#log 2021-05-02

How to Get Started with—Real—Travel Photography

Photographing the butcher on the corner of the street instead of someone dressed in traditional clothes solely for the purpose of pleasing tourists. Looking for real people and daily life instead of famous landmarks. That’s what going to make your photography interesting and stand out from the crowds.

More than a quarter of all Starbucks orders in the U.S. are now paid for with a smartphone – here in Europe, I pay almost all the time with my phone. It’s fantastic.

MonitorControl – in MacOS, an app that allows you to modify the brightness, contrast, and volume for external monitors. Simple and effective.

Brown cafés in the Netherlands: all you need to know

Savvy shoppers: long lines at IKEA and Primark upon re-opening in the Netherlands

If anyone still thought that our consumption behaviour would change permanently in the post-corona era, here’s a sneak peek. Soon again people will be going to Bali and New York three times a year, looking forward to it.

Office default Calibri will join Clippy, Internet Explorer in Windows retirement

“Calibri has been the default font for all things Microsoft since 2007, when it stepped in to replace Times New Roman across Microsoft Office,” the Microsoft Design Team opined in Calibri’s de facto obit. “It has served us all well, but we believe it’s time to evolve.”

OKRs and developer backlogs

“It usually seems to me that the reason it works out this way is because teams generally have large backlogs of things they’ve decided they’d like to do. Most of the stuff in that backlog was written down long before the current OKRs where specified…. So it makes sense that when the OKRs come out for the quarter, we just take what we already have and figure out how to fit it into the OKRs.”

Ignoring the Rules Sometimes Works for Elon Musk

‘When asked to comment on the specifics of this article, Mr. Musk replied with a “poop” emoji.’

Software Defined Talk Episode 296: Fungated into my mind

_Working Backwards_, recent book on how Amazon runs.

Notes:

  • central is thinking about product features, not business. The business funds the product, the customer value – it’s the McGuffin that you careful guide to being cash flow. The question here is to find other org.s that have adopted abs adapted the practices successfully, or not.
  • the advice at the end is pretty straightforward – the practices are kind of simple, so applying them just means deciding to do them – just like deciding to diet and exercise. It’s the deciding and sticking to it that’s hard.
  • an analysis of this book requires an approach: don’t halo effect/shoot down the book and triumphs, focus on describing why others find it hard to act this way. This book isn’t wrong in it’s own story: the challenge is “scaling” the lessons learned to other orgs.
  • They Still do intense annual planning, do they just do it “better”?
  • Comp of max 160 and lots of equity is good? Probably.
  • “wasted time” a common phrase, in interview chapter.
  • people interested in high performance, not quality of life…?
  • dependencies – something you need but can’t control/build/etc.
  • we spent too much time coordinating and not enough building.
  • dependency discussion (when they had a monolith) is a good business view in this tech stuff – do most LoB execs (outside Amazon) have this much IT knowledge?’
  • Two pizza teams changes to single threaded leader – lots it emphasis on one person owning one thing, all parts of that thing. End-to-end.
  • not a what decision, a who and how – figuring out how to respond to iTunes on Windows.
  • Needs a long term focus.
  • there isn’t talk of the “boring” retail business – warehouses/logistics, purchasing from suppliers, etc. how is that all run?

#log 2021-04-28

Creative

“76% of employees employed by high-growth firms agree that their job requires them to be creative,” from “Creativity Catalyzes A Growth Mindset,” Forrester, April 2021.

New talk on metrics

I’m giving a new talk for the first time on May 10th, “Beyond DevOps metrics – technical, business, and culture metrics for the software defined business.” I’ll pull a lot from my upcoming Mindset book, and these Tanzu Talk videos.

One of the better, odder pieces of PowerPoint clipart I’ve seen today

Mindset book

My new booklet is almost done getting all put together. You can still see a draft of it, or wait until next month when it officially comes out.

Modernizing apps, etc.


Modernization white paper: “Tackle Application Modernization in Days and Weeks, Not Months and Years.” It’s a good overview of the disciplined process VMware Tanzu customers go through to modernize their portfolio. It takes years, lots of planning. What I like is that it has a generic, quick process for doing analysis (over and over as you finish each, say, quarter) and focuses a lot of process, not just technology/replatforming. As ever with us, getting CI/CD (“path to production”) a quick and automated as possible is the first, kind of most important step.

No commitment thinking

From “On Bullshit”:

The characteristic topics of a bull session have to do with very personal and emotion-laden aspects of life — for instance, religion, politics, or sex. People are generally reluctant to speak altogether openly about these topics if they expect that they might be taken too seriously. What tends to go on in a bull session is that the participants try out various thoughts and attitudes in order to see how it feels to hear themselves saying such things and in order to discover how others respond, without it being assumed that they are committed to what they say: It is understood by everyone in a bull session that the statements people make do not necessarily reveal what they really believe or how they really feel.

And:

The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor co conceal it…. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

healthcare tech reports notes

Some reading I did for getting up to speed on healthcare tech.

“Claims 2030: A talent strategy for the future of insurance claims”

Claims 2030: A talent strategy for the future of insurance claims

  • Using the old AI agent sidekick idea to take care of decision making. You still have a human face to walk you through stuff. Other roles are a person to sort out more complex things that a computer can’t do and the data scientists who monitor decision making and do new ML-stuff training.

“The productivity imperative for US life and annuities carriers,” McKinsey March, 2021

Productivity is imperative for US life and annuities carriers | McKinsey

  • Life insurance companies have been looking for growth for a long time.
  • Cost cutting is a big priority: “In a proprietary McKinsey survey conducted before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, senior life-insurance executives estimated the industry needed to reduce its costs by 35 percent in the medium term, far higher than the typical 10 to 15 percent reductions realized in most cost-cutting programs.”

“How insurers can act on the opportunity of digital ecosystems,” interview with Markus Warg, McKinsey

The opportunity of digital ecosystems for insurance | McKinsey

  • Insurance providers looking for new revenue streams, also new ways to optimize/save money, inc. lesser payouts.
  • This guy is all about engaging with the “ecosystem” or partners and other people to layer on new features to health insurance. HealthKit on the Apple Watch is an interesting aspect. Why don’t more insurers do that?
  • Offering new features to improve the business: “Take, for instance, health insurance. Health insurance’s value is in covering financial risks. However, this product can be enhanced substantially through further services related to telemedicine or health management—resulting in better prevention and reduced costs through more appropriate care settings. This benefits both the customer and the insurer. Similarly, innovations such as digital care assistants prove that traditionally lengthy processes can be completed via an app in just a few minutes. At the same time, such services help to create touchpoints with caregivers along the way.”
  • Some pushing to getting faster develop lifecycles.

“The Time For Strategic EHR Workflow Is Now,” Forrester, July 2019

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR) are not delivering on the promise of optimizing. Doctors don’t like them, they spend too much time in them. The UIs haven’t improved that much: ‘Providers now spend approximately 2 hours in
    the eHr for every hour spent engaged in patient-facing activities.4 in addition, providers report spending an added 1 to 2 hours of “pajama time” catching up on work each night after hours.’

2019 priorities:

[Link] ‘No skinny jeans’: Gen Z launch TikTok attack on millennial fashion

According to market research company Edited, sales of men’s relaxed-fit jeans have increased by 15% and women’s wide-legged jeans are up 97%. The skinny v baggy online debate not only exposes a generational divide but other socioeconomic truths, too. “This is about issues of ‘taste’ but they intersect with issues of class, age, location, gender,” says McClendon.

This would make for a good, New Yorker style essay on many topics, if not just the jeans themselves. Like: what does it say about culture and how does it explain everyday psychology.

Original source: ‘No skinny jeans’: Gen Z launch TikTok attack on millennial fashion

The tiny video toolkit

People ask me how I do the tiny videos. I hope to do a screencast at some point, but in the meantime, here are some notes:

Video recording – I record them on my iPhone 11 Pro, I have Rode Wireless Go mics with a lav mic (these hook directly into the iPhone so the audio track is embedded in the video), a DJI Osmo Mobile gimble (totally not needed), and a cheap tripod. I record in 4k (see below for converting it for web). When I do “in the studio” I use the iPhone as well with Camo Studio and some Eve strip LED lighting. I have a black backdrop behind me. I use the FilMiC Pro Mobile on iOS to record – probably overkill, but if I ever get the remote thing working, it’ll be cool (I’d be able to control my main phone with another phone!). Their DoubleTake app is cool too – I used that for a couple Garbage Chairs of Amsterdam videos to bounce between me and the chair.

Audio – I don’t really do anything with audio now – it gets recorded into the track. It’d be nice to noise cancel, compress, level, and stuff, but, whatever. Once that gets built into LumaFusion, I’ll probably just flip those switches. Descript will level the audio, which is nice. I don’t know, man: the audio is good enough – I could stand to have more gain, but, again: whatever.

Editing – I edit in LumaFusion on iOS. I do most all editing on my iPhone, no shit. I’m often watching my daughter, feeding her, or otherwise somewhere besides a desk, so I’ve gotten really good at editing on my phone. Weird, but I like it. I’ve done it on my iPad and kind of like that less. Video editing software is very personal and muscle memory: I make no claims that what works for me would work for you: just pick something and train your hands to do the things. I could go over my editing style as well which, I like to think, is especially tuned for these short, quick videos.

Subtitles – I started using Descript to get subtitles. It’s good stuff. I’ve done some editing in Descript – it will delete out filler words (“uh,” “like,” etc.) and silence pretty well. I don’t like the video editing in Descript. Sometimes, if I need a Twitter length video (max 2 minutes 20 seconds), I’ll use Descript to edit it down a bit. Then I have separate subtitles for the “everything but Twitter version” and the Twitter one. Sounds like extra work, but it’s actually fine.

Thumbnails – I use Adobe Spark Post. It’s awesome and perfect for this job. I have an Adobe CC subscription, so I occasionally use stock.adobe.com to find zaney things. I also have a storyblocks.com stock footage subscription that I occasionally use for silly interstitials (like clowns in my bozo bit video).

Posting – I do that all manually, per site. I did a rough analysis of where/how to post videos. My finding was that no one clicks on YouTube links: you need to publish the videos “natively” in each service: LinkedIn (best performing for my videos), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. The last three don’t really work well for my videos, so I’ve started ignoring them. To make this clear: you can’t just put a YouTube link in Twitter and LinkedIn for promotion: people won’t click on the link! So, I upload manually to YouTube, studio.twitter.com (a nice find I didn’t know about!), and LinkedIn. The thing with this is just knowing the various formats and subtitle expectations for each. Twitter vidoes need to be max 2 minutes 20 seconds, LinkedIn can be up to 10 minutes, YouTube doesn’t care. Twitter MP4s need to be 500 megs or less, so I encode those to 720p – the others will take 4k, so I upload full 4k to them.

CTAs – you can put links into YouTube videos (“cards” and end frame things) – from what I can tell, no one clicks on those in my videos so I stopped doing them. You can also plop links into the YouTube description: I do this, I don’t know if they work. If you use studio.twitter.com, you can put one link that appears as an overlay to “watch more” (like, link to a full YouTube video) or “visit site” (like, go to a landing page to download my two free books). With LinkedIn, you just put the links in the post.

Promotion – dude, fuck if I know. Hashtags? I’m pretty sure the only way to get better promotion for my videos is to get people much more famous then me to point to them.

Interviewing – if I’m interviewing someone, I do it in Zoom and record the video. I figured out some settings where you can record the gallery view and the switching between active speaker view. The video quality is terrible, but I don’t ever want people to have to mess around.

Streaming – I use OBS with a few core scenes (one big head talking, sharing a screen with a head). The best tip I got on OBS was to tune down the resolution to 720p. While my Netherlands internet can take most anything, I don’t have the compute horse-power to do more. Besides, who’s going to stream 4k? When I stream, OBS records the video and then I take that video and edit it and post to YouTube. I haven’t done much streaming this year…I don’t like it.

Studio stuff – for a mic, I have an Apogee MiC 94k. It’s great! I think there’s a newer model now, probably fine. I currently use an Eve LED strip on the wall in front of me for lighting. I keep it on white at 25% brightness. I hook up my iPhone 11 Pro with Camo Studio so I can use. With the black backdrop I have, I found that messing around with the gamma kind of fades out the background enough (I have no idea what “gamma” is). I, of course, have those boom arm things for the iPhone/camera and mic. Mine are shit, but they work.

LIKE AND SUBSCRIBZ!

a strange gig for a press photographer. They are a weird breed, estranged in every way from pointy-headed reporters and editorial writers. If reporters are generally liberal in their thinking, photographers are massively conservative. They are the true professionals of journalism: the End, the photo, justifies anything they have to say, do or think in order to get it. Police brutality, to a good press photographer, is nothing more or less than a lucky chance for some action shots. Later, when his prints are drying in the darkroom, he’ll defend the same cops he earlier condemned with his lens.

🗃

🔗 Fear and Loathing in America, excerpts in The Paris Review, 2000