Opinion

  • Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    The most wonderful and most terrible things about new technologies are their emergent properties. The latest example is, of course, Fake News On Facebook; who would have thought that connecting everyone via social media would lead to wildly divergent narratives of (so-called) reality? And yet here we are. But if you think social media is messy and weird … just wait until we get… Read More

  • Extracting bias at TechCrunch [Internal]

    Extracting bias at TechCrunch [Internal]

    Our new guidelines underscore TechCrunch’s pathological obsession with social platforms, but also call for our reporters to proceed with the utmost caution, expressing none of their rampant pre-existing biases, which they will maintain undetectably. In the interest of a desperate attempt to appear nonpartisan, we have included our new guidelines here. Read More

  • Dear Silicon Valley: America’s fallen out of love with you Crunch Network

    Dear Silicon Valley: America’s fallen out of love with you

    Silicon Valley, you used to be the envy of the world. Over the last decade I’ve seen countless cities try to become you. In case you haven’t noticed, though, you’ve changed from hero to villain. You’re too expensive and exclusive for the rest of the world. You’ve moved from icon to joke — the show that bears your name is a cringe-worthy, true-to-life satire. Read More

  • Curing the incurable

    Curing the incurable

    Very rarely, an app comes along that changes your life. I want to tell you about such an app, and how it changed mine. I had nothing to do with its making; I have never installed or opened it on my phone; and yet, I expect that this will be the most personal of the almost 400 pieces I have written for TechCrunch over the years. It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of adults in… Read More

  • Papyrus creator speaks out after Ryan Gosling roasts the font on SNL

    Papyrus creator speaks out after Ryan Gosling roasts the font on SNL

    If you’re like me, whenever you see a sign that uses the most overworked font in the world, you point it out and yell “Papyrus!” You probably aren’t like me. But it turns out Ryan Gosling is. Read More

  • Capitalism without consequences

    Capitalism without consequences

    Technology decouples economies. AirBNB owns no rooms, but provides accommodations; Uber owns (essentially) no vehicles, but provides transport; Stripe is not a bank, but provides bank accounts; a vast panoply of corporate services run on Amazon-owned servers. There are many excellent things about this decoupling; it improves efficiency, aids focus, and spurs innovation. But technology also has… Read More

  • The abyss of analytics

    The abyss of analytics

    I want to talk about a mistake I see client after client making. (I work at a tech consultancy. We have a lot of clients. Not all of them make this mistake! …But many do.) That mistake is to obsess over analytics data, without any strategy; to assume that all that needs to be done is to gather as much data as possible, and then this data will magically become knowledge, and knowledge… Read More

  • The learned helplessness of Equifax

    The learned helplessness of Equifax

    Is there a formal name for the fallacy of assuming that the status quo is sane? Such a name would become more useful with each passing year. There are a shocking number of examples, but I give you, as a perfect, vivid, front-of-mind example, the credit rating system of the United States of America, as exemplified by that radioactive disaster of a company called Equifax. It is well understood… Read More

  • Tim O’Reilly thinks focusing less on shareholders just might save the world

    Tim O’Reilly thinks focusing less on shareholders just might save the world

    There’s no shortage of angst in Silicon Valley. Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and author of a new book, “WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us,” thinks a lot of problems could be solved if big tech would focus less on profits and more on enabling other companies to be built atop of, or in partnership, with their platforms. Read More

  • Animoji are dumb and I detest them

    Animoji are dumb and I detest them

    Apple today announced the digital equivalent of a singing telegram, a perversion of the emoji concept that embodies the worst of both the company’s exclusionary philosophy and the worst of CG animals and excreta. Animoji are dumb and I loathe them. Here’s why. Read More

  • The iPhone lineup just got really compleX

    The iPhone lineup just got really compleX

    Steve Jobs said “Simple can be harder than complex,” so it looks like Apple is taking the easy route. Customers will now have to choose between 8 different iPhones with today’s addition of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. That’s a tons of specs and options to compare, and we’re not even talking about color or storage size. Read More

  • Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    You wake up. Check your phone. Something happened overnight. People are upset. The actual news is uncertain, it’s too soon for context and understanding, but it’s not too soon for everyone to quickly confirm their biases. It’s never too soon for that. You shower. Get dressed. Get ready for your job. Work emails have already begin to flood into your inbox. Some automatic… Read More

  • Real news of fake reviews

    Real news of fake reviews

    Goodhart’s Law, as phrased by Mary Strathern: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” Honored more in the breach than the observance, alas. Our algorithmic world has turned so many measures into targets, and by doing so ruined them. Let’s talk about just one example: let’s talk about books. “#1 Bestseller!” That’s a mark… Read More

  • Seven things I have learned about writing software

    Seven things I have learned about writing software

    It’s happening. Bit by bit, little by little, I’m morphing from an engineer into some kind of…manager. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still write code every day; but I find myself spending more and more time in analysis and discussion, in meetings and calls, making higher-level decisions, trying to organize teams, and worrying about strategy rather than tactics. Of course… Read More

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