Stop whinging about property prices in California you idiots

Watching the "social crisis" from afar, namely Australia, I am shocked at the ridiculous narrative that has sprung up regarding property prices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, or wherever those well paid young tech workers are "ruining" things. 

I've seen videos of Star Bucks employees accosting tech entrepreneurs, numbskulls hurling things at Google busses, and even tech journalists condescendingly speaking of these young men and women who are being paid "too much" apparently and driving up the prices of homes in areas that were once affordable for mere mortals. 

Let me give you ungrateful hypocrite part time capitalists some perspective from the southern hemisphere. 

Your country owns the world. 

Nearly ever tech company of significance has come from the USA. Australia, the UK, Europe and virtually every other socialist western democracy is frantically trying to figure out how to make their own "Google" but they can't. They don't have the underlying entrepreneurial heart that needs to exist in order for 100,000 start ups to be born so that one of them can go on to great things. 

The USA is responsible for Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, AirBNB, What's App, Instagram, Snapchat, Wordpress, Squarespace, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Periscope, Tumblr, Yahoo, Medium, eBay, Netflix, Evernote, Mailchimp, Yelp, Slack... nearly every large tech product I use regularly save perhaps Spotify. 

Australia is responsible for... Crossy Road, Canva, Envato and Atlassian. Yay. 

The world is currently in the throws of a digital revolution. Some of us can't see it at the moment because we're in it. But in 200 years we'll look back on this time as some kind of gold rush, where empires were established. 

I saw a republican debate recently where some idiots were saying they wanted to make America "great again."

People who speak like that have no idea how good they've got it. 

Nearly every company of significance around the world is being birthed in the USA. The side effect of the USA owning the Fertile Crescent of the tech world is that a lot of people who can see the writing on the wall are rushing there to spend their money in the hope that they secure a piece of the pie before it's gone and the big players in each area are entrenched. 

And a side effect of this is that there's going to be a little pain. 

But I would rather have to endure that pain in the knowledge that my country owns all these companies, rather than be on the sidelines like most of the world, running competitions where a company that sells Wordpress themes wins the award for "Coolest Tech Company".

The world has changed. So change with it. Go and study Computer Science and get on board. Stop bitching that the demand for horse shoes isn't high enough for you to earn a decent wage or pay your rent. Be thankful you live in the US and your descendants will be insulated from a lot of pain for generations because Silicon Valley is in your country. 

 

I'm sick of whinging app devs

I'm so tired of hearing and reading app developers whinging about how they "can't make any money" building their wonderful, high quality iOS and Android apps.  

This has never made any sense to me. 

People do NOT buy apps. They buy what an app CAN DO.  

And if we're honest, there's very few services in life we need that require only and app to function.  

Maybe Facebook.  

Most other apps regular folks use require a real world business interacting with the app. 

Most folk don't have complicated work flows that require a minimalist, flat designed, socially integrated, clever, adjective, adjective, witty adjective app to make their lives easier. 

But they WILL keep consuming in general, if you give them something they can see a need for.  

Another way of putting it is: people don't buy bricks.  

They buy homes.  

Apps are like bricks.

They cost money to make. There are good ones and crappy ones. Some people see a use for them and purchase them to tailor an outcome that suits their purposes. 

But MOST people look at a pile of bricks and just see hard work. They look at your app and see hard work too.  

It's going to be hard to learn to use. It's going to be hard to figure out how to fit it into their life. And it's going to be hard to get any help when it doesn't work properly. 

Also, they never even go looking for such a thing.  

So they don't buy bricks. They buy a home.  

Bricks are still vital.  

But no one buys bricks. Except builders. 

Apps are still vital.  

But no one buys apps. Except businesses that require an app to be built to carry out their business. 

When I want pizza, I use a Dominoes app.  

When I want accommodation, I use Airbnb.  

When I want to send money, I use my banking app.  

When I want to be entertained, I use the NBA app.  

Apps are more popular than ever. And I spend a lot of money on and in apps.  

But if you think you can sit in front of a computer and code for six months and then everyone will give you money, you're mistaken.  

The rules of business apply to your coding efforts as well.  

You may spend months making the best quality brick imaginable. But it's still a brick. You didn't create a business. You didn't do any marketing. You didn't make an integrated product or service that filled an actual need that people will part with money to fullfill.  

But you made a wonderful brick.  

No one who has ever succeeded in business will EVER tell you that the work you put in is directly correlated to the money you get out.  

In business, if you create perceived value, you will be rewarded. If it takes little effort to do this, you will still be rewarded.  

Your ability to code is the same as being a brick maker. 

Necessary, but not sufficient.  

Men hitting women

It's pretty well established that men hitting women is unacceptable. Society doesn't tolerate it. TV shows don't put funny scenes in of a man slapping a woman down or punching her in the stomach.

But why is it cool for so much entertainment to include footage of women hitting men? Slapping, punching, splashing drinks on... 

assaulting. 

Teen girls hurting teen boys. 

Women hitting men. 

And pretty much all the time it's humorous. Or it's meant to be. 

I'm not sure if it's women writers trying to empower other women... getting revenge, or something else. 

I've thought for some time about the matter. 

Men are being assaulted by women in the name of humour and society is being told over and over that it's ok for a woman to hit a man. 

And if you complain about it people will laugh at you. 

Remember how devastated the NFL was recently over allegations a player belted his significant other in an elevator?

Remember how Jimmy Fallon made nightly jokes for a week when Solange assaulted JayZ in an elevator?

As a man I am offended every time I see it, and even more offended by society seeing it as a gleeful moment. 

But after some consideration I think this phenomenon actually does more harm to women than men. 

Here's why:

It's says, "women are weak and if they hit you should react to it like a young child hit you." 

It says, "women are emotional and react to things without thinking and therefore can't be held accountable for their actions, unlike men who know how to control their strength."

It says, "ha ha, a woman tried to hurt someone and she thinks she's tough but she's really just a woman."

It says, "She's just a woman."

Until women hold themselves to the same standard they hold men to, they won't be taken as seriously as men.

It's not ok for men to hit women.

Because women are valuable, and men are strong, responsible and capable of communicating without resorting to violence. 

If it's ok for women to hit men, then the inverse cannot be true.

The eternal hypocrisy of tech douchebags specifically relating to Facebook's newsfeed algorithm

Another day, another tech blog post somewhere complaining over the evils of Facebook's mysterious algorithm that determines what you see in your news feed. 

To be honest, I think rather highly of John Gruber, the author of Daring Fireball. 

His comments on the above-linked-to post are merely more of many hundreds I have read over the last few years of Twitter fans complaining that evil Facebook messes with your news feed. 

But let's break it down for a second here. 

What people are complaining about is that Facebook doesn't present to you a chronological ordering of posts from people and organisations you have liked or befriended.

These people invariably love and use RSS and Twitter heavily, two services which DO in fact give you a the much praised chronological feed. 

Here's a couple of things I would like to point out to the whingers and whiners who need to stay over on Twitter.... 

One... no-one uses Twitter. Your mum doesn't use Twitter. Your 13 year old kid doesn't use Twitter. The only people on Twitter are the tech savvy, the journos, comedians, and famous people. And a good 70% + of the people I ever speak with that actually use Twitter admit they never post anything, they just read stuff. 

Seeing I only have one friend on Twitter, I too mostly use it just to follow famous and interesting people I know. It's not a social network, it's a broadcast network. And that's fine. It's awesome at being that. 

RSS is also a broadcasting tool. Not social in the slightest, but a great way of following blogs and news sites of interest. 

BUT, that's not how the real world works. In the real world, millions of conversations are happening all the time. Lots of news worthy events are happening all the time. Your own friends are engaged in hundreds of conversations at any given moment, some public, some private. 

And people in your life fall in to different categories. We don't have names for these categories, other than maybe friend and good friend. But the truth is we have some friends that we love knowing what is happening to day by day, and we have other friends whose children's names we don't even recall... but we might like to know if they become engaged or crash their car. 

It's the same with businesses and news services. We might like some of the more popular items the ABC publish, but we might not really care about every flamin' thing that happens in our country. 

An orderly, chronological feed on Facebook of every item every friend posts would have one of two outcomes...

1. We would unfriend 90% of our network thus collapsing the entire value of the "social" aspect of the giant network and making people loathe to like another page or add another friend. 

2. We would stop opening the app because we know when we do we will be hit with a bunch of crap we don't want to see. The end. 

Number 2 is why most NORMAL people don't bother with Twitter. They gave it a go, followed a bunch of friends, family, famous people, some news services, and maybe a comedian or two. Following 300 people means every time they refresh the feed another 18 posts, mostly with links, appear. Screw that. They're hit with the feeling of not being able to keep up. They could unfollow their friends and risk them finding out, or they could just go back to happy Facebook land and for some reason unbeknownst to them see content that is more appealing. Guess which option requires less effort.

I personally still love Twitter, but I cannot follow any more than 100 people or I am just drowned by the volume of content. I can't even keep up as it is. Good luck if you're joining Twitter now and hoping to get a bunch of followers. People used to follow anyone that looked interesting, now we hand out "follows" like they were the rights to our first born child's soul. 

So back to Facebook's "algorithm".

Why is Facebook persecuted for arbitrarily deciding what you see in your "news feed", and for keeping their formula a secret? The same people complaining about this never seem to have a problem with the New York Times or The Australian exercising even greater discrimination over what content appears in their pages. Do these newspapers publicise the formula they use for deciding which letters to the editor to publish? Not they would even have one. Do they ask the reader to decide what should go on the front page, and what should be buried on page 32? Do they offer an edition of the newspaper that simply lists the week's events in chronological order all in the same font size so you can be sure you didn't miss anything and no extra emphasis was added to one story over another?

No, of course not. 

Because that's not what we want. 

We want the, admittedly subjective at times, important stuff at the top, and if we get to the other stuff we get to it, but if not... no stress. 

And that's what Facebook provides. 

Here's a Facebook scenario:

Susan rolls their car and posts a picture on Facebook saying they're ok.  

Facebook shows it to 7 people to see what sort of a reaction this post will get. All of them click on the image. 6 of them like the picture. 4 comment. Two of them tag a friend in the comments. 

Facebook's naughty little algorithm says "this is popular" and makes sure all of Susan's friends see that post at least once at the top of their feeds over the next 6 days, except for Bob who has asked Facebook to never show any of Susan's posts.

John, Susan's cousin, isn't a big tech user, but checks Facebook every week or so. He saw the post and gave her a phone call. 

Here's the same Twitter scenario. 

Susan rolls their car and posts a picture on Twitter saying they're ok.  All of her friends who logged in to Twitter in the following 4 hours saw her post. Despite the large amount of "stars" it received anyone who went to Twitter later never got far enough down their feed to see her post.

John logged on to Twitter two days later and never saw the post. 


Ok, so it's great that FB sort the posts... but the formula is SECRET! Secrets are BAD!

Hello?!!!

Trust me, you do NOT want Facebook's (or Google's for that matter) formula's made public. In the never ending war against spam etc the last thing any user should want is their algorithm controlled service to have it's formulae made public. If everyone knew exactly what posts got ranked higher... we might as well just go back to Twitter. 


I'm not saying Facebook is better than Twitter, or any other online service. And they could of course use their algorithm for nefarious purposes... again. 

But you wouldn't read a newspaper that didn't discriminate content, so why stress so much when Facebook does it.

Facebook should NOT try to be Twitter, or RSS. If that's what people want, then that's what they will use. 


Oh, and by the way, if you want to follow twitter style certain pages and people on Facebook you actually CAN do that by asking to be notified whenever they post. There are about 4 who I have this setting turned on for. For the rest of it, just show me the good stuff Facebook.