A dummy’s guide to killing a golden goose 

Facebook doesn’t understand why it is losing to TikTok and keeps copying them, but it is not working. And in doing so, it has changed Instagram so much that even the most loyal users are giving up. 

Essentially, it comes down to a major shift in user behaviors, away from following your friends, and seeing all the random stuff that they post, to following trends, and engaging with the most popular, most engaging content from across the platform, as opposed to walling off your own little space.

Read article on Social Media Today

Why (and how) of blogging

turned-on monitor
Photo by Fikret tozak on Unsplash

There are no rules to blogging except this one: always self-host your website because your URL, your own private domain, is the most valuable thing you can own. Your career will thank you for it later and no-one can take it away. But don’t wait up for success to come, it’s going to be a slog—there will be years before you see any benefit. But slowly, with enough momentum behind it, your blog will show you the world: there will be distant new friends, new enemies, whole continents might open up and welcome themselves to you.

Robin Rendle eloquently writes why you should blog, how, and where you should blog. I couldn’t agree more. And that is precisely why I continue to blog after all these years. Go ahead and read Robin’s blog post to appreciate his thinking about blogging!

September 19, 2022. New Delhi.

Today is the day of the Oscars — Academy Awards that celebrate excellence in the art of movie-making. There was a time when this was a red-letter day on my calendar. I have not paid much attention to this made-for-TV spectacle since I cut the cord. 

I am not the only one who has become disinterested in the Oscars and its television broadcast. In the 1990s, Oscars ceremony broadcasts would get about 55 million viewers in the United States, and in 2021, it was 9.85 million. ABC pays $100 million a year for the rights, and ad revenues have been around $130 million, making some wonder if they have peaked. 

Looking at the lack of ratings, meaningless broadcast, and movie stars losing their star appeal, LA Mag asks the all-important question: “Are the Oscars over?” 

Read article on LA Mag

“The Great Resignation” is Clickbait

Paul Millerd, author of The Pathless Path, in an interview with Sara Campbell, points out:

This might surprise you but I think the framing of “The Great Resignation” is off. It seems like a successful media narrative that has helped generate clicks but doesn’t really get to the heart of what’s happening. The “great resignation” framing suggests there is a massive exit from employment happening. It’s not clear that’s the case…… Going deeper, however, I do there is a much more interesting shift happening. Before the pandemic when I talked to people about work, there was a lot of shame attached to the conversation. Previous generations resisted these conversations forcefully. Part of this was survival — there weren’t great alternatives to traditional employment. That’s no longer the case and people are starting to wake up to it.  

This is a great interview and worth reading. This comment really resonated with me, especially as I have started to contemplate the next phase of my life and my relationship with work.

With work as the central organizing principle of my life, the most important things were to always be progressing, improving, and achieving. One thing that’s helped me is to step back and try to define what work really is. This has enabled me to shift away from simply seeing work as something that comes with a paycheck towards it as any sort of activity worth doing.

Read article on Tiny Revolutions

Past, Present & Future of Deep Neural Nets

blue and white light digital wallpaper
Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

…not much has changed in 33 years on the macro level. We’re still setting up differentiable neural net architectures made of layers of neurons and optimizing them end-to-end with backpropagation and stochastic gradient descent. Everything reads remarkably familiar, except it is smaller.

An erudite explanation of the state of neural networks today, when put in the context of its past and its future. I am glad I follow Andrej Karpathy and his writing. My big takeaway from this piece — the world would need more compute, and that’s why Apple’s M1 chips are setting the stage for the next evolution of computing needs.

Read article on Andrej Karpathy

Community Saves the World?

Our challenge is that our economic systems are revving society and the planet into out-of-control spirals. The scale required to change that spiraling is unlike anything we’ve faced. It was never going to be easy, but humans have a tendency to defer big problems to a point of crisis, and that has narrowed our options. We now need collective resolve on a scale that dwarfs anything we’ve yet known—and ways of transforming that resolve into large-scale, workable solutions.

Gideon Rosenblatt makes a case for a variant of DAOs with the community as a core ethos to solve more significant problems. It is worth a read and, when taken in combination with the comments of Ray Dalio, perhaps has breadcrumbs to the future of society. Rosenblatt, a proactive thinker with fresh ideas, is a friend of the blog.

Read article on Gideon Rosenblatt

Cursed by Information (Overload)

assorted book lot
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Nicholas Carr, one of my favorite writers, penned an excellent rumination on the perils of information overload in his must-read book, The Shallows.

The stress that Google and other Internet companies place on the efficiency of information exchange as the key to intellectual progress is nothing new. It’s been, at least since the start of the Industrial Revolution, a common theme in the history of the mind. 

Carr shared this as his tribute to Leo Marx, whose work influenced Carr’s writing and thinking. Marx passed away at the age of 102 on March 8, 2022.

Read article on Nicholas Carr

This is how the world ends

The book is a grim lesson in how cyberwar is waged and underlined by long-held belief that privacy and the concept of secrecy is a fiction, that anything can be hacked…… Up until this book, the hidden market for zero day exploits has been covered in bits and pieces, but it’s Perlroth’s dogged reporting that breaks through the code of lies and silence and clearly lays out for the layperson the extent of the threat  

An excellent review of Nicole Perlroth’s fantastic book, This is How They Tell Me The World Ends by my former editor David Churbuck. Perlroth spent a decade as the lead cybersecurity, digital espionage, and sabotage reporter for The New York Times. If you have not read this book, you must do it asap.

Read article on David Churbuck

What is a Metaverse? There is a real answer — aka the science fiction answer. And there is an answer you will get from Zuck and his acolytes. They are busy rearchitecting the company away from social networking. They are literally putting Meta into the metaverse, as per this report in The New York Times.

Reality Labs is now at the forefront of the company’s shift to the metaverse, employees said. Workers in products, engineering and research have been encouraged to apply to new roles there, they said, while others have been elevated from their jobs in social networking divisions to lead the same functions with a metaverse emphasis.

The New York Times

Say what you may about Mark Zuckerberg, but when he decides to move, he doesn’t give a damn. You do it his way or simply leave the company. Quite a few senior team members are cashing in their checks and quitting the company. My old colleague Wagner James Au in a blog post last year about the Meta-makeover had an interesting comment from an insider.

“I think Facebook has the money and people to throw at the problem,” as they put it to me, “but making 0-1 products as a large entity hasn’t been one of Facebook’s strong suits… it’s been to acquire other products and integrate them into the Facebook ecosystem.

New World Notes

Facebook reminds me of the old Microsoft — the company that would announce a new initiative and the collective technology industry would twitch uncontrollably. It is no surprise that everyone is talking up their Metaverse game.

Metaverse is the new “cloud” or “big data.” It is a new buzzword, that is going to be bastardized into every conversation — no one will let the facts come in the way of fiction. I am waiting for Marc Benioff to announce a SalesforceVerse any day soon!

Here are a few articles that might get you started to get a grip of the hype.

  • Silicon Valley has a Metaverse FOMO, writes John Naughton. It doesn’t matter whether it is dystopian or not — there is money to be made, so everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. [The Guardian]
  • Wall Street hasn’t met a technology buzzword it hasn’t like and wanted to profit from. So why are we surprised that they are all over the “metaverse.” [Fortune Magazine
  • If Zuck says Metaverse, the whole ecosystem starts to get warm and fuzzy. At CES 2022, lot of small players were taking Meta and Metaverse. [SP Global]
  • Metaverse is all about marketing and advertising. The only reason Facebook is all over it. Here is how influencer marketing is going to work in this new space. [Vogue]
  • And in summary, Metaverse must be stopped. [Tribune UK]

Ever since buying the new MacBook Pro, I have wondered about Thunderbolt 4.0 and how it impacts my old accessories. I want to make sure I take advantage of the latest technologies on offer in my MacBook Pro. And like everyone else, the various connectivity options leave me scratching my head. During my quest for answers, I ended up on the blog for the accessory maker, Satechi. They have a good breakdown that answers some of these questions as we transition to Thunderbolt 4.0. 

In case you were wondering, Thunderbolt 4.0 is:

 ….is the most recent version of the Thunderbolt line by Intel. It comes with a range of benefits including backward compatibility with USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3.0. All the cables that are Thunderbolt 4.0 certified can work with everything including USB 2.0, USB 3.1, USB 3.2, and USB 4.0. 

So what is USB 4.0?

USB 4.0 is the latest specification or version of USB that’s housed within the USB Type-C cables. It takes over from USB 3.2 and 3.0 and offers either 40 GB/s or 20 GB/s of data transfer speed. Just like Thunderbolt 4, it uses the same Type-C reversible and rounded connector. A thunderbolt 4.0 cable can also be called a USB 4.0 cable but the opposite is not true because not all USB 4.0 cables are Thunderbolt 4.0 certified.

All the acronyms and standards are so confusing, something highlighted by veteran writer Glenn Fleishman in his excellent piece, USBefuddled.


What is the difference between USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt 4.0? How are they similar? Should you care? And what should you look for before buying devices that are certified for one or the other?

Both USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt 4.0 use the same USB Type-C connector which is reversible and rounded. The USB 4.0 is also based on the very same underlying protocol as Thunderbolt 4.0, and both types are tightly connected. All thunderbolt devices come with USB 4.0 support which means if you have a device with Thunderbolt 4.0 connectors you can use USB 4.0 cables.  However, not all the devices with USB 4.0 connectors will be as powerful as the ones that are fully Thunderbolt 4.0 certified. But the good thing about USB 4.0 is that it’s cheaper than Thunderbolt 4.0.

The article was good enough to consider buying their new Thunderbolt 4.0 dock. Sadly, it is sold out

PS: More often than not, corporate blogs are bland. More often than not, they are marketing fodder posing as content. However, the linked blog post did a great job of helping me as a reader and was also good marketing for the brand, and it made me want to try out their products.

Read article on Satechi Blog]