The Future is Shiny

by Pete Burtis

The Bell Tolls for Google

03/14/12 5:28 am

There are moments, and people, and ideas that snap situations so sharply into focus for me, that change my perspective so completely, that I can't believe I didn't see it before.

I could feel Donald Trump's campaign for President ending, like I can feel lightning coming on the air, the moment President Obama stepped off stage at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year. It was an electric moment, on the heels of Trump forcing Obama to release his birth certificate, and the President held a grudge. He was charming, and eloquent, and vicious. He told three jokes at Tump's expense, and every punchline was a variation of a theme: Can you imagine, I mean really imagine what it would be like if this guy was president?

At the end of it, as Obama stood there smiling and Trump sat there fuming, the chasm between the two men could not have been greater. And so too, by proxy, the chasm between Trump and a man who could be President. Like that, the idea of serious candidate Trump was gone from my mind; reduced to a youtube laughingstock, and rightly so, as if I snapped to my senses and out of the illusion that this man was to be taken seriously.

I digress.

James Whittaker, Why I left Google:

The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone. The new Google knew beyond doubt what the future should look like. Employees had gotten it wrong and corporate intervention would set it right again.

There it is. Three sentences. 42 words.

So begins the long slow decline of Google.

The First Post

03/07/12 1:16 am

Three different trends on how to launch a blog

I wonder if John Gruber knew what he was getting into when he wrote Baby Needs a New Pair of Processors. After a quick acknowledgment that it was his first post, he launched right into analysis of a new G4 computer from apple, along with a few pointers on how to save the then struggling company. Love it or hate it, a decade later Daring Fireball has become one of the all-time great blogs. Although the posts have gotten shorter and a little more on point over the years, John Gruber's voice as a writer has come through from the very beginning. (Also gone by the wayside in the intervening years is his habit of referring to the site in the third person as "the Daring Fireball", blessedly.)

If you want to start a blog, you could study Daring Fireball's example. Give a nod to the fact that it's your first post—as obviously it is—but then get down to the business of doing what you do. Or rather, doing what you're going to do.

Another way to go is to fake it till you make it. If you roll Tech Crunch back 1260+ pages, you'll find Mike Arrington's first post: a profile of the website Technorati. There's no hint in the post that Tech Crunch is a new publication. Just right down to business, like he's been doing this all along. (When he had to do it all over again years later, he took a much different tact). More recently, SplatF, too, blogs of Google, patents, and pi before finally getting around to a welcome message a few days later.

You can also start it all the way The Huffington Post did. They kick off with a manifesto or two. Nothing too lofty, mind you. Just tell the world what your site will be.

So where does that leave me? I'm a programmer at heart—a technician—and I've always been wary of technocrats bearing manifestos. Besides, I make no claims to knowing where this site is going so manifestos are out. As for fake it till you make it, it just rubs me wrong. The first post should be momentous, if you ask me. Fake it till you make it is a far too monotonous way to start.

No, I think starting with a wink and a nod is much more my style. And luckily, we programmers have always known exactly how to start things:

Hello world.

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