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Agile product ownership in a nutshell

Henrik Kniberg also wrote “Lean from the Trenches”, a great book about agile development.

Experiments at OkCupid

Christian Rudder about the result of one of several experiments, they conducted at OkCupid:

So, your picture is worth that fabled thousand words, but your actual words are worth…almost nothing.

I love OkTrends. It’s great that’s it’s back to live with new content. Check out the old posts as well.

The World c. 1914

In commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is presenting an exhibition entitled The World c. 1914. Colour Photography Before the Great War, which features nearly forgotten colour photographs and films commissioned by the French banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940) before the First World War.

I would like to see this exhibition. It keeps fascinating me how little has changed in the last one hundred years. We wear other clothes, have more gadgets but the basic things of everyday life are still the same. You see pictures of people just like you and me. And they’ve been gone for decades. Color photography gets us a bit closer to this bygone world.

See more pictures at Spiegel Online.

A password to change my life

Mauricio Estrella:

My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it.

My password became: “Forgive@h3r”

My password expired today. Let the new one change my life.

Dear Foursquare

David E. Weekly is also done with Foursquare:

So after 3,044 check-ins and 68 badges, your user #11471 is throwing in the towel. Goodbye.

I only have 792 check-ins and 33 badges but I couldn’t agree more.

Electron eating bacteria

Sebastian Anthony:

Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons.

Fascinating.

Nishino-shima

Volcanic eruptions created a new island near Nishino-shima. Both islands joined late last year. They are now firmly linked.

Tinder and makeup

Brinton Parker tried three different levels of makeup on Tinder. She concludes:

Despite my reservations about the entire concept, however, the guys on Tinder surprised me. More men flocked to a bare-faced girl than a heavily made-up one, yet they seemed most aggressively interested in a face adorned in average levels of makeup.

Check the article for images and more information.

A new font

Google and Adobe teamed up to create an open source font for Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK).

Google shares some more information on its blog. Check out how different the same character can look in the different countries.

Parking sign

Like most urban drivers, Nikki Sylianteng was sick of getting tickets. During her time in Los Angeles, the now Brooklyn-based designer paid the city far more than she would’ve liked to. So she began thinking about how she might be able to solve this problem through design.

I like it.

Inside the cult of Kim

Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder shows the life in North Korea.

Romney 2016

Former assistant secretary of the Treasury Emil Henry thinks that Mitt Romney should run for president again in 2016. He would be the first failed candidate to get another chance since Richard Nixon in 1968.

Unforgettable customer service

Ten stories of great customer service. Number nine touched me most.

Still the Water

Peter Bradshaw:

Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) is a confident, intelligent 16-year-old girl who is falling in love with the diffident, moody boy next door: Kaito (Nijiro Murakami). Kaito’s parents are divorced: his dad, a tattooist, lives in Tokyo and his mum works in a restaurant. Kyoko is dealing with something even more painful: her mother, a delicate and beautiful woman, is dying, perhaps of cancer, although the film is a little too otherworldly to acknowledge the exact illness, the exact medical care or the ugly, un-Zen physical toll it can take.

Set against this fraught situation is a shocking event: a dead body is washed up on the beach. Despite the film’s title, the water is far from still – there are tropical storms and the waves and currents are dangerous. The dead man turns out to have a connection with Kaito’s mother, and realising this forces him to re-evaluate his relationship with his parents and with Kyoko herself who cannot understand why he is so shy and reluctant to make love to her.

A beautiful movie about love, life and death.

10,000 hours

According to the “10,000-hours rule”, it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill.

Maria Popova has read Daniel Goleman’s “Focus”, in which he takes a closer look at this rule.

She quotes:

Amateurs are content at some point to let their efforts become bottom-up operations. After about fifty hours of training — whether in skiing or driving — people get to that “good-enough” performance level, where they can go through the motions more or less effortlessly. They no longer feel the need for concentrated practice, but are content to coast on what they’ve learned. No matter how much more they practice in this bottom-up mode, their improvement will be negligible.

The experts, in contrast, keep paying attention top-down, intentionally counteracting the brain’s urge to automatize routines. They concentrate actively on those moves they have yet to perfect, on correcting what’s not working in their game, and on refining their mental models of how to play the game, or focusing on the particulars of feedback from a seasoned coach. Those at the top never stop learning: if at any point they start coasting and stop such smart practice, too much of their game becomes bottom-up and their skills plateau.

Managing with Martians

Julie Zhuo:

I like to think of a manager’s job as learning, designing, or teaching frameworks, where every framework is a shortcut for achieving a desired outcome in a given situation. Like a well-known childhood game, it’s fun to collect them all, whether from books, talking to other people, or personal experience.

She shares her favorite frameworks and concludes:

If you give a Martian an answer, you’ll satisfy it for a minute. But if you teach it a framework for getting answers, then you’ll give it its best chance of success in achieving Pistatort-Caliber (translation: A+) on its Tetra InterGalWarp Ewol. And really, who wouldn’t want that for our adorable little green friend?

Multilinguals with multiple personalities

Alice Robb:

It’s surprising, though, that people who are actually fluent in two languages also feel their personality shifting as they switch between languages. Yet researchers have confirmed this: Between 2001 and 2003, linguists Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko asked over a thousand bilinguals whether they “feel like a different person” when they speak different langauges. Nearly two-thirds said they did.

My English self is definitely different from my German one.

Leading product without disempowering

As CEO of Meebo, Seth Sternberg, now Product Director for the Google+ Platform, went from full control to no control. Neither worked well.

But then it clicked. I came upon a way of managing product where the founder maintains product direction, even at quite a detailed level, without disempowering. It turns out it’s all about cadence of feedback and expectations.

His solution shares similarities to the Pixar Braintrust.

Malaysian, not Korean

Joyce Chu from Malaysia sings about not being Korean.

Monogamous women

Melissa Dahl:

Research has shown that women’s libidos tend to nose-dive when they’re in a long-term relationship, but the same isn’t true for men. However, we might have been misinterpreting the meaning of this finding, suggest the authors, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman, both of the Indiana University School of Medicine. “While some would say that this means the women have an easier time being monogamous because their sex drive has gone down, sex experts would say that this is not the healthy state for these women,” they write. “The women are losing their desire to initiate sex or to have sex with their partners, which does not reflect sexual health.”

I need to get this book.

Too many tabs

Here’s a strategy that you might consider trying: Prepare some tools which can, at the moment you’re ready, put all those tabs exactly where you need them so you can close those tabs. If most of those tabs are really your to-do list, line them up in one window and then get them into your actual to-do list. I’ve found that if your tools are easy to use, you’ll be more likely to make it a part of your routine.

I love Justin’s Chrome to OmniFocus extension.

Drowning in Problems

Interesting game from Minecraft creator Markus Persson.

It takes ten minutes to play and it teaches you a lot about your life.

Asian Moon

Lobo:

Could be the light of the Asian moon
Could be a song an old Asian tune
Lovely dark haired ladies and the words they say
A late night sail on a moonlit bay
Could be the stars in the Asian sky
That got me flying and feelin’ so high
I never thought the hurt would heal so soon
Must be the light of the Asian moon

Foursquare and Swarm

Jon Evans:

Foursquare, which started life as “the check-in app,” is ripping check-ins out of its eponymous app and moving them to its new ambient-social app called Swarm. […]

Which leaves it seeming more than a little unfocused. The main Foursquare app has essentially become a Yelp competitor. Swarm is now a side business, presumably because check-ins are no longer a growth industry, and haven’t been for some years now.

This pivot kept me scratching my head. I was probably one of the last geeks to start using Foursquare. I liked how I could tell the app where I am and what I like and it would then show me what to do.

With the split I have to check-in in Swarm and then jump to Foursquare to read more about the venue. What a waste of time.

My close friends are using neither Foursquare nor Swarm. They do not check-in to show where they are. Socializing has never been my use case for checking-in.

I stopped using Foursquare short after the split.