The Privilege of Meaningful Work

I’ve been listening to the Unprofessional podcast. The show’s premise is simple: a pair of hosts bring on a rotation of guests and talk about all things not work. But as hard as they try, their conversations often do end up revolving around professions and the stories from their workplaces, perhaps a tacit admission that […]


The Indie Game Bubble

I’ve been meaning to write down my thoughts about the state of gaming and where we’ll go as an industry for the next few years. As we’re in the annual post-E3 lull, this is a good time as any to reflect. The gaming industry has been in transition for years. With a hollowing out of […]

The Troublesome Portrayal of Women in Video Games

Video games are notorious for catering to teenage boys. Puzzlingly, it’s an increasingly outdated focus, persisting mostly in the creative direction and subsequent marketing of games, reflected in big budget titles moreso than in general-appeal casual games. The recent controversy over Assassin Creed’s exclusion of female avatars is just the latest of a long-running series […]


The Big, Slow Company Stereotype

The playbook for “startup disruption” has remained the same for a while: the small startup moves faster than its much larger competitor, hustling out new features, products and markets at a much higher clip. Raw speed and iteration overcomes money and people[1], and the criticism against the big and established firms is that they get […]

The Risk of Failure

Silicon Valley is often derided as a place that non-ironically accepts and celebrates failure. For people who have not bought into this culture, it’s natural to make fun of the notion that people are failing their way to success, and be cynical of the effectiveness of the sheer amount of capital spent. As the vast […]

Developer Ageism and the Escape into Management

Is the software development industry ageist? For some industries, this is not an unreasonable proposition. Professional athletes peak in their late 20s[1]; professional gamers (e.g., e-sport atheletes) peak even earlier, in their early 20s. If you were to apply for the job of the president of the United States, you are legally required to be […]


Misusing Apple Design as a Shortcut to Success

About a month ago, there was some discussion over this provocative Quora post on how design-lead products have not worked out as well as the industry has hoped. That is, despite design’s elevated status the last few years, a number of high-profile apps have not seen assumed marketplace success from their focus on user experience. Subsequently, […]


Hatching Twitter

One of my guilty reading pleasures are tech company biographies. That I’m a part of the industry and can relate to the motivations of founders and early employees is a given; I’ve also followed companies’ chronologies and can remember the news as it happened, tying them back to product announcements and mergers and lawsuits and […]


Cloud Atlas

I’ll admit: I picked up the Cloud Atlas novel mostly because the trailer for the movie adaption of the same name looked pretty interesting, a juxtaposition of what seemed like many different places and time periods and themes. Indeed, the novel is a series of Russian nesting doll stories, set in both the past and […]

Best. Autocomplete. Ever.

During a recent role-playing portion of our interview training session at Square, I was trying to come up with a caricature of an interviewing engineer attempting to impress my counterpart across the table. I ended up embellishing upon my starter project at Google; in retrospect, it was easily one of the most over-engineered pieces of […]


The Hard Thing about Hard Things

There aren’t that many good articles on management in a technology company, and even less good books that go into much detail[1]. Square’s leadership courses reference High Output Management, written by the president of Intel in the 70s, as the classic book on management but also only one of a handful that applies to the […]