Sacca
Twitter Music icon

A bold vision of ’s future, filled with many good ideas to improve the product and attract new users – and a couple more questionable suggestions as well. Soon after this article was published, a secret Twitter project called Lightning was revealed, focusing on Live Events, and similar to the primary suggestion here. It’s good to know that Twitter is actively working on new products and I’m excited to see them launched. Hopefully some of them will be able to convince reluctant people to give Twitter another try.

I particularly like the concept of channels, allowing people to follow events and topics without manually finding and adding the right people. It could prove useful next month, for example, as New Horizons swings past Pluto. Power users can always load the hashtag into a separate TweetDeck column, but for most people it would be more convenient to be able to follow the hashtag/channel and see relevant tweets directly in the timeline.

The New York Times: “Hooray for Obamacare”

Put all these things together, and what you have is a portrait of policy triumph — a law that, despite everything its opponents have done to undermine it, is achieving its goals, costing less than expected, and making the lives of millions of Americans better and more secure.

Now, you might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom — venom that is, by the way, on full display in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, with its rants against interpretive jiggery-pokery. But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.

Paul Krugman

Glad to see the U.S. is taking steps to catch up with the rest of the developed world.

25 June 2015

The Verge: “Why Circa failed”

  • Circa was cold and rational at a time when journalism was becoming more entertaining and emotional. A just-the-facts-ma’am approach to the news can be valuable in describing major breaking-news events. But those events are rare in nature, and the news organizations that are growing the fastest — BuzzFeed, Vice — excel at making their audience feel something every day. Circa took pride in being flavorless, and it showed in the product.
  • Circa was a generalist in a news market that favors expertise. One reason general-interest newspapers have suffered is because for most major subjects, there are a variety of online publications covering it more thoroughly and with greater authority. (When the Supreme Court next hands down a big decision, will you visit your local newspaper's website to read the AP story, or will you visit SCOTUSBlog?) Like newspapers, Circa shunned analysis — forcing its users to seek it elsewhere when they found a story intriguing. And so an app designed to save people time actually created more work for them.
Casey Newton
Circa News re-imagined

23 June 2015

Above Avalon: “Apple’s Cash Dilemma”

Apple currently has $194 billion of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. Not only is this a record in terms of cash held by a single company, but it represents approximately 10% of all cash held on corporate balance sheets. Given Apple's business model, it does not need all of this cash to run its business. With an enterprise value of $583 billion, Apple would theoretically be able to repurchase 30% of itself using the cash on its balance sheet. In reality, things are much more complicated as most of this cash is not able to be used for share buyback because it is held offshore and would be liable for additional tax if returned to the U.S.

Neil Cybart

If doesn’t want to deal with the broken US tax system, they could always relocate to China, their fastest growing source of cash…

22 June 2015

9to5Mac: “Popular podcast app Instacast now discontinued”

Popular podcasting app Instacast for iOS and Mac is shutting down as the founders can no longer fund it or any of Vemedio’s other projects.

In an email sent to paid members, Martin Hering says that all of Vemedio’s products will be ‘discontinued’, with Instacast being the most well known app affected by this. The company says they will keep the servers up for as long as possible so current users will not be left with non-functional apps immediately.

Benjamin Mayo

I was surprised and annoyed by this news, since Instacast was my podcasts app of choice after the switch to iOS 8 crippled Podcasts. More so since only three weeks before they were happily launching their Apple Watch app. Why were they working on an Watch app if the company had no sustainable revenue and no long-term future?! That’s just bad management on their part.