Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

13

You go to learn the conventions of a genre. There are many ways to fail: go bankrupt, get acquired, get acqui-hired. To fail well, however, you have to get your story straight. A good founder story always describes failure without bitterness. It has been an incredible journey. I learned a ton. It presents every failure as temporary—a waystation to success.

Storytelling is not only for founders. It is a skill that everyone at a startup should cultivate, because the vast majority of startups will fail. And when you suddenly learn that you are out of work and all that equity you pulled all those all-nighters to earn is worthless, no job interviewer will want to hear that you got screwed over. They want to hear how you grew.

[...]

If something you spent years working on fails, you do not just need a story to tell your current or future employers; you need a story to tell yourself. You want to be able see those years as part of an incredible journey, too.

too real

—p.13 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago

You go to learn the conventions of a genre. There are many ways to fail: go bankrupt, get acquired, get acqui-hired. To fail well, however, you have to get your story straight. A good founder story always describes failure without bitterness. It has been an incredible journey. I learned a ton. It presents every failure as temporary—a waystation to success.

Storytelling is not only for founders. It is a skill that everyone at a startup should cultivate, because the vast majority of startups will fail. And when you suddenly learn that you are out of work and all that equity you pulled all those all-nighters to earn is worthless, no job interviewer will want to hear that you got screwed over. They want to hear how you grew.

[...]

If something you spent years working on fails, you do not just need a story to tell your current or future employers; you need a story to tell yourself. You want to be able see those years as part of an incredible journey, too.

too real

—p.13 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago
14

Silicon Valley tells itself one set of stories about failure. It has another story that it tells everyone else. Namely, that the old world has failed. The old world was analog: government bureaucrats, boring businesses, factory jobs, gray flannel suits. The new world is flexible, Technicolor, gymnastic, young. It has no dress code. It is neither white-collar nor blue-collar: it wears no collars at all.

In the new world, everyone will live a better life. This was the promise sold for decades by tech industry leaders and politicians alike: tech would drive American growth, creating widespread prosperity. This sounded good in an era of deindustrialization and spiraling inequality. It sounded even better after the 2008 financial crisis wiped out middle-class savings. As wages continued to flatline, the smartphone-driven gig economy would pick up the slack. [...]

A set of political assumptions followed from these claims. The most important of these was that it was all right for a handful of former failures to accumulate vast amounts of money and power, so long as what was good for Silicon Valley was good for humanity. If tech was the future, why would anyone, or any regulation, want to stand in its way?

—p.14 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Silicon Valley tells itself one set of stories about failure. It has another story that it tells everyone else. Namely, that the old world has failed. The old world was analog: government bureaucrats, boring businesses, factory jobs, gray flannel suits. The new world is flexible, Technicolor, gymnastic, young. It has no dress code. It is neither white-collar nor blue-collar: it wears no collars at all.

In the new world, everyone will live a better life. This was the promise sold for decades by tech industry leaders and politicians alike: tech would drive American growth, creating widespread prosperity. This sounded good in an era of deindustrialization and spiraling inequality. It sounded even better after the 2008 financial crisis wiped out middle-class savings. As wages continued to flatline, the smartphone-driven gig economy would pick up the slack. [...]

A set of political assumptions followed from these claims. The most important of these was that it was all right for a handful of former failures to accumulate vast amounts of money and power, so long as what was good for Silicon Valley was good for humanity. If tech was the future, why would anyone, or any regulation, want to stand in its way?

—p.14 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago
17

The system may be working exactly as it is supposed to. If so, is the definition of success we have been using wrong? What if the success of Silicon Valley is failing most of us? This issue ventures a few possible answers to these questions. It explores what happens when technology blows up and breaks down. It looks at failures of code, institutions, narratives, and imagination. In so doing, it tries to imagine a better way to live with our machines—and to build new ones.

There is no shame in failing, until there is. Having been exempt from scrutiny for so long, many tech leaders seem genuinely stung by their first taste of criticism. Don’t they see? We’re working so hard. Taking a cue from Trump, some of them have take to Twitter to denounce their critics as liars, and to challenge the legitimacy of the media as a whole.

There has long been the sense in Silicon Valley that anyone who criticizes is simply a hater. We take the opposite view. Engaging with failure is, as FailCon could have taught us, the first step to growth. Only, that growth may have to happen in a different direction than Silicon Valley has been imagining. We may not need to iterate to grow faster but act boldly to create a more expansive and equitable world.

The only failure that should frighten us is not taking advantage of the opportunity that this moment presents. Complacency is no way to honor the disruptive potential of technology. To paraphrase one interview in the following pages: Criticism can be the highest form of love.

—p.17 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The system may be working exactly as it is supposed to. If so, is the definition of success we have been using wrong? What if the success of Silicon Valley is failing most of us? This issue ventures a few possible answers to these questions. It explores what happens when technology blows up and breaks down. It looks at failures of code, institutions, narratives, and imagination. In so doing, it tries to imagine a better way to live with our machines—and to build new ones.

There is no shame in failing, until there is. Having been exempt from scrutiny for so long, many tech leaders seem genuinely stung by their first taste of criticism. Don’t they see? We’re working so hard. Taking a cue from Trump, some of them have take to Twitter to denounce their critics as liars, and to challenge the legitimacy of the media as a whole.

There has long been the sense in Silicon Valley that anyone who criticizes is simply a hater. We take the opposite view. Engaging with failure is, as FailCon could have taught us, the first step to growth. Only, that growth may have to happen in a different direction than Silicon Valley has been imagining. We may not need to iterate to grow faster but act boldly to create a more expansive and equitable world.

The only failure that should frighten us is not taking advantage of the opportunity that this moment presents. Complacency is no way to honor the disruptive potential of technology. To paraphrase one interview in the following pages: Criticism can be the highest form of love.

—p.17 Project Runway (11) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago
24

The clean-up crew stays deliberately out of sight [...] their clients think consulting them will constitute a capitulation. An admission that what they're running is a business, that their career is in the end just a career, that gravity has some kind of purchase on their meteoric trajectories.

A lot of the younger VCs are themselves highly successful founders, and the contingency of their own success hasn't yet sunk in. [...] Why do they deserve their good fortune? What does it mean?

This matters because only those who have encountered the most stupefying, most inexplicable success will end up funding the next generation of startups. [...] Among those who do have that kind of cash, their sense of reality can be deeply warped - perhaps it almost has to be a little bit, shell-shocked as they all can be by their extraordinary luck.

—p.24 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The clean-up crew stays deliberately out of sight [...] their clients think consulting them will constitute a capitulation. An admission that what they're running is a business, that their career is in the end just a career, that gravity has some kind of purchase on their meteoric trajectories.

A lot of the younger VCs are themselves highly successful founders, and the contingency of their own success hasn't yet sunk in. [...] Why do they deserve their good fortune? What does it mean?

This matters because only those who have encountered the most stupefying, most inexplicable success will end up funding the next generation of startups. [...] Among those who do have that kind of cash, their sense of reality can be deeply warped - perhaps it almost has to be a little bit, shell-shocked as they all can be by their extraordinary luck.

—p.24 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago
26

[...] The term "lifestyle business," he points out - meaning a business that is designed to keep its owners fed and happy rather than making them brain-meltingly wealthy - is "kind of a pejorative in this world." Because to be reminded of why people normally work is an unwelcome dose of real life, of gravity, of adulthood.

love the last bit. startup life is about escaping the reality that most people are compelled to sell their labour-power merely in order to survive. it's fetishising work-as-choice

—p.26 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

[...] The term "lifestyle business," he points out - meaning a business that is designed to keep its owners fed and happy rather than making them brain-meltingly wealthy - is "kind of a pejorative in this world." Because to be reminded of why people normally work is an unwelcome dose of real life, of gravity, of adulthood.

love the last bit. startup life is about escaping the reality that most people are compelled to sell their labour-power merely in order to survive. it's fetishising work-as-choice

—p.26 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago
29

The reason is what one VC calls “the repeat business effect”. Sure, a 24-year-old can run his company into the ground – but he’s still a 24-year-old, with time and energy for another startup, and then another. And any one of those could pan out and make everybody fantastically rich. It is, as one founder told me, “the luxury of having a lot of runway left”. Why would you upset a person like that and potentially miss out on a future payday?

There is a lot of money sloshing around Silicon Valley in search of that payday. It laps up Sand Hill Road, all the way to the famous Rosewood Hotel with its Tesla-filled parking lot and tech divorcees on the prowl. [...] The money that pours in – from pension funds, hedge funds, private investors – has to go somewhere. It is agnostic about individual failure or success; its mantra is the law of averages. By the time one venture crashes and burns, everyone is already on to their next one.

But failure comes encased in bubble wrap – at least among those who have a reasonable expectation of running into each other again. What about those who don’t? Many of the employees who have foregone sleep, pay, healthcare and a social life for the benefit of now-worthless shares will not be instrumental in making the next spin of the wheel the winning one.

There are many ways to close up shop in Silicon Valley: get acquired or acqui-hired, wind the company down, buy out your investors and start anew as a small business. Depending on how a company dies, however, most or all of the employees will not be part of these transactions. Google won’t acqui-hire the receptionist, or even the publicity person. They won’t take on those who were only contractors, or those who mysteriously got the boot right before a desperate final funding round.

And even among those with titles, salary, and equity, the acqui-hiring party gets to pick and choose: in an acqui-hire truly deserving of the name, the company’s product and assets matter little. It’s really a way of hiring a very small group of people – and it falls to that group to stand up for those members of the company that the hiring party is not interested in. “They know what they’re prepared to spend,” one person whose company got absorbed into Google told me. “How equitably that gets spread around is basically one big prisoner’s dilemma.”

—p.29 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The reason is what one VC calls “the repeat business effect”. Sure, a 24-year-old can run his company into the ground – but he’s still a 24-year-old, with time and energy for another startup, and then another. And any one of those could pan out and make everybody fantastically rich. It is, as one founder told me, “the luxury of having a lot of runway left”. Why would you upset a person like that and potentially miss out on a future payday?

There is a lot of money sloshing around Silicon Valley in search of that payday. It laps up Sand Hill Road, all the way to the famous Rosewood Hotel with its Tesla-filled parking lot and tech divorcees on the prowl. [...] The money that pours in – from pension funds, hedge funds, private investors – has to go somewhere. It is agnostic about individual failure or success; its mantra is the law of averages. By the time one venture crashes and burns, everyone is already on to their next one.

But failure comes encased in bubble wrap – at least among those who have a reasonable expectation of running into each other again. What about those who don’t? Many of the employees who have foregone sleep, pay, healthcare and a social life for the benefit of now-worthless shares will not be instrumental in making the next spin of the wheel the winning one.

There are many ways to close up shop in Silicon Valley: get acquired or acqui-hired, wind the company down, buy out your investors and start anew as a small business. Depending on how a company dies, however, most or all of the employees will not be part of these transactions. Google won’t acqui-hire the receptionist, or even the publicity person. They won’t take on those who were only contractors, or those who mysteriously got the boot right before a desperate final funding round.

And even among those with titles, salary, and equity, the acqui-hiring party gets to pick and choose: in an acqui-hire truly deserving of the name, the company’s product and assets matter little. It’s really a way of hiring a very small group of people – and it falls to that group to stand up for those members of the company that the hiring party is not interested in. “They know what they’re prepared to spend,” one person whose company got absorbed into Google told me. “How equitably that gets spread around is basically one big prisoner’s dilemma.”

—p.29 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago
31

That’s the funny part of the tech industry’s narrative about itself. For tech, failure is always assumed to be temporary; for everyone else, it’s terminal. Taxicab companies are going out of business because they’re losing money? Creative destruction, my friend – sink or swim. Uber hemorrhages cash? Well, that’s just a sign of how visionary the company is. This double standard justifies the exploitation of workers outside of the tech industry – and, in certain cases, the exploitation of workers within it.

—p.31 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

That’s the funny part of the tech industry’s narrative about itself. For tech, failure is always assumed to be temporary; for everyone else, it’s terminal. Taxicab companies are going out of business because they’re losing money? Creative destruction, my friend – sink or swim. Uber hemorrhages cash? Well, that’s just a sign of how visionary the company is. This double standard justifies the exploitation of workers outside of the tech industry – and, in certain cases, the exploitation of workers within it.

—p.31 The Undertakers of Silicon Valley (19) by Adrian Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago
33

When we look at the various crises that Facebook has faced in the past couple of years, people talk about them as failures or breakdowns or meltdowns. In fact, it’s just the opposite. None of these are mistakes—they're fulfillments of a vision.

Facebook intended to connect billions of people. It intended to create an algorithm that would favor engagement around highly emotional content. It intended to create an advertising platform that was more efficient, more accurate, and more specialized than any that had ever been created. These features were all intentional. And they have produced almost every negative externality that we've seen come out of Facebook. Those externalities are a fulfillment of Facebook’s design.

—p.33 The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook: Siva Vaidhyanathan on Antisocial Media (33) by Siva Vaidhyanathan 3 weeks, 3 days ago

When we look at the various crises that Facebook has faced in the past couple of years, people talk about them as failures or breakdowns or meltdowns. In fact, it’s just the opposite. None of these are mistakes—they're fulfillments of a vision.

Facebook intended to connect billions of people. It intended to create an algorithm that would favor engagement around highly emotional content. It intended to create an advertising platform that was more efficient, more accurate, and more specialized than any that had ever been created. These features were all intentional. And they have produced almost every negative externality that we've seen come out of Facebook. Those externalities are a fulfillment of Facebook’s design.

—p.33 The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook: Siva Vaidhyanathan on Antisocial Media (33) by Siva Vaidhyanathan 3 weeks, 3 days ago
43

One of the perverse things about both Facebook and Google is that because their money came so early and so easily, they think of themselves as market actors that are liberated from the market. Venture capital has a distorting power. It encourages inefficiency in the distribution of resources, it encourages bad actors, and it encourages foolish ideas. So much money chasing so many bad ideas gets abused and wasted by so many bad people.

I think we should call a halt to it. If companies want funding, they should have to go public early. We should slow down the culture and say we want there to be fewer moonshots. We want an economy with more solid businesses, ones that grow slowly, that are tested over time, and that have to be run by grownups.

hmm his solution is a bit staid (he seems like a liberal) but the first para identifies the problem quite well

—p.43 The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook: Siva Vaidhyanathan on Antisocial Media (33) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago

One of the perverse things about both Facebook and Google is that because their money came so early and so easily, they think of themselves as market actors that are liberated from the market. Venture capital has a distorting power. It encourages inefficiency in the distribution of resources, it encourages bad actors, and it encourages foolish ideas. So much money chasing so many bad ideas gets abused and wasted by so many bad people.

I think we should call a halt to it. If companies want funding, they should have to go public early. We should slow down the culture and say we want there to be fewer moonshots. We want an economy with more solid businesses, ones that grow slowly, that are tested over time, and that have to be run by grownups.

hmm his solution is a bit staid (he seems like a liberal) but the first para identifies the problem quite well

—p.43 The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook: Siva Vaidhyanathan on Antisocial Media (33) missing author 3 weeks, 3 days ago
58

So hasn’t the movement succeeded, then? If startups that have built their businesses on open-source software can raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital? If a company like Microsoft, which once positioned itself as the enemy of open source, is now funding key projects?

That depends on what you think open source is fundamentally for. For some, open source is about making software less buggy and more robust by widening the pool of possible contributors. For others, it’s about giving users—at least the more technically skilled ones—more control over the software they use. For the most cynical, it’s a way to dupe people into working for free.

But I always thought there was something more to open source—something more radical, something worth fighting for.

am i allowed to quote myself like this

—p.58 Freedom Isn't Free (57) by Wendy Liu 3 weeks, 3 days ago

So hasn’t the movement succeeded, then? If startups that have built their businesses on open-source software can raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital? If a company like Microsoft, which once positioned itself as the enemy of open source, is now funding key projects?

That depends on what you think open source is fundamentally for. For some, open source is about making software less buggy and more robust by widening the pool of possible contributors. For others, it’s about giving users—at least the more technically skilled ones—more control over the software they use. For the most cynical, it’s a way to dupe people into working for free.

But I always thought there was something more to open source—something more radical, something worth fighting for.

am i allowed to quote myself like this

—p.58 Freedom Isn't Free (57) by Wendy Liu 3 weeks, 3 days ago