Year in Review – 2014

I’ve never tried to write end-of-the-year posts; they tend to be biased towards recent events, and I find it disingenuous to summarize a year’s worth of events meaningfully into a small, overarching set of themes. This year however, I have an additional tool to organize my thoughts and make the task more tenable: I have […]

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Review: The Startup of You

The Startup of You is all about mapping the strategies and tactics that make startups – in theory – successful, and apply them to careers. The central tenets revolve around taking moderate amounts of risk, having backup plans, and not being afraid of hard work. Put together, they combine to form a playbook that aspires […]

Go to College

There is a curious rebellion against higher education. I get the sense that it’s an overreaction, a correction to the unquestioned emphasis placed onto college over the past few decades. The millennial generation is no longer seeing the gains enjoyed by previous generations[1], and education itself has moved away from teaching critical thinking and evaluation, […]

Solving Human vs. Natural Problems

Sam Altman wrote a short post which questions a premise: Why aren’t today’s startups more innovative? He notes that society has benefited from the consumer-centric technological focus in the last decade; starting with the smartphone and a persistent data connection, we have enabled communication and transportation, while disrupting industries from hospitality to media – which […]

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White Label Gaming

I’ve been slogging through My NBA 2k15 on my phone. The game is based on collecting cards to battle other players offline, and its core is identical to that of another game, WWE SuperCard. In fact, they simply reused their game engine, likely built for white-label collectable card games, and release new games by licensing […]

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What If?

xkcd is one of a kind: the popular stick-figure webcomic for nerds and geeks seems to offer relevant commentary for pretty much any occasion. Its blend of computing, physics, math, and insights on life works well at a time when – as adults, anyway – it’s much more culturally acceptable to get excited about the […]

Full Stack Development Interview

I recently did an interview with Talentbuddy. They’re a mentorship program that looks to get people started on full-stack web development in about three months time, and wanted me to speak to our front-end technologies at Square, specifically on our decision to use the Ember.js framework and our lessons learned. I was happy to oblige. […]

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Unearthing an Old Programming Document

The internet never forgets. If nothing else, the Wayback Machine does a dutiful job of saving mostly coherent snippets of the web across an impressive breadth of time. I was reminded again a couple weeks ago, when someone sought me out and pointed me to a guide I authored well over a decade ago. Back […]

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Think Like a Freak

Freakonomics was the book that, in my mind, started the “pop economics” trend: a brand of economics, applied to subjects that are relatable to the general public, targeted towards a mass audience as a different take on familiar matters. Though the book and its subsequent popularity wasn’t without its detractors, the authors realized they were […]

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Apple Pay and the Complexity of Payments

For the past couple of years, “payments” has been a frequent area targeted for innovation, something that tech companies and startups boast about disrupting but rarely back up with actual results. It has stubbornly refused to evolve from systems in the 50s and 60s, the same banking and credit card and cash[1] toolkit to exchange […]

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Virtually Collectable Card Bits

The story goes, I was tired and slightly bored during a recent business trip, and ended up downloading Blizzard’s free card game Hearthstone from my hotel room. A few hundred games later, I can start to appreciate the game and Blizzard’s game design magic. Hearthstone is a free-to-play game pitting two players in battle, a […]