Coté Memo #069: Chili Cheese Tots, shift key avoidance syndrome

Follow-up, Follow-forward

  • The column I excerpted from last time is up, over at FierceDevOps: Software-defined businesses need software-defined IT departments. Tell me what you think; they asked me to write a monthly piece, so I’d love to get some ideas for topics going: got any?

  • I got some good feedback on the podcast sponsorship meanderings. Apparently, there’s pretty good money in tech podcasts. The next thing I’m curious about is if the advertising actually works…or how people even measure it.

  • We have 98 subscribers right now – exciting! Tell one of your pals to sign up so we can get above 100 for the next one.

  • I’ll be at ApacheCon (in Austin) next week. We’re hosting a related event during the conference if you’re interested; I advised them on pizza ordering (either Home Slice or Conan’s – we’ll see what happens). It’d be fun to chat if you’re there. A few weeks on, I’ll be at DevOpsDays Austin, giving a talk and hanging out. The Cloud Foundry Summit is coming up and, as you might guess, I’ll be there as well.

Tech & Work World

no caps

Today, I bring you an excerpt from an upcoming Pivotal Conversation episode with Andrew, due to be published this week:

Coté: You know, I was thinking. There’s something I wanted to ask you. You have, like myself, pretty broad experience in the IT world over a couple of decades now, which is odd to think about. I think you’ve had your head in a slightly different silo than I have, in the early days. I think you can answer something that’s been bugging me. What is up with people who don’t use the shift key? Like they never capitalize anything. They have good punctuation. They don’t capitalize the beginning of sentences. Am I over thinking this? Is there … I feel like a lot of technological people that I know, I shouldn’t say a lot, there’s a fair amount of them who don’t capitalize things. Because they’re sort of like programmers or operators, I know that they pay close attention to syntax. I feel like it must be a conscious choice. Right? They must have decided, sort of like: one day I decided I’m not going to put 2 spaces after a period. Done. I never do that. Right? So, I ask you again, what’s going on with people who don’t capitalize things?

Andrew C Shafer: I think it’s just a hipster…I sometimes do that. It actually is conscious.

Michael Coté: See. This is … I’m not passing any judgment. I have no judgment to pass at all. I’m genuinely curious. When that affectation is applied intentionally, what the semantic thing is going on there. Is it, what’s that fancy word, like the study of symbols? Symbiotic? There’s some sort of symbiotic thing going on there.

Andrew C Shafer: Quite frankly, I don’t know how philosophical you want to get, in an encore performance here, but I don’t actually see the point of capitalization. Seems redundant.

Michael Coté: Now, that’s a statement right there. I like it. That’s something meaty. I think, this has been my theory.

Andrew C Shafer: With punctuation and spacing, what purpose does capitalization…

Michael Coté: Yeah. Yeah. It can all be inferred, basically. Right? You know. This would also highlight why, if this was like 2002 and we were complaining about the kids with their T9 texting, that would be a whole other discussion of no capitalization. In this case, I think it’s this subset of people who are technologically inclined. I feel like the answer you just gave is probably what’s going on with a lot of them. It’s like, I want to have an economy in my writing that strips out anything that’s unnecessary.

Andrew C Shafer: Yeah. It’s a protest against hierarchy.

Michael Coté: Namely the hierarchy of typefaces that are taller than others.

Andrew C Shafer: Exactly. We don’t need a class system.

Michael Coté: We need a class system. That’s an entirely different type of “class system” we’re talking about. Not separating things out in their value. More logos space class system.

We then talk some sort of tech stuff. I’ll drop in a link to the episode once it’s published. Or, just subscribe to the podcast feed to get it once it’s published.

“the feeling of being informed when you get to the very end”

Ben Thompson pointed out this good, short interview with The Economist’s Tom Standage

I love their Espresso app, and here’s some stats on it:

It’s $3 per month. It’s doing well: We’ve had about 600,000 downloads. Weekly reach is about 200,000 readers, daily reach is about 120,000 readers. 175,000 weekly subscribers have enabled free access to Espresso. So in all of those ways, it’s good.

…I don’t know all those term well enough, but let’s take a stab. I’ll assume “daily reach” means people paying for it regularly. So, the revenue could be something like:

$3 X 200,000 = $600,000

I’m unsure if that 175,000 weekly readers is on-top of the 200,000. I’m a weekly (digital) subscriber (through airline miles!) and I added it (meaning, I don’t pay “extra”). Anyhow, like many people I probably don’t actually read the weekly edition of The Economist cover to cover, but I do tend to read the daily Espresso.

Someone in tech needs to do that model. It’s a great format: a few hundred words per story with a summary of 3-4 stories at the end, and then the usual Economist numbers fest. If you could draw lines around “enterprise IT” (that is, not Apple, Google, Facebook, and all that), I think you’d have something pretty good. You’d need to define the companies, technologies, and topics you cover there, and then just take the Espresso approach. Their “model” is world news and business, of course: much larger. Scoping down to just some chunk of the IT world would be easy enough for 1, maybe 2 people to boot-strap in. And fun!

Quick Hits

Nice chart on Uber growth:

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As you’ll recall, I threw together this one from rumored revenue in the Wall Street Journal:

Uber's rumored net revenue

I like to use these charts to illustrate how fast a software defined business can grow and that, you know, it’s a thing.

Fun & IRL

Eating Right

We visited with friends for Easter this weekend.

On the way, I enjoyed a rare road-food treat at Sonic:

Sonic Chili Cheese Tater Tots

To make up for that, our friends made excellent food each night, for example:

Eating right

I didn’t get a picture of the lamb-chops. Or the omelet stuffed with left over smoked pork.

#WorkingFromHome, lanyard signaling

A reader wrote in:

One tip on working from home from a friend that works at Cisco. He wears his Cisco badge on a lanyard when he works at home, so even when he goes to get a drink from the fridge the family knows he’s still “at work”. He just holds the badge up when his wife asks him to flip the laundry or take out the trash. For me, I’m still trying to get French doors put on my home office door to help w/the noise. Looking forward to your tips.

Man, I think my wife would kill me if I did that, but it does get to the point. Sometimes signaling is all that’s needed. My wife is very good at responding to a door closed signal. Whether it’s locked or not she assumes that means no interruptions and will keep the kids out, even I actually don’t mind. So, I have to be very mindful of door closed or not.

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