Life is the ultimate aim of moral design, which it must protect, advance, ennoble and enrich. Immoral design, which is also bad design, is the opposite. It takes life by stealing time; it impoverishes by pretending to be more than it is; it does not last; it deceives, harms, enrages and degrades. The difference between the two lies at the origin of the work, when the designer first establishes their true goals and decides whether it is to satisfy their destructively selfish aims, or it is to be something higher, something that respects and elevates people’s lives, something that they are not ashamed to put out into this world because they know that their heart lies in the right place; and if they fail to achieve what they set out to do, it will be but an error of affection, not ill work laden with guilt.
Eventually the bubble will burst, and then we'll build on whatever open APIs we have, and the corporate APIs will explode along with the bubble. It has to happen, it always does. Until then, be smart.
Businesses are not out to make money tomorrow. They're trying to make money today. When a CEO has to answer for the latest quarterly finance report, he's not going to think about how to make money 10-20 years down the road, when a kid grows up. He won't have a job by then. Even if he could have kept it, he would have willingly switched companies a couple of times by then. These big companies aren't run by a man who built it from the ground up, working out of his garage, some 10 or 20 years ago. The CEOs of these companies have no true sense of ownership, and no desire to see this "baby" of theirs flourish when they're long gone.
Long term isn't the only kind that exists. Short and mid terms are fine as well, as long as you find a way to monetize fast and early. Just be aware that the party may be over at any moment and, when it is, exit gracefully and before the crowd starts yelling for the already absent DJ to play just one more song. Use that time to find a different party to join to, one that's just starting.
Whenever a man chooses his purpose and his commitment in all clearness and in all sincerity, whatever that purpose may be, it is impossible for him to prefer another. It is true in the sense that we do not believe in progress. Progress implies amelioration; but man is always the same, facing a situation which is always changing, and choice remains always a choice in the situation. The moral problem has not changed since the time when it was a choice between slavery and anti-slavery."Existentialism Is a Humanism" (1946)
That God does not exist, I cannot deny, That my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget.
Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees.
Lock-in creates dominant players -- witness Google, Facebook, Microsoft. And in this monopoly-driven environment, customers get exploited. Microsoft forces them to upgrade to expensive, overly complex, and bug-ridden software.
Apple controls our virtual landscape, bounded by iTunes to the north, the iPhone to the south, the iPad to the east, and the iPod to the west, giving it increasing power to deprive customers of choice. It exercises that power aggressively. Google appears to have a culture that condones shamelessly violating consumer privacy. How else can you explain a company that bypasses Apple's iPhone privacy settings in a reported attempt to strengthen advertising revenues?
It is hard to believe that Dave Packard or Andy Grove would ever tell a group of entrepreneurs that he did "every horrible thing in the book to just get revenues right away," or brag to trade publications that his company used behavioral psychologists to design "compulsion loops" into products to keep customers engaged. But Mark Pincus, the founder of Internet gaming giant Zynga, has done just that.
When corporate leaders pursue wealth in the winner-take-all Internet environment, companies dance on the edge of acceptable behavior. If they don't take it to the limit, a competitor will. That competitor will become the dominant supplier -- one monopoly will replace another. And when you engage in these activities you get a different set of Valley values: the values of customer exploitation.
Tell me, and I’ll forget Show me, and I’ll remember Involve me, and I’ll understand
As individuals, we need to stop expecting shortcuts. We need to learn to reject rewards we haven’t earned. When someone asks us something we don’t know, we need to be confident enough to say so, and suggest someone who might. Because we all want a meritocracy, and the only way we get one is by being brave enough to believe it can actually happen. If we keep acting like an industry of frauds who would be thrown out were it not for our self-aggrandizement and our politicking, we will have exactly that industry. As individuals, we’ll be better hustlers than we will developers. Fuck that shit.
People are going to shit all over your parade sometimes, and sometimes they’re going to be right. The solution is to not go planning parades through streets somebody else paved without asking them for directions.
Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling you get when your friend starts to talk to you about Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force behind a site like Facebook.
Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it. It's as if an ad agency built a nationwide chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people would spend all their time there, rigging the place with microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest trends (and staffing it, of course, with that Mormon bartender).
We're used to talking about how disturbing this in the context of privacy, but it's worth pointing out how weirdly unsocial it is, too. How are you supposed to feel at home when you know a place is full of one-way mirrors?
We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage - we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action.