Machine Learning, Moral Panics and Journalism

August 21, 2018

A very well written short story about the state of journalism.

The real story of machine learning is not how it promotes home bomb-making, but that it’s being deployed at scale with minimal ethical oversight, in the service of a business model that relies entirely on psychological manipulation and mass surveillance. The capacity to manipulate people at scale is being sold to the highest bidder, and has infected every aspect of civic life, including democratic elections and journalism.

Together with climate change, this algorithmic takeover of the public sphere is the biggest news story of the early 21st century. We desperately need journalists to cover it. But as they grow more dependent on online publishing for their professional survival, their capacity to do this kind of reporting will disappear, if it has not disappeared already.

Anatomy of a Moral Panic

The Feynman Technique

January 30, 2018

There are two types of knowledge and most of us focus on the wrong one. The first type of knowledge focuses on knowing the name of something. The second focuses on knowing something. These are not the same thing. The famous Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman understood the difference between knowing something and knowing the name of something and it’s one of the most important reasons for his success. In fact, he created a formula for learning that ensured he understood something better than everyone else.

The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything

Why Glossier abandoned Hamburger Menus in their Mobile Navigation

January 28, 2018

Steve Krug once said: “As a rule, conventions only become conventions if they work,” but I’ve come to realize that this is a somewhat idealistic view. Instead, I would contend conventions become conventions if enough people assumethey work. While many are grounded in thorough research, others are simply based on companies copying a seemingly successful competitor, assuming that whatever they are doing must be the best possible solution — Remington’s sales are skyrocketing, so the QWERTY layout must be the way to go. This halo effect, the tendency for an impression created in one area to influence opinion in another area, is a common cognitive (and design) bias that contributes to the emergence of conventions.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s generally good practice to adhere to conventions in design. They can be incredibly valuable in helping users navigate your product and more often than not, it’s wise to respect them. But there are some cases in which they emerge for the wrong reasons and aren’t backed up by any real evidence.

An interesting article by Jan-Niklas Kokott, Head of User Experience Design at Glossier, about how they changed their mobile navigation and why they abandoned the Hamburger Menu. Challenging conventions, trying out different solutions and testing the results should be a basic part of every design project.

Read “Glossier’s Mobile Navigation” on Medium

Website Obesity

January 4, 2016

There is only one honest measure of web performance: the time from when you click a link to when you’ve finished skipping the last ad.

Everything else is bullshit.


This is probably one of the best and most entertaining articles about web performance i’ve read lately. Go read it, and don’t forget to make performance a priority in 2016!

The Website Obesity Crisis