From Bruce Schneier in The Evolution of a Cryptographer: Computer security folks are always trying to solve problems with technology, which explains why so many computer solutions fail so miserably.
From Parul Sehgal’s “Here Comes Clay Shirky” (Publisher’s Weekly: 21 June 2010): PW: In April of this year, Wired‘s Kevin Kelly turned a Shirky quote—“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution”—into “the Shirky Principle,” in deference to the simple, yet powerful observation. … Kelly explained, “The Shirky Principle declares […]
From Jeff Bezos’s “We are What We Choose: Remarks by Jeff Bezos, as delivered to the Class of 2010 Baccalaureate” (Princeton University: 30 May 2010): What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given […]
Image by Esther_G via Flickr From Josh Olson’s “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script” (The Village Voice: 9 September 2009): It rarely takes more than a page to recognize that you’re in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you’re dealing with someone who can’t.
photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection From Peter Stark’s “As Freezing Persons Recollect the Snow–First Chill–Then Stupor–Then the Letting Go” (Outside: January 1997): There is no precise core temperature at which the human body perishes from cold. At Dachau’s cold-water immersion baths, Nazi doctors calculated death to arrive at around 77 degrees […]
From Wikipedia’s “Clarke’s three laws” (2 November 2006): Arthur C. Clarke formulated the following three “laws” of prediction: 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 2. The only way of discovering the limits […]
From Paul Graham’s “Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas” (April 2005): Trevor Blackwell presents the following recipe for a startup: “Watch people who have money to spend, see what they’re wasting their time on, cook up a solution, and try selling it to them. It’s surprising how small a problem can be and still provide […]
Posted on July 13th, 2006 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: business | Comments Off on How to start a startup
From Paul Graham’s “Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas” (April 2005): It’s much easier to sell services than a product, just as it’s easier to make a living playing at weddings than by selling recordings. But the margins are greater on products.
Posted on July 13th, 2006 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: business | Comments Off on Which is better: products or services?
From Paul Graham’s “How to Start a Startup” (March 2005): You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does […]
Posted on July 6th, 2006 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: business | Comments Off on What successful startups need
From “Beauty Is Our Business: A Birthday Salute to Edsger W. Dijkstra“: David Gelernter said in “Machine Beauty – Elegance and the Heart of Technology“: Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity.
From Nicholas Thompson’s “Who Needs Keys?” (Legal Affairs: November/December 2004): … the main principles of hacking, which state that information should circulate as widely as possible, and that breaking into systems is acceptable if you cause no harm.
From The New York Times‘ “Form Follows Function. Now Go Out and Cut the Grass.“: Failure, [Henry] Petroski shows, works. Or rather, engineers only learn from things that fail: bridges that collapse, software that crashes, spacecraft that explode. Everything that is designed fails, and everything that fails leads to better design. Next time at least […]
From The New Yorker‘s “The Disappearing Poet” (4 July 2005): There is no more volatile compound known to man than that of decorum and despair. — Anthony Lane, on Weldon Kees
From Noam Eppel’s “Security Absurdity: The Complete, Unquestionable, And Total Failure of Information Security“: A cyber-criminal only needs to identify a single vulnerability in a system’s defenses in order to breach its security. However, information security professionals need to identify every single vulnerability and potential risk and come up with suitable and practical fix or […]
From Paul Graham’s “The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn“: 1. Release Early. The thing I probably repeat most is this recipe for a startup: get a version 1 out fast, then improve it based on users’ reactions. By “release early” I don’t mean you should release something full of bugs, but that you should […]
From Paul Graham’s “The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn“: We take it for granted most of the time, but human life is fairly miraculous. It is also palpably short. You’re given this marvellous thing, and then poof, it’s taken away. You can see why people invent gods to explain it. But even to people […]
Posted on May 11th, 2006 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: commonplace book | Comments Off on Human life & wasted time