Pocket Articles

Things I’ve read, worth reading.


What is Complexity Science? "I think the next [21st] century will be the century of complexity" – Stephen HawkingComplexity science, also called complex systems science, studies how a large collection of components – locally interacting with each other at small scales – can spontaneously self-

2595 words • None minute read

Garbage Language

I worked at various start-ups for eight years beginning in 2010, when I was in my early 20s. Then I quit and went freelance for a while. A year later, I returned to office life, this time at a different start-up. During my gap year, I had missed and yearned for a bunch of things, like health care and free knockoff Post-its and luxurious people-watching opportunities. (In 2016, I saw a co-worker pour herself a bowl of cornflakes, add milk, and microwave it for 90 seconds. I’ll think about this until the day I die.) One thing I did not miss about office life was the language.

Vulture • 4150 words • 19 minute read

#15: Maintenance by design

I’m an author, organizational sociologist, strategy professor, unsuccessful furniture maker, and Xoogler—this is yet another of my attempts to make sense of the state of not-knowing. The ideas below are only partially baked.

The Uncertainty Mindset • 2207 words • 10 minute read

💭🔮 The psychology of Silicon Valley

I’m here with a special Sunday essay for this week’s Exponential View. Katy Cook, a long-time reader, recently published a book, The Psychology of Silicon Valley. As I am busy kicking off the new podcast series, I asked her to step in this week.

Exponential View • 1937 words • 9 minute read

The great paradox of our time: everything is both better and worse than ever before

Our world is better off now than at any point in human history, but at the same time things have never been worse. It’s a contradiction that presents us with a seemingly unresolvable conundrum: the source of our progress has become the source of our downfall.

The Correspondent • 3598 words • 16 minute read

Adversarial Interoperability

“Interoperability” is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service: modern civilization depends on the standards and practices that allow you to put any dish into a dishwasher or any USB charger into any car’s cigarette lighter.

Electronic Frontier Foundation • 836 words • 4 minute read

Building a More Honest Internet

Over the course of a few short years, a technological revolution shook the world. New businesses rose and fell, fortunes were made and lost, the practice of reporting the news was reinvented, and the relationship between leaders and the public was thoroughly transformed, for better and for worse.

Columbia Journalism Review • 2723 words • 12 minute read

“Degrowth is about redistribution by design, not by collapse”

For the designers of buildings, degrowth requires abandoning the idea of a final, pristine work of architecture. As a bar of soap, ARCHITECTURE is a communal resource for Triennale visitors to clean themselves.

Failed Architecture • 4048 words • 20 minute read

I Invented the World Wide Web. Here’s How We Can Fix It.

I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web.

The New York Times • 975 words • 4 minute read

The ‘Silicon Six’ spread propaganda. It’s time to regulate social media sites.

I get it: I’m one of the last people you’d expect to hear warning about the danger of conspiracies and lies. I’ve built a career on pushing the limits of propriety and good taste. I portrayed Borat, the first fake-news journalist, along with satirical characters such as Ali G, a wannabe gangster, and Bruno, a gay fashion reporter from Austria.

The Washington Post • 1847 words • 8 minute read