The economic impact of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visualized in hour-by-hour credit card transactions by locals and visitors.
Amazing to see how an enormous conference like MWC can make a difference to a city.
Seven Degrees of Francis Bacon: Reassembling the Early Modern Social Network
Fascinating project here with some interesting dynamics around identities in social networks. When James VI of Scotland became James I of England, as well, the Scots never changed the name of “their” king in their writings, and we can characterize court relationships accordingly.
Project management is an ongoing learning process for us at Proximate, and particularly for me (Robb) as it’s the first time I’ve ever dealt with a product of the complexity that we’re building. I’ve written about this growth before, back in the fall, and thought I was getting up the curve then. Looking back, I know I’m not up that curve yet, and wonder what I’ll think six months from now.
Building a web product involves a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving deadlines, and if you’re not careful you lose focus on what precisely comes next. And that’s bad. It’s a terrible, terrible thing for a small company operating on a tight timeline and a tighter budget.
One particularly interesting wrinkle for the core Proximate team is that many of us live and work together - we’re literally thinking and talking about the product and how it’s progressing for most of our waking hours.
On the one hand, this might be considered great from a “lean” perspective - I can come back from some customer development interviews and tell Evan what I learned, updating our spec or moving a timeline up or back. And don’t get me wrong, I think this is a large part of what allows us to get a product of the quality we have with a small, bootstrapped team.
On the other hand, though, all that feedback has to be analyzed and structured in such a way that it complements dev work, instead of interrupting and rerouting it. And that’s a rookie PM mistake I’ve definitely been guilty of more than once. It’s very easy, if a small feature is blocking a sale, for Evan or I to take a few hours off from our regularly scheduled work and implement it. And that’s sometimes necessary (even crucial, given the size of the contract).
But it definitely can have a cost; those tiny hours add up over a two-week sprint to mean tight deadlines or carried-over work. Suddenly, the features you were sure you’d have ready by January are rough in February, and not production-ready until March. And a number of those “just a few hours” projects, less critical than your regular work, didn’t end up in a sale anyway.
So, enough. We’ve been recommitting ourselves to Evan’s idea of the 15-mile march these last few weeks. And Evan came up with a pretty clever little system that I’d like to share - maybe it will help you with your projects.
Each Post-It here represents a technical chunk of work (not a user story, notably) that will last one of us an estimated week of work. On the X axis, you see tasks arranged by user flow - how a hypothetical user would come into contact with the product, from signup all the way through very specific analytics menus. On the Y axis, you see the tasks related to one another in pipelines where each week’s achievements build on another.
Every two weeks, we pull three tasks off the wall. No more, no less, and if we finish early it’s time to refactor - nothing new off the wall. Every two cycles, we can reevaluate our pacing by making Post-Its more or less granular in the work they describe.
It’s a bit more structure than you would expect with such a small core time, but it’s that important to accurately estimate feature timelines. Everyone, from our clients to our landlord, expects it.
And it didn’t work out badly for the guy who invented the fifteen-mile march, either.
So if a big fraction of people on a network have only two friends, it is highly vulnerable to collapse. That’s because when a single person exits, it leaves somebody with only one friend. This person is then likely exit leaving another with only one friend and so on. The result is a cascade of exists that sweeps through the network.
However, if a large fraction of people on the network have, say, ten friends, the loss of one friend is much less likely to trigger a cascade. —
Technology Review, “Topology of a Dead Social Network”
What really happened to Friendster? A new metric - k-core distribution - is at the center of one hypothesis.
Ultimately, he said, as valuable as the technology can be in discovering the path to a relationship, an artful introduction is what really counts.
“We bring the science,” he said. “You bring the art.” — Relationship Science Plans Database of Names and How They Connect - New York Times
Memories of XOXO.
This sketch sort of sums up how we feel about the world. “Find your community, support it, and shine a spotlight on it.” Also, “Oh, hi, didn’t see you there.”
Wonder what will come out of XOXO next year?
The Permanent Disruption of Social Media
Social media has chipped away at the foundation of traditional donor-engagement models. A new study highlights the realities of donor behavior and how organizations can redesign their outreach strategies to be more effective.
Full Story: Stanford
11 of the most influential infographics of the 19th century.
[…S]o many of the self-help books on social networking advocated just going out and meeting a lot of people, ultimately. The advice, ultimately, in those books is about the quantity of the ties and doing, in my mind, many times very surface level activities, like going to a lot of meetings, giving out cards, basic things like that. That when I reflected on what it looked like the most effective people did in organizations I was working in, in other words, the high performers, those people that get in and stay in the top performance category, never really looked like what they were doing. In fact, most of the cases, it looked like what the high performers were doing were investing well in relationships, giving before they expected to receive things. But they weren’t out kind of consistently and overtly networking as advocated in a lot of those books. — HBR Ideacast with University of Virginia sociologist Rob Cross; what does network science have to say about getting networking right?
Olin College Interview with founder Evan Morikawa