As Willis describes it, their careers hinged on the tastes of one man, Adult Swim’s senior executive vice president Mike Lazzo. “Once in my late 20s when I was working on Space Ghost it occurred to me that my career was basically working on a show that was a hobby for our boss, Mike Lazzo,” Willis explains. “He was running programming and development for Cartoon Network, and I think this was his fun thing to do. It was a value but I think this was what he really enjoyed doing. It occurred to me my whole career was this, doing this guy’s hobby. I hope he continues to enjoy his hobby and doesn’t go into like hunting, boating or fishing.”
I cried during the season finale.
In my 10 years in the tech industry I have been privileged to work with some brilliant people with decades of experience, some of who have been kind enough to try and mentor me at times.
A lot of their advice can be boiled down to “dude, chill.”
“Well instead of tail -f ‘ing referrer logs your watch will tap your wrist when people talk about you on the internet. Also there are hoverboards but they are basically just brand marketing.”
“What about snacks?”
“Snack technology is basically the same as in 2000.
“I was really hoping for better snacks.”
It’s in vogue to mock this new generation of on demand delivery and services but have you actually tried buying anything in a store? Ugh.
Retail experience are mostly a nightmare of wasted time, inefficiencies, and bad design decisions compounding into terrible user experience.
At least that’s what I thought as I waited to buy light bulbs, listening to the tragic difficulty of loyalty card updates for others in line.
It’s 2015 — why wouldn’t I just type what I want into a little messaging app on my smartphone? and have it show up on my doorstop instead of waiting in line wasting my time with this awfulness?
I’m trying to bring more projects to a “completion” but nothing is ever complete so what I really mean is “released.”
· · ·
I’ve been working on glitching out old Sierra games graphics for a long time and have a lot of weird stuff on my hard drive but decided maybe to start it’s just an endlessly glitching twitter bot.
· · ·
I’ve been living with the 5 minutes without fav before delete twitter bot and it’s great! Or terrible I don’t really know.
The (simple) code to delete your unloved tweets I cleaned up and put in a git repo.. (Side note: seems weird that the most social place to share open source code now is hosted by a weird for-profit company? Seems like this code should live somewhere else, either on my own server or a non-profit host.)
I turned on a bot that deletes any tweet I make that doesn’t get favorited within 5 minutes.
What does it mean? Why would I do that?
Who knows anymore — the 2015 media landscape is baffling now that I’m no longer in the target demo.
Despite being on the web for nearly 20 years I am not qualified to run my own social media. Maybe? But who else is qualified?
Freer expression followed by audience silence leading to de facto obscurity being equated to self censorship.
Automated curation by community engagement plus robot helpers for a better, more focus group tested, engaging content stream for audience enjoyment!
Withholding labor if I don’t get paid in hearts and stars.
· · ·
I’m into bots right now. Try to create a bot positive culture in all that you do on the internet now.
I guess I thought it was kind of funny, as a concept, mostly.
Certainly nobody predicted that a company such as Apple would be able to take 30 percent of the recording industry’s revenue because the record companies were incapable of setting up their own servers.
It would be considered perfectly normal for someone who enjoys books to be reading books from 10, 20 or 30 years ago along with books published recently.
We don’t call those people “retroreaders.”
Yet if you do the same thing with video games it’s sort of outside the realm of mainstream activity, and you’re a “retrogamer.” It seems strange.
(Of course, we do call those that study ancient Greek and Latin classicists, but that sounds cooler.)
It’s the retro-future of the 1980’s on your wrist.
Also, the calendar shows declined events so it’s super annoying.
Ben Brown declares that the ascendance of Slack and messaging apps presents a new paradigm that calls for “messaging experience design.”
Designing for messaging will become a discipline as important as responsive design, and will incorporate skills as diverse as copy writing, business analytics and API programming.
A few related thoughts —
Messaging:Mobile :: Web:Desktop
The web provided a platform on top of the existing desktop operating systems that had very serious constraints but key advantages in ease of use, development, distribution, and scale.
Over time it eclipsed desktop in relevance and interest for lots of things.
Rather than buying complex software, installing, and launching it we simply loaded up a browser, visited a URL and did whatever it is we needed to do.
It’s just easier and faster.
It didn’t matter that you couldn’t run Photoshop in a browser - HTML over HTTP was more than enough for plenty of interesting things. A lot more people want to read about what their friends are up to or shop or bank online than edit Photoshop layers.
Messaging (in a very broad sense including SMS, texting apps, and things like Slack) present a similar challenge and opportunity today in the context of smartphones.
There’s a constrained set of interactions and interface elements, but replying to an SMS or similar text conversation is an order of magnitude easier than installing a native mobile app. It’s also less work than firing up a mobile web browser, typing a URL, waiting, and seeing what may or may not be a decent experience.
There’s more advantages: authentication is transparent - you’re already logged in to the messaging app (or have a phone number.) No new account required. You already know how to use the interface, no hunting around and learning a new one. It’s more likely to work in a wearable context with limited screen and voice input.
This isn’t a new observation and all the major chat applications on the consumer side have embraced the idea of being a platform. I expect that we’ll see more and more intelligence and smart interfaces move up from the mobile OS apps layer to a messaging layer.
Protocols vs Platforms
SMS is probably the closest we have to a “protocol” - in that it’s universal across cellular providers, we have an agreed to routing system with phone numbers, and almost anyone can use it.
It seems like it would be the best foundation to build systems like this except that the telecom industry seems to have shot itself in the foot by trying to extract too much profit from it, forcing all the innovation to happen in the “free texting” apps. (And changes in rate plans or free unlimited SMS aren’t changing the dynamic - it’s too late.)
So instead of just developing for SMS you probably need to think about Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Line, and half a dozen others because that’s where the users are and where all the innovation happened.
Customer facing business, in the same they you developed a web strategy, then a broader social media strategy, will need a coherent messaging experience strategy across these services.
Slack As Universal Interface
An opportunity for Slack is to embrace being something of a “universal interface” for businesses and encourage as much integration with services on its platform as possible.
If integration with Slack is cheap and easy and provides additional distribution for business services, more services will be incentivized to offer it, which in turn makes Slack more valuable for its customers. And when Slack’s customers have a host of services integrated with their Slack instance, the more valuable Slack becomes to them (and the harder it is to migrate away from.)
Slack’s challenge is balancing its desire to be a great piece of enterprise software that delivers value on its own with being a stable, trustworthy, platform provider that creates a win/win for itself and partners who build on it.
Going to try to stream something interesting on twitch every night this week.
Also write something.
This counts, right?
If streaming hello kitty roller rescue counts, this counts.
Maybe I need to get a keyboard for this iPad. Or maybe get a chromebook, put raw Linux on it, and use that for writing.
Or you know, just use my MacBook. The 15” retina MacBook Pro is still the best computer I’ve ever had, but increasingly feels out of place not on a desk.
In a world of tiny shrinking computers even the best laptop I’ve ever owned starts to feels loud and impersonal.