I spent many hours reading Popular Science as a young person (and into college) in the high school library and sharing amazing stories with friends. I understand the business side of this, but it still feels to me like we’re losing something very valuable…
After 151 years, Popular Science will no longer be available to purchase as a magazine. In a statement to The Verge, Cathy Hebert, the communications director for PopSci owner Recurrent Ventures, says the outlet needs to “evolve” beyond its magazine product, which published its first all-digital issue in 2021.
At the same time, though, it’s worth asking whether we would still be so down on OpenAI’s board had Altman been focused solely on the company and its mission. There’s a world where an Altman, content to do one job and do it well, could have managed his board’s concerns while still building OpenAI into the juggernaut that until Friday it seemed destined to be.
That outcome seems preferable to the world we now find ourselves in, where AI safety folks have been made to look like laughingstocks, tech giants are building superintelligence with a profit motive, and social media flattens and polarizes the debate into warring fandoms. OpenAI’s board got almost everything wrong, but they were right to worry about the terms on which we build the future, and I suspect it will now be a long time before anyone else in this industry attempts anything other than the path of least resistance.
Fascinating research here on the usefulness of team decision-making versus independent decision-making based on similar variables:
As counterintuitive as it seems, increasing the number of people involved in a difficult decision will likely decrease decision-making quality. Whatever unique knowledge individuals could offer to deliberations often goes unshared or disregarded. When decision-making stakes are high, don’t let your valuable UX insights fall victim to the common-knowledge effect. Be a vigilant team facilitator to ensure that all of us are at least as smart as each of us.
In that respect, it may be the opposite of significant technology upgrades of the past, which often came at the expense of occupations where workers had fewer educational qualifications and got paid less. Many were performing physical tasks — like the British textile workers who smashed up new cost-saving weaving machines, a movement that became known as the Luddites.
By contrast, the new shift “will challenge the attainment of multiyear degree credentials,” McKinsey said.
Weird that I’ve gotten so much done the last few days since it’s technically “summer” for us teachers. But I find that keeping busy with consulting work, aquarium building, and taking notes on what I’m reading (to make myself a better person and teacher!) helps me keep the “I miss my students” blues at bay!
I’ve been a work-from-home type for years, but as a man it’s been hard to share the experiences of being on an important client call while changing a diaper or cleaning up my son’s lunch with my male friends (or society in general).
I’m definitely not patting myself on the back here (at all… I suck at parenting but everyone’s winging it… “Here’s another marshmallow, Junior… don’t tell Mommy”), however, I am glad that more males are having to face the reality that working women and partners have had to endure for ages while exhibiting equity and egalitarianism for their children.
If anything, this pandemic will hopefully lead to a fuller understanding of the struggles and challenges that working women and partners have to endure to balance career and family…
The presence of more men sharing more fully in domestic duties for an extended period of time has the potential to create a sea change in gendered norms — at home and at work. Men teleworking during the pandemic are more likely to appreciate women’s work-family experiences, understand the value of flexible work arrangements, appreciate the benefits of relationships with work colleagues, and role model more equitable work-family gender roles for their children.
I started writing email newsletters in 2002 and blogging in 2003 for a couple of marketing outlets. I was mowing the lawn on October 13, 2006, and had the bright idea to start a marketing blog called CostPerNews. It took off rather quickly and before I knew it, I was getting citations on Techmeme and flown around to speak at various marketing and tech conferences. Part of that adventure was luck and hitting the blogging scene at just the right moment and part of it was the time and energy it took to write 3-5 posts a day about the various aspects of marketing I was covering.
Around that same time, I decided to use this samharrelson.com domain for my personal blog to journal and capture ideas and observations. Of course, it never had the same impact as CostPerNews, but it does continue to draw a not-insignificant amount of traffic each month.
Things really changed in the early 2010s as we moved from blogs to “social” media. I championed Twitter heavily back in 2006-2008 as an addition to what blogs had become and thought the platform would continue to amplify self-hosted personal sites and become a real discovery engine. What I hoped for is that personal and business blogs would bloom and platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr (RIP), and Facebook would be traffic drivers to those destinations. Boy, was I wrong. Worse, I gave in and started using those sites instead of this space for my personal thoughts and observations. You can see that in the chart above that shows the number of posts I’ve made here since 2006.
I’ve always had grand thoughts of doing away with my Twitter and Facebook accounts as primary places of content production and focusing here.
I’m taking that seriously in 2020. I’m not abandoning FB or Twitter (as I did Instagram last year), but I am using this as my primary hub.
On that note, let’s take a look back at the Top 10 posts from 2010-2020 here on the blog based on site traffic:
Of Siri and Hesiod (March 14, 2016): I love posts that combine new tech with ancient tech.
It looks like 2016 was definitely a bright spot for the blog here. I had made a concerted effort to stop giving so much content to the advertising-driven social networks and remind myself that I had space here that needed me. As I look back on the last 10 years and thousands of posts, I’m equally reminded of that realization. And excited.
It’s good to be back. Let’s see if we can do 1,000 here in 2020.
I intentionally work from home most days. I’ve had an office on Main Street in a big high-rise, I’ve tried co-working spaces, and I’ve had my own building… but working from home is the greatest.
HOWEVER, it’s not without its ongoing challenges that you must tackle and figure out if you’re going to run a business and be successful. Here’s a great post…
So you’ve made the decision to work from home. Whether that be an opportunity to work on a new business project of yours, or maybe you’re just fortunate enough to enjoy the ability to work where you want due to your career—working from home is an incredible experience.
But that doesn’t mean it’s as easy and fun as everyone thinks.