River4 blog: Welcome to River4. A new product.
The NYT wants us to pay for their columnists. This would have been a perfect opportunity to open up the NYT to bloggers with expertise. We'd pay you for the editorial judgement you use to craft a story from disparate points of view. The current crew of columnists, perhaps with the exception of Krugman, are not worth it. And Krugman has become stale, a bit of a broken record. This is the part of the Times most in need of re-doing. They have exactly the wrong model for this day and age. Elite is out, intelligent and diverse is in (at least for the Times).
Fargo blog: Fargo 1.60.
JS Nice: Statistical renaming, Type inference and Deobfuscation.
Martin Nisenholtz: HBS, the NYT and the Star System.
I was down in the Village today walking down MacDougal St, when I realized I was exactly where Frank Lanza shot the picture I used as a background image on Sunday. So I had to take a picture, in color, in daytime, with my iPhone 5s. That's today's background image.
First, the content management system is not the central piece to the company. That's mostly what I had been looking at. Actually it's a business and it's hoping to do what Huffington Post did, with nicer-looking content, and probably hope to arrive at a different financial equation than HP's.
I tried writing "for" Huffington Post a number of years ago. My hope was that I'd get more readers for pieces I saw as more mainstream, more like the stuff on Huffington Post. But all the pieces originated from my blog, so I got a chance to compare the results between the two places. And in every example but one, my blog got me more of what I wanted than Huffington Post did.
When I did finally have a blowout piece on HP, they did things to harvest the flow, by putting prominent links on my pieces to their employees' stories on the same subject, without reciprocating. So as you'd expect, in hindsight, my job was to attract readers for their stories. I wasn't playing a game of chance where I had any way of winning. They apologized for not linking to me, which is fine, but if you take that apology to the bank they won't cash it. ;-(
Now Medium has a lot of money, and no revenue, so any money they pay authors is an experiment, to see what works. It may be that nothing in this model works. I think what they're doing may be somewhat noble, but I also believe they're good business people, and I suspect that in the end the upside for writers will be much as it was with HP. Either you get a job working for them, and I don't imagine the pay is that great, or you're part of their machine for generating flow. Without a whole lot in-between.
I've been listening Carole King's Tapestry album this year far more than I listened to it when it first came out. Maybe I needed to live a lot more to really appreciate the beauty of Carole King's music.
I'm annoyed by the use of this term because it seems to go over our head. It seems there's nothing we're involved in. Not the leadership of our own industry, or even helping develop new talent. It's the sign of an immature industry, I guess. The war between the money people and the people who create the art. Eventually we'll take it over, but maybe not for a few generations.
I once had a VC tell me, many years ago, that they just had me around because he didn't have enough time to "code" the thing himself. I asked if he was a developer. He said he had taken a couple of compsci classes in college. Even then I had learned so much by actually shipping software. Anything that only a few people do well is hard to do. That's a lesson that's available to anyone no matter what your job title.
I joked on Twitter that if VCs and reporters want to call us coders, maybe we should call them accountants or keypressers. This got me a sharp response from Fred Wilson saying I could call him anything. I'm not going to do that, of course -- it would be childish. But I also think it's wrong, when people ask you to use a better word to describe what they do, to ignore them.
I like the term "developer" because it better captures what we do. And we also want to make distinctions between what various team members do. In baseball you have pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders. And various categories within each (starter and reliever, and even short reliever and long reliever). Calling all developers coders is akin to calling all baseball players pitchers. (Or more analogously, ball boys.)
I do lots of things other than code. I do a lot of thinking. I am often an anti-coder, taking steps backwards and doing something again, using what I learned the first time. I'm also a user, not only of my own software, but other people's as well. This is where I get my ideas. I'm a producer, in that I keep lists of things that need to be done, and spend time reviewing the lists and reorganizing them. I am a sales person, because I want people to support my work, and I'm a politician, because I support other people's work hoping they'll reciprocate. None of these activities fall under the idea of "coder."
Right now I'm writing a long post with Fargo because I just broke something and want to be sure that when I fixed it, the resulting software still works for its intended purpose: writing long rants that are published on the web.
I guess we'd like to be involved, not just as people who type in your ideas into a computer, and of course we are. No one can design software in a boardroom, any more than they can play a game of baseball from there. But in our business, the money people think they're everything. And the reporters believe it, so they get their strokes. And we are mere coders.
PS: A lot of this came from a Facebook thread. We really have to do something about unifying these writing systems.